Email is not dead. Not by a long shot for B2B companies.
Don't believe it? Here are some stats to chew on:
- 73% of B2B marketers indicated email marketing as an essential strategy to growing their businesses
- 59% of B2B marketers reported email to be the most effective channel for generating revenue
- 49% B2B marketers spend more resources on email marketing than on other channels
- Survey by Software Advice has found that email marketing is rated third highest in terms of quantity and quality of leads generated
- Email marketing has the potential to generate an ROI of up to 3,800%
Not all email marketing campaigns are created equal. Here are 7 rules to consider if you want email marketing to work for your business:
1. Use a High-Quality List
Make sure all subscribers on your email list have opted in to receive your communications. These subscribers have given you permission to send them emails, and as a result, they're going to be more responsive.
You'll have higher open rates while getting fewer spam complaints, which could damage your domain reputation and negatively impact your deliverability.
Buying or renting a list is never a good idea. Reputable email service providers would not let you send emails to those lists and even if your email campaign manages to get through, the low open rate and high complaint rate are likely to affect your future deliverability.
2. Focus On Lead Nurturing
B2B sales often involve higher transaction values, as well as more complex selling and approval processes, which translate into longer buying cycles.
Don't expect your subscribers to pull out their credit cards the moment they receive your first email. Your email campaigns should focus on nurturing leads, building trust and cultivating relationships that will eventually lead to conversion.
Nurture leads by providing relevant and valuable content in your email campaigns. You can share your blog posts, offer webinars or create an educational or onboarding series to deepen your relationship with your readers.
Remember to respect your subscribers' time, attention and inbox. If you aren't adding value, you're going to lose their trust in no time.
3. Segment Your List
For most businesses, the purchasing decision is made by a group of stakeholders instead of one person.
Different stakeholders have different concerns and priorities -- e.g. the CMO may want to see data and analystics on ROI, while the sales director may be more interested in how your product or service can help her manage her team more effectively.
There are also personal and emotional factors that affect each stakeholder's decision-making process, which you'd want to address in your content.
By segmenting your email subscribers, you can better create content that targets their different needs and priorities, making your marketing campaigns much more effective.
4. Consider Customer Buying Cycle
Your customers go through different stages in a buying cycle, from first hearing about your products to making a purchasing decision.
For each of these stages -- awareness, consideration, preference/intent, purchase, and repurchase -- you need to provide content and information that answer your prospects' questions and prompt them to take actions that take them to the next stage in the buying cycle.
The content of your email campaigns should map to the buyer lifecycle stages that your recipients are in. You can track their interactions with your previous emails or with your sales rep to determine where they're in the lifecycle and what content would be most appropriate for them.
5. Come Up With Great Subject Lines
News flash: your email marketing won't do much for your business if your subscribers aren't opening your emails!
Your subscribers probably have an inbox full of unread emails vying for their attention. Your subject line will determine if they're going to open and read your email -- in fact, 35% email recipients decide whether they'd open an email based on the subject line alone.
Good email subject lines are relevant, succinct, and specific. They should pique interest, but not so "clever" that the recipients have no idea what the email is about.
Remember to populate the "preview" text, which is displayed right next to your subject line. It gives you more space to explain what your email is about and entice recipients to open it.
6. Consider Company Size
Segmenting your list by role or job title can certainly help you tailor your content to specific recipients. However, your might still be missing an important piece of the puzzle.
As you can imagine, CEO of a Fortune 500 company has very different needs than a freelancer who calls herself the CEO of her graphic design business.
To help you better serve your audience, you can further segment your list by asking your subscribers about their company size, so you can provide content that meets their unique challenges.
7. Include a Call-To-Action
One of the goals of your email campaign is to move your subscriber along the customer journey, so they'd eventually get to the point where they're ready to make a purchase.
Including a call-to-action (CTA) in every email is an effective way to "train" your subscribers to click your links and engage with your content. By consuming your content, your subscribers will progress along the buying lifecycle.
The CTA doesn't have to be about placing an order.
It could be as simple as clicking through to read an article; it could be slightly more involved, such as signing up for a webinar; or it could ask the recipients to schedule a call with a sales rep if they're at the appropriate stage of their customer journey.
Your turn -- what email marketing strategy has worked well for you? Leave a comment below and share your results: