If you operate a B2B business, it is essential to have the right email marketing strategy in place.
While it is important to engage prospective customers on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, some of your best prospective clients might want to hear from your business via email. In fact, 86% of business professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes.
Not only, is email preferred, it actually works. 59% of B2B marketers say email as their most effective channel in terms of revenue generation. Some estimate that email marketing generates $38 in revenue for every $1 spent. That’s why even small improvements in engaging your prospective and current customers with a strong B2B email marketing strategy can see huge gains in closed sales and an improved bottom line.
Crafting Your B2B Email Marketing Strategy
As with any strategy, the best email marketing plans often involve specific goals. Be sure to define an objective you’d like to accomplish with your email marketing.
Do you want your emails to be educational and increase the brand awareness of your company? Or, should emails engage an audience that is in the decision-making process, and nudge them towards setting up a consultation?
Maybe you want emails to engage existing customers and keep them up to date on improvements to the product or offering so you can retain more customers.
Once you’ve defined your marketing goals, here are 6 tips to get the most out of your B2B email marketing strategy.
Think Carefully About Your Customers
After you’ve determined your strategy, consider the types of customers you’d like to address in your B2B email marketing strategy.
Are you looking to engage new customers or retain existing customers?
How much does your target already know about your product?
B2B email marketing is an opportunity to show your audience that you are an expert in their field. Provide information on the industry and trends that your customers might be interested in. Not every email needs to be a sales email, and often, partners will value your expertise and see you as a trusted voice before purchasing your goods or services.
Finally, remember your customers may be reading your emails at your desk or on the go. 75% of all emails are now opened and read via mobile devices. This means your emails need to be mobile friendly. It is also wise to keep your message short. Your customers will be turned off if they open your email and see a huge block of text. Keeping it short may help your customers read more of the email.
Cross-Sell Your Services
If your organization offers more than one service, email can be a great opportunity to cross-sell your services. Begin by identify which groups of customers might be a good fit for your other service. Then group them all by gathering the emails or identifying them in the CRM.
Next, build an email series that explains your new service and why it might be a fit for them. This email should be specific based on their past purchases or behavioral data gathered by your email marketing platform. By knowing what they already purchase form you, or what content they’ve opened and read, you can provide specific recommendations that address their pain points.
For example, let’s say a customer purchased your previous sales training course making them a good candidate for your related marketing course. Email automation platforms like Campaign Monitor allow you to dynamically send a cross-sell offer to all those customers in your CRM who purchased your sales training course and offer them a discount on the related course.
Finally, send the emails in a sequence and track performance. If you find customers regularly opening several of the emails, follow up in person or on the phone and pitch them your new services. You now have a very warm lead to a new business line.
When cross-selling it is important to keep your messaging simple and offer only a single new product. It can be easy to want to explain all of your offerings, but that can lead to confusion. Focus on a single additional product that makes the most sense for that group of customers.
Personalize Your Content At Scale
In sales, personalization can help customers feel like you are taking the time to understand their business and personally serving their needs. Personalize emails also work better in sales, getting a 26% higher open rate than non-personalized messages.
But rather than personalize every email for every customer, building sequences and using email automation can empower your team to get the right message to the right customer.
Email engagement tools like Mixmax, allow you to personalize email based on labels in other systems. For example, in your CRM, simply label each prospect with their industry. Then, your sales team can build an email sequence that explains how your business serves a specific industry. Over the course of three or four emails, you can explain how you are best fit to serve this industry. Using labels and automation, the right emails will go to the right industry leaders.
Then, using rules, you can automatically send the email sequence to the right customers over the course of a few weeks or months. Every customer in that group will receive highly personalized and relevant messages automatically.
Test Your Subject Line and “From” Line
Now that you’ve crafted great content, it is vital the recipient actually opens the email.35% of email recipients choose to open an email based solely on the subject line. A best practice is to make sure your subject line is 50 characters or less. Additionally, many email tools including Campaign Monitor, will allow for A/B email testing. A common subject line test will send a small portion of your emails with subject line A, and then another small portion of emails with subject line B. After a few hours, you can see which subject line received the most opens and send the remaining emails out with the winning subject line.
When testing subject lines, consider some best practices. Subject lines featuring the recipients first name, have a 26% higher open rate, so consider using some automatic personalization. Also, using emojis have increased open rates by up to 56%. Finally, after analyzing thousands of emails, email researchers have found words that improve email opens such as “celebrate,” “renew,” and “last chance.” Try to incorporate these tips into your subject lines to see increased open rates.
While the subject line is vital, also pay attention to your “from” or sender line also. People are more likely to open your message if they see the sender is from a member of your marketing or sales team rather than a general “no reply” sender. Again, best practices are to use a person’s name as the sender rather than a generic sales@ email address.
The Power of the Image
A picture is worth a thousand words, which is why you should consider using infographics, and images overlaid with a bit of text in your B2B email marketing strategy also.
According to the Social Media Examiner’s 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 80% of marketers have been using visual assets in their social media marketing. Video advertisements have surpassed blogging ones on social media by 3% already.
Be sure to choose images that bring a sense of delight, awe, or even shock (in a good way) to your ideal customer. Additionally, other images like maps, directions, or photos of your team may be helpful in helping a prospect get acquainted with your business. The brain can process visual information 60,000 times faster than text so the right visuals can help your prospected customers understand your key points faster.
However, too many images in an email can trigger spam filters and prevent your email from arriving in an inbox. Keep an image-to-text ratio around 40:60 or 60:40.
Measure & Repeat
After you’ve launched and tested your B2B email marketing strategy in the market, be sure to regularly check-in on key KPIs and iterate. Key KPIs may include the total number of emails delivered, emails opened, click-through-rate, click-to-open rate, unsubscribe rate and your bounce rate, Over time, you will see trends in open rates and can improve subject lines, additionally, you may find new ways to segment your email list or find ways to create more visually interesting emails.
Continue to grow your email list by adding new customers or hosting industry events. Sending more emails and better emails will continue to improve your bottom line.
Putting the Excitement Back into Email
A strong B2B email marketing strategy will focus on nurturing leads by providing personalize, helpful and actionable information. Email marketing can be an extension of your sales and customer service. It should be used to continue to build relationships with prospective clients.
The best way to improve your efforts are to clearly define your email goals and then track and improve over time. Including more images and improving subject lines can lead to more opens and better engagements with emails. Using email automation, your team will be able to provide emails that look customized but are able to be created in seconds. Leveraging many of these tips can improve your sales efforts and bring excitement back into your email marketing.
About the author
Matt Shealy is the President of Chamber of Commerce.com. Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between businesses and more than 7,000 local Chambers of Commerce worldwide.