As you know, email marketing isn’t dead. And, this is even more of a true statement for B2B email marketing. This is clear from data that implies influence and growth, including these two impressive stats.
Email is currently the third most persuasive source for B2B audiences, following peer and thought leader recommendations. And, 73 percent of millennials, who are quickly becoming decision makers, prefer email marketing for business communication. You are also very aware that email is alive and kicking is your own inbox.
With all the stats and profusion of emails, why do so many brands not have a strategy? There’s not one answer to this. It usually revolves around silos, inefficiencies due to lack of tools and apathy. It’s true that some of the biggest B2B brands in the world cast emails out like a rod, hoping that hook someone.
This, however, is a huge mistake that can lead to massive unsubscribes and loss of market share. So, whether you are big, small or somewhere in between, you must have a brilliant story to tell every time you send an email. In this post, I’m sharing my email marketing tales, regarding list growing, segmentation and campaigns.
List Growth: Tales on How to Get Emails
You need to always be growing your list. There is the obvious reason of you should be engaging and connecting with leads, but growth is also about attrition. Expect list churn to be about 25 to 30 percent yearly, meaning unsubscribes or disengagement. Then there are other factors like email address changes or contacts leaving the company. At any point, your email list may be only half accurate. So, you have to keep adding new contacts.
People aren’t going to give you their email address, so you have to be strategic on you ask. This may seem super easy and simple, but offering a newsletter sign-up does work (and, so do newsletters).
From my own experience, I have a client that has consistently had five to 10 new sign-ups weekly for the last six months. The industry is a bit niche, yet I know this type of thing works across the B2B realm. I use a minimally designed corner pop-up from Mail Munch. I use “join” in the CTA to illustrate that the user is going to become part of something and only ask for the name and email address.
There are lots of other ways to grow a list that take very little effort or dollars to execute. Develop a landing page with a relevant offer like an ebook, that only asks for the name and email. This is where some brands trip up—as they ask for too much information and lose the conversion. If you have an email address, you have a channel to communicate.
Another way in which I’ve grown lists for clients is via webinars. You can host a great webinar at no cost. Simply, use a platform like FreeConferenceCall.com if you don’t already have a paid one. I do suggest promoting webinars with social media ads. I recently spent $20 on a Facebook ad that resulted in almost 20 sign-ups, which mean new email addresses. That’s a pretty awesome return on investment.
One word of caution on list building, don’t buy email addresses. It’s not worth the money, and you’ll find you are hitting inboxes that have no connection to your brand.
Segmentation: Tales of Personalization
How much more likely are you to open an email that seems tailored to you? And, I don’t mean it says your name; I mean it speaks to you. According to the data, segmented emails have a 14 percent higher open rate than those that are not, and click-throughs are 100 percent higher for segmented campaigns over non. So, what does segmentation mean? You can segment by a variety of factors. Those include:
- Clients vs. prospects (and with clients, you can segment further based on what services they use)
- Company size
- Buyer stage
- Where or how you connected with them (lead generation, trade shows, etc.)
- Their industry
- The contact’s role (for example, I recently worked with a company that had both architects and builders as contacts; even though they are in the same industry, they have different motivations and challenges)
Let me also share a story about the company referenced above. Their product portfolio included items that were only available in certain areas of the country. It made no sense to send all contacts information about products when only some of them had the ability to purchase them.
So, I, of course, said that we needed a segmented list. And, this billion-dollar company had little means to do this. Most of the reason was due to tools but another issue was that they had no strategy or realization about how to use email as a marketing channel.
Developing Campaigns: Tales of Trigger and Nurture Emails
Email automation is a tool that if available to you, you should be using. Yet, again this is often overlooked. A trigger campaign is when an email sends based on a user’s action. This could be signing up for a webinar, downloading content or subscribing to a newsletter. Triggers perform quite well, with open rates 70 percent higher than typical email, yet they only make up about five percent of total email volume. This equates to opportunity.
Trigger emails are so effective because they are expected. Someone wants to interact with your brand. Use this to your advantage and include some additional ways to engage. Your post-webinar sign-up email could have the confirmation information for the event, while also including a link to a blog post on the topic.
Nurture campaigns work to develop the relationship and move the prospect closer to decision. In most B2B sales cycle, interest to purchase can be a long road. So, you need to keep things moving and the conversation going. Why should you care so much about nurture emails? They can garner four to 10 times the response rate than standalone emails. But, you must have a mapped-out plan.
Based on the user’s actions and responses to emails, this should then take them down one of many paths. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It does need to be purposeful. Having a marketing platform or intelligent email system, it’s fairly easy to set these up.
What’s Your Strategy Story?
The absolute bottom line on an email strategy is that you have to add value to the inbox. If you don’t, you’ll get written out the story quickly. Strategies will change based on many factors, both internal and external.
If you have a strong infrastructure, you’ll be much more nimble and adaptable if you are growing, segmenting and campaigning. Email isn’t dying, but your approach to it may be. Thus, it’s a great time to start a new story.
This article was contributed by Beth Osborne.