As a B2B marketer, it often feels like B2C gets all the email love.
And there’s a ton we can learn from B2C: design best practices, how to create a compelling offer, etc. But trying to go full B2C in the B2B world (e.g. “buy one, get one” deals or goofy GIFs) might not go over so well. So what does work for us B2B marketers?
Unfortunately, there’s not a magic one-size-fits-all solution (believe me, I’ve checked). But I can tell you how we think about B2B email marketing here at Emma, along with some takeaways you can use to create a strategy that works for you and your organization.
The key to B2B marketing is thinking about the questions your target audience is likely to ask at each stage of the funnel and then serving up relevant content that answers those questions. And if you’ve done your job right, when the prospect is ready, it helps them make a purchasing decision about your company. Here’s how we do it at Emma.
Top of the funnel
Prospects ask questions like: What subject lines work? What does a great email look like? Should I use email as part of my marketing strategy?
Obviously, a healthy email list is the lifeline of every successful email strategy. We’ve found that the most effective way to grow our email audience is by gating valuable content that answers those high-level, industry-specific questions with an email-only signup form. Once we have their email address, we can put our nurturing program to work.
For instance, when “Why we click” became one of our most popular guides ever, we thought, “What if we put a lightbox on the homepage that asks for an email address to download it?” Shortly after launching the form on the homepage, 66% of our new subscribers were coming from that lightbox!
Once we have a new subscriber, we “Nurture Like Netflix” by offering related content we know resonates with our audience. For example, if you subscribed by downloading our “12 smartest emails” guide, we know you’re interested in email design, so the follow-up email includes a link to 10 creative uses for animated GIFs in email.
Try this: Put a dismissable lightbox on your highest traffic pages to encourage anonymous visitors to become email subscribers!
Middle of the funnel
Prospects ask questions like: What are ways I can use email marketing for my franchise? How do I make a CTA that works for my organization?
As prospects move toward a purchase decision, they ask questions that are more specific to their brand and their goals. At this stage, we want to answer those questions in a way that helps introduce Emma as the right email marketing solution for their needs. That means we’ve got some segmenting to do!
For example, if a subscriber is in the food and beverage industry, we send them an email that gives them an inside look at how Dogfish Head brews an 80% email open rate. This is a win-win because the subscribers get tips and strategies we know work in their industry, and at the same time, we’re able to demonstrate that marketers just like them are using Emma and seeing killer results.
Try this: Segment your audience by industry and deliver case studies that show similar customers having success with your product.
Bottom of the funnel
Prospects ask questions like: Is Emma the right email platform for me and my organization? How does Emma’s automation suite work? Can I get a free trial to test it out?
Eventually, prospects will make some type of purchase decision about Emma (the smart ones choose to buy, of course). We’ve nurtured them with our best content, introduced them to marketers just like them who are seeing awesome results using our platform, and now it’s up to the prospect to decide if they want to move forward by giving us a call or requesting a trial.
At this stage, the questions become hyper-personalized around the specific product needs of the individual, so our emails simply confirm that we received their request to learn more about the sales/product side of things. From there, we get them in touch with the person on our team who can best answer their questions.
Try this: Have inquiry forms that let prospects “raise their hands” about starting a more business-oriented conversation with your organization.
But remember: A subscriber could be ready for a bottom-of-the-funnel conversation at any time.
That’s why our emails almost always incorporate secondary text CTAs that link out to middle- or bottom-of-the-funnel content (like our "Request a Tour" page). We see our highest click-through rates when we have a single CTA button, but secondary text is the best of both worlds – we can still send focused, helpful content messages, but it makes it easy for subscribers to learn more about Emma when they’re ready.
Try this: Test using different secondary text CTAs in your content emails that have a stronger sales-focused call to action to identify those bottom-of-the-funnel leads.
That’s it! I hope this peek behind the curtain has given you a few helpful tips you can use in your own B2B strategy. There’s more where that came from, but you didn’t think I’d reveal all of our secrets, did you?
About the Author
As Emma's Customer Acquisition Specialist, Kristen manages and creates marketing journeys to increase customer engagement, retention, and growth.More Content by Kristen Parisi