Yes, it's true... B2B email tends to get a bad rap in the marketing world.
It isn't that B2B marketers don’t want be better at email, they’re just busy. As we discovered through conversations at our recent roadshow stops in Austin and Denver, marketers are increasingly strapped for resources, manpower, and time. Very few people actually hold the position of full-time email marketer, and because email returns a solid ROI regardless of the effort put into it – 3800%, on average – it often falls lower on the priority list for a lot of teams.
Here's what happens: You throw some content into that same weekly newsletter template you’ve used since 2008 – then rinse and repeat. But by not making email a priority, B2B marketers miss out on the returns that are possible from owning the most effective digital marketing channel available to them. Here are five ways to start building email campaigns that drive remarkable, engaging experiences in the inbox and beyond.
1. Grow your list with the right types of subscribers.
Emails lists churn 25-30% each year on average, which means continual list growth is vital. Plus, email marketing can only be successful when you're sending to an engaged, permission-based list of subscribers. That means that buying a list or slapping a signup form on a random page on your website is not a sustainable option. Instead, marketers must be strategic when it comes to attracting new subscribers.
A few things to consider:
• Are you offering simple, relatively frictionless signup opportunities across customer touch points
• Do forms provide new subscribers a valuable incentive – like a piece of exclusive content or free consultation – for signing up?
• Are you asking for only the information you actually need and plan to use right away?
If you can check off all of these boxes, you’ll be able to collect a thriving, engaged list of subscribers.
2. Bring your email templates into this century.
Even if you don't have a dedicated email designer on your team, there's absolutely no excuse to not invest in at least one professional, mobile-optimized, branded email template.
Think about it this way: Companies spend an inordinate amount of money on every facet of their brand when it comes to design, so why should their email programs be any different? Yet email design still get overlooked. As a marketer, it’s your responsibility to tell a story and maintain consistency across all of your channels.
Lovely use of an animated GIF in a marketing email from Demand Gen Report. (See it on Litmus Scope!)
Use mobile-friendly templates that help amplify – not distract from – your branding elsewhere. Consider including animated GIFs, which can boost conversion rates by as much as 130%, according to Marketing Sherpa. Most of all, keep your design focused around a CTA button that draws the eye (and the clicks).
3. Automate whenever possible.
Once you attract new subscribers, you must also consider how to create a great first impression and convince those folks to stick around – especially since B2B buying cycles tend to go on for much longer than those in the B2C world. This is where an automated welcome series can come in. Email automation is the key to making the most of resources and content, and welcome emails specifically generate great result like an average of 4X the open rates and 5X the clickthrough rates of business-as-usual mailings.
A fantastic welcome email from Atomic Reach, a content marketing platform. (See it on Litmus Scope!)
Once you set up your welcome series, consider automating based on key dates and milestones, like signup anniversary. Then, move onto automation triggered by subscriber behavior, like clicking on a link in a mailing, signing up for a trial, or browsing a product page on your website, or by contact field changes, such as upgrading from a free to a paid account.
4. Segment and personalize.
Even though relevant emails drive 18X more revenue, 42% of marketers still aren’t sending targeted email messages (MarketingProfs). List segmentation helps you guarantee you’re sending the right messaging to the right folks, and small tweaks can make a huge difference.
SnapApp takes email personalization to the next level in this content-focused campaign.
A few key pieces of data to segment based on include location, engagement or inactivity, and purchase history. At the end of the day, email is all about minimal viable audience: What is the smallest, most targeted list you can send to in order to make your email as relevant as possible?
A strategic re-engagement email from Brasseler USA.
5. Test, test, and test again.
Do you have any sage email advice to share with other B2B marketers? Questions for us? Feel free to sound off in the comments!
About the Author
McKenzie Gregory is a senior content manager on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.Follow on Twitter More Content by McKenzie Gregory