Email is still one of the most effective ways to communicate and engage with your target audience in the B2B space. The following email marketing best practices for a B2B audience will help you achieve more this year.
Today’s B2B professional gets hammered with advertisements from every angle. Remarketing campaigns, Facebook Ads, Google AdSense – they’re all competing for your customer’s attention. Email marketing is often one of the most profitable digital channels of an overall online lead generation strategy.
Email marketing to a B2B audience
Email has somewhat of an intrusive nature when it comes to marketing. Nobody likes getting “spammed”, even if it’s a product their business may be interested in down the road. With some sound strategy, you can be sure that your email marketing efforts cater to your audience in a way that’s honest and helpful.
Creating high-value content to nurture your B2B audience (such as a white paper document) will not only help you build your email list, but move your prospects along the buying cycle.
Consider these types of campaigns that resonate well with a Business-to-business audience:
- Industry News and Updates
- Case Studies
- Upcoming Events
- Trials and Demos
When you focus on providing relevant information to your email list from the perspective of a thought-leader in the industry, people will recognize it. To see this idea put into practice, look at the way MOZ provides free resources to educate their prospects in SEO.
By providing educational resources in their industry, they have positioned themselves as an authority. The same principals apply when it comes to effective email marketing.
Here are a few email marketing best practices that you can implement in your B2B campaigns in 2018.
Keep Your Emails Simple
Your email should highlight a single core message to your reader. Don’t try to do too much and offer your audience multiple options and selling points. People are busy, and they typically only spend a few digesting the content in your email.
Make your content “skimmer-friendy“, so that the core message is clear, even at a glance. Your challenge is to build content that resonates with your customer in a hurry, not to provide an in-depth article on your products.
This idea is vital for email marketing success in all industries but especially relevant for B2B marketers. When dealing with business owners, the decision-making process is a longer journey. Getting the key points of your message consumed promptly is a must.
Don’t Get Too Salesy
Focus on creating a relationship with your audience when you right. If your content comes across as pushy in your email marketing – your emails are destined to the spam folder. You need to provide value in each and every message you send.
Ask yourself “How will my customer benefit from this” as you plan your next email marketing campaign. If you treat the message as a sales pitch, you’ll start racking up unsubscribers. B2B sales and marketing teams know what it feels like to be on the other side, and they’re quick to trash your email if it rubs them the wrong way.
If you consistently create highly-actionable information to your readers, they are much more likely to consider your product or service when they’re ready to convert. Consider the lifecycle of your customer and the big picture buying process.
The interim goal is for your reader to keep your business on their radar, not to go in for the kill in every email.
Get Personal for Better Open Rates
Your content is informative and honest, but that’s only useful if your emails are getting opened. Neil Patel suggests that the key to maximizing your open rate is to be as personal and interesting as possible.
Don’t underestimate the effect the from line has on your audience. Studies have shown that the trust given in the from line can compel a user to open the email – having a greater influence than the subject line!
Consider using your own personal name in the from field, so appear more authentic and trustworthy than a brand name. You might as well leverage the reputation you’ve built as a business owner. Many of your customers will research your profile on LinkedIn, so be sure to keep it up-to-date and polished.
Compare your open rates with the industry average to gauge if your messages are hitting their mark. Open rates are notoriously lower in the B2B industry, making optimization extra important.
Write and Inspired Subject Line
An uninteresting subject line is sure to be overlooked in a sea of competing messages. It’s also crucial that your email doesn’t look spammy, with a sales-first approach. In alignment with the idea of providing actionable information, addressing a common problem your target audience experiences is often the best approach.
To work more efficiently, re-purpose some of your existing blog post titles that were a big hit. Meaning, use the research that went into your existing content and put it to good use in email form. Chances are, some of your best performing content online involved answering a common question your customers have.
Useful Examples: 6 Winning B2B Email Subject Lines
Stimulate your readers by using words that evoke positive emotions around the subject. Certain power words have the ability to strike a chord with your reader. Here are some dynamic power words listed by smartblogger.com.
An Effective Call to Action
The CTA is where the user will decide whether they want to act on your offer and proceed. To properly craft your CTA, you must know exactly what you want the reader to do next.
Whether your CTA directs the reader to a landing page, a contact form or wherever else you want them to go, your Call to action must be clear and direct. Don’t play around with the placement or try to hide this button inside the copy, make it abundantly clear that this is precisely where they need to go next.
A bold, high-contrast button or link should be evident at first glance. The prospects that are now ready to enter the sales funnel need an easy way to proceed.
Increase Subscriber Engagement
Studies show that increasing subscriber engagement is a top priority for email marketers in the B2B space, perhaps because it often leads to more sales. (Go figure!)
The key to increasing engagement with your audience through email marketing is to keep the types of email campaigns you send fresh. What I mean is, don’t keep sending the same type of campaign week after week. Your audience will soon come to expect the same boring message with a predictable CTA at the bottom, and won’t just skip over your content, but unsubscribe.
Instead, offer them new material that keeps them guessing, and entertained. Here are a few examples of different campaign types that are sure to win over the affection of your hard-earned B2B marketing audience:
Curated Content Email
Include your best blog posts or social media shares. Only include content that has already proven to be a winner with your audience. There’s a reason that blog post gets so much traffic (because people find it useful!), so milk it for all its worth (In a matter of speaking)
Exciting Company Announcement
Be selective about this one. Only share news and announcements that your reader might actually care about. For instance, if you’ve recently won an award – that’s worth sharing. Why? Because it builds trust and authority to your brand and makes your audience feel like they are a part of something special.
Email is a powerful way to reach your audience. With the right formula and an inspired approach, your efforts will not go unnoticed. Whether you use marketing automation software such as Hubspot or Mailchimp for your opt-in campaigns, or software such as Clickback for emailing cold lists, a sound marketing strategy will pay off in terms of new leads and conversions.