B2B Email Marketing - Guest Article

- Friday, February 28, 2014

This month, we're ending email marketing month with a guest article on B2B Email Marketing powered by Innovaxis, a BC Partner with a solid experience in marketing services, email campaigns, PR, website development, social media, channel development and more. 

They are sharing their key learning in the B2B email marketing field: 

B2B Email Marketing: Love It or Hate It?

Most business owners and executives get between 50-200 emails a day. This makes it very difficult to get their attention with an email campaign. However, if done effectively, and as part of an overall sales and marketing campaign, email campaigns can generate quality leads. Otherwise, email campaigns can be a complete waste of time, result in prospects sending your email to the spam folder or even get your company’s email domain blacklisted.

List Acquisition

Some businesses out there use Data.com and NetProspex because both services offer full contact information, including email for $0.60 to $1.00 per name and you own the list. Renting lists doesn’t work because you won’t get any of the tracking: who opened the email, how often, what they clicked on, did they unsubscribe, etc. From our experience, up to 30% of the addresses you acquire will bounce – people move around a lot these days.

The more targeted list, and the message, the better. We’ve sent email campaigns to plant managers of refineries nationwide, CFOs of mid-sized manufacturers in the Upper Midwest and superintendents of every school district in the Chicagoland area – with messages that would only appeal to these groups so they know we specifically want to talk to them and are not spamming everyone and their brother.

Email Construction

This subject has been covered many times before, so I’ll keep my tips brief:

  • Use an email template reflects the design language of the site
  • Include 2-3 “hooks”: something interesting/educational, a download (e.g. video, guide, whitepaper) and something promotional (e.g. an offer, event invitation)
  • Like your web pages, don’t include so much content that it scrolls – people don’t like to scroll, they click so also include links back to your website for more information
  • Break up paragraphs of text with headings, bullets and small images
  • Make sure your email title and first 100-150 characters of the email body are compelling – this is what determines if someone will open it, delete it or junk it
  • Avoid spam triggers, including “free”, “exclusive offer” and even “click here&rdquo
  • Avoid newsletters: newsletters are about you and people want to read about something that directly pertains to them
  • Send from a person’s name (info@ and sales@ go mostly to junk) but don’t use their main email address as the number of bounces and out-of-office notices can overload your inbox and some will mark the email as spam so you can never get an email to them after that (and you may want to email them directly, outside of a campaign, at a later date)

Drip Marketing

Unless you’re promoting something hot that practically sells itself, one-off email campaigns don’t work. You need to get emails out to your target market every month – more than this can feel spammy and increase unsubscribes. And realize that it’s unlikely that someone will receive the email, grab the phone and place an order. Best case: a few may respond with some kind of interest. More common: some will hold onto it and return to it later, when it’s a better time. We’ve had people respond with genuine interest to an email six months to a year later. And rather than sitting back and waiting for someone to respond, you’ll want to make sure you…

Follow Up

The best use of an email campaign is to warm up your target market for a call. It’s even better when you precede the email campaign with a promotional marketing campaign or direct mail piece. Something sent in the mail is more likely to be seen than an email and can generate response rates of 20-50%. The best email open rate we’ve seen in recent years is around 40% - it’s usually 7-15% for prospecting emails and 10-25% for campaigns to clients, former clients and other people that already know you. This means that 60-90%+ of your target market will never open any given email you send, so you don’t want to have all your eggs in that basket. For those that do open your email, we often see very few click-throughs and responses.

If you want your email campaign to generate leads, you need to follow up with recipients by phone within 1-2 days of sending it, or there is virtually no chance they’ll remember seeing it. We target those that opened the email multiple times but did not contact you – this is no guarantee they’re interested, but they are more likely than someone that didn’t open it at all. You need someone to do this follow up who genuinely likes talking to people, doesn’t get discouraged when hung up upon and who can think on their feet. This is usually an inside sales person and/or marketing coordinator.

The follow-up will be easier if there is a juicy promotion or a “no-brainer” type offer – for example, we offer prospective clients a free, comprehensive website audit that focuses on content, SEO and usability. If they’re interested, this “qualified lead” can be given to outside sales. It’s our experience that outside sales, especially seasoned veterans, will not do this lead qualification (a.k.a. “bird-dogging”) – they already have a sales pipeline in place and will look down on calling people that simply opened up an email.

Love or Hate

Don’t expect much from your email campaigns if you whip them together quickly, just send them out once or twice and don’t follow them up. If you take the time and incorporate your email campaigns as part of an overall sales and marketing effort, they can play a central role in lead generation and increased sales for you and your clients. Let us know if I can help you in any way.

Thank you Innovaxis for this great article! For more valuable tips and tricks on email marketing and other topics, feel free to get in touch with Sean Parnell from the Innovaxis Marketing team.

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team