According the Content Marketing Institute, 40% of B2B marketers say that email newsletters are the most crucial element of their content marketing strategy, and the most successful.
Although marketing today tends to be geared towards newer strategies, such as social media and video marketing, there is a reason that 93% of B2B marketers still use email to distribute content, and 80% of business professionals are of the opinion that email marketing increases their customer retention.
Email is a classic method of marketing, which makes it easy to contact potential leads, as well as retain them, as there is plenty of opportunity for follow up. 99% of consumers check their email every day making this method of advertising every bit as good at reaching your target audience as a social media campaign.
Before you can adequately set up a successful B2B email marketing campaign, you must understand the key differences between B2B and B2C audiences.
Differences between B2B and B2C markets
The buying cycle
Where the business to consumer buying cycle is quick and high-pressure, based on emotion and a persuasive call-to-action, business to business marketing relies on building a stronger relationship. The likelihood is that the person who first reads your email isn’t going to be the person who gets to make the decision about buying the product. The email has to appeal to a number of different people with different agendas before it will be passed to the next level.
B2C email marketing relies heavily on two things – value and call-to-action. Successful email marketing for this audience will include discounts and offers, anything that will explicitly declare its outstanding value and then prompt the recipient to complete the sale or lose out.
B2B marketing requires facts and educational content, which offer prospective customers the opportunity to learn something that benefits them. A call-to-action should be prominent and persuasive, and content should be full of data, case studies and testimonials. At the end of the email the reader should want to come to you to find out more about how you can help their business.
Whilst it is generally considered better to target warm leads, such as those who have expressed an interest in your business by signing up to an email newsletter, or following you on social media, it is possible to create a successful cold email campaign as well.
How to create persuasive cold emails
Personalise the email
You might be contacting a cold list of email addresses but this doesn’t mean you can skip the homework beforehand. The likelihood of someone opening and responding to a cold email, according to MailChimp, is between 14% and 23%. However, a study conducted by Shane Snow (cofounder of Contently) and Jon Youshaei (founder of EveryVowel), found that personalised emails with strong subject lines can command up to a 45.5% open rate.
Personalisation needs to go beyond the person’s name and business. Try mentioning something that their company has succeeded in recently, or something that you admire about their business. In marketing, flattery will get you everywhere!
Write like you talk
It seems like good business practice to use flowery, business-like language in professional emails but, in marketing, this is actually a real turn-off. People want to feel as though they are talking to you, so getting across some sort of personality will help them to feel a greater connection. Try to avoid business jargon and keep facts and figures to a minimum.
Keep it to the point
Not only does a recipient not want to sit through a long-winded, pretentious email, they also don’t want it to go on for three pages. Try to keep your emails as short and concise as possible, getting across all of your points without boring the reader into closing off completely. Your email should include:
- A greeting
- A brief introduction mentioning their business and how you found them
- How you can benefit their business/what you are offering
- Added value or credibility (this is the best place for your facts and statistics)
- A non-pushy call to action
Focus on what you can do for them
This is probably the most important part of your email, and you need to try to keep it as snappy and memorable as possible. Steer clear of vague boasts about awards that you have won or how state-of-the-art your technology is, and pinpoint exactly what you will do for the recipient’s business specifically. For example:
“Let us double your website conversions with this simple trick”
“Our award-winning team will improve your search engine rankings”
Finish as strongly as you started
As previously mentioned, your object in cold B2B email marketing should be to peak the recipient’s interest and not come off as pushy, so include a prominent, but not intrusive, call-to-action. Go for a question like “Would this be something that you are interested in?” or, even better, “Feel free to give me a call to discuss this. I have some great ideas about how we could improve (x)”. Again, this indicates that you know and are interested in their business, and persuades them to reach out to you, seeing as all you are offering is a conversation at this point.
If you receive no reply, don’t give up! The follow up is almost as important as the first cold email. Your recipient may have noticed your first email but forgotten about it. A second email should intrigue them more. Keep it casual, explain in your email that you have emailed before and wanted to be sure that they received it, and copy in your original email.
You can try one more time if you still don’t get a reply, and in this email you should tackle any doubts or misgivings you predict they might be having about working with you. This email can also be used to point out other specific benefits that they could gain from working with your company.
B2B email is still very much with us, and GDPR has done nothing to diminish its importance. However, as well as requiring the technical expertise to mount a campaign you need to be aware of how to write your message so that it drives responses back to you.
In part two of this article we explore further tips and tricks that help your message educate your audience and persuade them to respond back to you. One of MaxWeb’s specialties happens to be email marketing, so to find out how we can help please call us on 0151 652 4777 or email [email protected]
Posted on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 in Digital Marketing.