Digital Marketing

Guide to B2B Email Marketing part two

By Mark Ainsworth

In part one of this article, we looked at how email marketing is still one of the most effective and popular forms of B2B marketing, as well as how to successfully target a cold email list. In this part we will focus on specific marketing strategies and how to boost your email marketing techniques.

Target the right businesses

A key element of successful B2B marketing is audience centricity. You want to prove to other businesses that you understand their wants and needs and tailor your content to them specifically. A long brand-centric email that waffles on about your core values and long-term goals is only going to alienate your audience and make them feel separate from your business.

It seems obvious that a marketing campaign that is tailored to its audience would provide better content and build better relationships and yet, according to research done by the Content Marketing Institute, only 53% of businesses say that they create content that’s more audience-centric than brand-centric. This provides your opportunity to fit into that niche.

Who is your target customer?

Before you can advertise to them, you first need to identify your target market for any marketing campaign. You can do this in a variety of ways, but the best place to begin is to study your existing customer base. Use website analytics to look for trends, demographics, budgets, likes, dislikes, interests, wants and needs.

From a business point of view, you should also be thinking about:

  • The types of business you are targeting (industry, size etc)
  • The job title(s) of the person(s) most likely to purchase your product or service
  • What their responsibilities and future goals are likely to be
  • What challenges the company as a whole might be facing and what your company can offer to remedy this.

Email segmentation

51% of marketers say the ability to segment email lists is one of their most effective personalisation tactics, according to Ascend2.

Email segmentation is the breaking down of existing email subscribers into smaller groups (or segments) based on a range of criteria. These individual segments are easier to market to as each group shares similar attributes. Segments allow the marketer to create specific, targeted content for each group rather than sending out one mass email. You might segment by:

  • Industry
  • Geographical location
  • Interests
  • Purchase history
  • Type of purchase
  • Job title
  • Existing vs new customers
  • Website behaviour

Timing is everything

There is no point sending out the perfect, individualised, finely crafted marketing email only to have it disappear into a ton of other marketing emails and be lost forever. Timing is everything when sending out emails, with certain times far more likely to get strong open rates than others.

Businesses tend to be busier first thing in the morning and right before close of play, so these times are best avoided. A study by a leading ESP found that between 11am and 2pm (just before and after lunch) yielded the best open rates during businesses hours, and Friday is the best day for email open rates with an average of 23.64%.

It is worth remembering that 35% of business professionals check their email on a mobile device and so post-work hours are also a good time to send marketing emails. However, the open rates for weekends is, obviously, negligible.

Nurture your leads

When you do get responses from marketing emails, following up on them is critical, to start to build the relationship that you hope to enjoy in the future. Of course, you don’t want to seem pushy, but you don’t want to seem disinterested either.

Start off with a welcome email which says hello and perhaps offers a ‘welcome to the family’ bonus. A little discount or freebie goes a long way here. These emails don’t necessarily have to be personalised, and you can set up an auto-responder to get back to anyone that responds to your first email.

After this welcome email, though, you need to get serious about your nurture campaign. Contact leads fairly frequently and over a long period of time, offering information and resources that will be useful to them. Keep them interested in your business and offer various calls-to-action throughout these emails.

Call to action

Where in the beginning you were looking for a softly softly approach with your call-to-action, once the recipient has shown interest you can start to push a little harder. Try asking if they are free for a chat on the phone or in person, and suggest a date and time. This presupposes that they were already going to agree to a conversation, making it easier for them to accept.

Reiterate your value proposition in your follow-up emails by mentioning specifically how you are going to help their business.

If your intended audience seems more reticent about responding, you could request connection by asking permission to send something of value to your recipient. For example, “Is it ok if I send you a short video which explains how we can boost your search engine rankings?”

By using this tactic you are offering your recipient something that they need and subtly holding their attention without demanding anything directly from them. They don’t even need to watch the video, they just need to give you permission to send it, opening a dialogue between you both.

How to analyse your data

All of this is pointless if you don’t know how to analyse your data and use it effectively, so this part of your marketing strategy is just as important as any other part. You will need to look at three main areas in order to measure the success of your campaign.

Behaviour

  • How many people opened your emails
  • How many people clicked any links
  • Which links were clicked on the most
  • How many people unsubscribed per email

Outcome

  • How many people bought the product or service
  • How much revenue is generated per subscriber
  • How much revenue was generated by the campaign overall
  • How many recipients converted to leads
  • What was the ROI on the campaign

Experience

  • Why have people unsubscribed
  • Why did this campaign get more/less conversions
  • Why do some campaigns have higher open rates than others

You can combine these three areas to really understand your campaign; what worked and what didn’t, who your campaign appealed to and who it turned off, and what you can do better in the future. It is truly the analysis of each email marketing campaign that sets you up for future success.

Conclusion

In these two articles we have shown you the basics involved in engaging in B2B email marketing. It truly is a cost-effective marketing method that can truly deliver impressive results, and one that every business should use in their outreach strategy. Here at MaxWeb we specialise in email marketing, and would love to have a chat with you to see how it can be of benefit to your business. So please call us on 0151 652 4777 or email info@maxwebsolutions.co.uk to find out more.

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Guide to B2B Email Marketing part one

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Employee advocacy on social media

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