As online marketing options come and go, email has remained a top producer. Except when it’s not. Why is it a key revenue driver for some B2B firms, while others go through the motions with little reward? Based on what we’ve found, here’s what you need to know – and do.
Get People to Opt In.
What do you call a single email to a prospect you’ve never spoken with? A sales letter. What do you call three emails to that same prospect? Spam.
Email marketing success is more likely when you use it as a nurturing tool for staying in touch with existing contacts who have shown interest, vs. as a cold prospecting tool.
That requires getting people to ‘opt in’ for receiving your ongoing emails. The traditional way to do this is to offer a ‘lead magnet’ – say, a high-quality e-book Guide to something they’d love to know more about – in exchange for agreeing to receive your emails.
That offer can appear on your website, in social media, during an online purchase, in exchange for a discount, or in that initial sales email. You may also find people to sign up at trade events, as well as in your other prospecting efforts.
The ‘double opt-in’ has now become common practice: initially send a confirmation email for the new subscriber to ‘confirm’ their interest. Once they have, reply with a personalized ‘Welcome’ email, thanking them, and briefly letting them know what to expect.
Provide Real Value.
This means not every email should be promoting your company or services. In fact, you’ll build stronger connections if you offer, say, four emails containing genuinely helpful pro tips, for each promotional email you send. That way, instead of just claiming expertise like everyone else, you’re actually displaying it.
Those ‘helpful’ emails can be brief insights that make people go, “hm, that’s interesting.” That response carries an implicit approval, which will build as you continue to impress them with your unique and original ideas. Or, the email could contain the first paragraph of your latest helpful blog post, with a link to continue reading.
When you provide real value, it’s a lot harder for even busy people to tune you out or unsubscribe. And even though that helpful content doesn’t talk about your services directly, it should help guide readers to smarter approaches – approaches that your company happens to use. Successful email marketing lets buyers make that connection on their own.
Don’t be afraid of giving away all your ‘secrets’. When those people have a need, they’re more likely to call you for your clear expertise, than use your bits of advice to try to go it alone.
Use a Mass Email Service.
If you have more than a handful of subscribers, you’re not going to want to use your regular business email account to generate ongoing emails. Spam filters will likely catch on, and send your carefully crafted emails to folks’ junk folders. That’s not good.
Business email service providers like MailChimp and Constant Contact offer a growing set of automated tools to make your ongoing marketing emails program successful, and easy to manage.
These platforms maintain your email lists, including segmenting so each type of recipient gets the most relevant content. They offer templates for quickly creating the emails themselves. They help optimize your email program using data, analytics and AI. And they make things seamless by integrating with your CRM and other business systems.
Most importantly, these services can help you avoid spam filters and ensure deliverability on an ongoing basis. When a subscriber opts out from receiving your emails, their name is permanently deleted from the list; this helps avoid complaints that can be deliverability-killers.
Email Bonus Tips.
• To stand out in the Inbox, write email Subject Lines that take people by surprise
• Approach buying issues from the POV of the buyer, not company employees
• Use short paragraphs, include bold section headers, and keep text below 200 words
• Include links in your email for people who are intrigued, and want to look further
• Include visuals, but to avoid spam filters, also include at least 500 characters of text
• Decide on a schedule for your marketing emails, and consistently keep to it
• Be sure that your emails look okay, and links are easy to tap, when viewed on a phone
• Test different approaches, and use Analytics to see what gets the most engagement
• Don’t expect immediate results; successful email marketing is a long game
Ready to Get Started?
If you can use these recommendations yourself to build a strong and successful email marketing program for your company, all the power to you.
If these ideas make sense, but seem a bit daunting, consider putting yourself in the hands of the experienced email marketing specialists at Harmony Group Marketing. Let’s talk about what you want to achieve, and we’ll propose the most cost-effective options to help you achieve it.
Get in touch with Susan VanHemert, CEO of Harmony Group Marketing. We love to help companies succeed!