Email marketing is cost effective, immediate, measurable and great for quickly testing what works and what doesn’t work – all extremely important where marketing budgets tend to smaller, the purchase decision-making process more complex and forging strong customer relationships is fundamental for success.
The real value of email to B2B marketers is in its measurability and the customer information marketers can gain immediately from their activity. Email offers the ability to track, on an individual level, who opened your emails, who clicked on what link and what content they read. This allows advertisers to measure the level of interest readers have in the content they are sending them and how readers are responding to it.
B2B marketers can use this information in a variety of ways – they can use it not only to tailor future communications so that they are of interest to customers, but also to help identify sales leads for products or services.
Elements needed for email marketing to generate a response
The B2B companies who successfully use email marketing to generate responses are those who:
- Compile all data available on each customer. Use the pertinent data you have to segment out the lists so you are only sending to people when you have something to specifically say to them. Consider “quality vs. quantity” when looking at their email database and take into account customer lifecycle information.
- Let the subscriber choose how often they want to hear from a company and WHAT they want to hear from the company. Successful companies have easy subscription profiles, which subscribers can EASILY update (forget passwords unless it is sensitive data!). This can include asking for a back up email address, in case the main one bounces.
- Look at what is most relevant in measuring the success of their mailings. Rather than going solely by ‘open rates’, which can be affected by technology, they should be looking at metrics such as click throughs, feedback and conversion.
Triggers in an email that lead to responses and sales
- An understanding of your products/services lifecycles – part of the goal of your campaigns is to be relevant and timely, and not send too frequently (the top reason for being called ‘spam’). By understanding the lifecycles of your products and services, and understanding where people in your database are in the response/purchase phase of the lifecycle is a key to success.
- A strong Call to Action (CTA) – The CTA is the most important reason you are sending your email. This is your key opportunity to incite immediate and sometimes spontaneous interactivity with your readers! Don’t be shy in giving your readers choices – they’ve given you permission to send the email, so they have shown an interest in what you have to offer.
- Make it easy for them to respond – Don’t confine people to replying by email – offer multiple contact points so that they can respond with ease – remember an immediate answer to a query could result in a sale.
- Working in a cross channel capacity – Take advantage of several channels to accomplish your response target. For example: If you email an event alert to your customers, review your stats and send a postal copy of the event alert to those who have not opened the email.
There are some great insights into email marketing from every angle at the DMA UK’S email marketing council blog.