It's easy to make email an afterthought.
It's no longer the newest channel... But it is still the hottest.
Sure there's social media, chatbots, paid search, retargeting ads, and so many newer and sexier channels to use when doing B2B marketing. But despite its old age — when it comes to engagement, reach and retention, there is literally no better channel suited for the task than email. This is because people opt in to your list because they want to hear from you.
That's exactly what makes email marketing so hot 🥵
That’s not to say you can just blast old message and send it off. There are dos and don’ts and best practices.
When you’re in the B2B world, you of course want to keep it professional. But what else can you do for your B2B email marketing in 2021? Try these best practices:
Maintain a clean list
What's worse than creating a beautiful email? Having it bounce right back in your face. Abandoned domains, churn, uninterested and unengaged recipients are just some of the many reasons why an email bounces.
In fact, email lists naturally degrade by about 22% each year, so if you’re not regularly scrubbing and verifying it, that’ll eventually catch up to you.
A high bounce rate also increases the likelihood that you'll end up in a SPAM trap which directly impacts your sender score and domain reputation (which affects your reputation as an email sender). The higher your score, the more likely your emails will make it through spam filters and other impediments to reaching someone’s inbox. The lower your sender score, the lower your deliverability rate.
Keep emailing old, obsolete addresses, and you’ll see a much higher bounce rate. Keep emailing an unengaged audience, and you’ll likely see an increase in unsubscribes and SPAM complaints.
You can have the most thought-provoking, beautiful email in the whole entire world. But if it doesn't get delivered, you can consider it a wasted effort.
One thing is building a list, another thing is maintaining it.
Personalize your communication
As an email marketing professional, I cringe every time I hear the word "e-blast." If you put time and effort into creating personalized customer experiences through all of your other channels, why wouldn't you do the same for your emails?
It's a spray-and-pray tactic, and guess what — it doesn't work! Your audience wants to feel recognized. They have given you their permission to send them relevant information. This is much more valuable than any social channel could ever do, so don't take this for granted.
“Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale.” - David Newman
Collect personal details while building your list, and you can automatically include them in your B2B email marketing dynamically. Even if your organization sends out thousands - or even millions of emails - each one can be personalized for the individual recipient.
Sure, you can include the recipient's name in the subject line, but what if you dug a little deeper and included more than just the basics?
The more you personalize, the more your message will stick. And that's the power of email!
Segment your audience
Perhaps the easiest way to get into personalization is by segmenting your email list. Industry, role, company size, journey stage are all good ways to get started. You could dive even deeper and segment based on prospects who have visited x pages, or customers who have purchased x but not y.
This way, you can craft a campaign around each segment and begin personalizing before adding any individual details. One way to think about this is to build segments around unique attributes, pain points and goals. That's the power of email automation 🦾🤖
What are the benefits of segmentation? This:
The ability to send more relevant and targeted content
Helps you send the right amount of email
Progresses your audience down the funnel
Increases your email marketing RoI
Segmentation can truly be as granular as you want it to be. Maybe the smaller the segment, the higher the customer value uplift?
Make your subject lines and preview texts a priority
It's absolutely crucial to nail your subject lines. It's 2020. People don't read anymore. There is such an overflow of information on the internet, on TV, etc., so your subject line is your one chance to get your emails opened.
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” - David Ogilvy
In fact, 47% of your recipients decide whether to open your email based on the subject line. So try to keep your subject lines clear, concise, and precise — and experiment with some A/B testing to find out what works best for your target audience.
Keep your copy short
It's important to respect your audience's time. Even the most engaged of contacts wouldn't want to read lengthy emails. When creating campaigns, it's safe to make the assumption that your recipients will read your subject line, maybe the first paragraph, and the CTA.
But how short?
Roughly 20 lines of text. Or 80-200 words in total. This is based on what generates the highest click-through rate.
Keep your copy short, actionable, and skip the lengthy introduction. Always have your audience's best interest in mind — what's in it for them?
What's the biggest mistake in email marketing? Not following up with leads, prospects and customers. Wonder why you have a stale list? Wonder why your recipients no longer care about the content you are sending them?
If you follow up consistently with value-added content, your number of responses will naturally increase.
"Hey, I'm just following up" doesn't work. Think about how you can add more value with every subsequent message.
Other email best practices include automating wherever possible, using both triggered and behavioural emails, tracking, testing, and tweaking over time. And lastly, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the old "beg, steal and borrow" from successful campaigns 😏
Email may be an old medium, but it's still leading the charge of digital advertising. Use it wisely, and you will be amazed at the results you can produce.
How are you using email in your B2B communications? I'd love to know in the comments 👇