Email marketing continues to be an effective part of a larger B2B integrated marketing strategy. Yet because many B2B marketers aren’t capitalizing on the potential of email by creating strategic, impactful messages that are designed to help and educate an audience, they’re missing out on a big lead generation opportunity.
Brian Carroll brings up an interesting point on the B2B Lead Roundtable Blog. MarketingSherpa’s 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report revealed that just about half of respondents send out 10,000 to 10 million emails every month. Yet only 15% reported to MarketingSherpa that they have dedicated resources to produce content for each stage of the buying process. The result? Emails that are likely nowhere near as effective as they could be—and even some that run the risk of being downright irrelevant.
The solution? Before you hit “Send,” take a good, hard look at what’s in your email. And to make sure you’re delivering information and resources that will help compel your readers to act, take a look at the following four questions you should ask yourself anytime you’re sending a B2B email:
What problem or pain point does this customer or prospect have that I can solve?
Email marketing, like any other form of marketing, is strategic. And that means you should take the time to do some planning and research before you launch a campaign. Identifying your customers’ problems will help you craft not only the theme of your email marketing campaign, but also individual message content, too.
What am I telling them in this email that solves this problem, eases this pain point, or gives them resources that help?
Sure, you want to sell your customers a product or service. Instead of filling their inbox with spammy, sales-driven messages, create constructive messages that show your customers how you can help them. They have a problem, you have a solution—why not give them this invaluable information?
What’s in it for them? What’s going to compel them to see your subject matter and open the email?
If your email inbox is anything like mine, you get a lot of email every day. And your customers probably aren’t much different. You need to stand out in a crowd and give your readers a compelling, engaging message that not only entices them to actually open the email, but also to take action once they’ve read the message. Your email subject line is a great place to start, and that’s where A/B testing becomes so important. Compare different subject lines, send times, message content, message layout and calls to action so that you can better understand what your audience wants and deliver an experience that aligns with those preferences.
What’s your call to action that can serve to lead them into your sales funnel?
Although your email is designed to give your customers a solution to their problems, you’re also sending an email because you want your readers to fulfill some sort of call to action—and that needs to be articulated in your message. One example? Write about a topic your customers are interested in, give them ideas and tips to solve their problems and include a link to a whitepaper that provides more information/resources—and to download, they’ll have to answer a few short questions. Sure, you already have their email address, so you’re not necessarily using this as a list-building tactic. You can, however, gather data that shows you where they are, what they need, etc., giving you valuable insight that you can apply to other parts of your marketing strategy. Plus, emails are frequently forwarded, so this is a great way to get new subscribers/downloads of your whitepapers, too.
By answering those four questions before you send your email, you have a greater chance at creating a message (and campaign) that not only helps your audience—it also helps you gather more data and increase your lead gen capabilities, too.
What sort of response have you gotten from your B2B marketing emails? And has your initial approach evolved to better serve your audience?