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Email is King for B2B Marketing

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Email is King for B2B Marketing

Lots of companies are familiar with and engage in business-to-consumer marketing (B2C). But marketing to other businesses (B2B) should be part of the marketing mix, as well. Yet toggling between the two is not as simple as it might seem. The two strategies require different messaging, focus and value propositions. One way to approach B2B marketing is with an email campaign. Yes, email.

In a world of fast-moving technology, email seems almost old-fashioned at this point. But it’s still one of the most effective ways of communicating, building brand awareness, and creating and nurturing leads. According to the marketing and sales software provider HubSpot and the Direct Marketing Association, email generates $38 for every $1 spent. (That’s a 3,800 percent ROI!)

Here are some tips for developing a successful email strategy:

Define Goals

With B2B, the less immediate nature of selling products and services often means you’re engaging with an audience over a long period of time. They may not have to “act now,” but think about what you want to accomplish before starting a campaign: Get leads? Raise brand awareness? Increase sales?

Target Your Audience

Who’s reading the content you’ll send? Your audience is likely made up of those doing research (possibly junior employees) and helping to influence the key players, as well as those making the final purchase decision. Think about the challenges of each role: a Chief Operating Officer won’t face the same challenges and have the same priorities as the Chief Technical Officer.

What to Send

Newsletters. Blogs. Videos. Knowing who’s going to receive your email will help you determine what to send. For example, if you think a customer needs to solve a problem, you might send education and thought leadership pieces, things about trends, benchmarks, how-to guides, for example. If they need solutions and product suitability, send them materials showing solution comparisons, information on choosing a vendor, or a pitfall analysis. Keep in mind that long-form content is considered more authoritative, but sometimes a short blog or image with a caption will lead to engagement. And remember that even a think piece need not be boring to look at.

Don’t Sell. Educate.

B2C marketing relies on emotion to get consumers on board; B2B buyers make decisions mainly on price and profit for their companies. According to the Earnest Agency, 89 percent of business customers say that vendors who make it easier for them to build a business case get their business. Craft a message that gives the reader new knowledge that will help them feel confident in making the right decision.

How Often?

The average office worker receives about 126 emails each day. You want to send just enough emails to create a relationship but not inundate the receiver and risk annoying them. According to a survey of 1,000 companies done by Super Office, which makes CRM software for sales, marketing and customer service, the average send-out frequency for email campaigns is one every 25 days. But if you have ever changing offers, new products or updated promotions, Keap, a marketing and client management firm, suggests sending content twice a month and then upping it to weekly.

Mail and Measure

Find an email service provider (ESP) like Constant Contact, MailChimp or Campaign Monitor,  to not only send your messages but for help in managing a campaign, creating and laying out messages, and measuring outcomes. Designate a point of contact in your office to work with the ESP platform. And make sure that any campaign will be optimized for desktop, tablet and mobile devices.

Ultimately, you want to know if what you’re doing is working. You can send test emails to determine open rate (percentage of people who open the email). The average B2B email open rate is 15.1 percent. You can also look at the percentage of people who clicked a link in the email, called the click-through rate (CTR). These types of data can help you determine if you’ve segmented your audience in the best way or if you’ve sent your emails with the most interesting subject lines.

According to the Super Office report, it’s the sender’s name—and not the subject line—that gets people to open an email; 64 percent of subscribers open an email based on who it’s from, compared to 46 percent who open email based on the subject line.

In the end, your email campaign is only one part of your marketing strategy. Each piece of that strategy needs to align with every other piece—landing pages, calls to action, forms, blogs, newsletters—to convert researchers and readers into buyers.