As a B2B business, you know that lead nurturing is the name of the game. It commonly takes up to five contacts with a potential customer before they are able to close. With the average cost of a B2B sales call hovering just over $500 you can easily do the math. With five sales calls required to close add an average cost of $500 per sales call, you’re looking at close to $2600 to close an industrial sale. And that’s a lot of money. So how do you get that cost down? Enter lowly B2B email marketing strategy, which is an effective tool for lead nurturing that reduces the number of physical sales calls required to close a deal.
When it comes to methods for nurturing potential clients for your B2B organization, email is both the most effective and generates the highest ROI of any business marketing strategy. With an average ROI of 122%, email marketing generates at least four times higher ROI than any other digital marketing channel.
B2B email marketing strategy
To harness such a powerful component in your multichannel marketing campaign, effective planning and flawless implementation are central to your success. Generating a high rate of return on your B2B email marketing strategy requires careful planning and consideration of everything from building subscriber lists to emailing to cleaning your list over time so it remains fresh. It all starts with crafting a strategy that maximizes your resources and leads you towards writing emails that guarantee a high open-rate and high conversion. Here’s are some of our favorite tips to optimize your B2Bemail marketing strategy:
Build a subscriber list
When I first started in what became digital marketing, then called direct marketing, building a subscriber list was simple. You bought a list corresponding to the type of customer you sought and began emailing or sending snail mail, in those days, armed with information about the subscriber including things like industry, business size, and title. No longer. With regulations passed in both the US & EU, buying lists or even renting them now brings a hefty fine for each violation of these restrictive policies.
You must now generate a subscriber list from scratch. Of course, you can email anyone you currently have a relationship with, such as customers, names provided by users during trade shows (often in exchange for a chance to win a valuable prize), and those who attended events such as webinars, queries, and other events. Collecting other subscribers is a more challenging process, often involving some type of lead magnets such as a report, infographic, free trial, or another element the potential subscriber finds valuable.
Build messaging with a target audience in mind
It matters a great deal to know subscribers on your email list. Without proper targeting, you waste precious time and other resources on the wrong people or send the wrong message to people on your subscriber list. For this reason, that you must develop an audience profile that includes the demographics, geographics, industries, titles, and behaviors that are relevant to your B2B organization. Sometimes you can glean this information by observing the clickstream patterns of users logged into your website. Alternatively, you might enter great subscriber lists with social media to learn more about subscribers.
As you construct your email message, it’s a good rule of thumb is to be specific, focusing on specific areas of interest to specific users. For instance, if you are selling fintech products in Orlando, it’s not enough to target businesses in Florida that have a demand for these. You need to analyze this segment further, uncover specific expectations, and find out other details along the way. This is crucial as you need to send tailored content to segmented email lists.
Use the right elements as you construct your email
Your subject line is critically important and greatly impacts your open rate. If subscribers don’t even open your email, your campaign is over before it starts. Next, ensure your email is attractive and user-friendly by including blocks of text and images that allow users to quickly identify those elements of interest from your email message. Finally, use buttons to draw attention to your call to action because they’re bigger, colored, and stand out better from other elements in your email. Buttons increase click rates by 28% over hyperlinked text.
It goes without saying that your email message must look attractive to your target audience. Images must be clean and crisp rather than pixelated and your text must be free from spelling or grammatical errors. Including whitespace within your message and clearly delineating blocks of text also make your email more readable to subscribers.
Set specific KPIs
Apart from knowing who you want to send emails to, you also need a way to gauge your email campaign’s effectiveness. Once you have a list of audience segments to engage, you should create a list of key performance indicators or KPIs that show how well your campaign performs.
Start by creating a general goal for the campaign that matches the overall goals for your organization. Are you looking for a good ROI? Are you focusing more on getting more people to sign up for a webinar or an exclusive offer? These are vague goals, to begin with, so the next step is to translate these into SMART goals. What is the specific ROI percentage you aim to achieve? How many people attending the webinar represents success? Setting measurable and realistic numbers helps you come up with benchmarks that guide future campaigns and highlight areas where you might optimize the campaign.
Test out your emails
No one has a crystal ball when it comes to achieving email marketing success something that worked last quarter just fine, might not work again this quarter. So, before you start sending out emails to B2B subscribers, run A/B tests using multiple email designs and variations of content. It’s always important to assume that no B2B campaign is perfect. You just need to settle for one that aligns with your strategic goals. In case you haven’t found the right game plan with your first iteration of options, you might back to the drawing board and make changes based on what you learned from initial testing.
Cleaning you list
While it may seem like a strange tactic to remove subscribers from your list after working so hard to build your subscription list in the first place, that’s exactly what you should do. If subscribers haven’t opened email messages over a specified period of time, it’s best to clean them from your list.
According to experts like AWeber, culling your list of subscribers who don’t open your emails, subscribers whose emails bounce, and subscribers that don’t convert every 6 months or so actually increases the value of your list and reduces the number of complaints you receive. Receive too many complaints and service providers like Gmail will start dishing out penalties the decrease your performance.
Building a strong B2B email marketing strategy often takes a long time, but taking time to analyze your needs and the needs of your audience helps to create a game plan that produces the results you want.
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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.