When it comes to B2B marketing, email is still the most effective channel for communication with customers. Just take a look at these stats:
- In terms of return on investment, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found that email marketing delivers a $42 return for every $1 spent.
- For lead generation, 87% of B2B marketers’ use email marketing to generate new leads, while 31% of B2B marketers’ cite email marketing as the channel that makes the most significant impact on revenue.
- 73% of marketers agree that email marketing is core to their business and 40x more effective than social media for lead generation.
- 77% of consumers prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email (ExactTarget).
Email marketing is about creating a relationship with the customer. Unlike B2C that try and tap into the emotions of the customer to generate a sale, B2B’s relationship is based more on logic.
Remember, nobody bought an airplane after reading one email. With B2B, you have to work with longer buying cycles and multiple decision-makers. As a result, you must be more in-depth with your marketing initiatives and focus on things that matter most to the customer.
This is why a successful B2B email marketing strategy focuses on increasing engagement with the customer, over pushing sales. By providing them with relevant and targeted information, you are increasing the likelihood they will become a paying client. The math on this is pretty simple:
More Engagement = More Leads = More Conversions = More Money
More engagement does not mean sending sales emails, expecting customers will make a purchase. It’s about understanding their purchase decision. It’s knowing what questions they are asking and providing them with relevant targeted content.
In fact, a study by Strongview found that for most businesses this year, the top priority for email marketing is clear: Increase subscriber engagement.
So, here are three tactics you can use to help increase subscriber engagement.
1. Strong Subject Lines
There were 269 billion emails sent and received each day in 2017, and that figure is expected to grow to almost 320 billion daily emails in 2021, according to Statista. So, it is safe to say that most people’s inboxes are flooded with emails.
While customers sift through their inboxes and try to decide which emails to open and which ones to delete, it is often the subject line that is the determining factor. This is why it is crucial to develop subject lines that appeal to your readers. Strong subject lines should be short, descriptive, and promising.
The 8 most effective subject lines are:
The question subject line:
- Are you a morning person or a night owl?
- Do you take your coffee black?
The ‘How to’ subject line:
- How to increase ROI
- How to get 500 new Instagram followers in 1 hour
The scarcity subject line:
- Only 1 day left to get our free brand review
- Hurry! Only a few seats left
The announcement subject line:
- Introducing our new iPhone App
- Come see our new office
The number subject line:
- 5 ways to build your subscriber list
- 3 Steps to a better Facebook page
The curiosity gap subject line:
- Simple copywriting tricks that will increase your click-through-rates
- 3 out of 4 marketers are completely wrong about this fact
The surprise subject line:
- What The Beatles can teach you about email marketing
- Warning: Turtles may eat unattended items in your shopping cart
The personalized subject line:
- Suzann, ready to grow your followers?
- Mike, Only a few seats left for the marketing conference.
2. Personalize Emails
Gone are the days where companies would send out a single mass email to every subscriber on their list. Customers today are wanting more personalized content. They want to feel like your brand understands them and their needs.
Studies have shown emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened than those without. 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement and overall sales.
One of the most common strategies for personalization is using the recipient’s name. While this is a good start, personalization in an email should go further to help increase engagement.
There are three main elements to consider when personalizing emails:
Offer relevant content to your subscriber. Make sure that what you are sending directly impacts them. Remember, that people’s inboxes are cluttered and if your email isn’t relevant to them, then it will just end up in the trash.
Make sure you send the right content at the right time for each particular stage in your customers buying journey. This makes the customer feel like you understand them and their needs.
Comes From A Person
People trust people. When sending an email, make sure that you use a person’s name in the “from” field and use a face instead of a logo.
3. Include Social Sharing Options
One of the easiest ways to increase subscriber engagement is to include social sharing buttons. Emails that have social sharing buttons have a 158% higher clickthrough rate. Even if your customers are not interested in the offers you’ve included, their friends and colleagues may be. That is why it is essential to make sharing as easy as possible.
4. Segment Email List
To help with email personalization, you have to segment your email list. What is relevant for one customer might not apply to another. By creating a more targeted email list, you can create more personalized emails.
Latest user data from MailChimp shows that segmented campaigns get 14.37% more opens and 64.78% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns.
Some efficient ways to segment your list are:
Information such as age, gender, company position, and income level can reveal a lot about a customer’s needs and interests. Decide what metrics are essential for your business and include those in the signup process. Then use them to segment your email list.
You can segment by engagement by designating active and inactive users. Use the open rate and clickthrough rate as the metrics. Then create specialized campaigns that target both groups.
If you are a business where location can significantly influence purchasing decisions, then segmenting your email list by geographic area is a valuable tool.
Position in the Sales Funnel
This is one of the most powerful ways to segment your list. Someone at the top of the funnel should be getting different targeted emails than those at the bottom.
The amount of data you can gather about user’s website behavior is very impressive. You can then use that data to segment your email list. For example, you can send emails based on specific pages visited, what videos were watched or time active on a page.
5. Find The Best Frequency & Timing
Finding the best frequency and timing depends on your target audience. For most B2B’s, you will want to send emails during regular working hours. Discover when your customers are most likely to open their email by tracking previous opens, segmenting those opens, and applying geographical location data. Remember, if emails are sent to early in the morning, they are more likely to get lost in a full inbox. Try experimenting with time frames and running A/B tests to find the best timing for your specific customers.
Finding the ideal frequency of emails depends on your content and what your customers prefer. This will require some experimentation. For most B2Bs, you will want to start with a monthly newsletter and increase frequency from there. If you have a lot of content, you might want to consider increasing the frequency and splitting up the content over multiple emails.
If your B2B runs sales and promotions, then it is appropriate to increase frequency as needed. Just remember that frequent emails only work if that’s what your customers expect to receive when they sign up. Make sure to monitor the unsubscribe rates closely as well as the open rates.
6. Analyze The Results
Once you’ve done everything you can to increase engagement with your email, it’s crucial to analyze the results. Email metrics will help you determine your campaign’s effectiveness and help you fine-tune future emails to improve engagement. You will want to look at the following data:
Total messages sent
The total number of emails sent out by your email platform.
Total messages delivered
The total number of people who successfully received your email. This is the total number of messages sent minus the number of undeliverable emails.
Hard and soft bounces
A hard bounce is a permanent issue, such as when an email is sent to an address that doesn’t exist, is closed, or the recipient has completely blocked delivery. Because these bounces usually indicate an invalid email address, you should remove these emails from your list.
A soft bounce is a temporary issue, indicating that the user’s email inbox is experiencing technical problems or is full. These bounces can be retried several times, but if you continue to send and get soft bounces, you should remove the email.
The total number of people who opened your email divided by the total number of people who received your email.
The total number of clicks divided by the total number of people who received your email. As a best practice, look at unique clicks since some people may click on an email more than once or click on more than one link in your email.
The total number of people who unsubscribed from your email list after receiving a particular email campaign.
Email marketing is an essential tool in any B2B marketer’s toolkit. The tips above will increase engagement and help you cut through inbox clutter to deliver real results.