Email marketing has been around since the early days of the internet.
It’s just as powerful a tool now as it was back then. It remains the most direct and efficient way to communicate with your customers.
According to Campaign Monitor’s 2016 Year in Review report, the return on investment (ROI) for email marketing was approximately $44 for every $1 spent.
An extraordinary stat.
Email marketing is even more powerful than social media. A recent study from Smart Insights suggests email was the driving factor behind 20% of e-commerce orders. Social media came in at 2%.
The study looked at e-commerce stores rather than business-to-business (B2B) services. However, it neatly underlines the power of email marketing.
There’s a catch.
You have to do it right. Blasting off B2B emails without a strategy, or the know-how to design them properly will lead to disappointing results.
But content isn’t everything. The timing of your emails is also important. Then there’s testing and monitoring the success of your campaigns to enable you to adjust your efforts in the future.
At MageMail, we know what it takes to build a successful B2B email campaign.
Here are 6 actionable steps for you to consider today.
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Beyond content, tone is the most important aspect of an email.
Using the right tone creates a solid first impression with the recipient. And that’s what’s going to lead them to seek out more information about your company.
Remember that B2B emails are different from business-to-consumer (B2C) emails. Not only is entertainment value and attention grabbing placed on the back burner, but building a relationship is the key focus.
The most effective tone for B2B emails is one that seeks to develop a relationship. The tone should be authentic and professional (though not necessarily formal) – one that they can trust.
This email from the proofreading platform Grammarly, is a stellar example of an authentic and professional tone. “Proofread like a boss,” is informal and eye-catching. It’s all designed to entice readers to upgrade their subscriptions in a friendly way.
Finally, bringing value is of utmost importance. Use a tone that shows the recipient that your company can support what it claims in the content of the email.
Of course, you should tailor the exact tone you use for each recipient, as well as their current stage in the customer journey.
For example, a welcome email – the first email you send to a new lead – should be warm and inviting.
Treat it as an opportunity to introduce your business. Deliver a powerful, value-packed message that builds a strong relationship right from the start. Linking to a whitepaper relevant to their company’s goals is a great idea.
Simply put, the wrong tone will immediately turn new leads away. The right tone – one that places fostering a relationship above selling – is the seed for B2B email marketing success.
The importance of personalizing your B2B marketing emails cannot be exaggerated.
According to Yes Lifecycle Marketing, even simply personalizing the subject line has a huge impact on the results of your efforts.
The study found that personalizing the subject line increased email open rates by 50% on average. The average click-to-open rate (CTOR) also skyrocketed by 58% with a personalized subject line.
Personalization shows the recipient you have researched their company. It creates the image that you’re not just firing off hundreds of emails at once.
Yet including the recipient’s name in the subject line is the bare minimum you should do as far as personalization goes.
Including a name once set an email out from the pack. Now it’s become so common that it’s just par for the course.
The next step is including their title. Do your research to find their role within the company and include that in the subject line as well, if it makes sense.
But the subject line is just the beginning of personalizing B2B emails. The content should also be tailored to the recipient.
Namely, tailor the content to their role within the company. For example, are they a primary decision maker or an influencer? The content you send their way should capture their attention by providing value to them specifically.
As Hubspot show, there is no need to be fancy with personalized B2B emails. A simple design with the content detailing the benefits of a product or service can be invaluable.
We cover the concept of email personalization in more detail in our recent post on targeted email marketing.
Tone and personalization aren’t always enough – you must also nail the timing.
In the B2B email marketing context, timing relates to when you send your emails. Sending them at the best time of day on the best day of the week for each campaign will drastically improve the success of your efforts.
Everyone has their own opinion on the best time to send marketing emails. KoMarketing discovered that the highest engagement rate is for emails sent on Thursdays in a recent report.
Our experience is that it differs for every business. Use analytics and reporting to collect information on when your marketing emails are best received.
Then you can use this information to tailor your efforts. Experiment by sending marketing emails at different times of the day on different days of the week to see what works best for you.
Thorough testing is vital to the success of your B2B email marketing campaign.
It’s the same as any other aspect of your marketing strategy – without testing, all your efforts could count for nothing.
Testing gives you the ability to test multiple strategies at once. Monitor the results of these tests to see what works best for your company and what doesn’t.
There’s no end to what you can test in your B2B emails. Some of the most common elements include the subject line, email content, layout and design, images and media, and the call-to-action.
Of course, you should also test the other elements we talk about in this post, including the tone, personalization, and timing of your emails.
So how exactly do you test different elements in emails? Well, that could be a whole separate blog post in and of itself.
However, some basic steps/tips for testing email marketing elements include:
- Small and Simple – Start by testing a small and simple element (like subject lines) where the winners are clear.
- Single Element – Focus on a single element at a time, so you can tell exactly why something does or doesn’t work.
- Control Factors – Perform tests at the same time on the same day of the week to eliminate as many outside variables as possible.
- Record Results – Log the results of all your tests so you can refer back to them in the future.
- A/B Testing Calculator – An A/B testing calculator, like this one from AB Testguide, is invaluable for email testing.
Finally, listen to the results of the tests. There’s no reason to spend time testing different elements if you’re not going to learn from them and make changes.
Kissmetrics provides a great beginner’s guide to A/B testing for email marketing that will further point you in the right direction.
Measure the successes and failures of your testing with accurate reporting.
It’s all about connecting the dots between what works and what doesn’t. Rather than rely solely on metrics, look for connections among the elements you tested.
Of course, this is far easier said than done. Making these connections takes time and experience. It’s something that gets far easier as time goes on.
That’s where accurate reporting comes in. Log the results of all your tests, analytics, and thoughts you have about them.
Reviewing these reports and their associated metrics is the key to making powerful changes in the future.
Even the perfect B2B email marketing campaign won’t achieve the desired results if you don’t back it up with a solid landing page.
Use your marketing emails to get recipients to click through to your website. Then use your landing page to convert them to actual customers.
For B2B landing pages, a few of the most important factors are:
- Clear, Concise Headline – B2B products/services are often complex. That’s why you need a clear, concise headline that explains exactly what you do.
- Valuable Offer – Provide something of value to your visitor right off the bat. Common examples are a white paper, e-book, or powerful tool (like a website penalty indicator).
- Call to Action – Make it clear what your visitor needs to do to take the next step. Show them exactly how to learn more or get started.
Naturally, developing a killer landing page goes well beyond these three simple tips.
New Breed Marketing breaks it down further in its B2B landing page best practices to increase conversion rates article.
B2B email marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. The key is to understand your audience and take the steps to adjust your campaigns accordingly.
The first step is to set the tone. Even with B2B emails, you can be informal yet professional. A welcome email, for example, should be friendly and engaging. Display the best your brand has to offer.
Next, it’s personalization. There is simply no excuse not to personalize your emails. At MageMail, we offer tools that enable you to include names and segment your campaigns. In fact, including a name is now regarded as normal across the industry. Consider how you can take it to the next level by tailoring emails to the interest of your subscribers.
Timing can make or break a campaign. Work out when your subscribers open your emails. You can do this with A/B testing, a feature we offer at MageMail. There is no real agreement on this issue, so testing is the only way you will find out what works for your business.
Once you have completed a campaign or a round of testing, you need to analyze the report. This will show the strengths and weaknesses of your email marketing strategy. Use it to identify areas for improvement and implement changes accordingly.
This part is often overlooked. The landing page can be critical for your conversion rate. By ensuring subscribers click into a page they expect to see can drive additional revenue to your business.
Each of these elements needs to sync together in motion. Taking a holistic and detailed approach to B2B email marketing will set you on the road to success.
Like what you're reading?
Download our FREE PDF with 9 Epic Examples of B2B Email Marketing!