6 Ways You Can Excel at B2B Email Marketing Even If You Have No Experience

Email marketing requires diligence, research, a clear message, and above all, personalization. We’ll walk you through 6 methods that will do wonders to your click and open rates

Adebisi Adewusi
September 28 2017

According to Gallup, only 29% of B2B customers are engaged. The remaining 71% are either indifferent or actively disengaged. This means that as a B2B company, your competitors could easily replace you.

However, one way you can retain customers and attract new ones is via email marketing.

Since its launch in the 1970’s, email marketing remains an ideal way to drive retention, develop customer relationships and increase revenue.

In fact, a 2015 study by Salesforce indicates that 73% of marketers believe email marketing is part of their core business.

Email marketing brings in $40 for every $1 spent, outperforming search, display and social marketing.

But while email marketing is important, there’s a problem; most B2B marketers approach email marketing too casually, resulting into failed campaigns.

If you’re new to email marketing, these steps will guide you on how to plan an email marketing campaign that will increase conversion rates, make more money for your company and ensure customer retention. Here’s what you need to consider:

#1 Permission

If you want to succeed in email marketing, ask for permission. In other words, make sure your recipients want to be contacted. People who haven’t given you permission may never engage with your campaigns and report your emails as spam.

To receive permission, offer something valuable like free eBooks or product updates that will require individuals to provide their email address.

When collecting information for email communications, remember to clearly state what type of communication they can expect.

Also important: in every email you send, include a link that allows subscribers to easily opt-out of receiving emails. The option to unsubscribe is required by law and will also prevent your emails from making their way into the spam folder. Although an opt-out link won’t hurt your reputation, your customers reporting your communications as spam will.

#2 Don’t Sell, Tell A Story

B2B marketing sales cycles are long and it’s important to engage business buyers. While B2B customers are concerned about factors such as price, speed and efficiency, they also want to know how you can help their businesses grow, save them time and increase their profits.

One way to convey your message without coming across as salesy is through story telling.

Most B2B customers make purchases based on logic, however, it is important to remember that these purchases are made by people and people like stories.

#3 Science of Storytelling

As humans, we are wired to pay attention to stories. Paul Zak, director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate School, found that reading simple, humanistic stories  changes the oxytocin levels in our blood streams.

We produce Oxytocin—also called the human bonding or empathy chemical—when we feel trusted, or experience kindness.

80% of people want brands to tell stories, and 66% want to hear stories about regular people.

But how can you incorporate story telling in email marketing?

Start by developing compelling data driven stories that readers can relate to, such as a case study on how your solution helped solve a client’s problem.

Your ability to turn raw business information into stories will make your message stronger and more relevant.

You can also mine stories from these sources:

  • Anecdotes from the customer’s perspective
  • The tale of how your company was founded
  • Stories from inspirational leaders and mentors

A powerful story will not only establish strong emotional relationships with customers, but also allow employees a sense of how your business caters to your clients.

#4 Publish Personality-Driven Pieces Over Generic Information

In 2016, the number of emails sent and received per day totaled 215.3 billion. This figure is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 4.6%, reaching over 257.7 billion by the end of 2020.

To compete in today’s overcrowded email inboxes, you must be able to connect with your recipients on a personal level.

Seth Godin—whose book Permission Marketing set the rules that transformed email marketing into what it is today—believes email is “the most personal advertising medium in history,” and “if your email isn’t personal, it’s broken.”

Personalized emails guarantee your customers do not receive generic content, but rather content that is directly suited for them and related to their interests.

The open rate for personalized emails in 2016 was 18.8% compared to 13.1% without any personalization.

This means most email recipients would rather see: “Dear Peter” than “Dear Customer” as a subject line.

According to a 2015 Experian Marketing Services study, personalized email subject lines boosted open rates by 29.3% on average across all industries.

Personalization shouldn’t begin and end with subject lines. Write and include copy that implies familiarity or friendship.

You can also use segmentation to make your emails even more personal.

Email segmentation can be based on geographical location, gender, industry, time and a host of other variables depending on the information you have available.

With email segmentation, you’re likely to increase sales and engagement levels with your customers. Studies state marketers noticed a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns.

The Direct Marketing Association reports that 77% of email marketing ROI came from segmented, targeted and triggered campaigns in 2015.

More than ever, B2B customers demand tailored knowledge, insights and perspectives. By sending personalized, relevant and helpful emails, you not only attract new clients, but also maintain close relationships with existing loyal customers.

#5 Invest in Subject Lines

The subject line in an email is the first thing a recipient sees. How you craft it will determine whether someone will open, ignore, delete, or report the message as spam. 47% of email recipients open emails based on the subject lines.

So, what is a good subject line?

The best email subject lines are original, interesting and informative. Here are a few guidelines to consider:

Use few words: Statistics state that 54% of emails are opened on mobile devices. This means long email subject lines are cut off when viewed from a smartphone. To make sure your entire subject line is read, use 3-7 words max.

Appeal to Self Interest: Self-interest subject lines are direct and speak to a specific benefit your recipients will gain by opening the email. Find out what your recipients need and include this in your subject line.

Avoid spam words: There is no point investing in a great email only for someone to mark it as spam, which may happen if you include spam words in your subject line. To prevent this, avoid words related to money, discounts or free offers and encourage subscribers to add whitelist/add you as a contact.

Use numbers: Inserting numbers in your subject line is a good way to draw attention to your email.  Numbers are logically appealing and portray authority. You can use numbers to refer to the discount you’re offering or the numerical benefit of a particular resource.

Use a legitimate address: Don’t send emails from a “No-reply” email address. 43% of email recipients click the spam button based on the email “from” name or email address.

Instead, send automated emails from a personal address, such as the founder’s email.

You may also want to conduct A/B tests for subject headlines to find out what works for your audience.

#6 Call to Action

One of the most important components of an email marketing campaign is the call to action (CTA). A powerful call to action grabs a customer’s attention and encourages him or her to act.

To achieve a CTA that converts, your choice of words is important. Begin your CTA with an action verb like “download”, “read” or “learn”. To encourage instant action, create a sense of urgency.

Mention deadlines, invoke a countdown or offer something scarce. For instance, you might say “Our free trial expires by midnight.”

Always keep your CTA copy short. Somewhere between one and five words is ideal.

The CTA Design:

Your call to action design must stand out and encourage subscribers to click. To achieve this take note of the following:

  • Action Button: Use a call to action button instead of a text link. Buttons can increase conversion rate by as much as 28%
  • Color: Pick a color that makes your CTA button pop. Use a different (yet complimentary) color than the background text to ensure a cohesive design.
  • Whitespace: Leave white space around your CTA button. This will draw the subscriber’s eyes to your initiative.

Always keep in mind your call to action must give something valuable to your subscribers.

Call to Action Placement

If your call to action button appears repeatedly in your email, stop everything you’re doing and take it out now.

Having your call to action button all over the place will overwhelm your subscribers. One placement at the bottom of the email will do.

Ellie Mirman, VP of Marketing at Toast says emails with a single CTA can lift click rates 371% and sales 1617%.

People skim through emails so make your call to action clear.

Remember to use A/B testing to decide which CTAs perform the best, then optimize accordingly.

Wrapping Up

Undoubtedly, emails are here to stay and offer plenty of chances to engage customers and win their loyalty. To succeed in email marketing, you must first ask for permission, personalize your content and create a clear CTA. Now go forth and nail your email marketing!

Adebisi Adewusi

Adebisi Adewusi is a freelance B2B writer and a Huffington Post Contributor. When she’s not creating compelling content for businesses, you’ll find her capturing moments with her Nikon d600.

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