Is email marketing for B2B lead generation still a valuable use of time and budget? It’s a common question asked by many marketers, given that more than 306 billion emails are sent and received each day. With so much competition within users’ inboxes, it may feel daunting to get your message to stand out in the crowd.
Here are eight strategies that you can implement quickly to improve your email marketing effectiveness for increased leads, sales and retention:
1. Build and Segment Your List
Segmenting, or categorizing your email list, allows for highly targeted messages to specific audiences. Examine your target personas and where they might be in the sales cycle. Emails can and should be created with the reader’s interests and demographics in mind (region, job role, market, etc.). If you’re frequently sending emails to your entire list, you’re missing the opportunity to share messaging that matters to that prospect in that moment in time.
Working with an agency partner like Stifel Marcin can be particularly valuable when developing and segmenting lists. We’ll work with you to identify your marketing goals and key demographics to develop a list and overall distribution strategy that maximizes open and click-through rates.
2. Leverage Email Automation in Your CRM
If you have the benefit of a CRM platform that collects your data, leverage that user data to automate your email marketing. It takes time to carefully plan email trigger points and identify the right content to send based on that user’s interaction with your content – typically your organization’s website.
If you’re using email marketing for B2B lead generation, ask these questions about those trigger points:
• Is a user at this stage in our marketing funnel likely to submit their personal information?
• Why would someone offer their information? In other words, what can your email offer in return for that valuable lead? Is it a call-back from your sales team? Perhaps it’s a price estimate.
• What user interactions are worthy of an email? Filling up someone’s inbox won’t lead to positive brand experiences, so carefully planning when and why to email someone is important. If you are using email marketing for B2B lead generation, then select engagement actions that a customer is most likely to do just before they convert to a sale. It could be the CTA to download product information or consider offering any visitor the opportunity to sign up for your newsletter.
Whatever your logic, most people agree that the best thing about email automation is just that – the automation. With software powering the email send function, sales and marketing teams no longer need to plan the campaigns. Your CRM is sending email marketing for B2B lead generation without any real action needed.
3. Ask the Question “Is This Valuable?”
Reiterating one of the points above, before ever hitting send, one of the most important questions you can ask is “why should the reader care about this message?” Without a doubt, you should have that answer. If you don’t, your target customer certainly doesn’t either. Providing customer-centric content that is poised to help educate, solve a problem, or provides an incentive for them to take further action should be top of mind.
If you are focused on email marketing for B2B lead generation, then ask yourself, what can I offer that a recipient will find worthy of offering their information? Personal data is highly valuable, probably even more now than in the past as we prepare for increased data protections. If you are asking for contact info, then be sure you clearly define what the reader will get for it.
4. The Subject Line Matters More Than You May Think
In many cases, your email subject line (yes, just a few chosen words) is what makes or breaks an email being opened. In fact, a recent study showed that 64 percent of email recipients decide to open an email based on the subject line. The content you deliver within your email matters, but if your subject line doesn’t earn the click, then that carefully crafted content never reaches its intended audience.
Subject lines are a great way to A/B test your emails as well. Here’s a tip: personalize the subject line with the recipient’s name to your A group, while not including a name in the subject line to the B group. Or try two different subject lines all-together. And then look at your data to help inform future tactics (more on data evaluation below).
And remember to avoid click-bait messaging. No one wants to open an email expecting one thing and receive a completely different message. It’s a surefire way to earn your way into the junk folder and create a negative perception of your brand. If you’re doing email marketing for B2B lead generation, then a poor brand experience is only going to make your work harder.
5. Make It Mobile Friendly
Are your emails designed with mobile in mind? With studies showing that nearly 50 percent of emails are opened on a mobile device, they should be. But according to SuperOffice, nearly 1 in 5 email campaigns is not optimized for mobile. It can’t be underscored enough that if your email isn’t easy to read with a user-friendly layout, your email will very quickly find itself in a deleted folder.
And when a recipient clicks on your email, be sure you have also tested your website’s mobile experience. Beyond basic responsiveness, how are your landing pages optimized? With email marketing for B2B lead generation, having a page that is designed for conversions is critical. Users who need to scroll and click to submit their information, are likely going to tire quickly and abandon your marketing funnel. More on that below.
6. State Your CTA Clearly and More Than Once
No one wants to take the time to read an email and be confused about what to do next. The best way to move your reader to the next step in your marketing funnel is by providing very clear call-to-action (CTA) statements. Most often this is a link to your website where they can complete an action (i.e. read an article, schedule a call, download a case study).
Here are a few CTA tips that can maximize your email marketing for B2B lead generation results:
• Make those links or buttons stand out, using color, clear design elements and featured positions in your layout.
• Incorporate opportunities to click throughout the email, not just at the end.
• Use different copy to lead to the same landing page, as it will provide more click-through data to explore (think of a first CTA of “read our article” and a second of “learn more about XYZ”).
7. Optimize Your Landing Pages and Forms
Speaking of landing pages, they are crucial to your email marketing for B2B lead generation success. They serve the specific purpose to get your reader to complete an action that was detailed in your email copy. If your reader takes the time to click an email link and then is taken to a page that is less than optimal, the likelihood is higher that your next email won’t get that coveted click again, and they won’t convert to a lead.
It’s also critically important to make sure your forms are easy for a user. As a general rule, make sure contact forms are short and only ask for what is truly relevant. Capture a name, email and/or phone number, then let your sales team nurture that lead, gather more details and push them into your sales funnel.
8. Evaluate Your Data
If you Google “the best time to send a B2B marketing email,” you’ll likely see many different opinions. The truth is there is no golden rule for the best send time, frequency of emails or the optimal day of the week for your email sends. What works for one business may not work for yours. Your data will tell your story and should help guide future strategy decisions.
Email segmenting and A/B testing, as mentioned above, are solid ways to test the success of your timing, content, CTAs and more. If you don’t frequently look at your data, you can’t optimize your campaigns moving forward. If your focus is email marketing for B2B lead generation, be sure your data analysis focuses on when the best results are achieved specifically for lead gen. While an email on a Friday afternoon could have your best open rate, it may actually be a Wednesday morning email that results in a greater number of leads created. Our experienced team of B2B marketing experts can help you leverage the right tools and data, ensuring you reach the right people at the right time.
Crafting Email Campaigns That Deliver Leads and Generate Sales
Email marketing for B2B lead generation requires a well-thought-out strategy to convey key brand positions while also letting current and potential customers know more about your important product/services information. Our full-service email marketing agency experts are here to develop the right message and distribution strategy for your business. Contact us today about how we can power up your email marketing.
Stifel Marcin – The B2B Marketing Agency
Unlike many advertising and marketing agencies, B2B isn’t just something that we do, it’s all we do. We’ll work to help your brand achieve its goals through the strategic combination of creativity, communication and technology. Our focused client intake processes give us the ability to thoroughly understand your business, products and objectives, working to identify the competitive advantages and opportunities that will grow awareness, leads and sales. We develop innovative marketing plans with strategic, data-driven processes, presenting complex ideas and compelling messages that position your business ahead of the competition. As your cooperative partner, our integrated B2B marketing agency is dedicated to your success. If you have questions about email marketing for B2B lead generation, give us a call and let’s talk.