Email marketing is still one of the most effective strategies for lead generation for B2B companies. Having the ability to communicate with your audience a large amount of in-depth information to an audience which is busy and selective makes email an obvious choice.
However, sending the email and getting replies to your email are two different things. To create an effective campaign that generates high-quality leads takes more than a well-crafted email with an engaging subject line.
Much has been written about how to create the perfect email campaign, and statistics show that email is still one of the most effective ways to reach your audience. Recent figures show that 92% of B2B marketers use email marketing to reach their audience, but few understand the difference between B2C marketing and B2B marketing, which can be the downfall of an otherwise good campaign strategy.
B2B Email Marketing
B2B marketing campaigns should focus on how your product or service solves problems or answers questions for your customer. While an element of emotional marketing strategy might creep in, the focus is on providing the client with solutions.
Your value proposition is one of the key focuses of your campaign. Without a clear understanding of what your business provides, you are unable to understand how it provides solutions for prospective clients. How niche-market your product or service is will also determine the size of the new you will cast to catch new leads.
More Than One Email
According to research, your prospect needs to be exposed to your offer via email at least seven times to make a purchasing decision. This is because the investment in B2B products or services tends to be larger. Purchasing decisions are not made on impulse and are often not made by an individual, but by a team of decision-makers.
The B2B buying cycle is long – for many businesses, it can be 12 months of nurturing leads before results are in. Your B2B campaign needs to contain multiple emails sent over a long period of time and at determined intervals.
The first email should be a welcome once the prospect has joined your email list. This is important as 75% of users expect to receive a welcome message upon sign up. According to eMarketer, 90% of these new leads go cold after an hour, so it’s important to let your prospect know that you are paying attention.
Educate Your Prospects
B2B prospects are not interested in a hard sell, they are interested in how investing in your product or service benefits their business. It is your job as a marketer to educate your prospects on how and why your B2B partnership will improve their business, address their pain points and aid in their growth.
A study conducted by B2B email marketing agency Admitter found that 90% of the Call to Action link text containing “more info” performed better than CTA text containing “buy now”. B2B prospects are research not only your solution, but often multiple solutions at the same time. The more transparent your solution and the more value-adding the content that you share with your prospects, the more likely you are to keep them engaged in the customer journey.
Professionals in the B2B sector want to consume content that informs and engages. Providing access to your company research data, white papers, conference talks or other materials can help to engage a prospect and develop a long-term relationship.
One of the more challenging aspects of B2B sales is understanding how to address the decision-makers in the various stages of the customer journey. Depending on your product or service you might find that you need only to address entry-level staff who are making simple buying decisions, such as repeat stationery orders, or you might be addressing senior management buying containers on international shipping vessels.
Your aim is to address the pain or pressure points concerning the executive you are targeting. If you want the attention of executives, research your prospect, find out their specific concerns and develop a real relationship with them. If you are selling office supplies, get to know the name of the regular order maker and segment emails to target those individuals.
Top 5 Tips
There are 5 essential tips for creating a successful B2B email marketing plan.
1.Define Your B2B Customer Persona
A successful marketing campaign begins with a clear vision of who your customer is. To craft the right emails you need to craft the correct persona. To generate an image of who you want to target, your CRM data should be put to use. From this analysis, you can begin to understand what language to use, what content your target audience is most likely to engage with and how best to get their attention.
2.Know What Businesses to Target
Understand your target audience. When marketing in the B2B sector, you need to understand the challenges that various businesses face in your target market. This allows you to approach the right businesses with the right solutions.
The number one rule of generating more business, especially in the B2B segment, is learning as much as you can about your target market so that you’re able to deliver products and services that match their needs.
If you understand your industry, you’ll also have a better idea of how to structure your marketing campaign. For example, if your target industry sees a high email open rate when using a particular type of subject line, then use it. This also applies to the language you use in your emails and the type of content you send to your B2B recipients.
Your emails should reflect your values and show your B2B recipients that you understand the industry you are addressing. It is your opportunity to address the prospects pain points, which should attract them to learn more about you if done correctly. Your goal is to educate your audience and engage them with your business.
3.Create Measurable Email Marketing Goals
Your marketing targets and goals need to be measurable. This needs to be done in actual terms which can be calculated using your CRM system. Subscriptions, lead generation and sales all need to be set as exact targets.
Instead of setting a vague goal “to get more leads”, a target like “get 25% more email leads and 30% more social leads for service X in June” drives markers and sales teams. The difference between a vague objective and a measurable target gives your team control over nurturing leads and closing sales.
4.Plan Your Follow Up
To optimize your email marketing strategy, you should have a plan for each of your communications with your prospects as they advance through the sales journey:
- Share content that informs prospects about how your product or service addresses the pain points of your prospect.
- Analyze results based not only on email click-through rates but also on how many prospects moved to the next stage of the buying cycle as a result of the email.
- Segment the prospects based on different factors such as how long they have been on your list, what kind content they have been exposed to, what enticed them to join your company’s email list, etc.
- Customize email messages based on your knowledge of the decision-maker you are communicating with.
- Test each email campaign to determine how responses can be improved and how more conversions can be generated by changing the email copy, landing page, CTAs, etc.
- Follow up with prospects and answer their queries or doubts which may be stopping them from moving down the sales funnel and actually doing business with you.
5. Analyze What’s Working & What’s Not
Analysing the efficacy of your B2B marketing is vital to the ongoing success of your business. If your goal is to expand, you need to know which strategies were the most successful, how you reached new prospects, what content engaged your audience and what tactics convinced them that your solution was the right choice for their business.
One of the easiest ways to gauge the success of your campaign is to assess the targets. Were your team able to meet or improve on goals? Did your email campaign reach your desired target audience or was the open rate far lower than expected? Doing A/B testing on your website, emails and social media will help you to understand where you need to focus your efforts. Things change in business constantly. You cannot be complacent. Just because a campaign strategy has been successful and met or exceeded targets does not mean that you should not analyse it and answer questions about what could be improved.