While many businesses are focused on SEO, SMM, and other forms of conversion rate optimization, email marketing can be easily overlooked. This is due to the common misconception that email communication is outdated and won’t work anymore as it used to.
As a matter of fact, email marketing, when done well, is unstoppable! The click-through-rates (CTRs) in B2B are 47% higher than in B2C, and up to 59% of B2B professionals say that email marketing is their most successful revenue-generating channel. It’s something that you can measure and improve upon.
However, email marketing is not as easy as it sounds. Getting on the bandwagon and increasing B2B sales via email marketing requires time, effort, and attention. This is why in this guide, we’ll ensure that you get the full picture and understand how to use email for B2B business growth.
Why Do You Need Email for Your B2B Marketing Strategy?
Email is an integral way of communication for most of the businesses in the world, so it’s no wonder why it is still popular, particularly for B2B marketing. It’s an essential part of the B2B buyer journey, from building relationships to gathering data and increasing the client base.
With the recent development of big data, through email, you have the opportunity to impact your target prospects with high-quality content and offers straight to their inbox, as well as gathering vital customer data sets. Other benefits of email marketing for B2B include:
- Cost-effectiveness: On a global basis, 30% of marketers cite email marketing as having the highest ROI.
- Attracting Prospects: Email marketing is excellent if you want to attract new prospects, as well as reach them anywhere in the world.
- Measurable: With the right CRM or software, you can track the impact of your email marketing in terms of open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and so on.
Understand What the Target Client Wants
Before you begin with your email marketing campaign, you need to have a clear picture of your target clients and why they buy your products. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds. B2B markets are trickier than B2C marketplaces.
In B2C, the purchasing decision and process are much simpler. In most cases, you have a customer that needs to make a decision whether to buy or not. The pain points of this person are entirely individual, and you can address them accordingly through your content marketing efforts.
B2B companies consider their purchasing decision with the entire management team. This is why when you approach a B2B company with your emails, you must think about the bigger picture. As you learn what your prospect want from your email messages and offerings, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is your core offer?
- Who would benefit from your offer?
- What are the pain points that you address with your offer?
- How your business is unique compared to your rivals?
Then, build your B2B marketing personas. As the buying journey is more extensive than in B2C with multiple decision makers involved, you can’t rely your email messages only on one persona. Each of the subscribers on your list may be different, so it would be a mistake to send out the same messages to everyone.
Again, keep your focus on the bigger picture and identify the needs of decision makers. Analyze the following aspects:
- Are they Fortune 500 company or a startup?
- How many employees do they have?
- What are their revenue numbers?
- What are they struggling the most at this point?
- What are the services that they currently pay for?
- How many decision-makers are involved?
- Do they prefer to consume their content via email?
Based on the data that you’ve collected, construct a detailed B2B persona and start to formulate your emails according to the persona’s interests. Learning as much as you can about your personas will help you form the content and the solutions that they need.
Your email messages should reflect your company values and the benefits that you offer, as well as show the prospects that you’ve done your homework.
Develop Quantifiable Goals
Without setting goals, it will be difficult to grow your sales and measure your success. Your B2B goals are directly related to your email marketing goals. This is why achieving your goals will help strengthen your business, and increase your email marketing effectiveness as a result.
Goal setting is not that hard if you know what you want to achieve as a business. However, to achieve tangible success, you need to start with something that you can achieve much quicker, for example, “Getting 50% more leads from email marketing in the month of January”. Make your goals smart and achievable:
- S – specific: Leads
- M – measurable: 50% – from 300 to 450 leads
- A – attainable: Based on CTA clicks and interest
- R – relevant: Related to the overall sales goal
- T – timely: Set a specific time period for achieving the goal and stick to it, for example, until January 31st
Improve Your Subject Lines
People assess emails by how the subject line is. This is why it’s important to have subject lines that are good enough to be clicked. Regardless of your B2B niche, these are the strategies that you can use to improve your email marketing messages:
Convince them to act now! Urgency and scarcity are what get people to click on emails. However, don’t overuse this strategy because you don’t want to be labeled as the “click-baity” brand. Use it strategically and when the occasion asks for it.
It’s good to be a little mysterious, especially if you nailed your targeting and personalized your subject line to perfection. But, don’t sound too obscure or you’ll lose the people’s attention immediately.
Even if you only have two subscribers on your list, they’re not completely the same and the same email message may not work for both of them.
If you’ve learned enough about a prospect, you can send an email that is crafted according to his/her preferences.
Start a Story
Announce the story that your email tells. Intrigue your prospects in order for your email message to be opened.
Long subject lines are, well, long. And they get cut off from mobile screens. Use subject lines with no more than 50 characters to make sure that every recipient can read them.
Data and numbers are an excellent way to increase your email click rate. Just like using numbers in blog post titles brings more people to read the article, numbers are effective in email subject lines too.
Asking relevant questions works. If you’ve targeted your question well enough, people won’t refuse to participate with an answer.
Don’t Ramble in Your Messages
People skim messages, books, articles, and email messages as well. This is how we’ve always read, so that’s why your prospects don’t expect a novel every time they open your messages. This is especially true, given the fact that today, more people open emails on their smartphones than on laptops.
The idea of email marketing is to make people aware of your message and what you have to offer. Even if your messages are composed of only one sentence, as long as they’re interesting, readers will take action.
Time is money in business, so your messages should be precise and valuable to the receiver. Deliver your message accurately and exhaustively within 200-300 words:
- Write as much as required to communicate your message.
- Use bullet points to break down information.
- Have one main CTA.
Nurture Leads with Value
A lead nurturing email marketing campaign includes a series of emails that you send out over a given period of time to convince prospects that are interested in your company. Your subject lines and the length of your message are just the beginning.
To increase your B2B sales numbers, with your message, you target clients must see something of value first. At this point, your content is of massive importance. Anything that you send out must be valuable.
In your email message, you need to provide content that answers prospects’ burning questions with tips and helpful advice. You’ll need a mix of quality content, product/service promotion, and offers.
If it’s a long-form content such as a case study or an extensive article/guide, you can write your introduction in the email, and add the link to the content.
There are few types of popular content that B2B customers are interested in:
This is a popular content choice to offer to your prospects because, in most cases, an ebook can be focused on strategies, statistics, and outcomes related to what you offer.
If you don’t cover a topic that is related to what you offer, don’t bother sending it to your target clients. For example, if you sell an email marketing software and you send out an eBook that is about graphic design, the people that are interested in your services may opt-out of your list.
With white papers, you can describe a problem that your target users have within your niche, and provide a solution for it through your services. In most of the cases, white papers are shorter than eBooks and are more focused on a given problem, contrary to eBooks that are more educational for a given topic overall.
To come up with white paper ideas, conduct the following research:
- Go through the FAQ that customers have.
- Use software such as SEMrush to see what your target users are looking for on search engines.
- Run a poll or conduct a survey to ask your clients what they struggle the most.
- Go through other case studies to gauge what are the most common pain points in your industry.
While ebooks and white papers are excellent to kick-start the relationship with clients, courses are even better. When people sign up for an email course, they’re aware that they’ll receive emails from you on a regular basis. This automatically reduces the pressure of receiving the email and increasing click-through rates and conversions in the process.
Optimize Your Landing Pages
So, the leads opened your email. The next thing that you need to think about is taking them to your product/service landing pages. When potential clients open your landing page, it might be your only shot to convert them, so you better optimize your landing pages for maximum conversion rate. The following are the essential elements of high-converting B2B landing pages that you need to focus on when optimizing for more sales:
Clear Header Message
In most of the cases, B2B solutions are complex. This is why they must be explained as clearly as possible to future clients. A direct copy where you explain your value proposition is really helpful for your conversion rate. Use powerful words that express the benefits and evoke emotions.
Insert a Video
Building trust is essential in business, and if you can’t make people trust you when they land on your landing page, you’ll lose them for good. Incorporating industry certificate badges, customer testimonials, big clients’ logos are an excellent way to convince prospects that you’re the right deal.
Show your future customers what are the next steps towards your solution. This is where the design element steps in. Besides your CTA element, through your landing page design, you need to provide visual cues that will guide the users straight to the CTA and click.
You can use Thank You pages not only to express your appreciation that someone opted for your service or provided you with email information. Thank you pages serve as an excellent way to provide even more value and upsell.
Prospects should be focused on your offer and get exactly what they’re looking for. Nothing else should be in their way on your landing page.
Remember that the email message that made people click on your landing page should match the landing page. Don’t mislead people to click on something that they are not interested in.
Track Your Progress
You can’t know if you’ve increased your sales numbers if you don’t measure the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign. To test and refine, it’s vital to keep track of the following metrics:
- Open Rate: How many people opened your message? Depending on your industry, the open rate varies from 15.22% to 28.46%. You need to perform A/B test variations and see what works best for your open rate.
Open Rate = Emails Opened / Emails Sent – Emails Bounced
- Reply Rate: If someone replies as you expected, it means that your copy is on point and the person is ready to move on to the next stage of the sales cycle. Higher open rates combined with low reply rates can signal that you promise a lot in your subject line but you don’t deliver enough value in the copy.
Reply Rate = People Who Replied / Emails Sent – Emails Bounced
- Bounce Rate: How many users didn’t even receive your message? If you have a high bounce rate, it is time to review your list and see which contacts are genuine and which are not.
Bounce Rate = Bounced Emails / Total Recipients X 100
Most of the email marketing tools have built-in analytics that will measure the success of your campaigns. If your campaign performs well it means that you’ve taken all the right steps and need to take note of what works to enhance it even further.
If your campaigns don’t bring enough sales, you need to discover why. Take note of the exact steps and review them one by one to spot your errors. You’ll learn from your mistakes and improve your next campaign as a result.
Increasing your B2B sales with email marketing is not hard. You need to understand your target market thoroughly and develop the messages to address the critical parts of prospects’ customer journey while developing relationships at the same time.
Don’t be reluctant to experiment with your email marketing efforts. Test things out and measure them for improvements. Implement the practices above, and sales growth is bound to happen.