205 billion emails are sent daily. Make yours count with email marketing.
It’s nearly the end of National Email Week! To end the week right, we’re going to explore why email marketing is an effective B2B marketing tool—and then give insight on how to make it work for you.
The Importance of Email
Email is a great way to get your messages to your audience. Individuals that opt to enroll in your email list are likely repeat customers or those who have an interest in the information you provide. But even though they already have some stake in your company, it’s still important to make your email communication worth their while, lest they unsubscribe.
Individuals enroll in your listing because they desire need-to-know or relevant information only you can provide, including:
- Changes in Terms & Conditions/Policies
- Ongoing and/or upcoming sales
- Important account information
- Newsletters and updates
- Reminders about rewards, sales, etc.
- Loyalty programs, benefits and offers
While this information can be necessary to your audience, you want to make sure to not inundate them with too many email messages.
What Email Marketing Can Do for You
Email marketing can be utilized at every stage of the marketing funnel: Awareness, Consideration, Conversion, Loyalty and Advocacy. You’ll want to lead potential customers throughout this funnel until they purchase or utilize your services (Conversion) and, ultimately, stay repeat customers (Loyalty) and become a brand ambassador for your company (Advocacy).
Let’s look at the marketing funnel specifically for email marketing, presented by Got Response.
We see that this funnel is more fleshed out with 4 additional stages. A main difference is the Planning stage: Before you begin to move your audience through the funnel, you need to establish your email marketing plan. Ask yourself the following:
- What are my goals for this campaign?*
- Are these goals realistic?
- What metrics will I use to measure my goals?
- At what time do I expect to reach these goals? (Weeks, months, quarters.)
- What type of individuals am I targeting with this campaign (buyer persona)?
- What type of content can the subscribers expect?
*Multiple campaigns may run simultaneously but not necessarily target same prospects.
Once you have your goals and buyer persona in mind, you can begin crafting your ideal marketing campaign. Ensure that your campaign leads your audience through the funnel all the way to Conversion and, finally, to Loyalty and Advocacy.
Leading a Customer Through the Marketing Funnel
A potential customer, Megan, is interested in purchasing new work clothes from a company called Workforce Fashion. Here’s how Workforce Fashion might lead Megan through the email marketing funnel:
Planning: Workforce Fashion creates a campaign to turn new customers into buyers. Megan fits their buyer persona for this campaign.
Awareness: Workforce Fashion places ads relevant to search results that Megan may input (“fashionable work clothes”). Megan becomes aware of Workforce Fashion. Upon clicking, she sees that if she signs up, perks include Weekly Outfit Recommendations, Trend Reports, access to exclusive coupons and sales and sales reminders. Megan signs up.
Consideration: Workforce Fashion sends a welcome email to introduce themselves and shows a preview of what they offer (content-wise and product-wise). After the welcome email, they send follow-ups based on time (length) and actions that Megan takes (or doesn’t take) with previous emails.
Familiarity: Megan receives an email that details product information and benefits of purchasing through Workforce Fashion (free returns, free shipping, etcetera).
Intent: If Megan has taken several actions to explore the site, Workforce Fashion will send her information to help her along the conversion.
Evaluation: Workforce Fashion sends emails to Megan that sells their products as affordable and fashionable compared to other high-end retailers.
Conversion: At this point, Workforce Fashion offers Megan an exclusive discount or free product to drive her to purchase. Their email includes a clear call to action.
It’s worthwhile to note that this stage may also help to drive customers to make a purchase of items “left” in their online cart. Often, prospective buyers add items to their virtual cart and abandon prior to making a purchase. Convert them by sending reminders and/or offering special discount codes.
Relations: Workforce Fashion sends Megan an email requesting feedback. This can be done immediately after purchase (“Rate your shopping experience today!”) or once an order was delivered (“How was your experience?” and “Rate your purchase!”).
Loyalty & Advocacy: Workforce Fashion offers Megan access to their loyalty program that comes with additional perks. Workforce also offers $20 in credit whenever Megan refers a friend and they make a purchase.
Depending on your goals, each campaign will utilize different strategies and targeted messaging to move prospective buyers through the marketing funnel.
What to Know When Developing an Email Marketing Strategy
Roughly 90% of all emails spent are spam, which is why email marketing needs to be grounded in strategy to be most effective. You want to ensure that when you send an email to your customers, they will open it—and, even better, follow through on a call to action (purchase, set up an appointment, etcetera).
Don’t Let Your Email End up in Spam
One of the easiest ways your email marketing can fail is having all your messages end up in the receiver’s spam folder. Your emails may end up in spam for several reasons, including IP address/domain, origin server not validated, automatically sent to spam folder after emails are not being opened for a period and more.
The best way to prevent this issue is to get your emails whitelisted—or approved—by the recipient. Being whitelisted means the recipient has added your company’s email address to their contact folder or in some way alert the email provider that they wish to accept your incoming messages. Help your readers by including simple instructions with each email, instructing them to include your email address in their contact book so they do not miss out on updates.
Create Segmented Lists
Segmented lists are ideal for two reasons: First, it ensures that your audience doesn’t get bogged down with too many emails that are irrelevant to them. Second, your messaging is targeted to a more-specific group of people. Your metrics will show that segmenting works, too: You’re likely to see higher open rates, revenue and sales leads.
There are several ways to segment your lists, and these are going to be based on your goals. Segments may include:
- Company size
- Geographic location
By sending emails to specific lists (segments), you can avoid sending too many emails and increase your overall metric scores by sending information to individuals to whom it is most relevant.
Personalize What You Send
There are simple ways to tailor a mass email message to each respective recipient. While an immediate thought is to generate a message that includes the recipient’s names, be careful of this personalization option: Many individuals are concerned with cyber security issues, and the air of familiarity may make them suspicious. Instead, try personalization based on based purchase history or demographic. Your personalization should be meaningful to the recipient, in that it offers a solution to needs or suggestions. Remember to ultimately base your efforts on what makes sense for your company and your audience.
Create Intriguing Subject Lines
It seems obvious, but the importance of subject lines is often overlooked. A reported 47% of email recipients open an email based solely on the subject line. If you’re looking to increase your email’s open rate, make your subject 49 characters or less (10 or less offers highest open rate). If you want your readers to engage with and click through the email’s content, your subject line should be a minimum of 70 characters. An example of each:
- 10 characters or less: Hey you!
- 49 characters or less: Have you updated your summer wardrobe?
- 70 characters or more: Update your summer wardrobe now with our fresh styles & cute prints, just in today.
Subject lines between 60-70 characters are in the “dead zone,” so try to create them based on the guides above. The subject line will be the email’s first impression. If it doesn’t seem worthwhile, it will be ignored.
Optimize Your Email for Mobile
With the advances in smartphone technology and constant need to be connected on the go, your audience is more likely to read their emails on a mobile device. In fact, nearly half of all email is viewed on mobile devices. Whether your emails are seen on the train headed home from work or on a laptop in a café, your emails need to offer the same experience in both settings. Quick fixes include easy-to-click buttons and single-column emails.
Email Us Today
Ready to set up an email marketing strategy—or need help with anything else? Celebrate the week by sending us an email at [email protected] (you can also call us at 312.828.0200).