Exploring The Benefits Of A Well-Planned Email Campaign

Email marketing strategies have seen many changes over the past two decades. In the ever-changing, ever-evolving world of business and marketing strategies must change and evolve as well, growth is essential. Exploring opportunities and understanding strategy are key concepts to build on.
Keeping up with these ever-evolving strategies can be challenging but the basic concept of using email as a comprehensive, all-inclusive tool to reach large groups quickly remains a sound principle. Without question, Email marketing has gotten more sophisticated. Technological advancements change the playing field constantly. The tools to monitor delivery, track usage and provide real-time feedback on your emails are far more diverse than they were even 6 months ago. New possibilities abound with in-depth statistical monitoring, real-time strategy modification and effectiveness calculations being delivered to your ‘doorstep’ every second! While seemingly daunting and maybe even just a little confusing understanding some of these basic strategy principles and email marketing concepts can help you make ‘cents’ of it all.

The first step on our journey of exploration begins with understanding that there are five types of electronic mail (email) that as an email marketer you should be familiar with:

  1. Prospecting emails: These are similar to outbound calls, only they’re sent out into inboxes instead of phones. A good prospecting email is targeted and personalized, rather than a message sent out en masse. But more importantly, it’s relevant to the prospect – referring to a recent success, perhaps a meeting, showing how you have common goals. Relevance plus personalization leads to trust, which then fuels a relationship, which then turns into a sale.

 

  1. Promotional emails: You probably receive a bunch of these per day, and chances are, they’ve worked (at least sometimes.) In your promotional email tout a specific product or service, typically with a discount or trial offer. They can be particularly effective for bringing in customers who are still ‘on the fence’ about your product.

 

  1. Newsletters: Email newsletters look more and more like brand magazines. As with any form of content, you want your newsletters to be targeted and chock-full of usable information and insights. You might find it helpful to base your newsletter strategy around a real industry trade magazine Each of these speaks directly on topics that are important to the niche or industry they represent.

 

  1. Lead nurturing emails: Also known as trigger campaigns, lead nurturing emails are generated from a specific action on the reader’s end. We’ll talk about this more later, but a great way to build your lead nurturing email list is through gated content (landing pages). This means users have to exchange some information – names and email addresses at the bare minimum – to gain access to the content usually a white paper.

 

  1. Drip campaigns: These are automated email campaigns that I personally think are the coolest of the bunch. That’s because the content sent out is all based on the recipient’s action or lack thereof. For example, a reader could receive an email containing a link to a white paper. Whether or not she clicks that call to action dictates what email she’ll receive next, and so on and so forth.

 
Each type of campaign should complement and work with the others in a coordinated action, so it’s to your benefit to mix and match them within your strategy. This way, you can capture as many leads as possible while having enough variety to keep people’s interest.

How to create an email database

A B2B email marketing strategy is nothing if you don’t have addresses to send it to.
 
Building a database of opt-in email addresses is the best way to go about developing your audience. Then, you can segment and optimize that list for better results. It takes time and diligence but it can be done. An excellent source is any Chambers or Networking Groups you are in, Trade Shows you go to or (golly gee) past and present customers.
 
Boost your email list by creating:

    1. Email newsletters: You need to be consistent with it. Same time every month, fortnight or week. Ideally, a newsletter supplements your blog posts, news alerts, and other content. At the same time, it makes life easier and better for the reader, either by showcasing special content or any company or industry information or getting your best thoughts together to make it easy for your readers.
    2. Shareable email campaigns: Remember, your existing customers and contacts are a great source of new leads and prospects. Create email campaigns with calls to action encouraging readers to share the information with their colleagues, clients, and friends by forwarding or on social media. If these additional contacts like what they see, they’ll subscribe to future content you put out.
    3. Free tools: If you provide a web-based service, creating free tools is a great way to build an interested audience. Think of CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. I don’t have to pay to use it; all I did was give CoSchedule my email address and I can analyze the titles of any content I write. In exchange, I get added to one of their marketing lists, which means I also receive helpful tips on creating better content. Two benefits all for a simple address!

You’re not done once you’ve created your list, however. You have to be diligent about continuously update it with fresh names and new addresses. Your database will disappear by around 23 percent every year as contacts switch addresses, switch companies or opt out of your email communications. So keep your list full and up to date so your messaging reaches as many targeted people as possible
 
As a last resort though, not my favorite but sometimes you must buy or rent an email list. The latter option might make prospecting hard, however, so make your choice wisely!

  1. Gated assets: I brought this up earlier, and it’s time for more detail. Gated content gives readers a reason to give you their contact information. They fill out a form, then receive a downloadable asset like a white paper. Best practice is to include a disclaimer on the form specifying that, by submitting their information and downloading the asset, the reader agrees to receive additional content via email.

    You’re not done once you’ve created your list, however. You have to be diligent about continuously update it with fresh names and new addresses. Your database will disappear by around 23 percent every year as contacts switch addresses, switch companies or opt out of your email communications. So keep your list full and up to date so your messaging reaches as many targeted people as possible
     
    As a last resort though, not my favorite but sometimes you must buy or rent an email list. The latter option might make prospecting hard, however, so make your choice wisely!

    Segmenting your list
    Remember: Content marketing is all about effectively collecting and using data. How does this apply to B2B email? Well, not everyone on your list will be interested in all the content you provide, and flooding a prospect with emails they don’t want is a surefire way to lose their engagement. You’re much better off using data to segment your audience into different categories and sending targeted emails to each group. And the payoff is great. When MailChimp compared users who segmented their emails versus those who did not, they found that the former saw:
     
    • 9.4 percent fewer canceled subscriptions.
    • 3.9 percent fewer abuse reports.
    • 14.3 percent higher open rate.
    • 10.6 percent higher unique open rate.
    • 101 percent higher clickthrough rate
     
     
     
     
    A lot of work, but clearly worth it. You can segment your email list by:
     
    Location: The needs of a Midwest customer might be different than those of one living in New York, so structure your emails accordingly. You can also construct your list of time zones for best open times so pay attention to time zones when sending emails.
     
    Demographics: Most people think of demographics in terms of age and gender, which are both more suited more for B2C. However, B2B businesses can demographically segment their email lists by company position, industry or other categories. A chief financial officer is probably interested in different information than the marketing manager.
     
    Content interests: If your lists span a variety of topics, segment your list in terms of who downloads what.
     
    Engagement: Who opens your emails? Who reads and comments on each of your blog posts or LinkedIn articles? People who are more engaged with your business likely want longer or more detailed emails than those who aren’t.
     
    Purchases: Customers who bought the same product should have similar needs, so it stands to reason they’ll be interested in the same kind of email content. You can also use this same list to upsell on similar services and products.
     
    These are just a few examples, and the data you have may tell you to segment your database differently.
     
    Tips for creating a strong B2B email campaign
    Alright, now that you know what you’re sending and who you’re sending it to, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. How do you write an email that is opened, read and leads to conversions?
     
    Every section of the email matters, from your subject line to your signature.

    Start with a compelling subject

    A great subject is creative, informative and interesting, but doesn’t give anything away. It intrigues readers by offering a sense of what’s to come, grabbing their interest and not letting go. Make them need to open and read.
     
    That said, it should also be brief. Most email clients can only display up to 50 characters; anything extra gets cut off. If you must write a lengthy subject line, make sure your readers get the details they need in the first 50.
     
    Subject line
    Your subject line is a call to action all on its own, and the only action is to click it open. To spur readers into doing so, focus on:
     
    Urgency: Make your audience feel like they’re missing out if they don’t read your email immediately. If they don’t read it when they get it they probably will not read it.
     
    Relevance: Your audience needs to know the content inside is worth their while.
     
    Pain points: Everyone’s looking for a better solution to solve their problems or make them feel better.
    Numbers: Including numbers in a subject is a quick, short way to provide context on whatever you’re talking about.
     
    Choose a proper sender and address
    A lot of mass emails are sent from noreply@companyname.com. It’s an efficient address, but not one that’s good for building trust or humanizing your business. Just imagine if this blog were written by No Reply. Make it real. Choose a real person from your company to be the sender. Many companies select one or more members of their marketing teams.
     
    Writing content
    Like headlines, your content should be concise. People are busy, and they want to get to the point as fast as possible.
     
    That said, just because your content is on the brief side doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Break up chunks of text with interesting visuals: CTAs, captions, images, colorful headlines, etc. Just don’t go overboard; use plenty of white space so your email isn’t overwhelming.
     
    Also, make sure the colors you use are close to your core visual color branding. Everything about your email should scream your company.
     
    Keep in mind that many people read emails on phones, tablets, and smartwatches. Make sure your emails are designed to display well on these devices.
     
    Finally, optimize any landing pages linked in your email so you don’t lose conversions at the last second. Slow loading times and poor navigation can all cost you a crucial sale.
     
    Keep in mind, your email campaign isn’t something you build once and forget about. You need to constantly revisit your email database, segments and messaging to make sure they stay optimized.
     

    So what are you going to do?

    Email when done right email is the most cost effective kind of marketing you can have. But if you don't have the people to do your own email, Larson & Associates can help you. We are able to address content development, creative, list creation and/or procurement, tracking and the key to what we I feel makes any marketing program work, a follow up phone call to everyone who opens your email up 3 or more times and your results will more than double. Give me a call today at 847-991-1294 and we can talk on how you can take advantage of this powerful marketing tool.

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