When you think about how many work emails you receive each day, you’ll probably be surprised to hear that email marketing is an essential component of a successful B2B marketing strategy. Emails are extremely effective, as long as they’re done well.
And that’s the problem. What is a good email and how can you make it stand out in a crowded inbox?
Why use emails for marketing?
According to OptinMonster:
77% of B2B companies use an email marketing newsletter as part of their content marketing strategy and 79% of B2B marketers find email to be the most successful channel for content distribution.
Emails are great ways to communicate and engage with your audience. They can be used to generate traffic to content on your website, raise awareness of your products and services or nurture potential customers by providing high quality, informative content, so that when they are ready to make a purchase, they’ll come to you. Not your competitor.
And of course, they’re a great way to cross-sell and upsell to existing customers.
A carefully crafted email can drive business
So how do you create email campaigns that engage your audience, and don’t end up in the bin?
1. Understand and segment your audience - if you send the same email to every one of your contacts, or prospects, you’re wasting your time. You need to understand your audience, their needs and to put these needs first. Some people will respond to a specific benefit and feature of a product and service, others will want something different.
If you understand your audience, their needs, what matters to them, where they are in the sales cycle and how they respond, you can group them and then tailor your message to that specific audience segmentation. Careful segmentation leads to greater engagement and better long-term results.
2. Have a goal in mind – email marketing is no different to any other form of marketing. You need to be clear about why you’re doing it and what results you want to see.
What do you want the email to achieve? If you send emails for the sake of it or because you haven’t emailed your subscribers for a while, you’ll waste your time. Your audience will either ignore the valuable content you send them in the future or unsubscribe from your emails altogether.
Have one goal in mind. It could be to sign up to a webinar, book an appointment, buy your product, download our brochure or simply to read a blog or testimonial. You don’t always have to send an email because you want something from your subscribers or to sell to them.
3. Use a name your audience recognises – when people sign up to emails from your company, a specific person or department, that’s who they expect to receive them from.
If they don’t recognise the sender’s name, they’ll probably delete the email without reading it.
4. Make your subject line short and to the point - the average person receives over 100 emails a day, so you only have a few seconds to grab their attention. Your subject line will be the main reason behind your email campaign’s success, or failure. Don’t be clever. If people can’t understand what the email is about from the subject, or don’t find it engaging, you’ve lost them. They won’t read on.
So what makes a good subject line? This goes back to Point 1, understanding your audience. Think about what your recipients are interested in and what they want. Once you understand this you can create a subject line that makes them curious, so they want to find out more.
Subject lines that include power words (free, interesting, simple), numbers and lists (10 ways to increase revenue), tips (how to reduce accident levels in warehouses) or create a sense of urgency (only 3 spaces left!) can all help to increase open and click rates.
5. Clear, concise copy - write engaging copy that clearly explains what your product or service does and the benefits to the reader. Think about where your segmented audience is in the buying journey and tailor the content to their needs. If someone knows your company, products and services, you don’t want to send them an introductory email. Similarly, if they haven’t bought your product, emailing them about your maintenance agreement will be of little value.
When it comes to the copy, you want quality, not quantity. Email copywriting is similar to writing web copy. Explain what you’re offering or promoting in as few words as possible and make your content easy to read. People are busy and will scan your email so break your content down with sub-headings and bullet points.
And if you want the reader to engage with your copy, write for your audience. Avoid sales speak. Make it conversational. Address the recipient by name if you can, refer to them as you in the copy and use words and phrases they use. By making the recipient the centre of attention you make them feel valued, they’ll be more open to what you’re saying.
6. Don’t forget your CTA - your CTA is the second most important part of your email after your subject line. Include a compelling and clear CTA that tells the reader what you want them to do next. Avoid simply putting “click here” or “sign up”. Instead explaining what the action does such as “click here to place your order” or “click here to read our whitepaper” is more likely to inspire a person to act.
If you can’t think of a valid CTA then you need to take a step back and think about why you’re sending the email, what you want to achieve and ask yourself if the email really is of value to your target audience.
7. Don’t bombard your audience - the last thing your subscribers want is to receive an email from you every day. People generally only want daily emails from news sites, industry commentators and the like.
There’s no definitive rule for how often you should email your subscribers. The frequency varies from industry to industry and your audience’s expectations. Monitor your email metrics such as click throughs, conversions, bounce rates, unsubscribes and shares to see what your subscribers do and how they interact with your emails.
8. Finally test, test, test - don’t assume you’ve nailed it with your first email attempt. It takes time to build up a good email marketing strategy. The only way to understand what your audience responds to and what works is to test, track and tweak.
Try different subject lines, content, send times and CTAs to see which works best. Carrying out some simple A/B testing will help you to learn what does and doesn’t work with your audience so you can create better campaigns in the future and increase conversions.
And don’t forget that your audience will be reading your email on different devices including computers, laptops, tablets and phones, so test your emails to make sure the layout works on all devices and can be read easily.
So is this the secret to a good email?
There’s no real magic formula to successful email marketing, but these tips should help you to create emails that your subscribers want to read and don’t automatically delete.
People will have opted in to receive your emails, which is part of the battle. By showing that you care about your audience, understand their problems, can add value and help them will increase their trust in your brand. Over time you’ll see your click rates increase and when they’re ready to talk, you’ll have a better chance of them coming to you.
Simple really! But of course these tips will only really work if you get your tone and copy right. Maybe now’s the time to work with a copywriter for your email campaigns.
If you need help writing engaging copy for your B2B email campaigns or want to talk about your email strategy, get in touch and let's have a chat.