Despite how maligned email marketing can be as a practice, it remains one of the single most ubiquitous and cost-effective methods of online marketing currently deployed. After all, while participation most online venues like Facebook or LinkedIn is spotty, pretty much everyone on the Internet has an email address.
The most important thing to remember when designing B2B email marketing plans are the limitations on the format. Much like phone calls, email marketing should not be done “cold” or used solely to push products. It’s much more effective when utilized with existing leads and customers, to retain mindshare as well as simply keeping in contact with them.
When done properly, B2B email can be a highly effective practice.
The Three Key Areas To Focus on In 2016 Email Marketing
1. Personalization and Relationship Building
According to research group Radicati, over 200 billion emails are sent every day. That averages out to 122 per person! With so many emails flying around (and a large number never even being seen, due to filtering) it’s absolutely critical that your emails be as personalized as possible.
Email recipients aren’t going to read an email unless it appears to be directly relevant to them. This means utilizing smart systems to customize the email based on data in your customer relationship database, as well as ensuring the information within is directly relevant to their interest.
With smart strategies, however, highly relevant and personalized emails become a significant way to build a relationship between a company and its sales staff, and the recipients on the other end.
2. Subject Line Focus Strategies
Just like the headline on a newspaper, a B2B email succeeds and fails almost exclusively based on its subject line. A good subject line is short, to the point, and precisely focused on the materials within. A subject line which doesn’t accurately reflect the body of the email can easily be perceived as misleading and manipulative,thereby harming attempts at relationship-building.
Of similar importance is the first line of the email, as most email readers now display that along with the subject. Treat your first sentence like a sub-heading, and make sure there’s a clear relationship\agreement between the two. If both seem personalized and relevant to the reader, they’re much more likely to click through and keep reading.
3. Testing and Analytics
Always track the response rates to your emails, as well as the type of response you get. All internal links, for example, should have tracking codes that allow you to know exactly which recipients clicked through. Or if they reply, this too should go into your customer database to demonstrate engagement levels.
This tracking allows you to continually fine-tune your emails. You can test out new strategies (questions vs declarative statements in headlines, for example) and gauge their effectiveness directly. Over time, you can greatly increase your emails’ ROI by focusing on the most effective tactics.