Email will always be one of the most cost-effective methods of B2B marketing. Everyone knows this however, so your potential clients are inundated with email marketing on a daily basis. As a result, many businesses still see low response rates, with the average B2B marketing email achieving a response rate of 1.9%. While still profitable due to its low cost and flexibility, this means there is plenty of room for improvement, and the potential rewards of email marketing can be increased significantly for many businesses.
Improving your response rates requires a good understanding of your audience and their needs, a focused message with high quality content, and rigorous testing to optimize your marketing messages.
These 6 tips will help you maximize the engagement and ultimately sales of your email marketing:
1. Understand your customers
Businesses from different industries and with varying clientele have different problems to solve, so creating email marketing that appeals to the specific needs of each type of business is critical to increasing your response rates.
Know their industry
While your services likely offer benefits to a wide variety of businesses, don’t leave your recipients to do the legwork of applying the potential benefits to their individual business. Identify what makes your products most useful in each industry, and create specific messages focused on these applications.
Know their clients
Besides understanding who your audience’s customers are, research how these businesses market themselves and appeal to their own customers. This will improve your ability to focus on how your products and services can improve their customer satisfaction and add value to their service.
Mailing list segmentation
Knowing your target audience better means that in addition to creating more appealing messages for those groups, you will be more able to accurately segment your leads into related lists. Marketers have seen a 760% increase in revenue from email marketing campaigns using accurately segmented mailing lists.
2. Address emails to the appropriate members of staff
Who will actually read the emails you send to each of your mailing lists?
The tone and content of your messages should reflect the position and decision-making power of the person opening it. While it is tempting to address all your emails to the CEO or business owner, they might be too busy to read and respond to marketing emails, particularly in a large business.
Take the time to find the right point of contact for your email.
Will the person who opens your email have the authority to respond immediately, or will they need to pass it on to someone who does? What is their level of expertise?
If your email is being sent to the head of an IT department, for example, you are free to use technical terms and talk their language to explain your product. If your email will be read by someone who may not have any knowledge of the subject, setting out the key features and benefits in layman’s terms could get a more positive response.
3. Include a clear call to action
A specific call to action linking products and services directly related to the business or role of recipients will be much more effective than a general link to your store.
Make sure the email’s message is consistent with the call to action.
For example, if you are a marketing expert targeting businesses with physical locations such as traditional retail, a free trial for related services such as geotargeting will see higher responses than for marketing services less specific to that industry.
The phrasing of your call to action is also important.
Specific phrases like ‘Get Free Trial’ get better responses than general terms such as ‘Submit’ or ‘Sign Up’. This makes it clearer to the reader what they will get for following the link.
Don’t overwhelm the reader with too many calls to action.
Sticking to just one call to action lets you keep the message focused and reduces the chance of leads being put off by too much choice.
4. Include valuable content
No matter how great the value of the offer in your email, if the content of the email itself doesn’t engage your audience, many will dismiss your email without considering it.
Offer a unique perspective
Interesting, high quality content gives your recipients a reason to read the full message, and helps keep your emails out of the spam folder. Providing industry insights and advice that the reader could apply in their own role or business provides a clear value, and helps establish that your expertise can help the success of their business. Try to offer a unique perspective on industry trends and events that they won’t get from anyone else.
Accurate subject lines
Make sure the content of your emails always matches up with up with the subject line. Inaccurate or misleading subject lines can damage trust as soon as your recipient starts reading, and 69% of recipients will judge an email as spam based on the subject line alone.
Quality over quantity
Spamming recipients with frequent emails is a great way to end up in their spam inbox, so focusing on quality over quantity helps ensure your audience wants to open every email you send.
5. Track and optimize your messages and scheduling
Minor changes in wording and scheduling can cause vastly different click-through rates for each of your target audiences. Ongoing split testing to see the impact of small wording and scheduling changes can often lead to surprisingly large increases to response rates.
For example, Evo sent out two emails containing an identical offer.
One email offers a 15% discount coupon, while the other offered $50 off the total purchase cost. Due to the price of the products being promoted, both of these offers equated to the same monetary value.
This was not reflected in the response however, which saw a 72% higher conversion rate on the $50 coupon emails. Split testing enabled Evo to generate 170% more revenue through a simple change of wording.
The timing of your emails also matters more than you might think. Use Right inbox features like Gmail Send Later to easily schedule when your emails are sent and align your schedule with each contact’s time zone.
Device testing and optimization
Optimizing your emails should also include making sure your format displays as intended on all email apps, browsers and devices. This is especially important for mobile devices, as they use a wide variety of screen sizes, formats and apps you need to support. Send test emails to as many apps and devices as you can. Online emulation tools can be very useful for testing apps and devices you don’t have access to.
6. Offer Opt-In SMS Marketing
Using your email marketing to promote SMS opt-ins allows you to reward your most interested leads and customers with additional high-value offers, and can help to further segment and qualify your leads by tracking which emails your opt-ins come from.
Texts are usually opened within a few minutes, enabling you to use time-sensitive offers to incentivize immediate action. SMS is the ideal format for short messages and updates, and provide a fast and direct channel to prompt re-subscriptions, give order updates and even let customers quickly place and change their orders and subscriptions.
Improve your email marketing response rates by understanding and individually targeting each of your audience groups. Focus on sending clear, specific messages that address their needs, and make sure your emails are going to the right person in the business.
Small changes to the wording and timing of your emails can cause significant increases to your response rate, so test variations of all your email marketing messages to maximize the response rate of each message.