Email marketing remains one of the most effective B2B marketing methods. According to WordStream, email is the ‘third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, behind only colleague recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders.’
However, there are many strategies that are often overlooked; strategies that could help to optimise your open and click-through rates. Whether it is segmenting your audience or using A/B testing for keyword research, you will find strategies in this article to help boost engagement with your audience.
Why Email Marketing?
When it comes to business, email is overwhelmingly the platform of choice. According to research at HubSpot, ‘86% of business professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes.’
Email marketing is also one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to deliver campaign messaging. It is estimated by Experian that ‘for every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment.’
Which strategies can I employ to improve the quality of my email marketing?
Below we have highlighted six strategies we employ at The Lead Agency to make sure we get the most out of our email marketing campaigns. Each of these strategies can be employed as often as you need, and translate to most campaigns.
1. Personalise your email marketing in a meaningful way.
Personalisation has a demonstrable benefit to email marketing. According to market intelligence company Aberdeen, ‘Personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%.’
However, there is a big difference between simply slipping in a ‘Hi [INSERT NAME HERE]’ and genuine personalisation. According to a study conducted by the Temple University Fox School of Business, poor personalisation can have a detrimental effect on audience engagement. The results of the study, which drew from over 10 million marketing emails sent out to over 600,000 subscribers, showed that, ‘Customers who were unfamiliar with the firm were very likely to click off or unsubscribe from emails with personalized greetings.’
The team discovered the four key strategies for improving email marketing effectiveness through personalisation were:
- Even though customers agree to terms and conditions, it is better to ask them directly if you plan to use their personal information for marketing purposes;
- Avoid using personalised greetings with new customers. If greeting past purchasers, however, personalisation can be very effective;
- Send frequent emails to established customers to nurture them into purchasing. However, limit emails to newer customers;
- Send new customers ads for products they are predicted to like; likewise, expose existing customers to products they’ve never bought before.
In summary, when personalising, don’t pretend to be too friendly with new customers. Set up measuring tools to find out more about your customers and offer them genuine personalisation once you’ve built up a relationship with them.
2. Segment your audiences.
Segmentation of your audience allows you to better target your customers and provide more personalised and relevant messaging for your campaign. According to email marketing specialists Email Monday, ‘marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns.’
The above image is a visual representation of research conducted by Optimove. They found that by being specific and segmenting their customers, they were able to get an average return of $42, up from $28.
When beginning your campaign, consider how you can better segment your audience. The more you segment, the more relevant your messaging can be. However, avoid segmenting too much or it can make the campaign unnecessarily complex and difficult to manage. Somewhere between 6-8 segments is ideal depending on the size of your target audience and the type of campaign you are working on.
3. Resend emails to subscribers who didn’t open their first email.
This strategy is one of the simplest on this list, but often marketers forget to revisit their email campaigns. Although open rates drop by 44% and click through rates by 46%, resending emails to subscribers that didn’t open their first email still gets results.
There is some controversy over the practice, as some marketers are worried about spamming their audience. According to an article by Forbes contributed by Neal Taparia, resending emails can boost email receivership by 54.7%. However, in the same article, Neal warned that drops in open rates and click rates can have long-term negative effects on deliverability; this is because ISPs punish users who continually send emails to unengaged users.
In summary, the benefits do outweigh the risks when it comes to resending emails. If you are a B2B business trying to optimise your email marketing campaign, we recommend this strategy, as it is easy to employ and has a dramatic impact on engagement.
4. A/B test your email marketing campaigns to improve them.
Marketers always try to improve their campaigns over time. To do this requires experimentation. In the world of email marketing, there is no easier way to improve your campaign results than A/B testing.
A/B testing simply means sending out two similar campaigns with one key difference and measuring which campaign outperforms the other. This can be as simple as testing the subject line, or you could try sending out two completely different email templates – the choice is yours. The more you test your campaign material, the more effective your email marketing campaigns get.
5. Use email as a tool for keyword research.
In the previous strategy suggestion we talked about A/B testing for optimising your campaigns, however, email marketing campaigns are also great opportunities for conducting keyword research on your target market.
Using the same principles of A/B testing, you can test out certain keywords to see what statistically has greater impact. The results of this research can then be used to help optimise your content marketing, SEO and paid advertising.
B2B marketers should always be using the results of campaigns to inform their upcoming strategies, A/B testing keywords is only one way of doing this. In the same way email marketing campaigns can inform your other marketing activities, you should be using the results of your other campaigns to improve your email marketing. An example of this might be using keywords that have performed well on AdWords, or choosing landing page layouts that have good click through rates for your email templates.
When it comes to experimentation within B2B marketing, the opportunities are endless.
6. Automate your email marketing campaigns.
Marketing automation has become synonymous with email marketing, with many email marketing platforms offering automation as part of their services. According to Epsilon, automated emails get 119% higher click rates than broadcast emails.
Marketing automation is successful as it allows you to target the right people, at the right time, with the right message – it can also save you a lot of time. The process works by setting up content that is triggered when certain actions are made by users.
A simple example of this might be a welcome message whenever a new subscriber joins your mailing list. Just to demonstrate how popular automation has become, in 2008 40% of businesses sent automated welcome messages, that number doubled to 80% in 2013 according to research conducted by Return Path.
Needless to say, in 2018 marketing automation has become nearly universal. Mapping out a marketing automation strategy is not too difficult, especially with the tools provided by Martech companies like Marketo and HubSpot. However, most email marketing platforms, such as MailChimp and Campaign Monitor both offer automation tools as well.
Email marketing remains one of the most important channels for nurturing and generating B2B leads. By employing some of these strategies in your next campaign, you can significantly optimise your email marketing.
If you are looking for advice on your B2B email marketing campaign, The Lead Agency can help you generate more leads and better quality leads. Click here to find out more about our email marketing services.
If you enjoyed this article, why not read our article on Optimising Your B2B Email Marketing Click Through And Open Rates.