In this blog post we will aim to give you an overview of best practices for the underrepresented B2B industry in terms of its email marketing techniques. Apparently, other best practices for email marketing apply however this post is aimed to B2B marketers dipping their toe in the fascinating world of email marketing.
Although email marketing best practices have been dominated by major retailers’ case studies, it is no secret that B2B firms are now catching up fast on their B2C counterparts and moving quickly in the digital maturity curve. B2B marketing has been relying on more traditional “old school” costly and untracked marketing solutions like events, brochures and billboards that don’t offer the necessary insight to the B2B marketer. Therefore, it is no surprise, that a direct and affordable channel like email is now winning an ever increasing prominent position in the B2B marketing suite.
What are the things a B2B marketer needs to take into account when setting out his email marketing strategy?
A personalised touch
B2B businesses are much more relationship-based than mass-targeting B2C firms. Using a personalized greeting enables you to touch your customers in a dramatically different way than a corporate, dull webinar invite you fired away to 50,000 recipients.
Although not a B2B company, mySupermarket employs personalisation on their frequent newsletters exceptionally well!
Also consider using a named sender (e.g. James – your star salesman, or Chloe – your customer support representative, or even John – your CEO). A well established and trusted partner, compared to a cold system generated sender can take your open rates to new highs!
Sending in real-time
Do not underestimate the importance of staying relevant and current with your prospects and existing customers! If you want to break the news first (e.g. a major deal, or a market shake-up) you need to be equipped to send your campaigns to long distribution lists in lighting speed.
Use scalable headlines, clear call to action and eye-catching visual imagery to represent key points graphically.
Asana, the project management tool used gif animations to impress the users during their year in review email
Optimised for the email clients that your customers read their WORK emails
Although a B2C marketer would not hit the send button before optimizing for iOS devices, you have to think that your recipients may open your email on Outlook or even a Blackberry phone. Work email clients sometimes come pretty obnoxious with things like images. For instance, if not all images are downloaded when opening in Outlook, the email cannot be registered as opened under some circumstances.
For instance, B2C emails get 57,4% more opens on mobile than B2B email, ranking 42.78% opens on mobile for B2C compared to 27.18% for B2B. DDMA “Nationale email benchmark 2015” (2015).
Business products and services, travel and publishers still received most of their email opens and clicks on desktop devices in Q2 2014. – Experian “Quarterly email benchmark report” (Q2 2014)
Be mindful of your landing page
In many organisations, landing pages are considered as part of the web / mobile channel rather than the continuation of the email channel. Commonly those pages are left unattended, unoptimized and end up with very low conversion rates.
28% states that difficulty to read the landing page is a reason for them not to click on an email on their smartphones – Apsis “The email Barometer, Email on mobile devices” (2013)
Especially with mobile email, one of the biggest turnoffs is when the website and landing pages is not mobile optimized (26%) and Not well formatted for mobile phones (21%) – LiveClicker and The Relevancy Group “Exploring the Benefits Real-Time Email – Driving Marketing Effectiveness” (2015)
This means you are missing a great opportunity to track step-by-step your customer’s journey from the very first moment he interacts with your brand (e.g. opening email) until he completes (requests for a call back via your site’s contact us for example) or abandons. Next time you distribute a white paper, why not experiment with a more user friendly and interactive landing page and see what this tells you about your customers’ behaviour?
How people open, click and convert via mobile email – Mobile Email Usage Statistics
Probably none of the points above make sense if you don’t try them for your own business! What works for the industry doesn’t mean it works for your customers, who should always come first. Ruthless A/B testing is crucial to identify the perfect strategy and evaluate accurately the performance of your campaigns.
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