It seems like there’s always a new platform or technology right around the corner, promising to reinvent B2B digital marketing. And while there have been some genuinely transformative innovations in recent years, it’s the octogenarian of the digital marketing bunch – email – that still packs one of the most potent punches.
Here at Creative Cave, we’ve seen the oft-forgotten or overlooked email campaign work absolute wonders for B2B companies. But like every facet of digital marketing, there’s a right way and plenty of wrong ways to go about it.
So to save you some frustration – or perhaps convince you of email’s importance in your customer messaging – I’m going to discuss five main reasons why email marketing should be a pillar in your overall strategy as well as provide a few key best practices in one of the areas that email shines brightest – the email newsletter.
1. Personalizing Your B2B Marketing
Everyone wants to feel a little bit special, including your B2B customers. Fortunately, with email marketing, you don't have to sacrifice efficiency for personalization if you use any number of specialized platforms. We prefer HubSpot at Creative Cave but, as always, it's important to do your due diligence and find an automated email marketing solution that suits your needs best.
Still, assuming you choose a capable email automation platform, something as simple as personalizing an email subject line – maybe addressing the recipient by name, interest, or some other personal identifier – vastly improves open rates. In fact, research indicates that a personalized subject line can improve open rates by 50% while also driving 58% greater click through rates (CTR).
Customizing content for the individual further drives engagement. For example, tailoring email content by stages of the buying process allows you to provide key information to people higher in the funnel while still focusing on driving conversions to those lower in it.
Speaking of conversions, nearly 60% of marketers state that email provides the largest component of their total ROI. Even better, when companies segment their campaigns into email lists by audience funnel position or any number of persona attributes, revenue skyrockets by a remarkable 760%.
Suffice it to say, there are few other techniques in the digital marketing tool shed, if any, that provide companies with such significant results. From special offers to featured products, cart abandonment messages, and so much more, email marketing provides the finely-tuned touch that launches ROI into orbit.
3. Supercharged SEO
As we've said before, a sound, meticulous, and consistent inbound content strategy is one of the best ways to tell Google – and, thus, your audience – that you are a thought leader in your space. And as you might guess, customers tend to follow the leader.
But even the best content strategies take time to start generating significant results. Like it or not, creating a solid content library doesn't occur overnight. But it's a shame for all of that content to go somewhat unnoticed while Google figures out that you're a company to reckon with in your industry. Thankfully, an email marketing campaign is a great way to jumpstart traffic to all of that magnificent content.
Between blogs, webinars, case studies, white papers, e-books, and all the other forms of amazing content you create, including a compelling call to action (CTA) in a simple marketing email provides your audience with a handy shortcut to information that will help them with their buying decisions. On a side note, taking the same approach with your social media strategy – including CTAs in your posts – only provides more octane to your content strategy.
4. Email Is Easy on the Budget
Can you imagine trying to personalize every blog you write? As powerful as content like blogs are on the ol' thought leadership and march-down-the-funnel fronts, they’re simply not built for any significant degree of customization. Well, you can try, but it would cost an absolute fortune in labor costs and resources.
Thanks to email marketing platforms, however, you can personalize your email content quickly and efficiently. Unlike a gated content offer – which has its own time and place, of course – or the aforementioned blog, an hour with a copywriter and a few tweaks by a design specialist are all you need to create a compelling, cost-effective email that hits the target audience, drives leads, and propels your conversion rates.
5. Consistently Communicate With Your Subscribers
I thought it best to save the best for last. As a B2B company, it's essential that you consistently engage your audience and keep them up to speed on what's going on with you. Exciting news, upcoming offers, new products and services, and more – all of your customers, both current and potential, want to hear that you're constantly growing and improving.
Granted, you can use social media to scratch the surface of these important items but, with character limits and other restrictions, you really can't do much of a deep dive. However, email marketing is the ideal forum for these types of updates. More specifically, a monthly B2B email newsletter, for example, keeps you front-of-mind with your customer base, continually engaging them in a way that no other component of your digital marketing strategy can match.
So on that note, now that I've convinced you that email marketing is critical to your success, I thought it only fair to provide a few best practices around those ever-important B2B newsletters I just hyped up.
Email Newsletter Best Practices
Email newsletters are an important component of what we do here at Creative Cave. And while I'm not going to give away the secret sauce that has helped us drive over 300% increased organic traffic after nine months and a 685% increase in website leads year-over-year for our clients, a few key tips only seems fair.
Brevity Reigns Supreme
An email newsletter isn't a blog. Or a lengthy infographic. Or even a shortened white paper. Email communication thrives in that unique area between social media conciseness and longer form content.
Provide enough detail to whet the reader's appetite but not to the point where you wear out your welcome. Short and sweet is best for an email newsletter. If you have more to say, then simply link out to a blog post.
Don't Assault the Eyeballs
While it's absolutely true that visual elements – video in particular – can make your newsletters pop, it's easier than you think to have too much of a good thing.
Don't forget that the entire point of your newsletter is to communicate with your audience, not dazzle them with your stellar graphic design. Visual elements should add something to the information you are conveying, not overwhelm it.
Stay True to Your Brand
This best practice holds true for all of your messaging, be it an email newsletter, social media post, blog, or any other form of content marketing.
An efficient and effective marketing funnel depends on a consistent customer's journey that doesn't have any off-brand detours or roadblocks. Stay true to your branding elements – tone, color scheme, graphics, etc. – to provide a seamless UX across your digital footprint.
Front Load the Good Stuff
Yes, I started by saying that keeping your newsletters brief is important. However, you don't want to be so stingy with your newsletter content that you give everything away at a single glance.
In other words, the recipient is going to have to scroll down on the page to read the entire newsletter. Therefore, what initially shows up when they open the email is critical since, as the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression.
Therefore, if you hook the reader with that first glance, there's a far better chance they stick around for the entire newsletter and click through to other relevant content.
Don't Forget Mobile Readers
Over 50% of all Internet traffic occurs on mobile devices now. The same goes for your B2B customers – just assume that they are reading the newsletter on their phone.
Just as I said when discussing website design and sales, make sure that your email newsletters render well on both desktop and mobile. Your subscribers will appreciate it.
There’s obviously a lot more that goes into the perfect newsletter than what I’ve mentioned but these best practices are certainly a good start. That said, if you really want to turn your B2B email marketing strategy and newsletters into conversion metric miracles, your favorite B2B marketers here at Creative Cave are ready to rock.