A 6-Point Email Marketing Checklist for B2B Lead Generation - Back-to-School B2B Primer—Part Two
As a teenager, when my mom called out saying, “Louis, come here quick”, I usually wasn’t quick enough to get to her, or even respond immediately. That wasn’t the case if she said, “Louis, come here quick or the cat’s going to love your ice cream”! It’s normal; teenagers have the ability to tune out even their mom’s booming voice; teenagers need to always know why they should do something someone else wants them to do. Correction—all human beings are like that, not just teenagers.
If we can remember this about our buyers, we would be more successful as B2B marketers. So (a) recognize that your buyers will tune you out because they just have too much noise to deal with, and (b) make sure that you don’t just add to their frustration by putting a ‘strong’ call to action in their face—tell them why they should take action; what’s the benefit.
I hope you are finding this Back-to-School B2B Primer series useful. Today I’ll focus on email marketing as Part Two in the series.
HERE IS A 6-POINT CHECKLIST OF EMAIL MARKETING TECHNIQUES THAT ARE WORKING FOR B2B LEAD GENERATION TODAY.
1. Hook, line and sinker. Your overall B2B lead generation strategy may have a set of broad objectives, but for every piece of the email marketing component, you need 3 things—a good hook, a compelling subject line and a relevant call to action. It’s not enough to encourage your audience to take action, you need to tell them why they should and how they will benefit. It helps to focus on specific business needs of your buyers and offer them precise solutions to fulfil those needs.
That’s why, a subject line like: “Download the #1 Tool Your Channel Partners Need to Close More Sales” will get a much better open rate, click through rate and conversion rate than say, “How to Help Your Channel Partners Get More Leads”. “#1 tool” is a great hook; you are being very specific about who will benefit (channel partners) from the tool, and why (close more sales). Click here to view an Infographic from Unbounce on how to write the perfect subject line.
2. Segment by industry and company type. You have specific products and services for the different industries you serve. Your customers fall into a few different types of companies—small, medium, large; dealers and distributors, franchisors, consultancies, multinationals, and so on. The email messaging you send out to each industry and company type, therefore, has to be different too. It must follow the pain points of these different target companies. Does a franchisor care about your ability to minimize staff numbers at their headquarters? They have probably done a great job of that already because the individual franchisee operations hire their own teams, while headquarters just juggles all the balls efficiently. But an email that offers a franchise organization a free trial of your new accounting software to track franchisee revenues—now that will get a lot of attention!
3. Individual buyer personas and user profiles matter—even though B2B buyers typically work as a team. This is a tough one. You think you know your buyer. You have spent some time listening to social media conversations and getting feedback from your field staff about prospects’ reactions. The trouble is, when it comes to defining your ideal B2B buyer’s persona or user profile, you have a group of individuals to consider. Each of them will have certain individual traits that will influence the buying process. Of course, you cannot and should not attempt to please everyone all the time. So the more efficient way to do this is to understand roles and responsibilities of the various influencers, identify certain key behavioral traits across the buyer group and customize your email content to address the need that emerges strongest.
So let’s say you are selling a web conversion optimization tool, an ROI calculator is a great hook that your group of buyers will be interested in. Try using a line like “KNOW Your Cost Per Lead—Use this ROI Calculator Today”. Everyone from the bean counters to the CMO to the sales department cares about ‘cost per lead’ and if you give them a way to nail that information, your email is a winner.
4. Tailor emails to fit into buying stages. We know that the B2B buying cycle is complex and runs across different stages. The pain points also vary through these stages. During the early stages, your buyers are simply researching or seeking to be more aware of their options in the market. Offer them gated content and they won’t respond; worse still, they may shut you out completely. And I don’t just mean they will “unsubscribe”. Most people don’t even have the time to take that step anymore—it’s easier to just ignore an email.
In the next stage where a buyer is now comparing and short listing possible vendors, gated content is likely to be more acceptable. It has to be very valuable, of course. A research study, a whitepaper, a registration-based virtual conference are some examples of the email offers you could use effectively. In the final stages, once buyers have already shown that they are ready to buy, you just have to embrace them. No more gated content please. Give away valuables like detailed case studies, customized demos, specific time-bound price offers, etc. Close that conversion now. Click here to read the results of a relevant survey from B2BOnline.
5. Use social to boost your email campaigns. Undeniably, the power of social media to spread the word is something B2B marketers simply cannot ignore any longer. Encourage email recipients to “share on LinkedIn”, “Tweet this”, “share on Facebook”, “list on List.ly”, “Pin It on Pinterest”. The extra boost that social and multi-channel customer engagement can give you by milking the peer to peer influence opportunity can be huge.
6. Don’t forget the fundamentals—list hygiene, opt-in strategy and policy, consistency that can be trusted. As lead generation specialists, our team at The ALEA Group frequently has to remind our B2B clients about basics like this. Checking the quality of and cleaning up email lists, making sure that your opt-in strategy tells subscribers about WIIFM (what’s in it for me), giving them the choice to opt for what type of content they want to see and how often; these are must-dos that often get neglected. Your emails need to be consistently high quality and valuable, and then, once you have achieved buyers’ trust you need to maintain, if not up the ante on that quality.
What are some of the email marketing campaign strategies that your B2B organization has found useful and effective in recent times? Feel free to add to the list above and do leave me a comment below.
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