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The Definitive Guide to B2B Email Marketing

The Definitive Guide to B2B Email Marketing

B2B Email Marketing Best Practices Every Company Should Use.

Welcome to the world of B2B email marketing strategy. The journey you’re about to embark on involves a step-by-step, all-inclusive breakdown of why EVERY company should have a B2B email marketing campaign; how YOUR company can begin to implement a B2B email marketing strategy; and most importantly, why companies who don’t employ B2B email marketing best practices are ultimately destined for failure.

Excited to learn more? We hope so! But before we delve any deeper into this innovative online marketing strategy, let’s first define the B2B concept and how it’s applied to email marketing:

As marketers we know that the B2B, or business-to-business, concept defines a conversation involving the exchange of products, services or information between two or more business entities.  But do we know how to translate the B2B concept to an email marketing strategy?

Unlike a B2C relationship, where it’s your job to tap into the emotions of a consumer in order to convince them to buy your product, a B2B relationship is all based on logic. When working with another business, it’s imperative to understand the logic or reasoning behind a purchasing decision—to really get down into the nitty-gritty of their business needs. This, as a result, means you must be more in-depth with your marketing initiatives and must focus on things that matter most to a business, such as time, money and resources.

Why Every Company Should Have a B2B Email Marketing Strategy

So, now that we’ve gotten the definitions out of the way, let’s discuss why it’s vital that your organization enact a dedicated B2B email marketing strategy.

The following are some email marketing-specific statistics from three major players in the B2B email marketing world provided by Salesforce.com, a global customer relationship management (CRM) company specializing in cloud computing. Alone, each is rather compelling, but combined, they should be all you need to recognize the impact a well-executed B2B email marketing campaign can generate:

  • For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment (Experian)
  • 77% of consumers prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email (ExactTarget)
  • 72% of B2B buyers are most likely to share useful content via email (Earnest Agency)

The key takeaway from all three of these statistics is simple: B2B email marketing means more engagement/more engagement means more leads/more leads mean more conversions/more conversions means more $$$. Think of B2B email marketing as yet another tool in your inbound marketing toolbox. If you’re not using this marketing strategy to communicate with your clients, then you’re missing out—BIG time!

“While blogs and social media are winning larger and larger portions of B2B marketing budgets, email marketing remains an important and cost-effective solution to drive lead generation efforts and build long-lasting relationships with clients. An expertly crafted marketing email can initiate the sales conversation with valuable leads and help you stay connected to your most profitable clients”

– HubSpot’s 7 Steps to Jump-Start Your Email Marketing Strategy

At Vital, we are our own best case study. As a growing B2B digital marketing agency, we recognize the need to communicate with our current and prospective clients on a consistent basis. We use B2B email marketing strategy as a way of doing this. We share all of our content—blog posts, ebooks, white papers, etc.—using an email platform designed around our marketing initiatives and goals. And thus far, our B2B email marketing strategies have helped us land and retain some major clients on the national, and even international stage.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, a B2B email marketing strategy is something your company should not only want, it is something your company needs, Look at it as an investment to help future-proof your business.

So now let’s walk through 3 simple steps that will help your company begin to create a B2B email marketing strategy that truly works.

1. Select an ESP

The first and perhaps most critical step involves finding the right email service provider, or ESP. What is an ESP, you ask?  Good question. We’re glad you asked it. ESPs are services that let a business manage an email account through an online interface. In plain speak, they enable a company to manage an email marketing campaign by providing avenues to format an email message to include images, links and custom layout design.

Some of the best ESPs out there today include:

MailChimpThis dedicated email marketing platform is highly responsive, allows for automation and personalization and features advanced analytics.If you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month absolutely free. Upgrades prices are based on amount of subscribers.

Constant Contact An affordable email marketing platform that allows for some automation that comes with free coaching and online education programs to help customer take advantage of their platform. Starts at as little as $15/month.

Exact TargetAn extremely comprehensive multi-channel marketing tool. ExactTarget allows marketers to build a single view of their customers, and deliver personalized email content on every channel and every device.

Campaign MonitorTheir email builder lets you create unique email designs in minutes. Automatic list management, custom fields and 100+ ready-to-use integrations make it easy to manage your subscribers.

PardotThis full-service marketing platform allows for automation, personalization and A/B testing among a host of other applications. Packages range from $1,000/month to $3,000/month.

HubSpot — Email marketing is just a small sliver of this full-service marketing platform. Email applications include: lead generation tools, personalization and automation, integrated analytics, content management, etc. Packages range from $200/month to $2,400/month.

However, before you select an ESP, properly evaluate them to ensure their right for your business. Also, if your company uses Salesforce, be sure to check out this post we wrote about finding the best ESPs for your company.

2. Designate a Person to Monitor/Oversee Your ESP

It’s never a bad idea to designate someone or a team of someones as the go-to point of contact for all of your company’s email marketing related needs. This person or persons should be deeply engrained in the ESP you ultimately end up selecting. They should embrace all aspects of the ESP platform, taking the time to learn and strategize all of its applications and tools.

3. Define an Objective

What do you want to accomplish out of this B2B email marketing campaign? Is it education? Is it more leads? Is it to enhance your brand or increase your sales? Before you begin your email marketing campaign, be sure to adequately define your objectives. It’s impossible to achieve your marketing goals if you have no idea what they are in the first place.

But wait, we’re not done yet. Now that you’ve followed this simple 3-step process and gotten the ball rolling, be sure to consider the following tips on how to further enhance your B2B email marketing strategy:

B2B Email Marketing Tips

If you’ve gotten this far in your quest to create an effective B2B email marketing strategy, then you’re now ready to tackle a few basic email marketing techniques designed to foster a relationship with your current and future B2B clientele. Remember, email marketing is innately personal. When you have someone’s email address, it’s almost like you have his or her home phone number. Use this information wisely.

Tip #1 — Build Lists

The power of a B2B email marketing strategy is inherent within the distribution lists you build around it. These lists of email addresses should be developed with care, and should be curated and tagged appropriately, that way when it comes time to email your intended audience, you’ve sent the appropriate email to fit your objective.

A lot of companies build lists based off new and old clients. Others build lists based off other things. Ultimately, the lists you will build will be specific to your business or industry, and will be designed toward a specific objective.

Tip #2 — Get Specific

Also known as segmentation, this email marketing strategy allows you to target specific email users with a specific invitation or message. For example, if a company wants to engage its most loyal business clients, then it will segment its email list into a specific group around this marketing demographic and then target this group with special offers, relevant blog posts or event announcements. Segmentation is often considered a luxury service for an ESP, so be prepared to shell out a few extra $$$.

Tip 3. — Get Automated 

An ESP should provide automation options that allow you to communicate with your prospective or current customers in a timely and relevant manner. A great example of automation is using an auto responder to reach out to someone who has either filled out a form or downloaded content on your website. For example, if someone subscribes to a newsletter on your website and they’re a new user, an auto responder can be created that will reach out to this potential customer to further the conversation.

Tip 4. — RSS-to-Email Is Your Friend

Imagine if every time you generated a new piece of content for your company’s blog, an email newsletter was sent out to everyone on your subscription list. This is the idea behind an RSS-to-email feed for your email marketing strategy.

The beauty behind this strategy is that it’s completely up to you to decide when and how often an email subscriber gets hit with your content. The key to creating an RSS-to-email feed is to always allow your reader a chance to opt in or opt out. Chances are if your content remains relevant and of good quality, the reader will continue to tune in each and every time your RSS-to-email feed goes to work.

Tip 5. — Nurture Your Leads 

Creating a Lead Nurture campaign involves creating a series of emails that are sent out over a period of time that are specifically design to get people who are on the fence to be interested in your business. These are the people who are kicking the tires and just need that extra shove in the right direction.

A Lead Nurture campaign can involve as many emails as you want to send your prospective client on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. These emails are an effective way for a company to ‘dangle the carrot,’ using blog posts or other forms of content to keep the potential client coming back for more.

As a marketing professional, it is your job to promote and enhance your company’s message and communications across the various user channels and many marketing mediums. It’s also your job to prop up your sales department to close deals, build revenue and improve your company’s bottom-line. And what better and more effective way to do this than through an effective B2B email marketing campaign?

Think of your B2B email marketing strategy as a way of lending a helping hand to your sales department. While the company sales men and women are out attempting to churn up business, your back at mission control monitoring the email marketing campaign watching potential leads pour in.

Vital is a B2B email marketing/lead generating machine. Our Inbound Marketing team has helped numerous companies over the years develop and execute a B2B email marketing strategy that drives leads and cultivates business relationships. Be sure to check out our blog or follow us on Twitter for all of the latest news, tips and tricks. Or, contact us today if you’re ready to talk about ways of improving your business’ marketing strategies.

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