According to Statistica.com 281 billion emails were sent worldwide in 2018 and that number is predicted to climb to 347 billion by 2023. Our inboxes have never been more full! So why would I be advocating for sending more email to your clients and prospects?
Well when you look at the data (as all smart marketers should) email marketing is still the number one tool in the savvy marketers tool box. 95% of marketers surveyed by the Direct Marketing Association in 2017 reported that email was either Important or Very Important in their marketing strategy. The same report also states that the ROI on email marketing is 30:1 i.e. generates $30 in revenue for every $1 spent. Which is very attractive when you consider Direct Mail has an average ROI of 12:1.
Email marketing helps you grow your business through:
- Customer Retention
- Brand Promotion
- Customer Acquisition
How does email marketing achieve this exactly?
Here are the top 5 ways that email marketing helps you grow your business
- Increases your thought leadership position by being the go-to for information about your industry and new product innovation
- Positions your organization as a partner rather than supplier, which enhances customer retention – we all know it’s cheaper to retain a client than seek a new one
- Provides valuable resources that assist your clients in being successful in their roles
- Provides customers the opportunity to learn more about the people at your company – it’s a well-known adage that people buy from people (not companies)
- Showcases new products or services that are relevant and impactful to your clients
How can we “do” email marketing?
Email marketing has to fit into your overarching marketing strategy. Whether that’s to increase revenue through increasing your market share, introducing new products, expanding your market into new territories or introducing a new sales channel.
Make sure your strategy is clear and well communicated with your whole leadership team, and then look at how email can be incorporated into your marketing plan.
If you’re just starting out here are some suggestions on how to incorporate email into your organization:
- Order follow-up emails are sent to customers to ask how their experience was and how happy they are with the product/service
- Monthly newsletter to share content that your customers will find useful and interesting such as new blogs, company updates and relevant industry news.
- Reactivation of old accounts by reaching out to customers who haven’t purchased in a while to reactivate that relationship
- Requesting a referral once your customer has received their product or started using your services
- Sharing new tools (checklists, data sheets etc.) that will make your customer’s job easier (enhances partner status)
- Events that are happening that are relevant to your client such as tradeshows, conferences or customers appreciation events
- New Product Updates can be shared by email as long as they are relevant to the client
How often should emails be sent?
This really depends on what you’re sending and how often you create relevant content. Generally speaking, for B2B organizations a monthly newsletter is frequent enough to keep your clients updated with new blogs, industry events, company updates and new product information, without being too intrusive.
Newsletters should be signed from the sales rep so that it also acts as a “keep in touch” tool for your sales team and your clients.
Other time-sensitive emails such as upcoming events, or webinar registrations should be sent as and when you need to.
Top 10 tips to help you get started with email marketing.
1. Segmentation – not all customers want the same information because not all customers behave the same way or are interested in the same products or services. You can segment by industry, products/services purchased, or size of organization. You can also segment by buying behaviour, for example are they are a price conscious customer or a quality conscious customer? This would be important when considering what type of information you want to share with them.
According to Skip Fidura, Client services director at dotmailer “The best practice is to refine your targeting down to segments of one if possible. As a consultant however, I also have to work with clients to be practical. In many cases, the cost of doing this level of targeting – from creating all of the versions of the content, processing the data and the campaign management overhead – can outweigh the incremental lift in sales. In other words, it costs more than it makes and so should not be done to that level.”
If you have a limited resources and creating emails for different segments seems overwhelming you can send one newsletter to everyone but keep in mind there may be blogs that are not relevant to certain clients which may affect your click through rates.
2. CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) – if you’re sending commercial emails from, within or to Canada, you need to be aware of CASL. This legislation mandates that commercial emails can only be sent to individuals who have given express permission for you to email them. You may also send emails to those who have implied consent through an existing business relationship or if someone has contacted you via email. Non-compliance carries a hefty penalty with fines of up to $1 million.
To make sure your emails are CASL compliant only ever send to contacts who have expressly given you consent to contact them via email, and ensure you have a clear unsubscribe link on all marketing emails that you send.
3. It’s about them not you (in hindsight this should probably have been #1) – remember that the email you send should always be framed in a way that the content is useful and relevant to your customer, otherwise they aren’t going to read it. And then it’s a waste of your time and resources, and more importantly will negatively impact your customers’ perception of you.
4. Use an interesting headline to attract their attention in their busy inbox. Headlines should be enticing but definitely not spammy. Don’t use FREE in your headline – email providers will now typically send any email with FREE into the spam or junk folder. Try to speak to the benefit the recipient will receive for opening the email.
5. Include video – people love to watch videos, if you’re promoting a new product try shooting a quick video (an iPhone works!) and then include in your email.
6. Send your email on Tuesday – this has been shown by multiple studies to be the best day of the week to send an email, and if you use your own experience with email this makes sense. Mondays we’re all trying to catch up on the emails that we’ve received and planning out the week, by Tuesday we’re ready to open and read new emails.
Try to avoid sending email on Friday as people are often out of the office or not interested in reading emails on a Friday afternoon. As a general rule unless you’re sharing time sensitive content such as a webinar registration or product promotion, avoid sending email on a Monday or Friday. I’ve personally found that Tuesday is the best day for B2B emails in terms of open and click through rates.
7. Send email at 10.00am – according to mailchimp’s data optimization feature the best time of day to send an email is 10.00am in your recipient’s time zone. If your clients aren’t located in the same time zone try sending the email at a time that’s mutually acceptable to all regions. In Canada for example, if you’re covering the West to East coast and you’re sending from Toronto, you could send at 12.00pm EST so it would be received in Vancouver at 9am and St Johns at 1.30pm. The best-case scenario would be to segment your email list by time zone and send to all recipients at 10am their time.
Interestingly Sunday at 9.00pm was also found to be a good time as this is typically when people are checking email to get prepared for Monday morning.
I suggest testing the time that works best for your specific email list. Send at different times each month and look at your data to see which time generates the best open and click through rates.
8. Include a clear unsubscribe – this is important from a customer experience perspective and a requirement of CASL. If you find you’re getting a high unsubscribe rate (more than 1%) then you need to take a dive into your content as it means what you’re sending isn’t relevant or interesting to your recipient list.
9. Use automation – many CRMs now have email automation included in their packages which is a great way to reduce the internal resource time required. Once you’ve set up the email templates in the system you can set rules to automatically send the email to the specific contact. This is especially useful for reactivation emails and referral requests. You can also send your monthly newsletter update in this way.
Many of the more sophisticated marketing automation tools (which can be expensive) such as Marketo, Hubspot and Pardot are ideal for when you’re looking to take the next step and integrate email at a much deeper level into your marketing strategy. You can build and deliver targeted campaigns to prospects who visited your website. The goal is to help them convert by moving them through the sales funnel quicker. You can also send personalized targeted emails to existing customers to help grow your business within the account.
10. Ensure sure your email templates are mobile responsive – you want your clients to have the best experience viewing your email, if they can’t see all the content you’ve created then you’re not going to reap the benefits.
Don’t forget to start tracking your email ROI. This doesn’t have to be very complicated, just track who clicks through to the landing pages (blogs or specific pages on your website) and then track who of those people converts into revenue.
If you need help creating effective email campaigns to help grow your business, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 905-726-8399.