While consumer markets often play a numbers game when it comes to their email marketing campaigns, companies that sell in business to business (B2B) markets have to use a more exacting approach.
Ultimately, they must rely upon strategies that are more purposeful and precise when delivering their marketing message.
So why do business markets require a different strategy altogether? First, business professionals are constantly on the move, constantly pressed for time and they rarely, if ever, open up an email they’re not interest in or didn’t expect to receive.
Second, the sheer number of emails a business professional receives on a daily basis is astonishing.
There are a plethora of internal emails from direct reports, internal departments and coworkers, in addition to multiple external emails from customers.
A business professional will immediately prioritise emails based on their urgency. Your unwanted email is discarded entirely.
Finally, every business professional aspires to have an uncluttered inbox. If you’ve included them in an email campaign they’re clearly not interested in, or worse, one they never asked to receive, then they’ll simply ignore your email.
So, how do you make sure your B2B email campaign is well received?
1. Build Your List Gradually
A low click-through rate (CTR) makes email marketers nervous. When confronted with a low CTR, they suddenly start making unnecessary changes. The larger the list, the lower your CTR.
In a B2B market, you want to build your email list of email recipients gradually and improve CTR over time.
You want that list to include customers who want to receive the message, customers who have purchased from your company in the past, and ultimately, customers who are interested in forging a relationship with your business.
Starting off small with your existing customers allows you to maximise your CTR so that you know exactly what types of content, fonts, colors, images, links and text work best within your campaigns.
2. “Buy-In” Instead of “Forced-In”
Again, in a B2B market, it’s never a numbers game. It’s never just about taking a B2B data list, a tradeshow, conference and or exhibitor list, and then adding all those names to your email campaign.
It’s a prerequisite that your customer “buys-in” to the email campaign, and isn’t “forced-in”, lied to or misled into receiving that email. Misleading them will do nothing more than annoy them.
After all, if you can’t take the time to explain why your email campaign would be of value to them, then why should they even bother to open it?
3. Offer a Customised Message
Your email campaign should provide customised information specifically tailored to the decision maker receiving it.
For instance, does your company only sell to corporate buyers? Or, do you also sell to engineers, field-service technicians, business owners, CEOs, entrepreneurs, draftsmen and or financial professionals?
Are you addressing and writing to the right person?
It need not be difficult. You’ll have a basic template to your campaign and then tweak it according to those concerns specific to the decision maker your sending the email to.
Your customers have multiple key decision makers and all of them have different concerns. Reaching each of them means coming up with information they themselves see as value-added.
The reality is that what concerns an engineer might not concern a corporate buyer.
4. Incentivise Customers
Sometimes the best approach to B2B email marketing is to get your customers to see it as something other than a sales email.
Incentivise your customers to open that campaign by making them part of a customer compensation plan. So, what is a customer compensation plan?
Simply put, you’re going to compensate your customer for making purchases. With every purchase you’ll apply a percentage towards a discount on future purchases.
Once your customer reaches their desired percentage level, your company grants them that discount or merely applies that amount onto their outstanding balances.
This compensation plan can be provided as a monthly update about the customer’s progress until they hit their predetermined percentage threshold.
In essence, they’ll want to see that email because it will advise them how much they have built up in their compensation plan.
5. Value-Added After-Sales Service Solution
The B2B companies that win the day are the ones who provide excellent after-sales service and support.
They don’t merely just sell their product and then leave it up to their customers to figure things out.
Instead, they help those customers with valuable insight into how to increase efficiencies, reduce costs and get the most out of their most recent purchases.
Part of your email campaigns should be focused on an after-sales service strategy where you follow up with your customers on their purchases, while providing them with an outlet to contact your company should they encounter any issues.
What Have You Accomplished?
You’ve gradually built up your campaign and optimised your CTR by sticking to existing customers.
You’ve made sure that every email recipient has “opted-in” instead of being “forced-in”, thereby guaranteeing they aren’t sending that email directly to their spam filter. This is key to avoiding spam filters.
Next, you’ve offered a customised email campaign tailored to the specific decision maker your company is selling to.
You’ve then improved that campaign by getting your customer onto a compensation plan, one where they’ll want to open each email in order to see how much they have in their account.
Finally, you’ve focused on providing after-sales service and support so that your customer is never left alone after a purchase.
In the end, you’ve taken a proactive approach to making sure your campaign is a success. It requires work, but it will make a difference.
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How to you approach email marketing to B2B companies? Or if you are at the receiving end of a email campaign, what do you look for in a sales email? And what makes you reach for the spam button?
Drop us a message in the comments section below.