Email is the first port of call for most sales and marketing teams in the B2B realm owing to its ease of use, comparatively low technology requirements, and the quick turnaround time that it affords.
Whether it is a cold call or a pitch, a follow-up with a lead or nurturing a potential customer, handling an existing customer or offering service to an existing one, email allows marketers to handle each task with élan.
B2C marketing teams are not too far behind in their use of email in their marketing. As a conversion tool, email marketing has proven itself over the years to be highly effective. What’s more, over 52% of all marketers increased their email marketing budgets in 2014.
A recent Email Marketing Benchmarks Study by eMarketer reports that: “The average order value from customers acquired via email is also 17% higher than those acquired from social media channels.”
Email marketing is easy to measure and analyze, which makes it unparalleled in its ability to help us understand where sales are coming from. And email marketing makes sense for both the B2C world and the B2B world. After all, the final readers in both cases are individuals so the effect of media channels on them ought to be similar.
What follows are 7 secrets you can use in your email marketing to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.
- Get inside the mind of your prospective customers
An email campaign is only as good as the research that goes into it.
In a B2B scenario, study your client’s business inside out. Understand what their pain points are, what their victories were, what they are currently working on. All of these will help you get a sense of what to offer to the client and be more relevant to their immediate needs.
A B2C campaign needs to send targeted communications to its users based on the wealth of big data that they have at their disposal. An email campaign promoting women’s running shoes to a male athlete is a waste of time and effort. Worse, it tells the user that you have no clue about their real needs, prompting them to ignore future communications that you send them.
Track users across different interfaces and loop data back into personalized emails.
Whether online or in physical stores, you can track user behavior and profiles to deep levels these days. Click tracking, browsing behavior or actual purchases tell you a lot about each individual user.
Use this information in creating personalized emails for your customers. After all, studies show that relevant, personalized communication results in higher conversions.
- Use a real person’s name in the “from” field to increase opens by 33%
It pains me every time I receive email from email@example.com. If your subscribers don’t see the name of your site, app, or CEO (best) in the Sender field of your email, why should they waste time in opening it? If at all it chances to beat their spam filters, it probably won’t even register in their minds.
Customers tend to not bother opening emails that they think are from unknown people or brands they have never interacted with. According to a study by Marketing Sherpa:
“A ’from name’ test showed a 33% increase in Open Rates, by using a person’s name and not a brand. But it also resulted in a 150% increase in Unsubscribes.”
Use your CEO’s name if she is a recognizable personality, for the ‘From’ field in your emails. Go with your brand name if that is more recognizable. A trusted, known name is always a better deal than random unknown email ‘From’ names.
While marketing agencies like Distilled (Will Critchlow), QuickSprout (Neil Patel) and WordStream (Larry Kim) put this practice to good use, it’s a great sight to see a major brand like Ralph Lauren building connections in this way.
Imagine opening your inbox and seeing a direct mail from the CEO you adore, of a brand you love and use!
- Make sure your content is scintilating
You might get the subject line spot on and make a customer curious enough to open your email. But if your content is not worthwhile, it will ensure future emails from your brand don’t get opened.
Equip your B2C emails with a strong headline that clearly communicates the gist of the email. The content of the email should have a clear offer, pricing information (if appropriate to the stage of communication) and an unmissable, unambiguous Call to Action.
A B2B email should begin with a strong opening line that makes a connection with the reader instead of wasting the opening line on boring self-introductions that the user couldn’t care less about.
- Offer the user something special to entice them to read
82.4 billion B2C and 100.5 billion B2B emails are sent every single day. An average user is inundated with an avalanche of unsolicited and spammy emails on a daily basis.
If you want your communication to stand out, offer the user something special, something that would prompt them to look forward to hearing more from you.
This can be in the form of valuable information like research studies, infographics or whitepapers. It could even be really attractive deals and monetary enticements like discounts, freebies, referral bonus, extra loyalty points, and so on.
- Create a sense of urgency with time-bound offers
However great an offer maybe, unless there’s an end-date to it, no customer is pushed to whip out their wallets right away.
This email from TigerDirect has the right combination of a strong headline, an offer that creates a real sense of urgency, and a call to action button that it is loud and clear.
To make sure your email communication inspires action immediately, create time-bound offers while clearly spelling out when the offer expires. Similar tactics like ‘Limited stock’ offers or special deals for the ‘first 50 customers’ make users want to capitalize on the opportunity while it lasts.
- Increase your reach by including social sharing buttons
A truly great sales email inspires users to share it with friends and family who have similar interests. Nudge them to do this by including social sharing buttons alongside each key piece of information. It could be a tweetable quote, a tempting offer shareable on Facebook, or a cute image they can’t resist pinning.
Another great way to ensure visibility to users above and beyond your mailing list is to include a prominent ‘forward to friends’ button on your email.
Typetec encourages users to forward the email to their friends using a prominently placed button in a contrasting color at the top right of the email.
- Increase open rates 50% by using triggered emails
Remarketing company SaleCycle estimates that abandoned shopping carts will cost $3 trillion in online sales in 2014. But there’s a simple and extremely effective way of bringing back customers who ditched your site – triggered emails sent within hours of shopping cart abandonment.
Triggered emails are those you send out based on the behavior or profile data of your site visitors or customers. According to the Epsilon Email Trends and Benchmarks Study 2013, open rates for triggered emails stand at about 50%, while CTRs are around 10% (double that of business-as-usual emails).
In fact, SaleCycle found that such triggered emails for abandoned shopping carts yield revenues ranging from $15.23 (fashion & lifestyle category) to $ 1.48 (food & drink category) per email sent out.
Nordstrom keeps it simple and classy. Their cart abandonment email shows an image of the abandoned item and offers a prominent click through link directing the user to the product page to complete the transaction.
An effective triggered email for abandoned shopping carts should be extremely personalized with the user’s name, details of the product left behind in the cart, a link and images of the product left behind and a clear call to action encouraging users to retrieve the abandoned cart before it expires. Abandoned cart emails are usually sent out in sets of 2 to 3 emails, with the next set of emails containing a small incentive like a discount or free shipping to entice an immediate purchase.
There’s still room for early adopters in this space. Adopt an integrated email tool like GetResponse’s auto-responder to configure triggers that make sense to your brand, schedule your message cycles, and template out what you want to say in each of them.
Break down your brand’s marketing lifecycle and device-specific email communication strategies using the secrets mentioned above as the foundation for your plans. Once you have the overall direction chalked out and the routes planned, it’s only a matter of following the signs and driving through to your final destination. Here’s to many happy journeys ahead!
Rohan Ayyar works for E2M, a premium digital marketing firm specializing in content strategy, web analytics and conversion rate optimization for startups. His posts are featured on major online marketing blogs such as Moz, Search Engine Journal and Social Media Today. Rohan hangs out round the clock on Twitter @searchrook – hit him up any time for a quick chat.