Guest post by: Willie Pena
Done right, email marketing can close elusive sales, enhance relationships with current customers, or land and convert that difficult prospect. Done poorly, they can do the opposite: turn off current and potential customers, causing them to close and delete the message.
Those whose emails frequently succumb to the “delete” key often forget that “relationship” is the main focus of any marketing email. Customers must be wooed; their interests must be addressed; and promotions must be tailored in tone and content so as not to seem phony and generic.
To make sure your B2B campaigns persuade rather than dissuade, the following tips focus on creating effective email marketing campaigns anchored in solid relationship skills.
Offer Value by Aligning Message with Customer Profile
Prep work for email marketing campaigns begins as soon as a business customer is acquired or a prospective customer is identified. That’s when a customer profile should be created to provide the basis for message customization in terms of tone and content. Personalization is the number one factor for increasing email performance.
Go beyond the typical notes about age, location and gender. Flesh out the profile by summarizing business needs, buying tendencies, background and purchase regularity.
Pitch products, services or follow-up support specifically based on buying history, the prospect’s role and future needs. This makes the email more relevant to the recipient.
You can gather this invaluable information in several ways. For customers, one is through the initial order itself, but don’t add so many questions that customers abandon the ordering process. One to three questions should suffice.
With customers and prospects alike, you can follow up with brief surveys and questionnaires that reward them with some form of discount or prize giveaway in exchange for answering the questions. You’ll get better compliance by breaking questionnaires up into no more than 5 to 10 questions at a time.
Finally, social media profiles provide a wealth of information on customers and prospects, even beyond what they might willingly provide on a survey. Personal likes and dislikes, political and religious affiliations, social circles — all of this is freely available online. Care should be taken not to violate privacy for the sake of making a sale. Common sense and discretion go a long way in knowing how to use information derived from social media.
Create an Engaging and Professional Design
Readers decide in one to three seconds whether an email is worth opening. When marketing to other businesses, make sure every email element is polished, professional and interesting.
- Starting with the subject line, be specific and concise about content while also providing a strong hook to persuade the recipient to actually open and read the email.
- To create an air of authority and trust, make sure the sender field contains your company name or the name of a specific person who has built the relationship with the customer.
- Have a simple, yet logical layout to spotlight content that is individualized with useful information and special targeted promotions.
- Make the content appealing by including headers and pictures.
- Narrow the focus. Emails with too many target goals often achieve nothing. Set one call-to-action goal per email. Make the call to action easy to follow by including a link; a link will also allow you to track who has clicked and visited specific pages.
- Don’t be melodramatic with language, exclamation points or high-pressure tactics; such behavior is unprofessional.
- Lastly, test the email in several browsers to make sure all text and images display properly. Test both HTML and text versions.
Encourage Ongoing Feedback
To keep emails from becoming one-way communication or purely a commercial pitch, ask for feedback so that readers are actively engaged with your company. Ask recipients to respond to surveys, complete account profiles, review recently bought products or provide opinions on newly launched products or services.
All of this feedback can provide deeper insight into your recipients’ needs and preferences; crucial information you can use for future interactions. Reward participation with free downloads or limited-time discounts.
What are your thoughts on improving the effectiveness of B2B email marketing campaigns? Please leave a comment.
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