Email marketing has been going strong for years, and it shows no signs of stopping. There's no doubt that it works when it's done well, but creating an effective email marketing campaign involves staying on top of all the latest trends and technology as well as being able to shift as customer priorities evolve.
2020 has already shown us just how fast our world can change. Our personal lives, work environment, and business goals and plans have been put on pause or completely restructured as Covid-19 spreads around the globe. During this time, there are many questions arising about how to adjust your B2B email marketing strategy. One thing is for sure, digital channels are going to be all the more crucial during the weeks, and possibly months, ahead.
Here are a few tips to keep your campaigns relevant, effective, and engaging this year and into the future.
Don’t Forget to Give Your Campaigns a Refresh
What’s relevant this week can change by the next. Consistently refreshing and reviewing your email campaigns helps make sure they are fresh and aligned to the times. Email nurtures can easily be forgotten since they are something you don't revisit often, and they are being sent daily and hourly without direct oversight. But a “set-and-forget” mentality can put your brand in an embarrassing or uncomfortable situation, especially now if the tone of emails feels off in the context of the global pandemic.
It’s a good idea to take a close look at your existing campaigns, your message, and any other automated or triggered emails that a subscriber may receive. Put yourself in your subscribers' shoes and ask yourself: is there any email content (copy or image) that was effective previously but may seem inappropriate today? Are there any subject lines that might come across as insensitive?
The first step is to review campaigns, the second step is to consider how they can be refreshed to meet customers’ needs. Brands are turning to their email marketing teams to keep customers and prospects well informed — and to build trust in times of uncertainty. Can you offer an encouraging message? Share resources that will support your customers and their business? There’s no need to force it, but if you have something valuable to add to the conversation, it may be worth adjusting your campaigns to include these types of messages.
Personalization Through Segmentation and Dynamic Content
Segmenting your email list is one of the simplest things you can do to see a big impact on your email marketing. Marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns, according to Campaign Monitor.
You can segment your lists in any way you see fit, including by industry or job title. Your target customers are flooded by so many emails, being able to tailor messaging can help you stand out from the noise.
In addition, new technology has made it easier to allow businesses to send increasingly relevant messaging to potential clients. They can now personalize communications based on the customer's interests, what behavior they've engaged in, and what their interests are. You can use this technique to enhance your messaging across all of your marketing efforts, including emails.
Studies show that people get frustrated and lose interest when content isn't relevant to their needs or interests. So what can marketers do to make sure that people stay engaged? It's time to adapt the content you offer your customers to their exact needs and wants. You can't simply send the same email out to everyone on your list. Take a look at where they are in the customer life cycle, and analyze what they may be looking for at that moment.
A/B testing, also known as split testing, is useful for testing individual elements of emails in order to see which are most effective. For example, you may test the same email with two different subject lines to see which gets people to open your email at a higher rate. Or you may test two different calls to action at the end of the same email, to see which one has a better click-through rate. The purpose of A/B testing is to better determine a winning formula for what works best with your audience.
In 2019, around half of companies say that they rarely, or never, A/B test triggered or transactional emails. However recent research from Litmus shows that A/B testing is a winning strategy. Brands that always include an A/B test in their emails generate an ROI of 48:1, compared to an ROI of 35:1 for those who never include tests. If you want to start with A/B testing, try beginning with the subject line. Watch what language works best, how long the most effective subject lines are, and if they include personalization. From there, you can see what's driving people to open your emails.
If you find that people just aren't opening your emails or clicking on links, you may simply need to improve the content that you include. This is where A/B testing can really help. Think of how people read emails. They usually skim them for interesting tidbits, so make sure any headlines or titles you use are attention-grabbing. Try shorter-form content, or try testing different graphics, images, or colors to see if this has any impact.
As technology keeps getting smarter, we're able to automate more and more of the marketing processes that once took up a lot of marketers' time. To use automation most effectively, think about your customer's life cycle. Usually, they start as a subscriber, and then become a lead, followed by a marketing-qualified lead, a sales-qualified lead, and then finally a customer.
If you're using an account-based marketing strategy, it's essential that your marketing team and sales team work together to enhance the customer experience and improve the customer life cycle. You can do this by automating certain interactions. For example, to nurture leads, you can set up a system that automatically sends a message to someone when they click a link within your newsletter. And from there, if they open and interact with that second email, you can point a sales rep in their direction to give them a call.
Both your marketing and sales teams have limited time, so automating marketing when possible helps you use their time effectively. In the long run, it will help you to make the most of the resources you have available.
Including interactive content increases the rate of click-to-open by 73%. Even simple interactive content like GIFs, image carousels or videos makes your message more attractive to those reading your emails. People want to be entertained, and interactive content can show potential customers that your emails offer more than just useful information. And when the time comes for them to make a decision about which brand to purchase from, anything that gives you a leg up on your competition is worth it. Start by including a short video in your next email to see how it engages your audience.
Clear Calls to Action
Each of your communications should contain a clear call to action to prompt your audience to take your relationship to the next level. Phrases like "learn more," "get started," or "join us" will entice people to click on the link you offer them. Make your call to action simple and actionable. People are more likely to do what you ask of them when it's something they perceive as easy to do.
What happens when someone clicks on a link in one of your emails? They should be taken to a landing page that matches both the look and feel of the email. Include similar headlines, copy and content, so people don't feel like they missed something when they moved over to your site. And don't forget to reach out to customers after they take your desired action.
In 2020, marketing is all about building and nurturing relationships between businesses and customers. By keeping content concise, relevant and personalized, you can foster a stronger relationship with your clients.
Interested in making your email marketing more efficient? Learn about our approach to driving revenue and nurturing leads with marketing automation.
Nicole is Content Director at Beacon Digital Marketing, where she leads a team of writers, editors, and strategists in creating effective content strategies backed up by compelling content that gets results. She specializes in creating content for the fintech, cybersecurity, and risk and compliance industries.