After the “Spam King” went to prison back in 2016, many people believed that email marketing was dead. Of course, casting out the largest net possible in the hopes of catching one tiny fish, is no longer an acceptable tactic when it comes to email marketing, and spam messages certainly have decreased considerably in the last two years. While spam has not been entirely eliminated, our outlook on launching a successful email marketing campaign has. While this is partially due to the tools marketers use (that automatically blacklist unsubscribes so that you can’t email them again), it also has to do with the more customer-centric mindset that is guiding B2B interactions with prospects and clients alike. With that in mind, here are some five tips to making your next email marketing campaign a success:
Know Your Target Audience
Providing value to your customers starts by understanding your buyer personas to know who they are, what they want, and how the right messaging will influence their behavior. In order to determine what will resonate with your audience, you need to be able to put yourself in their shoes. The “what’s in it for me?” needs to be answered in every message that you send. If you have several different audiences, create one specific message per audience. One-size-fits-all approaches don’t work, so you want to be as niche as possible as opposed to using generic phrases that add little value.
Get Compliant Opt-Ins First
Not only is conducting an initial outreach program going to increase your email response rate, in some markets, but it’s also a legal requirement to obtain explicit opt-ins prior to launch (more on that below). By profiling the companies you want to target, and then initiating a telemarketing effort to speak to the key job roles that interest you, you can engage your audience in a discussion that will pique their interest. When prospects are on the lookout for your email because you’ve confirmed their interest in the topic, they’ll be more likely to open the message (and read it) when they receive it.
Be Aware of Data Protection Regulations
GDPR in the EU means that you cannot easily email people who have not opted-in to hear from you. While some people hide behind the “legitimate interest” clause in the regulation, you’re opening yourself up to unnecessary risk if you collect and store personal data without a data subject’s permission. Making sure that you are aware of the regulations that govern data protection will help ensure that your email marketing campaign is compliant. Of course, it goes without saying that if at any time someone on your recipient list should opt-out, you must respect their choice and eliminate their data from your CRM.
Follow-up Emails with other Methods
Multi-channel marketing means that you shouldn’t rely solely on one tactic in order to get your message across. By using a combination of techniques and creating a holistic approach, you can maximize your efforts and chances of success. Social selling can also help engage prospects and direct them towards the content of your choice. Of course, this is a longer-term nurture program that may take time to produce ROI, but if your goal is to push leads down the sales funnel, having an integrated methodology is going to yield the highest results in the end. Even the best email marketing campaigns have some “waste” (prospects that never open and never click regardless of the follow-up emails that are systematically sent); reducing this waste should be a goal in and of itself.
If you don’t get the results you want, change. Whether marketers want to admit it or not, any new campaign is an experiment. If your experiment doesn’t have the desired outcome, you need to modify methods or parameters. That does not mean that you completely abandon your strategy or change target audiences, however; what it does mean is that you try A/B testing with subject lines and perhaps different content in the core email text. Of course, at the end of any email marketing effort, you need to evaluate the KPI’s you established at the start of the campaign; those results should be your guide when making adjustments in the future. It could be that you need to do more research about what your audience is interested in; or perhaps you need to try an entirely new tactic in order to generate leads. Either way, marketing outreach is an ongoing process that needs to be agile. Just because something worked last year, doesn’t mean it will work again, so adaptability is a must for each and every new campaign you run.