1) Zero in on the right target audience: Batch and blast is never the right approach to take when it comes to email marketing. Before executing any campaign, confirm exactly who you are targeting with your messages – either existing customers (who are familiar with your brand and offerings) or completely new prospects (who likely will not be). You’ll need to distinguish between customer engagement campaigns versus customer acquisition campaigns, as each audience requires an entirely different approach.
Customer engagement is communicating with those individuals who are already your customers, and can also include previous information requesters, content subscribers or friends, followers or fans. These individuals understand your value, are interested in your products, may already be using them or hopefully soon will be. And that’s why customer engagement emails don’t have to start from square one. There’s no longer a need to introduce your brand to this audience. Instead, your content should engage with them in a more familiar language, whether through newsletters, surveys, invitations to demos, coupons, renewal notices, user tips and tricks, or upsell or cross-sell campaigns. As you’ll likely be using your own email data for these campaigns, customer engagement emails also typically exhibit better interaction results — MailChimp estimates open rates at between 15 and 25 percent, and click-through rates (CTRs) around two and three percent.
On the flip side, customer acquisition involves initiating a relationship with new folks who are similar to your existing customers, but are not (yet!) familiar with your company, products and brand. As reaching and converting new prospects is more difficult than communicating to existing customers, customer acquisition is where most of our clients struggle (and it’s an area that we specialize in.) As evidence of this struggle, email response rates for customer acquisition campaigns are, as you might expect, a bit lower compared to customer engagement campaigns. In working with our clients, we’ve found that acquisition email open rates run in the 4-15 percent range, while CTRs vary between 0.05 and 3 percent. Such results are considered excellent for customer acquisition campaigns, and we attribute our success to our email data quality and accuracy.
Another reason for our success: we work closely with our clients to carefully segment email data so that their communications can be refined based on type or size of company, title of the intended recipient, industry, geographic region and much more. No matter whose data you use, segmentation is critical, and it’s an important first step toward effective email personalization.
2) Tell don’t sell: To be successful in customer acquisition, B2B email marketers should start with intriguing subject lines. Next, engaging copy and valuable calls to action (CTAs) are key. But at this early stage, it’s not just about you: a better approach is to leverage informative articles or statistics pertaining to your prospects’ daily challenges, and offer invitations to learn how others like them have overcome these challenges. Think videos, webinars and white papers.
In creating customer acquisition campaigns, make sure your emails are designed in an eye-catching and engaging way via colors, graphics and photos that support the message. Keep them simple and easy to read. They should also be formatted for mobile devices as approximately 2 out of 3 emails these days are being read on a smart phone or tablet. (As such, make sure the CTA is easy to see on a phone – and even better, include a click-to-call button so your recipient can easily call you right away if interested.)
Responding to your valuable CTA will start your prospects’ journey toward solving their business challenge with your help – and to building trust so that you can ultimately win them over as a valued customer.
When it comes to examining your B2B email campaign results so far in 2017, it’s important to distinguish between customer engagement and customer acquisition strategies and tactics. Although both approaches can be used to increase revenue, each requires a distinct approach in order to deliver the results you desire for the rest of the year.
Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI, and convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary new e-book on building a successful B2B email marketing database.
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This article was first published on Integrated Marketing Association.