Before GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) came into force in May 2018, some marketers were questioning, will this be the death of email marketing? This was mainly due to the regulation bringing forward a new standard of consent requiring opt-in permission and therefore risking a huge loss of subscribers.
However, this was perhaps a bit of a climactic assumption and many are now arguing that GDPR has saved email marketing, since marketers are now engaging with an audience that’s actually interested. Here at Trellis, we believe email marketing is a highly effective tool to directly converse with your target audience. In a Content Marketing Institute survey, 87% of B2B marketers used email as part of their digital marketing strategy. So, if you aren’t using it yet then what’s stopping you?
Whilst email marketing can be a highly effective tool, its success depends on first outlining clear goals, a target audience and strategy. We understand that as a small business owner with many things on your plate, it can be hard to know how to start email marketing. This is why we’ve put together our key tips to get you started with your B2B email marketing strategy.
Outline your initial Email Marketing goals
- Lead generation: A common goal for B2B email marketing is to generate leads by targeting prospective customers. In B2B marketing, it can’t be expected that a business will purchase your product or service after receiving one email. Therefore, providing targeted content to your audience is a useful way to nurture and warm up your leads before turning them into conversions.
- Brand awareness:
While conversions may be your ultimate goal, email can also be a useful tool to generate brand awareness and engage with the customer. This could involve a weekly newsletter sharing latest company news, events, case studies or blog articles, which in turn drives website traffic.
- Upselling and cross-selling:
Email is not only valuable for prospective customers but can also be an easy way to encourage repeat business. This could be by sharing news of a new product or service release, thus encouraging clients to renew their contract or purchase a different product or service.
Whether you choose to only focus on one goal or a combination of a few, determining this will be highly useful in informing the rest of your strategy. It is worth noting that your goals will also adapt over time as you develop your email channel further. Download our free digital marketing strategy template to help you outline your goals.
Understand your target audience
Whilst considering your goals, it is also important to think of who you are going to be targeting. You may have already put together a buyer persona, which outlines all the motivators, needs and challenges of your target audience, as part of your marketing strategy. If you need some help with this, read our guide on how to develop buyer personas. A useful place to start is by looking at the data you have already collected on existing customers or subscribers.
By combining your business goals and the needs of your target audience, you’ll get an idea of the type of content to put in your emails. Some key questions that need to be asked are: What business problem or challenge do they have that needs resolved? What role do they play within the business?
Choose a suitable ESP to suit your business needs
Before you start sending emails, you need to select an ESP (email service provider). With a growing number of email platforms that have varying functionality from basic to advanced, it can be hard to know which one is best suited. Ask yourself the following questions: What features do we require? What is our budget? What kind of technical support do we need?
A tool commonly used by small businesses wanting to get up and running with their B2B email marketing is Mailchimp. It is easy to set up and offers both a basic free package to more premium options. However, if you’re looking for something with more advanced functionality, there are many different providers to choose from.
As a HubSpot partner, we use their Inbound email marketing tool for many of our B2B clients. They offer a free version for businesses looking to get started, as well as a professional tool offering an all-in-one option to integrate channels, from SEO to social media. Before committing to any tool, it is worth doing some research to identify which one will be best suited to your needs.
Encourage sign-ups whilst following best practices
Before you start sending out any emails, you need some subscribers to send to! So what’s the best way to start building up your email list? On your website, you can include an on-site form or pop-up that will feed the collected data back into your ESP. In order to push sign-ups further, you could promote this on your social media channels, by communicating to existing clients or encouraging people to sign up in person via a tablet at an event.
Design your emails
Once you are all set up on an ESP, an important step is to design the style and layout of the email template you are going to use. ESPs, such as Hubspot and Mailchimp, offer a range of templates to choose from. These can be customised depending on the different blocks that you require. However, if you are looking to create something more custom, then it would be worth working with a designer. For inspiration, it is a good idea to sign up to your competitor emails and see the type of templates they are using.
But it doesn’t end there! There are several other elements worth noting when putting together your emails:
- Images and logos:
Your B2B email marketing should be an extension of your brand and remain consistent with other communications. Add your logo in a high-res format so the reader can instantly recognise who the email is from. Meanwhile, images should be high quality and relevant to the message you are conveying.
You need to consider the target audience you outlined previously to determine how to grab their attention. If you have already developed your own brand tone of voice, your emails should maintain this style. The subject line is a critical way of encouraging opens, with 61-70 characters recommended as the optimal length to be read. Testing subject lines is a useful way of trying out different styles and lengths.
Subject line length and average read rate graph
A Call to Action, or CTA, button is a way of breaking up the text whilst directing the reader to a desired action. It needs to stand out by using optimal size, colour and text. While you may have different buttons for different actions, it is important to not include too many and confuse the reader.
- Desktop and mobile optimisation:
It is often assumed in B2B email marketing that many users will open emails on their work desktop, however 35% of business professionals now check their emails on mobile. It is therefore vital to optimise for both channels. This involves ensuring that images and copy are a suitable ratio on mobile, as sometimes it may look perfect on desktop but not so great on mobile.
B2B email marketing for small businesses
If you are in need of further assistance with your email marketing and other digital marketing channels, you’ve come to the right place. We help our clients use email marketing as part of their digital marketing strategy to achieve their goals.