B2B concept defines a conversation between two or more business entities involving the exchange of products, services or information. But how can you translate the B2B concept to an email marketing strategy? First of all you should understand how the B2B decision-making cycle works.
Vital believes that a B2B relationship is all based on logic: “when working with another business, it’s imperative to understand the logic or reasoning behind a purchasing decision”. Businesses make decisions as a group and require more players and time to come to a decision. In B2B email communication “we must focus on things that matter most to a business, such as time, money and resources”, – claims Chuck McMahon.
If you want to do email marketing effectively, it is essential to keep the engagement of email list high. It is a much easier task to keep subscribers interested and active in the first place rather than try to win back from a half died out list later.
At first let me name the main reasons why B2B newsletter subscribers decide to leave:
- Your content is not relevant to them.
- They didn’t sign up (in case if the list was purchased) or they don’t believe they’ve signed up (you didn’t send them welcome emails or emailed them not regularly enough). Email engagement is mission critical in the first 30 days because during this period subscribers learn if your email strategy aligns with their expectations.
- The frequency of emails wrong (too few or too many).
- Emails are of poor visual quality or are unable to be viewed properly on different devices.
- Instead of delivering helpful and interesting information, you are pushing the sale too much.
6 Questions to answer on the way to a higher engagement
1. How do you ensure you remain relevant?
Relevance is the number one strategy for keeping an email list engaged. Not every email you send out would be relevant to all newsletter subscribers. If our B2B customers receive too many emails that aren’t relevant to them, they will become trained to think your emails won’t contain anything valuable.
- Who enjoys receiving blanket emails that have little to do with their interests? Nobody. That’s why a part of getting to know your email list is being aware of their similarities and differences. Segment your contacts according to their interests, concerns, behaviours (e.g. purchase history), etc.
- Every time you send out a newsletter, you get a report on how many people opened the email, clicked on a link etc. Use those reports to learn about interests of your subscribers in order to know where to focus more content in the future.
2. Do you have more to say than a sales pitch?
Ideally you should apply the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) to your email marketing strategy, where 80% of all your email contain educational and entertaining type of content and only 20% are a sales pitch.
3. Is it easy to view our newsletters?
Do your emails look professional? To prevent disengagement because of a poor visual quality, keep in mind the following:
- Mobile Responsive. Two thirds of your customers are opening their emails on a mobile device, so make it easy for them: “Click here to read on your mobile phone” appears more and more often on B2B emails.
- Use of Images. Sometimes images fail to download or do not come through properly, therefore you shouldn’t heavily rely on them. Make sure that all-important information will be delivered in the text format as well.
4. How simple is the message?
Beautifully designed emails have their place, but for many of B2B communications, simpler, shorter messages work better. Keep messaging easy-to-read and don’t include more than one call to action: simply tell the recipient what the email is for and what they need to do next. Don’t waste your or leads’ time sending an email without a clear benefit.
Simplicity helps to hold the attention of the reader and increases the likelihood of their action.
5. When is the best time to email?
Timing is another consideration for maintaining an engaged email list. All major email software allow you to track what time your email was opened, so watch your own data and adjust your send times based on this data.
6. What is the right frequency for B2B newsletters?
Here is what Ardath Albee, B2B content marketing strategist, advices to find out the right frequency:
- You have to accept the length of the buying cycle. Attempts to speed things up with additional messaging might annoy your leads.
- Plan with a realistic view of your content-producing capabilities because it takes a lot of time to research, write, edit and publish high-quality content. “Better to space it out and do it well than to rush to publish based on an artificial schedule you cannot maintain over the long haul,” says Albee.
- Coordinate the timing of email campaigns with each of your company’s departments if your leads also get emails from others in the organization.
Your list has its own unique characteristics, which you can use to your advantage. Always test, get data, and then refine your email marketing strategy.
If the engagement of your email list is very low, most probably your recipients aren’t interested in the content of your campaigns. Email inbox has become a very competitive place; so increasing the relevance by sending targeted messages is crucial.
What helps you to keep your lists active and engaged?