Are you looking for ways to increase your click through and open rates for your next B2B email marketing campaign? Find out the secret to optimising your campaigns today.

Email marketing may be one of the most economic and effective ways to nurture and mobilise existing leads and customers. According to Campaign Monitor’s annual report from 2016, the average Return On Investment (ROI) for every dollar spent on email marketing is $44. That kind of return eclipses almost all other forms of marketing, including mobile marketing, social media, display advertising and search engine marketing.

In the context of B2B marketing, email plays a central role in generating and nurturing leads. Compared to other marketing tools email marketing has a wide reach and can help you isolate and nurture leads if you do it right. Email marketing tends to be the B2B marketing tool of choice for three reasons: measurability, affordability and personalisation.

Below we will identify what makes a good email marketing campaign, how you can improve the click through rates (CTR) and optimise open rates for your brand using a variety of tactics ranging from segmentation to utilising calls-to-action more effectively.

OVERVIEW OF B2B EMAIL MARKETING

The world of social media marketing may attract many with it’s glamour; however, according to global management consultant McKinsey & Company, email marketing is 40 times more likely to lead to acquisition than Facebook and Twitter combined.

As we all know, the world of business revolves around email. Over 190 billion emails are sent every day. The hard part for marketers is cutting through the clutter.

THE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD B2B EMAIL MARKETING

The principles of good B2B email marketing have been around for a long time; long before the internet even. Email marketing is essentially direct mail marketing gone digital. There are plenty of lessons to be learned from the past. Direct marketing is an art-form that has been around since the 19th century when mail-order catalogues were first distributed.

If there is anything to learn from a century of direct marketing, it is that results require patience – especially for B2B. After all, the term “impulse buy” is not one you hear often in the world of B2B marketing.

B2B purchasing decisions are made over a long period of time. That is to say, the foundation of B2B marketing is in building relationships gradually. Doing this requires more than just a hard sell, it requires being genuinely useful to your leads. If you are useful, when it comes to buy, they will come to you.

Unlike their B2C counterparts, B2B marketers have found that the majority of their success comes from inbound content marketing solutions.

Instead of hard selling, informative and relevant emails allow businesses to build a rapport with their leads.  Sharing informative articles and resources with clients will help them along their buyer journey and expose your brand to them.

To quote the Roman poet, Publilius Syrus, “Take an interest in others and they will take an interest in you!”

After you have built this rapport, finding the right moment to strike is important. Much like a good joke, the most important element of lead generation is… timing.

The best email marketing campaigns are event-driven. Good marketers will learn as much as possible and find opportunities to engage with their leads at exactly the right times. Whether that be the expiration of a contract, changes in the life-cycle of the business or even the impact of a natural disaster. Find ways to bring your product or solution forward when your prospects need them the most.

OPTIMISING OPEN RATES

An email marketing campaign is only effective if the recipient actually opens the email in the first place. This is the first step in enticing them, if they don’t open it then all the content is wasted as they won’t see it anyway.

Open rates are a percentage based on how many of recipients actually opened your email. This number can differ drastically depending on the type campaign you are running and type of subscribers on your list.

The open rate is a good indication of how many prospects are genuinely engaged in the content that you are sending them. Below are five of our top tactics for optimising open rates.

1. EXPERIMENT WITH DELIVERY TIMES

As we’ve already mentioned earlier in the article, timing is everything in marketing! When it comes to sending out emails, you want to get in front of your audience when they are in front of their screens.

Don’t rely on generalised infographics to find out what those times are. Just because HubSpot says that 12 noon on a Wednesday is the best time to send out a campaign doesn’t mean that it will work for your business. Every campaign is different. Try experimenting with different delivery times and look for patterns.

2. SEGMENT YOUR PROSPECTS

Break up your subscriber lists into more detailed segments. The more you can personalise each email sent out, the more likely you are going to get the response you want. There are several ways to do this.

You may want to divide your prospects by behaviour, demographics, the dates they signed up or even the type of devices they use to open their emails. According to MailChimp, segmented campaigns are 13.07% more likely to be opened than general campaigns.

3. DON’T USE SPAM WORDS

Spam filters are getting tougher and tougher on bulk emails every day. Check your emails to make sure you aren’t setting off any red flags with your content. Terms like “earn now”, “winning” or “free when you buy”, may be interpreted by Google or Outlook as spam. Be careful not to trigger those spam filters!

4. RESEND EMAILS THAT HAVE BEEN LEFT UNOPENED

Entrepreneur Neil Taparia discovered that he was able to improve the reach of his email marketing by 54.7% by resending emails that were left unopened. Email marketer Noah Kagan replicated Taperia’s results with a 30% increase in his open rates.

It may be that your email was lost in the clutter, not necessarily ignored. Give your prospects the benefit of the doubt and try changing the subject line and sending out those emails again a few days later.

5. SIMPLE AND URGENT SUBJECT LINES

Long subject lines will discourage viewers. Get to the point with your subject lines, or at least create some intrigue. Use scarcity tactics or humor to get their attention. If you can’t attract attention immediately you are not likely to see results. Don’t try to be too obscure either; just be up front. To quote the advertising legend David Ogilvy, “What you say in advertising is more important that how you say it!”

One tactic you may wish to employ may be subject line testing. This involves experimenting with different subject lines to see what gets the best result. As a rule of thumb, headings with numbers are effective at engaging prospects.

Emojis don’t tend to have a place in B2B communication, however this is a bit of a contentious issue. Read this article to find out more about the Rise Of The Emoji.

IMPROVING YOUR CLICK-THROUGH RATES

So you have gotten as far as getting your prospects to open the email, but do you know how to get them from their inbox to your website?

Click-Through Rates (CTR) can be measured by the number of prospects who clicked a link over the number of recipients who opened the email or by the number of recipients total. Measuring your CTR against the number of opened emails is more accurate.

In our experience, there are a number of things that you can do to improve your CTR.  Below are some of those tactics.

1. MAKE YOUR MESSAGE CLEAR

Every email has a purpose. This purpose is expressed through a call-to-action (CTA) which is designed to motivate the client into doing some sort of action. An example of a Call to Action may be, “call now to receive 10% off” or “don’t miss out, find out more today.”

Don’t convolute your email marketing with too many ambiguous CTAs or irrelevant copy. Have one purpose and one purpose only and design your copy so that it guides the prospect towards it. For that matter, don’t write an essay, keep it concise and to the point, and remember pictures are always preferable to words.

2. ADD SOCIAL SHARING BUTTONS

According to the Social Times, adding social sharing buttons to your email campaigns can increase the CTR by up to 150%. You may ask, ‘why put social sharing buttons in your emails?’, but the more pertinent question is, ‘why not?’. They take little space, improve CTR and are nice way to make your email less text-heavy. Social sharing buttons are a great way spread information further and reach a wider audience.

3. MOBILE RESPONSIVE EMAILS

Did you know that 65% of all emails are first opened on a mobile phone? However, if your email templates aren’t mobile optimised they may end up being difficult to navigate and take a while to load. Optimising your emails to make them more mobile-friendly is one of the best things you can do to ensure a higher CTR.

4. VIDEO EMAIL MARKETING

According to email marketing company Mailigen, embedding a video inside your email will increase your CTR by 280%. Mailigen aren’t the only ones to notice these kind of miraculous results, the town of Enfield, CT found they experienced a 28% increase in their CTR by adding a video. If you are struggling with your CTRs, experimenting with videos may be a great avenue to explore.

SUMMARY

Email marketing can be one of the most effective marketing tools available for B2B marketers. However, to get the most out of your email marketing requires regular optimisation and experimentation. Using industry benchmarks may be a great way to measure how you are tracking at first, however the ultimate goal of any email marketing campaign is to learn how to outperform your own results. Hopefully these tips will empower you to do just that.

If you are looking for advice on your B2B email marketing campaign, The Lead Agency, are experts with experience in developing email campaigns that generate more leads and better quality leads. Click here to find out more about our email marketing services.

If you would like to learn more about optimising your email marketing campaigns, read this article about The Three Most Important Benefits Of Email Marketing.

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