B2B Newsletters & Email Marketing – Do’s & Dont’s for lead generation
Any time you run an assessment of your B2B lead generation, you’re likely to find email is still very much at the core of any serious digital marketing efforts you have going on. This is pretty much the norm for B2B.
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Benefits of email for B2B lead generation
Despite, or maybe thanks to its age, email delivers in our experience the highest ROI for B2B lead generation efforts.
It’s THE most reliable, and customary, push mechanism available for B2B marketers to reach out to, and talk with clients.
Facebook and social media are beginning to gain acceptance for B2B audiences, but email still reigns supreme with older and more conservative demographics and industries.
But email has changed a lot over the years and we need to update our strategies to match. So how exactly has email changed? Keep reading…
Work and email are now MOBILE
We now READ email mostly on our mobiles – And this is doubly true for work emails. This means that email needs to be SHORT and conform well to the tall and narrow shape of mobile screens. The days where a newsletter could have 2 or 3 columns are long gone
Attention spans have decreased
While it used to be common wisdom that an email should offer a few article headers to allow users to pick a topic that interested them , it’s now best to keep your email to a single topic to avoid cognitive depletion and dilemmas of choice for your readers.
Spam filters have evolved
With spam being more than 99% (you read that right) of all email traffic, a lot of resources have gone into hardening spam filters. Without getting too technical there are 3 things you should consider with your emails:
- No more than 1 link per email – Emails with multiple links are likely to get flagged
- Keep your image count low – Better yet – avoid any images beyond a single logo in your signature
- Avoid spammy language – Words often used in spammy emails will trigger spam blockers – Here are some words and phrases to avoid – Amazing, Cancel at any time, Check or money order, Click here, Congratulations, Dear friend, For only ($), Free, Toll-free, Great offer, etc….
Here are some more tips to follow in order to get the most from your B2B email marketing:
DON’T – email for the sake of emailing
My mom always said:
“If you haven’t got something smart to say it’s best if you say nothing”
My mom is always right.
From an email marketing perspective there is something profound in this adage. Since you will inevitably lose subscribers every time you send out a blast, it’s wise to send out your Email blasts only when you have a good reason to – i.e. you have new content/value you’re able to provide your audience.
Sending out email simply for the sake of reminding your audience you exist is usually a pretty bad call. Repeat the practice often and your list will see massive opt-outs – not a pretty sight…
DO – Keep people up to date
Tell your list members about worthwhile news you have to share with them.
“Worthwhile content” for a B2B audience could be any of the following:
- Promotions you’re offering
- Tips and hints on how to get the most from your services or products
- Articles with fresh editorial content, commentary, or hints relating to your fields of expertise and operation
- New products or services from your company
- Press and media coverage of your company
- Events you’re organizing or participating in
- Industry trends, tips, news and best practices
- Case studies
DON’T – Lie or mislead
Lying is BAD. This is a huge NO NO.
Never create misleading subject lines for your postings. Not only is this type of deception unethical, in many places it is downright illegal. Using misleading titles will hurt your reputation as a trustworthy email sender and cost you massive sign outs from your email marketing lists (serves you right for lying!).
DO – Stay on topic
Always be sure your content is related to your email’s subject line.
For more, check out this post we wrote about the ethics of email for B2B & B2B marketing.
DON’T – Yap about yourself
Nobody likes a braggart.
Avoid the words “Me”, “We”, “Us”.
DO – Talk about them
People like hearing about themselves.
Use the word “You” often.
DON’T – Be a bore
Don’t email your audience sonorous blurbs extolling your numerous virtues. These emails bore most people to tears and are another list killer.
Avoid emails that are banal – At the heart of all good B2B content marketing is a fundamental understanding that the target audience is likely to be stressed, and is certainly VERY time poor.
DO – Be entertaining
Be the life of the party at your recipient’s inbox.
Think of stories you enjoy reading and be creative at generating your own – The B2B version of storytelling are CASE STUDIES.
If and when possible focus your writing around story-telling that puts your customers at the center. This gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your solution benefits through AND serves as a cool way to recognize the clients that help you be successful.
Your B2B audience appreciates brands that are respectful of their time, and deliver a lot of value in as succinct and engaging a way as possible – Emails with videos and infographics are becoming increasingly popular for B2B audiences for this very reason.
DON’T – Give away all the goods in your email
Avoid using your email blasts for telling full stories. The eye fatigue your reader’s will experience during the course of reading your message from a screen dictates the length of your message.
DO – Use your email as a lead to your site
While it used to be true that a good newsletter would include several story headers, followed by short lead paragraphs, that is no longer the case. Since most emails are being read on mobiles, and attention spans are on a steady decline, we recommend dedicating an email blast to a single post. Keep your email down to 50-100 words max, and have no more than 1-2 links (including the links in your footer), to help avoid getting flagged as spam.
The goal of your email is to get people to come on to your site.
It’s usually much easier to monetize a user on your website than it is from the email directly, and furthermore, once a visitor is on your site they can painted with a remarketing cookie – which means they will start seeing your brand as they browse the web.
This is especially important in B2B lead generation, where lead times from initial engagement to transaction are usually measured in months.Austin Distel