What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word email? If you said Tom Hanks or Meg Ryan (à la the 1998 romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail), good effort! But this isn’t the ’90s. In 2013, email marketing is an essential part of not only romance, but also referral marketing strategies.
To effectively leverage emails for acquiring new customers, just remember the E-M-A-I-L of email marketing. (It’s meta, we know.)
E – Engaging Content
With 56 percent of consumers citing irrelevant content as the top reason for unsubscribing from email lists, the most important goal for B2B companies is delivering the right content to the right people. When potential leads sign up, they’re expecting content that’s relevant to your brand and provides value.
Before sending an email, set a measurable objective and choose content based on that goal. If the goal is signups for your referral program, include cool articles on the benefits of word of mouth (WOM) marketing or social media best practices. But stay on message—selling a product is only as easy as a customer’s perceived value of your brand.
You should also subscribe to other relevant lists (your competition is a good place to start) and get a feel for what’s out there. Then take your research and find gaps where your brand can take advantage; always look for ways to innovate.
M – Managed Analytics
We’ve said it before: Identifying target demographics and segmenting your customer base is crucial to any successful marketing campaign. And email is no exception. How can you know if your content is relevant without knowing who your most engaged subscribers are? You can’t unless you’re looking at the data behind your email campaign.
With effective segmentation, you can reward your most engaged subscribers and convert them into brand ambassadors, identify key touchpoints to optimize your automated triggers, and truly understand what makes subscribers take action. To start, review and segment at the point of signup (where and how are people signing up?), track your click-through rate (CTR) on links and offers, and then revamp your strategy to make your emails more effective.
A – Actionable Content
Let’s say a subscriber opens your email and clicks on a link—that’s great! But the goal isn’t to get people to read your emails; the goal is to get people to act on them. That means the content in your email should reflect the actionable goals you want people to take, whether that’s building a stronger referral program or driving leads to specific landing pages.
A lot has been written on how to draft actionable language for emails, but keep in mind that the content itself has a role in framing your brand in the minds of potential customers. Don’t miss an opportunity to make a good impression.
I – Integrate with Social Media
Emails are all well and good, but don’t leave social sharing out of the equation. Integrating social media elements into your emails will greatly extend the reach of your content and also help identify key supporters for more targeted messaging.
Some quick ways to do this include asking your subscribers to share the message with friends. Then be sure you make it easy for them to do so by including social sharing widgets next to each article. You can also provide incentives for those subscribers who share your email to help you get more subscribers (i.e., generate leads). Whatever method you choose, the social aspects of email marketing should not be overlooked in your overall strategy.
L – Love Your Customer
Emails can be the most personable medium for communicating value to customers. In the world of B2B lead generation, key acquisition channels aren’t on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter—they’re in your outbox.
Show love to your customers. This includes personalized subject lines based on your segmentation. Begin the email with a first name and show a subscriber that you care about her as a person, not just making another sale (but hopefully the sale will follow).
These are some best practices to get you started, but there’s a whole world of email marketing out there. The more effort you put into it, the more benefits you’ll reap.
Did we miss anything? How are you using email marketing to generate more WOM online?
Image courtesy of Flickr
Posted June 25, 2013 in B2B