Do you ever wonder if email is still an effective strategy? You might be surprised to learn that email continues to be the workhorse of marketing, especially during the pandemic.
In fact, a recent report from Salesforce shows that email grew 11% year-over-year from 2018 to 2020. And even before the pandemic, marketers rated email as the number one digital channel for return on investment, with 73% of respondents rating email as “excellent” or “good,” according to Econsultancy’s “2019 Email Marketing Industry Census.”
How are you and your team using email to increase your ROI and communicate with your customers? Find out how you can up your email marketing game in ViB’s latest webinar recording. Tom Riddle, Director of Market Research at ViB, is joined by Amanda McGuckin Hager, ViB’s chief marketing and customer experience officer. As a high-tech marketer with 20-plus years of combined experience in marketing, public relations, sales, and finance, Amanda is an expert in lead demand generation.
You’ll get new insights in to email marketing, including:
- Why email is not dead – actually, it’s growing
- How to build out an email calendar to improve your email strategy
- What you can do now to grow your database
- The anatomy of an effective email
- The importance of subject lines
- … and much more!
The renaissance in B2B email marketing
Because of the global pandemic, email remains the main mode of communication. “People were no longer in their offices. They couldn’t meet in person. They couldn’t accept phone calls at their desk, and phone systems were often not routed, at least immediately, over to personal lines. And so, email became the main mode of communication during that time,” Amanda says.
Several recent reports from the likes of Epsilon, Econsultancy, and Salesforce show that email is still a critical tool. Amanda cites a recent tweet that sums up her own thoughts about email: “Email is the index fund of marketing. It is unsexy, but it is secure, predictable gains.”
“Years ago, when social media first started, there was this conversation ‘is this the death of email?’ “ Amanda says. “Here we are, at least a decade later, and we can say, no, actually, it wasn’t the death of email.” In fact, email still continues to grow.
And the reliance on email is our new normal. Amanda says, “Indeed.com recently said that work from home permanently is the new normal for them. And I think a lot of other companies are following suit. So, I think that the challenge of getting ahold of people at their desks will continue.”
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Building your email calendar
Incorporating an email calendar into your corporate planning is key to developing a robust marketing strategy. Amanda likens it to like a big Tetris game, because there are a lot of variables to take into consideration. In the webinar recording, she shares the calendar she always uses and walks you through how to use it to builds email into the customer buying process, with a focus on quarterly planning. You’ll want to look at things like product launches, internal communications and events, campaigns, events, content syndication, social media, etc.
Amanda also recommends including a set of branded house emails every week, so you can keep a steady drumbeat going.
How to grow your database
Amanda recommends analyzing your mailing list to understand key questions: What is the size of your customer base? What is the size of your prospect base? What is the size of your communities inside and outside the U.S.? What is the size of your customers of X or Y product lines? Understanding all of that will help you quantify and prioritize where to focus your email efforts in supporting the things your company wants to drive, to build your brand, and to grow your database.
Amanda also had a clever slogan for marketers. “If you’ve ever worked with a sales team, you’ve heard ‘Always Be Closing.’ ABCs. I think marketing ought to consider adopting ‘Always Be Adding to Your Database.’ Why? That database is your known total addressable market.” Amanda says.
She also recommends that you want your database to be like a river. “Stagnant water gets gross; it gets stale. Things start to grow in it that you don’t want. The same thing with your database. You want names in, names out. It’s okay if people opt out. You want people in your database who are the most relevant to you, who are the most likely to respond to your brand offerings.
Then there’s the market outside of your database, of the people who are currently unknown to you. “Getting into that unknown-to-you community or market is really, really critical. So how do you do that? Well, trading. It’s a tit-for-tat transaction, right? I would like your contact information, and in exchange, I’m willing to give you X.”
Free tools or trials, webinars, high-value content, media coverage, and PR are all great ways to drive new people to your list. Third-party programs — such as industry trade shows, content syndication vendors like ViB, or other third-party vendors — can also generate new leads.
The anatomy of an email
Amanda always looks for some basic things in an email and shares a successful email template she helped design, which includes:
- Insert a logo at the top left
- Keep a main CTA button at the top right for your main call to action
- Stick with a singular message with a singular call to action or focus
- Put the main call to action in as many places in the email as you can so the reader can click when ready
- Include a short paragraph about what your company does and its value proposition
The importance of subject lines
Amanda’s take on subject lines is simple: “The subject line is very important and serves as the preview to the email. If your subject line is not very good, your customers won’t open it,” she says. Among the best practices she recommends are:
- Your inbox competition is not just your main competitors; it’s all of the other emails above and below yours in an inbox
- Look at your “From:” name, and your subject line together, because that is how your reader will see it
- Consider personalizing merge fields
- Consider using an emoji, if that fits your brand
- Use symbols and/or brackets or parentheses
Make the most of email marketing
Be sure to watch the on-demand webinar “The B2B Email Renaissance: Email’s Comeback,” for more of Amanda’s thoughts on email marketing and her take on listener’s questions about landing in spam folders, good email open rates, using video (or not) in emails, and much more. You’ll learn how to improve your own B2B email-marketing strategies and deliver better results.
If you are interested in learning about ViB and our effective marketing programs, contact us.