I have a shameful secret. I’m almost too scared to confess it. But we’re friends, right? I can trust you…?
I have – whisper it – nearly 800 unread emails in my inbox.
I know, it’s terrible. I seriously need to de-clutter. But how did it get to this?
Well, part of the problem is something I’m sure you’re familiar with: emails that aren’t exactly spam, but that you’re just not that fussed about opening. Maybe you subscribed to some newsletter once but you rarely have time to read it. Maybe you bought a product five years ago as a one-off purchase and now the company sends you offers every five minutes and won’t take the hint. Maybe you handed over a business card at a conference and an over-zealous marketer added you to their mailing list without your permission.
Whatever the reasons, we are all overloaded with emails every day that we don’t really want. And that makes cutting through the noise and delivering a genuinely effective email campaign a very tricky art. Especially when you’re dealing with folks in the geospatial industry who tend to have very little time and very little tolerance to b&%%$^&@!
So what can you do to improve your chances of success? Here are a few essential tips to get you going!
Do What You Say You Will
How many times have you handed over your email address to get access to a particular piece of content, or to sign up for a certain set up updates, only to get spammed with stuff you never wanted?
This is a sure fire way to wind people up – and that’s counterproductive. If you ask potential clients to hand over their email, tell them exactly what you’re going to use it for, and stick to that! If you want to email them about anything else, ask. And if, for example, you say you’re going to contact them weekly, contact them weekly – not daily, not monthly, not a couple of times a year when you remember. Consistency is key.
Oh, and for the love of God, never give or sell their email addresses on to anyone else unless they have absolutely given you permission.
Be Engaging, Not Obstructive
Don’t bombard people with emails. Don’t be overly pushy or aggressive. Always try to think about what they want from you, and what would create genuine value for them, rather than what you want. Respect their choices if, for example, they agree to receive your newsletter but not your product updates. Give them an opt-out if they don’t want to get emails anymore.
“People are inundated with interruption, pitches, and advertisements everywhere they look, and though you might think yours is special, there’s a high probability that to the reader, it looks the same as the rest. This is why it’s important to remember where you are, and use your good manners as a result.
Getting into someone’s inbox is like being invited to their home for dinner. If they ask you to take your shoes off, you respectfully do so …you’re in their house.”
Be Clear and Concise
When you’re running any kind of B2B marketing campaign it’s important to remember that people just don’t have time to waste.
Loooonnnnnng emails, dense paragraphs, tiny fonts, no images… these are all things that make people take one look at what you’ve sent and go “Euugh, I’ll read that later” – and then never look at it again.
Try to keep things short and to the point. Use short sentences, headings and pictures to break up what you have to say and make it easy to skim and take in. If you’re bringing their attention to very involved report, study, blog post or so on, don’t put the whole thing in the body of the email. Just include the first bit or a short description with a link out to your website or wherever the rest is hosted. Plus, this means you’re driving traffic to your website, making it more likely that potential customers will read more of your content or take a look at your products of their own accord.
Know Your Objective
Never send emails for the sake of it. Once someone’s opened a dull or useless email from you once, they’re much more likely to leave the next one languishing in their inbox.
Every email you send should have a clear point to it. Are you answering a burning question your target audience has that will help them to do their job better? Are you letting them know of a new product or service you offer? Are you inviting them to a webinar about key trends in their sector?
Whatever your goal, make sure you have a clear call to action to match.
Test Your Subject Lines
A/B Testing is a really handy way to make sure you’re always having the greatest possible impact.
This works by letting you come up with two different options, such as subject lines for your email or types of call to action. Half your clients see one version, half see the other. You can then compare which one gets the most people clicking and use this to hone your copy next time!
Don’t Just Talk to Sell
It’s a trap that a lot of companies fall into, but it won’t get you any brownie points with customers. Don’t only contact your email list when you want to sell them something!
The idea is that you should constantly be making yourself useful and valuable, so that they look forward to hearing from you. That way, you can slip in a great offer or move the conversation forward when it’s appropriate – you don’t look like you’re always after their money!
Not everyone on your email list wants the same thing from you, and that makes segmentation essential.
For example, if you sell remote sensing equipment to a broad range of customers, you may have an NGO client who is concerned with environmental monitoring in order to respond quickly in a humanitarian crisis, and another energy client that is primarily interested in keeping an eye on pipeline integrity and getting people in there fast if any damage occurs.
At times, these interests will overlap – but often, they won’t. It makes much more sense to send two sets of emails where you’ve adapted your language to the end client, or to make sure you separate out the emails you send them, than to risk alienating both clients by emailing them with something that seems irrelevant to their needs.
“Most failed email marketing campaigns didn’t work because the sender treated every email recipient the same.
Gather as much data as you can, from geographic location to customer buying habits. Study that data and divide your list accordingly. If you have a group of people who love one type of service you offer and another group that couldn’t care less, strategize accordingly.”
Track Your Impact
You can’t know whether your campaign is working if you don’t have a way to measure success! Two of the most straightforward ways to do this is tracking your Open Rate (OR) and your Click Through Open Rate (CTOR), which is when you compare the number of people who open your email with the number of people who then clicked through to where you wanted them to go next.
Measuring this can take a bit of thought. John Rampton has this great piece of advice in Forbes:
“Your open/send ratio will hopefully be high if you have a good opt-in list of segmented people. What’s successful? It depends on industry and campaign. Rather than looking for someone else’s benchmark, start looking at where you are today, and create a goal to move it up 5% using best practices.
“Success should be measured when your CTOR is above your OR. This means a high percentage of the people who opened your email converted. Google analytics can aid with measuring conversions on your website, if set up properly, to get a better idea of the whole funnel. But for people just starting out it could be a little complicated and take time and effort to design. MailChimp is one platform that connects e-commerce shopping carts and does the tracking in their reporting, an excellent feature for an entrepreneur.
“No marketing play should be implemented without measuring success, including email marketing.”
Really, it comes down to one thing. Before you click send, ask yourself: if I were my potential customer, would I REALLY want to receive this email? If the answer is no, take a step back and have a think about what you can do that will really add value or catch your ideal client’s eye.
Ready to have a chat with an expert about your next email campaign? Give me a call on +447789901537 | Skype: elaine_ebtm | Email: elaine @ elaineball.co.uk