Want your next B2B email marketing campaign to be a success? Then put yourself in a prospect’s shoes and try to make your messages as contextually relevant and interesting as possible.
Getting this strategy right requires careful segmentation and planning of your customer journey. But when everything clicks metaphorically, you can earn real mouse clicks more reliably. Those email marketing clicks can lead to real revenue, too. According to a survey from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), email marketing has a 122% return on investment (ROI) rate, which is over four times higher than social media marketing or PPC!
As a reseller agency and regular provider of white label email marketing services, we’ve seen what B2B email marketing is capable of in action. Our carefully crafted campaigns have generated leads, nurtured interest toward conversion, and helped existing customers engage in a deeper relationship with their service vendors.
The key to finding success is to make whatever offer you’re sending through the email as juicy as possible, without coming across as a desperate salesperson. A decision maker for the average business hears so many lame sales pitches throughout their day that they eventually tune them out. Yet, they’re still human. They like the idea of getting great info or tools that can make their jobs easier.
Separating your B2B email marketing missives from the average “goes straight to spam” email requires careful planning, documentation, and discipline. To get you started down the right track, put the following best practices into action.
Separate Your Sales Prospects by Persona, and Know Why They Buy
Persona-based marketing segmentation may sound like B2B Sales 101, yet far too many teams neglect the valuable work of getting into their customers’ heads. Deciding on the traits of your target audience has significant performance consequences.
Start by looking at your own customers. Ask yourself:
- What industry niches are they in?
- Are there any common traits to the business’s size or service model?
- Do you find particular luck converting a certain job title or role?
- What specific traits about this prospect’s job role or their service model make your solution valuable to them?
- What common objections or concerns did they need addressed before they committed to a purchase?
Third-party research and general statistics about your target market can help, but your own past customers are your best source of this data.
Once you identify these traits, see if you can break down your customers into a few convenient groups. For instance, your personas may look like:
- Ardent Accountant – In charge of procurement approval, this persona has share of the final say for saying “yes.” Worried about ROI and measurable performance returns above all else.
- Eager Entrepreneur – Business owner who wants to see their business grow with minimal risks. Can get excited about features and emotional appeals, but needs concrete use case examples.
- Skeptical Supporter – Department head or assistant to decision-maker who only runs the best ideas by their superior. They want assurance that solutions will be integrated, well-supported, and can provide documentable promises or guarantees of effectiveness.
- Overwhelmed Owner – Loves their small business but has trouble keeping up. Wants solutions that lessen their workload and streamline their workflow. May not be well-versed in technical concepts or industry terms, so needs benefits and features broken down.
Plot the Journey of Your Typical Customer
With a few customer archetypes in mind, you can then begin to consider how each type of customer may navigate your marketing funnel as part of their customer journey.
Realize that almost no one will want to “BUY NOW” or “DOWNLOAD THEIR FREE TRIAL” after just hearing about your company. Instead, they may go through the typical marketing funnel phases.
As such, each campaign should be broken down into not only your main personas, but also the discrete steps they need to convert from one leg of their customer journey to the next.
Information is almost always the best starting point. Who doesn’t want to learn things that help them in their business life? Getting someone to read something is also an easy “yes” decision for them to make. Then, you have made them aware of your company, and they are already committing to engage.
Keep your personas in mind when determining what sort of content, information, offers, and messages you need to get a conversion.
Looking at the “Overwhelmed Owner” persona, here is a sample of the types of emails segmented by customer journey stage for a hypothetical cybersecurity service:
- Awareness – “10 Tasks Successful Business Owners Do Every Week”
- Email containing quick information that offers up immediate value. Should include a Call to Action (CTA) at the end encouraging a person to read more content or commit to something like a webinar sign up or a white paper download.
- Evaluation – “Are You at Risk of a Customer Privacy Breach?”
- Teaser for an in-depth white paper or guide to protecting personal data with cybersecurity. Explains basic concepts and connects B2B business’s solution to valid concerns an owner might have. CTA for a free trial or a security audit signup.
- Purchase – “Handle Digital Purchases as Securely as the Big Name Brands”
- Talking explicitly about features of the B2B company’s products/services. Offer concrete examples of value and overcome objections the business owner might have. CTA for a limited-time offer that entices.
- Advocacy/Retention – “5 Small Ways to Keep Your Trade Secrets a Secret”
- Mixture of general information and solution-specific information to continue offering value to converted customers. CTA to try add-on cross sale or receive a discount for recommending solution to others.
Measure, Experiment, Improve, Repeat
Creating campaigns that separate the legs of your customer journey introduces a lot of complex variables, but this is a good thing! It means you have more factors to tweak and experiment with, so you can chase improved performance over time.
Start by highlighting a few priority metrics. These should absolutely include conversion rate for your CTA. They might also include things like: open rate, unsubscribe rates, earnings per email sent, etc.
Then, try and optimize your campaigns to chase improved performance using email marketing A/B testing. Altering headlines can be one way to try and improve open rates, for instance. Or, you may decide to try a more graphically robust layout to see if that improves your CTA conversions.
Keep track of your data and document changes that lead to performance improvements. For instance, you should keep a list of your most opened email subject lines of all time to serve as an example for future writers.
Consider Using White Label Email Marketing From an Experienced Reseller Agency
Undergoing the process of strategizing, creating, and optimizing B2B email marketing campaigns requires a lot of up-front work and continual evaluation, but the results speak for themselves. We’ve helped dramatically raise both the quality of our client’s B2B marketing emails as well as their campaign performance just by keeping these best practices in mind.
Also, don’t be discouraged if you feel like your campaigns are barely moving the needle on performance at first. The whole objective is to make incremental improvements that keep your clients’ needs at the forefront of your campaign strategy. That takes time getting adjusted to, but the end results are worth it!
You may also want to consider sharing the load with a reseller agency that has more time and experience on their side. By collaborating with a white label services provider, you can ensure your campaigns or your clients’ follow all of the best practices that promote success.