There is one fundamental difference between Business-to-business and business-to consumer communication. Unlike B-to C, the purchase decision or the sales cycle is typically longer With B-to-B. Therefore, your goal is to build rapport and position your company as a source of valuable information. By focusing on delivering solid content and advice, you position you and your company as the “go-to” source for customers and prospects when the need to buy arises. Here are some key-steps to consider when creating a B-to-B email marketing campaign:
1) Get subscribers to sign up. How? By making your offer so irresistible that they need to become a follower. Offer something of value, think from a prospects perspective “what’s in it for me?”. This can be a case study or a white paper that will help improve your prospect’s business. It also needs to be exclusive, meaning that it can’t be found anywhere on your website and can only be accessed by signing up. Your Headline will be key to drawing interest.
2) Make the sign-up process as simple as possible. The less intrusive you are the more likely you will get sign ups. Remember, this is a sales funnel with steps to an end goal. You can always get more information later. Ask for the following: name, position/title, company name and email address.
3) Send a welcome email immediately after your prospect signs up. Don’t worry you don’t have to do this manually. There are all kinds of email auto-responders out there. Some popular ones are aWeber, Constant Contact, and ComF5. This is a crucial step in creating rapport. Again, keep it relevant and interesting and engage. This is where you can give your prospect the link to valuable information you promised.
4) Keep it personal. Your Auto-Responder system can do this for you. But always craft your messages as if you are sending it to one person. If you’re seeking to develop a relationship then make it come from a real person. ALWAYS, ALWAYS make it easy for your prospect to contact you…include contact information or even a photo of you to make it personal.
5) Encourage participation…engage. Try doing a survey, you will also increase likelihood of participation if you promise to deliver the survey results. Again, make sure it’s relevant to their business.
6) Increase the probability that your email gets opened…test send out times and correlate with open rates. Wednesdays or Thursdays tend to be the best days to send and mid-day (11am-2pm) is an optimal time to send.
7) What’s your strategy? Why are you sending this email? Every email should have a specific goal in mind. Building rapport? News update? Provide survey results? Encourage sign-ups for a seminar? Always remember….STRATEGY BEFORE EXECUTION. Once you have the objective, design your piece with that purpose in mind…no distractions…keep it simple and to the point.
8) Trust: Your “From” name will impact open rates. It should be familiar to the subscriber the more trust the subscriber has equals higher open rates.
9) Headlines are key. Avoid salesy headlines, don’t get too cute here either. Again think, what’s it it for me…clearly outline the benefit your reader should expect to get by reading on.
10) Always be testing. You can not improve things that you don’t track. Things like: Headlines, Design, Topics, Delivery Times etc. can al be tracked. More importantly, what does the data tell you and what are you going to do about it next time? Study your open rates and always strive to improve them by testing. Studies have shown that average B-to-B open rates hovering in the 10% range.
11) Be the trusted source of information. Industry news relevant to your customer, studies, statistics etc. Help them become a better company and you will be rewarded with business in the long run.
12) Include Links to other relevant information. Keep your newsletters short but with enough meat to add value…add in links to additional information for further reading.
13) Remember Marketing is a support function to Sales. Get your sales team involved. The marketing department is usually the sender of emails. If the newsletter is to generate leads they should be coming from the sales team….make it personal, develop the relationship.
14) Think Mobile. With the increasing usage of smart phones a good chunk of emails are being read from them. Make sure your emails look good on mobile devices prior to sending them out.
Tagged with: email marketing business to business
Filed under: Marketing Strategy