I hear from prospects again and again that they don’t want to do email marketing. “Email is dead,” they say. They just want to do social media. And my response to that is, “Then you don’t really want to sell.”

The way you solve the problem with the fact that we all get too much email is that you need to send more emails. I get it – I get too much email. But the bottom line is that if you’re sending really valuable content then people are going to want to get your emails.

There has been way too much emphasis on social media, particularly in B2B. But when you follow the data, you see that the three things that really work are:

  • Website – as the centerpiece of all your marketing
  • LinkedIn – to build new audiences
  • Email Marketing – to follow up with that audience and stay top of mind

Everybody who is in B2B sales knows that your prospects are so much better educated now. The question is, are they going to get that education from you or from someone else? That’s the key to the Challenger Approach. We want to control that teaching approach because that is how we control the sales process. You do that through creating good content and sharing it on LinkedIn and via email.

In B2B, email is getting a 23% higher open rate than B2C. The data is really clear. It’s the regular activity on LinkedIn and email marketing that really creates sales opportunities. You’ve taken the time to build an audience. Now, email marketing is the last piece of the marketing puzzle.

Here is our recommended strategy for creating an email marketing strategy that works:

Create Great Content

The key to good email marketing is to make sure you are delivering high-value key insight-driven content that helps your audience solve the challenges and problems they are facing.

64% of email recipients say they would open an email based solely on if they trusted the brand.

Providing your audience with great content helps build that trust. They will know that you’ve taken the time to give them something of value. And they’ll take the time to read it.

Be Mobile First

In 2019, 62% of email campaigns are being opened on a mobile device. It’s absolutely essential for both your website and your emails to be mobile-ready, especially in a B2B context. That’s the first thing you want to test with your email layout and see how it looks on your phone.

  • What does it look like?
  • How does the subject line come across?
  • What does the opening image look like on a phone?

Do everything mobile-first with your emails and you’ll get a much better result.

Have the Right Subject Line

69% of email recipients can tell if something is spam or not just by reading the subject line. Many of the things you naturally want to put in a subject line – free, great offer, last chance – are exactly the things you don’t want to put in one. Those sorts of subject lines reduce open rates and create the wrong reaction. Make sure your subject line is something that really interests people and pulls them into the content. Just making minor changes to the subject line can increase your open rate.

Make Your Website the Centerpiece

Don’t put the full article in the email. Have a great headline to pull people in. Then a paragraph or two that draws them in even further. Follow that up with a call to action that links them back to the full article on your website. I love the data we get by using this stub approach, and it provides several benefits:

  • It shows you the engagement you’re creating. Click thru provides much better data than open rates. It lets you see who is reading your email and then clicking through to your website.
  • Once they’re on the website, you then have the opportunity to interlink all of your content. You can get that much bigger message across to the people who are interested in diving deeper into what you have to say.

Consider your Frequency

What we’ve seen from working with hundreds of clients is that sending 30 emails a year is the sweet spot. That’s 2 emails a month plus a few additional emails. This strikes the right balance where you’re getting enough value for your content and not driving up unsubscribe rates. For the vast majority of businesses, that’s probably more than you’re currently sending out. But the data says you should be sending more emails than you are right now. If you’re doing a reasonably good job of getting a 25-30% open rate and you’re seeing some good engagement with the click-throughs, then you need to increase your frequency.

Measure Engagement

You should be learning from every single campaign you send. So, follow the data. Look at how your audience reacts to each email. And then use that data in a variety of ways. Use it to make the subsequent campaigns even better. Use it as a guide for how to segment your audience. Or as a way to determine the frequency of your campaigns.

The thing I like about the approach that we recommend is that you have to create great content in order to be effective on LinkedIn and build your audience. If you’re already putting in the effort to create that content you might as well be running email campaigns in order to get additional leverage out of that content.

Learn more by listening to our B2B Word of Mouth Marketing podcast episode, Email is Dead. Long Live Email.

All the best,

Bill Bice

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