Bad email marketing abounds. The good news for you is that, if you follow some basic guidelines, you’ll be way ahead of the pack. Email marketing continues to prove itself as a valuable marketing tool, providing leads in the business world and direct sales in the consumer world. Generally speaking, B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer) marketing are inherently different. However, both have similar goals: identifying who your customer is and the best way to reach them. In the context of email marketing, B2B and B2C have similar fundamental standards to follow.
Compelling Subject Lines, Trusted Senders
First of all, pay attention to your subject line and the sender of the email. Think about how you read your personal email. You look at the sender’s name; decide if it is recognizable, then move on to the subject line. Keep the subject line short and to the point, avoiding obvious spam words.
For business communications, a trusted sales person who the receiver already knows would make sense, rather than an anonymous business name. Business is relationship driven, and so is B2B email marketing.
Give ‘em What They Ask For
Give them something they’ll want to read, or something you know that they are already interested in. Segment your list by relevant interests. Also, don’t make the reader hunt for the reason you are sending an email. Make benefits clear and noticeable. Always offer an unsubscribe link and honor all requests to unsubscribe—or risk being “black-listed.”
Don’t Overwhelm the Masses
Another important aspect of all email marketing is timing and frequency. Some subscribers may expect to hear from you everyday, especially if they’ve signed up for a daily newsletter. Otherwise, think about how often you are reaching your subscribers and monitor your unsubscribe rate after each mailing. Anything over 1% could potentially mean you are hitting your targets too often.
For B2B email marketing, reach recipients when they are at their desks and likely reading email, segmenting for different time zones. Most people are out of the office on weekends, after 5 pm and on public holidays. The majority of all B2B emails are opened between Tuesday and Thursday, so try testing out one of those days and see which works for you. B2C open rates are higher on the weekends, when people are most likely at home.
Don’t Rely on Images
Most email service providers have images turned off by default, so remember that the recipient will not necessarily see your beautifully designed email. You have to design for the “least common denominator” and be sure that your email renders correctly even in the least friendly environment.
Make Sure it is Effective
Measure the success of your campaigns, and ensure that you have met all your goals. Did you want recipients to read your email? Measure open rates. Did you hope that a certain percent would visit your website? Measure the percentage of click-throughs to your landing page from the email.
Read all the articles, online surveys and marketing blogs you want. However, the only statistics you can rely on are your own. That is how important testing is. Start by measuring what you are doing right now and comparing that to industry standards. Then change something small and definite (like the size of a click-through button), and see how your data changes. The world of email marketing is constantly changing, so make sure to determine the value of your email marketing.
About the Author: Tabitha Rodrigue is a Marketing Designer at Madden Media and specializes in optimizing the performance of our B2B emails. Her focus has led to lower unsubscribe rates and greater open and click-through rates.