October 4th, 2018

5 B2B Email Marketing Conversion Strategies for 2018

Author: Laura Lynch
Laura Lynch
Director of Marketing

How to integrate your email lists with your sales strategy.

Email marketing remains one of the most effective means of reaching clients and growing businesses. Yet many businesses haven’t updated their email marketing tactics in decades. Their approach is to send as much as they can to as many people as possible, without regard for the relevance or timeliness of their emails.

In other words, they treat email marketing like print mailings.

However, email is a very different tool. Most of us only check our mailboxes once a day—usually when we’ve just come home from work. We’re prepared to give our mail the couple minutes of attention we need to sort through it all, and then we go about our day. But we check our email constantly—both at work and at home—and that means we’re more likely to be irritated by a constant barrage of spam.

More importantly, because we check for email so often, the timing of when we receive it plays a crucial role in whether we read it or not.

There are also different rules for email marketing than for print marketing including whom you can send emails to. So, if you want to improve your email practices, here are five email marketing conversion strategies that can help you out.

1. Build your lists carefully.

You can’t send email to just anyone. This is true both on a social and policy level: because of the proliferation of spam email and the rising concern about digital privacy rights, both governments and email service providers have rules about how you can use an email address for marketing purposes.

For instance, many people still use purchased lists, but this flies in the face of the EU’s GDPR policies, which forbid using anyone’s personal information (read: email) without their permission. Sending a mass email to people who didn’t ask to hear from you isn’t likely to deliver an impressive conversion rate—by any metric.

Instead, a healthy list requires time and patience. Design your website in a way that gives visitors opportunities to sign up for your lists, and offer incentives such as PDF downloads or other gated content to encourage them to do so.

2. Personalize content.

It may sound cheesy, but people actually like getting email addressed to them, even if it’s obviously part of a mass mailing. We’re psychologically wired that way. So using merge tags that include a sender’s first name in the subject line or the first paragraph of copy will help readers feel like they were specially selected.

More importantly, personalize the content of your emails so that it sends the most relevant marketing information to the recipients. List segmentation is a great way to do this. You may have a general list for everyone who’s ever subscribed to your emails, but you can also create special sub-segments based on other information—such as their industry, interests, or other demographic data.

With the right tracking tools, you can even send emails based on their purchase history or items they recently viewed. Because it’s more relevant to the visitor, it yields better conversion rates.

3. Think about the timing.

When do you send your emails? As we said earlier, people check their email constantly—but they don’t always do so when they have the time to respond to it. If your email arrives in the middle of a busy work day, it’s more likely to be ignored.

However, if you send an email at 7am, so that it’s ready and waiting in their inbox the moment they sit down to work, they’re far more likely to give it the attention it deserves.

4. Nurture your list—don’t just sell.

Many businesses spend too much time selling. Every email is full of oversized calls-to-action with aggressive marketing language. Even if someone signed up for the list, too many of these emails will quickly cause them to unsubscribe. After all, if every email sends a message of “buy now,” how many times can you realistically expect a client to make a purchase?

Instead, you need to have something that is worthy of your client’s attention even when your goal isn’t an immediate sale. This is part of lead nurturing: you’re giving them more information about your company and doing your best educate that lead until they’re ready to purchase. Doing so will establish trust and lead to a better client relationship.

5. Design by campaign, not by email.

Finally, think beyond the individual email, and pay attention to how they work together. It’s unlikely a single email will make or break your marketing strategy, but when they work together, they can build on each other into something far more powerful.

This means designing emails to have visual continuity, planning the progression of emails so that they come in a logical order, and pacing the timing of emails so that they don’t overwhelm a client. By focusing on a careful, strategic approach, you’ll see your email marketing conversion rate grow, along with your customer satisfaction.

Use an email service provider that offers detailed feedback and analytics.

A strong list and a thoughtful campaign will take you far. However, without feedback from hard data, you’ll only ever be sending your email campaigns in the dark. You may intend to write the email your list wants, but you won’t know for sure if you can’t see who’s opening your emails, how much of it they’re reading, what links they’re clicking on, and how quickly they send it to the trash.

Working with an email service provider that gives you these analytic tools can transform your marketing strategy. For instance, MailChimp is an easy entry-level service for many businesses that want to create easy email lists that visitors to their sites can subscribe to or unsubscribe from as they choose. However, MailChimp does not offer some of the crucial automated marketing features we use with our clients.

We use SharpSpring for email automation, because on top of the standard list management functions, it also uses IP tracking to send trigger-based marketing emails. Using this tool, we can send more effective emails to visitors on our site, and cut down on untargeted email blasts to customers who may not be interested.

The bottom line is that email marketing is a vitally important but delicate marketing tool. When someone gives you their email address, it is a token of trust. They expect you to use it responsibly, and that means focusing only on what will be of the greatest utility to them—not just you.

It may sound like a lot of work, but it’s time well spent. Build qualified lists, personalize content, and send emails as part of a campaign, and you will find you have a happier and more loyal customer base than anyone whose strategy focuses on mass emails.

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