Email marketing is the foundation of customer communications for most B2B businesses. Recently email marketing ranked a 77% usage among B2B marketers above print direct marketing (at 69%) and social marketing (at 65%).
There’s a lot of attention on social media and search, but email marketing is still the workhorse of many marketing programs, according to Michael Thompson, chief deliverability officer at ClickSquared. “It’s because it works. It’s how B2B marketers deliver their primary messages and keep contacts in place,” he said. Especially in the B2B space, people are on it all the time. Yes, there are new social channels out there, but email is the channel that brings them all together. For example, if you’re getting noticed on social media, you’ll be notified by email that somebody has posted to your wall.
Email marketing is widely used and very effective for B2B marketers, but it still comes with its challenges. For one, there’s still a fine line between use and overuse of email.
Another issue that continues to dog many B2B marketers is when email is not integrated into their overall marketing efforts. “Email still sits in a silo in most organizations—or at least is considered separately from other marketing efforts,” said Kara Trivunovic, senior director of strategic services at StrongMail Systems, a provider of email marketing and social media solutions.
How to integrate email marketing with social media efforts is a particularly hot topic among B2B marketers. Achieving email engagement can feel a little like getting the attention of a busy bartender: it takes a lot of time and energy to be heard over all the other voices.
The good thing about email is it’s a push channel, something to get in front of customers and direct them to a website. To be effective, email must be both a sales channel and a conversation.
A few years ago, KFC introduced the Double Down sandwich. They chose to use email to introduce the sandwich to their market. The call to action was sharing the news on social media. There was no coupon or even store location in the email. The email generated a huge buzz! Social media got a win because of the huge exposure, and the email marketing was a great success because everyone interested clicked on sharing buttons. As a result of this, KFC was able to segment its email recipients according to how they shared the email and discovered new ways to effectively market to them.
How can B2B marketers measure an email recipient’s engagement level? Three ways are opens/clicks, conversion and behavior over time.
The open and click-through rates give you some insight as to how your recipients are engaging with a specific email message (no open=not engaged; opened and clicked-engaged).
As for conversion, being able to track from email through to your site, then to conversion, gets you closer to measuring engagement. Conversion definition is driven by your call to action and can vary from message to message. For example, “Call your account executive today.”
Looking at how customers act on your email, over time, will help you gain some real insight into engagement. You may find that 20% of your subscribers are driving 80% of the conversion in your email program. Those would be highly engaged folks and should be treated accordingly. You may also find that you have a group of people who consistently open but never advance. Determining why and making adjustments to correct this behavior can help drive engagement in the future.
Is your B2B email marketing a foundation for your marketing success? We know email marketing can make a difference and are ready to help you manage your. Contact us to find out how.
Alan Bagg helps manufacturers boost sales by getting more mileage from their current marketing budget.
Alan is happy to entertain more discussion via email or phone. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 262.633.7772. Or follow him on twitter @alanbagg. Find more information on Alan at his LinkedIn profile.