In today’s installment of our five part series on B2B internet marketing, we’ll be discussing email marketing. We’ve already gone over business to business social media marketing and content marketing in our previous blog posts, so you’ll already be familiar with the basics of creating relevant, useful content and sharing it via social media. Now we’ll approach the challenge of effective B2B email marketing, and how it’s different from B2C email marketing.
At its most basic, B2B email marketing is a form of content marketing. You’re sending information out to potential clients to demonstrate to them that you’re credible and reliable, and that your product or service will suit their company’s needs better than anyone else’s. But the emails you send serve a much more subtle purpose than your website content or even your blog content.
Blogs provide valuable, useful information meant to cement your position as an expert in the eyes of your potential clients. Your website is all about your products or services. But your email newsletter can’t be too promotional – or too selfless. B2C email newsletters usually try to convince a customer to make a purchase right then and there, to click through to the landing page and buy that item on sale today.
But B2B emails have a different purpose. They are meant to further the relationship, keep you top of mind, and differentiate your product or service.
If you make your emails too sales-y, they’ll turn people off. No one likes to be bombarded with sales pitches. They’ll be tuned out as spam in no time. However, on the other side of the spectrum, you can provide incredible content in every newsletter, but if you neglect to remind the recipient who’s sending it and what it is you do, they won’t make the connection, and your efforts will be in vain.
So how do you ensure that your email newsletter is just right? Break it down into the details, and take a careful look at each aspect:
1. Content: Remember the purpose of these emails. Provide useful information, but be sure to include a reminder of who you are and what you provide. Include links to your latest blog post, or to relevant pages on your site. Include a call to action that’s not too pushy – rather than asking for the sale right then and there, maybe persuade them to download a white paper instead.
2. Appearance: While we like to think that looks aren’t everything, in some cases, they are. If your email template looks unprofessional, chances are people won’t even read it. Make sure your designers create an industry-appropriate look for each email that will convey your professionalism and attention to detail to its recipients. And by the way – if your email brings readers to a landing page other than your blog or another already existing page on your site, the same principle applies. Your landing page needs to look just as good as everything else.
3. Segment and personalize: There are so many ways to categorize email subscribers these days – why not take advantage of them? You could, for example, segment your subscribers by geographic location, and then personalize each batch with a head shot of their local sales rep, along with his or her name and contact information. The less generic your email, the better.
Now that you’ve got a handle on B2B email marketing, be sure to check back for the next installment of our Ultimate Guide to B2B Internet Marketing! We’ll be discussing search engine optimization and digital public relations in our upcoming blog posts – you won’t want to miss them!