This is the third in a series of articles about email marketing strategies and best practices. See the first article here.
Do you remember the sweet anticipation of receiving new email messages? If you are like most people today, you never think of your inbox fondly. It’s like the fading memory of a once-cherished rendezvous that turned into a burdensome relationship. But hey, maybe you can reawaken this first feeling of euphoria in your email subscribers when you use your small business email list for marketing.
Don’t Use Email to Only Sell
Most companies use emails exclusively to try to sell things. The messages they send revolve around product offers, discounts and free shipping. Emails from B2B companies, on the other hand, are always trying to push the recipients toward engaging with sales people. While this approach is okay every now and then, it should occur only after a company has earned the attention of its email subscribers.
Earn the Attention of Email Subscribers
Every email you create needs to lead with something valuable. You might want to share a link to a video, a new webinar or some type of industry report or an infographic. In this way, your recipients will be excited to open your messages because they will expect to see something interesting and valuable there. So, before sending your next email, ask yourself: “Why is this going to be valuable to the person I am sending it?”
Co-Sponsored Email Marketing Opportunities
If a company has a list that you know would be beneficial to your marketing efforts, request they send an email on your behalf. It could be an introduction to your company with a call-to-action to subscribe to your eNewsletter or download content. Most online content sites and trade associations have email sponsorship opportunities so you can purchase space in their email marketing programs. This is a safe and valuable method to leveraging third-party email lists.
Segment your Email Lists
Segment by Market
If you sell to various industries, segmenting your email marketing list by market is an effective way to personalize your message and craft content and offers that appeal to your reader. For example, if you sell work uniforms and serve both hospitals and food service organizations, then your message for these two groups should apply to their needs. The email that is sent to hospitals would be customized to discuss scrubs, while your food service contacts would receive information on the best outfits for restaurant employees.
Segment by Business Size
In the same way that a B2C company knows its customer demographics, a B2B organization must have an in-depth understanding of the businesses it is targeting. Using demographics like number of employees or average revenue can help you craft content based on the size of the company so you are promoting the right offer to the right organization.
If you have a subscription service with three different price levels—one for startups, one aimed at mid-sized businesses, and a deluxe service for Fortune 500 corporations—then send each group specific messaging that applies to the subscription level that best fits its needs.
Segment by Location
Is your product or service tailored to a meet the needs of a specific geographic location? If so, then your email marketing should be segmented geographically.
Different Messaging for Clients and Prospects
Even if you choose not to segment your list by any discerning demographics like market, size, or location, dividing your list between clients and prospects is recommended. In the same way that presupposing a prospect already knows about your offering, sending messaging to a client and trying to sell them something they already have is poor email etiquette. It’s an easy issue to resolve: simply mark contacts in your database as clients or leads so you can export email lists according to their client or prospect status and utilize relevant messaging for each group.
Your content to these two groups does not have to be significantly different. The purpose is to let clients know you are aware that they are clients, while letting prospects know you understand their needs. Sometimes it’s as simple as adding a short greeting to eNewsletter content. The primary content can be the same, but the greeting addresses contacts per their individual status.
You can drill further down into your prospect list by dividing them into two more lists: hot prospects that are further into your sales cycle and cold prospects that have fallen out of the sales process. This way, you can craft messages that convince hot prospects to take next steps toward the completing the sale, while offering less aggressive messaging to cold prospects who need to be eased back into the buying cycle. The more thoroughly you can segment your lists and personalize your message, the better your response rates will be.