Email Rules! 7 Top Reasons Email is Still a Powerful Marketing Service
For years, email marketing has topped the list of many marketing studies. That’s still true today. The Content Marketing Institute’s 2020 B2B report cited the following email statistics about B2B marketers:
- 81% say their most used form of content marketing is email
- 87% say email is one of their top free organic distribution channels
- 90% say email engagement is the top metric they track to measure content performance
Clearly, email is still a powerful marketing service — despite many people believing it’s not as effective today. However, to make the most of email marketing and get the huge gains in leads that many businesses are enjoying, they need to follow email marketing best practices.
Here are the seven key rules of email marketing in today’s marketplace.
Rule 1 — Use a High-Quality Email List
There is a popular saying among marketing professionals: “the money is in the list.” What they mean is that email marketing is a powerful form of marketing — if you have a high-quality recipient list. The quality of your email list will have a direct and significant impact on the profitability of your email marketing program.
The biggest benefit that email marketing offers is that the leads you have in your subscriber list are already warm. They are already interested in your products and what you have to offer. Unlike leads that are completely cold (like new visitors to your website), or those who have shown only a bit of engagement (like those coming from a social media platform), you know where you stand with email subscribers, because they shared their email address with you.
What’s also unique about your email subscribers is that you own that customized list of people interested in what you have to offer.
More complex is outbound (or cold) email. While still frowned upon by many it is a necessary evil. There are companies that dedicate themselves to gathering “opt-in” data and will sell it to you for a hefty price, just for you to email the people you don’t know with impunity. However bad you feel about it you still need to reach those new targets and cold email is a very efficient way. Trust me that is what we do!
Acquiring a high-quality outbound list includes these considerations:
- Understand your audience: Know their demographics, views, needs, and challenges.
- Mirror your best customers: This provides you with common ground and points of reference.
- Data is expensive: Use a reputable company who regularly updates their data, otherwise you may pay a lot of money for outdated data. This is especially relevant due to job changes following the pandemic.
- Use a third party: Companies like Acceler8now offer turnkey outbound marketing services, including data. This is cost effective and efficient and enables you to build lists as you need them without a commitment to expensive data contracts.
- Have a great website. This is your homebase and is a direct reflection of your business.
Rule 2 — Consider the Customer Buying Cycle
The buying cycle — known as the buyer’s journey in inbound marketing — is the process a lead travels through when they are considering the purchase of a product or service. Customers move through the stages as they educate themselves and move closer to making a final purchasing decision.
Here are the four essential stages of the buyer’s journey:
- Awareness: At this stage, potential customers realize they have a problem or need and are open to solutions to solve the challenge. Companies with high visibility and a lot of good content tend to stand out.
- Consideration: At this stage, buyers have clearly defined their needs and begun researching and considering available options. Companies who provided the most compelling solution tend to win more new customers.
- Decision: At this stage, buyers choose which product to purchase. Companies that continue to provide valuable content tend to help buyers’ confirm the value of their purchases.
- Loyalty: At this stage, satisfied customers continue to do business with the organization. Companies support this stage by continuing to deliver high-value content that helps their customers excel.
Rule 3 — Focus on Lead Nurturing
Until leads become customers, companies need to engage in lead nurturing. This is the process of developing and reinforcing relationships with qualified leads, and it is primarily centered around email marketing programs.
Lead nurturing campaigns not only allow you to interact with buyers, but also use the data you collect to gauge their interest and monitor their behavior to optimize future campaigns and increase return on investment (ROI). It creates a pathway through which you not only create relationships with potential customers, but also maintain those relationships while the prospect moves through the buyer’s journey at their own pace.
A successful lead nurturing program focuses marketing and communication efforts in these areas:
- Listen: Hear the needs of your prospects.
- Respond: Provide the information and answers they need to build trust and increase brand awareness.
- Connect: Maintain a connection until prospects are ready to make a purchase.
- Communicate: Begin the process of creating lasting relationships with leads who ultimately become customers.
Rule 4 — Segment Your Email List
Segmentation is the science of breaking up your contact lists into smaller segments, so that you can target your messages and boost your results. The more information you collect about your email recipients, the more opportunities you have to tailor your emails and provide more relevant content to your email recipients.
Lists can be segmented in a variety of ways, including these:
- Demographics: What are the characteristics of the population?
- Geography: Where are the leads located?
- Industry: Which business sector do the leads work in?
- Business type: Are the leads small businesses, enterprises, non-profits, franchises, or something else?
Rule 5 — Create Personalized Content
One of the advantages of email marketing is being able to create customized campaigns with targeted content. This can be as simple as using a lead’s name in the salutation or creating completely different campaigns for different target audiences.
Among the many aspects of email that can be personalized are:
- Subject lines
Rule 6 — Send Emails at the Right Time
To have a successful marketing campaign, you have to reach the right customers at the right time. Determining the best days of the week and times of day is based on research. Companies study their campaigns to discover what is working best for their unique market. They find the times when people open their emails and respond to their email messages.
Rule 7 — Track Email Marketing Results
It’s essential to know how your email marketing campaigns are performing. Focusing on the right metrics will help you to analyze and improve any of your marketing campaigns over time.
Here are some important metrics that you should be measuring on a regular basis to maintain email list health and improve campaign ROI:
- Open rate: The percentage of your email recipients who opened your emails.
- Click-through rate: The percentage of email recipients who clicked on links inside your emails.
- Reply or Conversion rate: The percentage of email recipients who completed your desired action, such as responding, clicking a link, or purchasing a product.
Ask nearly any marketing expert, and they will tell you that email marketing is the backbone of their entire marketing program. However, the devil is in the details — and if you follow these seven rules you’ll set yourself up for email marketing success.
To learn how we can connect you to an untapped target audience, contact us today.