Recently we had a look into prominent trends and leading online marketing approaches and ideals for the new year. In one of those articles, we scanned the entire digital marketing scene and found that email marketing was at the very top of B2B marketing trends for 2021, with an 84% popularity. Pretty impressive right?
Email marketing is proof that a winning concept can stay on top for a long, long time. Even with social media, technological advancements in video and audio media, and AI bringing marketing to a whole new level of engagement, email is a time-honored field of advertising that ages even better, some might say, than whiskey. This speaks volumes to the potentials residing within email marketing going into 2021 and beyond.
This year, marketing will undoubtedly be a crucial tool for organisational survival. In the final months of 2020, at SnellMedia we really started seeing the high demand and urgency in building strong marketing strategies and email campaigns to drive a competitive edge and yield desirable results in light of the repercussions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The phones have been ringing non-stop, our inbox is overflowing, and strategies are needed today. Or preferably yesterday.
In the light of this high demand and the confirmation that email marketing is the leading B2B digital marketing platform, we decided to dive into the very best practices of B2B email marketing in 2021.
Going into this year, the standout practice of email marketing focuses on unity between the sender and the receiver of all communications. To maximise this tactic, attention needs to be centred on individualising messages, freshening up target lists, and keeping your message optimised for multiple devices.
In the article below, we dig deeper into how you can maximise your B2B email marketing based on our best practices to ensure your business thrives in 2021 and beyond. Read on to discover how each of the best practices is executed. In the article, we explore:
If there’s any practice that has shown significant revenue improvement, email marketing stands out by a long shot. Specifically, for each $1 spent, $44.25 is the average ROI. With a lucrative B2B email marketing strategy, a lot of great things can happen. First comes increased engagement which drives leads. An increase in leads will result in more conversions. And guess what: more conversions entail more revenue. The circle is complete. For B2B, it is important to remember that 86% of professionals prioritise an email connection.
While this should be obvious, we will warn you right now: if you think a generic, broadcast email will automatically give you an endless revenue stream, you are sadly mistaken. While the marketing tactic can be seen as a reliable tool in your inbound marketing toolbox, it undoubtedly requires commitment and mastering the best practices of today. We’ve identified 9 meaningful email advertising strategies driving us forward in 2021.
We are living in an era where people are constantly on the move: going to the gym, commuting to and from work, traveling for work, enjoying hobbies and social events, you name it. We are always on the go, so how do you reach people who are never fully available? By their pocket-self of course. Today, three billion people are actively using smartphones, and it’s safe to say that they are becoming a huge part of our social, daily life. In fact, it is determined that over 55% of emails are opened via a mobile device.
What can we learn from this? Knowing that almost half of the entire global population is on their smartphone while on the go, the best way your business can reach prospects is through their mobile devices, and by making sure any and all marketing campaigns are suited for being read on more than one device type. Right now, one in five email campaigns is not optimised for mobile devices.
An important part of succeeding with email marketing is to fully optimise your email content and landing pages for readers using their phones. We consider anything from pictures, columns, paragraph sizes, readability, font sizes, and white space. Anything that makes the experience as easy and comfortable for the reader as possible. And also, are you considering ‘the little things’, like thumb placement on the screen and what that does to the experience?
One of the leading reasons for email marketing holding significant favour with B2B marketing teams specifically, is that this tactic has high potential for creating a bond with the recipient and a unique ability to establish high-impact, personal touches, on a scale on which most other channels can’t compete.
However, to this day, 89% of B2B email campaigns are sent from company names, which means that the customer is having trouble connecting with you and your brand - they need a name - a human - to connect with and they need to know that you’re emailing them because you provide data that relates to their interests and needs in their buyer journey. When we introduce the personalisation aspect to our clients’ email marketing, specific sender names, tailored messages, and characteristics triggers are imperative non-negotiables.
There are many ways to incorporate personalisation aspects into your email marketing campaigns, to ensure that your company achieves the highest level of ROI, CTR, and ‘open’ rates. The most effective tactics are the following:
Dynamic content and individualised messages that speak to the customers’ and prospective buyers’ needs, interests, or position in the brand’s life cycle, will provide B2B companies with a significantly higher ROI in the long term. In fact, we’ve seen that campaigns built on tailored outlines can perform up to 22% better on ROI alone. Also, with list segmentation, you can significantly drive higher open rates, fewer unsubscribers, and increased sales leads.
Personalisation has long been the key to relevancy, and the trend continues to grow in 2021 - the data show that personalisation needs to be adapted if you want to compete, stay relevant, and remain included in the customers’ and prospective buyers’ email inbox. If you are still hesitating as a B2B marketer, we’d like to remind you that 65% of business buyers will potentially switch brands if suppliers don’t personalise communications, and marketers have reported a whopping 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns.
There are many different views on this. One thing is clear: it is vital you don’t overwhelm your subscribers and contacts by sending out emails too often. But at the same time, you want to make sure you stay top of mind for them, and therefore have them interact with your brand often enough to ensure brand recognition and authority.
When we create an email marketing strategy with our clients, we typically want to target a frequency of 4-5 times a month. This is proven to be a favourable frequency rate. Truth is, upwards of 45% of subscribers will mark a sender as spam due to being contacted too often, so you really want to hit a mark that strikes in between spamming and being downright forgettable.
Importantly, the high frequency may keep your brand at the top of prospects’ minds, but not in a good way. If you are afraid of losing conversions as a result of sending fewer emails, remember that quality will always trump quantity. So make sure that you are creating personalised, intriguing send-outs to the right prospects, and you’ll have no need to worry.
As we mentioned in this year’s leading marketing trends, email remains the most popular marketing channel and generator of leads and revenue. It may feel like a natural response to think ‘ok, so we’ll invest fully in email marketing’. While we salute the hopefulness in that notion, the truth is that email marketing is good, but it’s not great. At least not on its own. Ultimately, good tends to turn into good enough (decent at best), and good enough is under no condition actually great (excellent). This is where the omni-channel factor comes into play.
To achieve maximum ROI, you need to expand your approach towards a more sophisticated standard and bring in other channels that provide even more information about your audience. By working with email marketing as an integrative part of a holistic marketing approach, we ensure that our frame of reference on our customer characteristics and data about their behaviour is broadened into a central integrated database environment.
This gives our clients the opportunity to evolve their marketing from one generic platform with generic messages, to an all-inclusive strategy where all the data they gain from other marketing efforts can be transmitted into highly specific, targeted messages based on segments. In our experience, this provides businesses with a more dynamic email setting and your inbox will start seeing significant interest as a result.
Okay, so we know that emails have been around a while. A long while, even. So there is definitely a need to keep modernising the tool for as long as it’s relevant. If you are a believer in tradition, let us demonstrate why modernising video has huge potential:
If you’re not familiar with the impact video content can have generally, then head on over to our previous blog post about social media trends for 2021.
When we create personalised videos, we focus on important attributes and traits like person/business name, personal connection factors, or industry specifics which are extra valuable to the targeted audience. We use the same characteristics and data as we would if creating personalised text-based content.
The potential in video email is clear: email is the most popular marketing tool today, and the popularity of video marketing is booming day by day. In fact, by 2022, 82% of all online content is predicted to be in video format. So what you are really doing is merging the standing leader with the leader to be, and bringing out the best in both. Most importantly, when adding videos to your email, you can increase the click rates by 300%.
When adopting video into your emails, marketers have the chance to create highly valuable, profitable campaigns. By providing actionable video content, we are able to not only deliver high value but build a rapport with our subscriber lists. The biggest wow-factor to this is that when your clients and prospects get to see you, that builds a deeper connection with the audience compared with what you could achieve by using most other methods.
These campaigns can look very different:
Another best practice is ensuring that the people you’ve targeted with your email campaign stay intrigued post-click. Your email should entice the reader to visit a landing page, and that landing page should direct them towards conversion; i.e., the campaigns must include purposeful landing pages to take the visitor from the click-through to the eventual conversion.
Targeted landing pages will help you optimise lead nurturing, can opt as a platform for engaging your existing customers, and attain powerful feedback and insight. We focus on getting visitors excited about what’s to come by signing up for trials or getting their hands on one-time-only discounts. One way of doing this is by leveraging the FOMO (fear of missing out) factor of our modern world and highlighting time-limited offers, amazing premium perks, or urgency in the availability of an offer.
Whatever wow-factor you decide to include on your landing page, make sure it speaks to the visitor you’re emailing; i.e., that the landing page serves the targeted audience. With this, there is also a need to ensure a cohesive design and structure throughout your website, email, and other platforms, to keep buyers coming back as a result of brand recognition.
We know it might sound strange to have to sort away potential clients on a list, but this best practice in email marketing has to do with the need to free your email list of accounts you just know aren’t creating value for you. Email list cleaning means clearing away outdated profiles or faulty data from your email database. Working either manually or automatically, email cleaning keeps your list from getting overwhelmed or downright toxic.
We always try to ensure that as many contacts as possible on our targeted email list start engaging, so if a lot of reach-outs are ignored, we know that we are wasting our time on that account. Also, some prospects may hit the ‘unsubscribe’ button, so those obviously also need to be cleared away immediately, unless your email marketing software does this automatically for you. To attain high engagement rates, continuously cleaning out an email list will boost your rates significantly while helping you build more meaningful relationships with people who are genuinely interested in your content and offerings.
The arrival of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), is something many feared would be the end of email marketing or at least a tough enemy for ROI. Even inside the walls of SnellMedia, we had our concerns and theories on what GDPR would mean for our marketing solutions going forward. In hindsight, we are very happy to see that, even if a few corporations experienced minor losses in list size, the regulation has done a lot more good than harm.
At SnellMedia, our focus is on quality over quantity. We want to make sure that the people we target on our clients’ behalf are quality leads and will generate conversions in the end - and as many as possible. More than that, the arrival of GDPR actually means higher opt-in rates and deliverability. An impressive 75% of marketers say that their click-through rates are increasing since GDPR became a reality. In other words, smart cuts in list size (focusing on who represents value to you) will help increase the quality of campaign performance.
There is no need to fear regulations on user privacy. Truth is, with guidelines like GDPR, what you put out is better, more sophisticated, and follows the trail of email marketing best practices: being mindful of the user and their needs and requirements.
As a digital marketing agency, we know how to take care of marketing campaigns and sustain their efficiency. Just like any other marketing campaign, email marketing requires a margin for improvement, as preliminary runs won’t yield results right away. In order to sustain the efficiency and profitability of email campaigns, testing is everything.
If you want your email campaigns to succeed, you need to get acquainted with the world of A/B testing. At SnellMedia, we A/B test both broadcast and segmented email throughout a campaign, to ensure that both sides of the coin are performing on a sufficient level at the very least. More than that, we include tests on transactional emails (interaction exchange between supplier and customer) and any automated send-outs we transmit. All of this is to ensure a competitive edge and move the needle on performance towards new heights.
One important concept we apply in testing is the notion that small changes can create a big impact. Always test just one thing at a time. The reason for this is that multiple changes can make it difficult to determine what changes have impact. Knowing what is successful to one campaign makes it easier to get fast results for later campaigns when new data is applied. Run your campaigns to adequate test audiences, determine success factors, and keep track of all new findings. This best practice is extremely powerful for generating better results in 2021.
Artificial Intelligence in email marketing refers to the incorporation of advanced technology designed to perceive and store data about the people you serve emails to, whether it’s new prospects or existing customers. The amplification of AI-based email marketing derives from the practice’s advanced abilities to collect data fast without compromising the adequacy in the extent of the database. More than that, AI goes beyond human skills with respect to the depth of data delivery, hence maximising accuracy of data for predictive analytics.
In today’s world, speed is one of the most attractive products you can offer. With AI, B2B focused agencies can help their clientele get better results in their email marketing without having to wait for any extended time. Also, AI gives your B2B buyer what they are searching for faster, which lets them know that you are a serious, efficient supplier.
There are many different ways to which we help our B2B clients leverage AI in their business’ email marketing efforts. For one, the technology allows for superior insights which can be harnessed for optimised personalisation, segmentation of existing email lists and discovering new, valuable segments to bring in. Also, artificial intelligence is great for automation, and saving time on A/B testing, content creation, and ongoing analytics.
One of the ways we find that AI is helping our clients best, is in the way it sanctions optimisation of content, subject lines, frequency and send times. A whole new world of opportunities are presented, and we help ensure that an investment in AI is an investment worthwhile for you and your company.
Are you a B2B company looking to start a successful email marketing campaign in 2021? Or do you need help optimising your email marketing today? Do you feel that your email marketing has great potential, but you aren’t too sure how to optimise your leads or where to start?
In that case, look no further, ‘cause SnellMedia is here to guide you. As an experienced B2B digital marketing agency focusing in part on valuable email marketing solutions, we can build personalised, intriguing campaigns designed to maximise your ROI in 2021. If you’re curious to know more about what we do, and how we can help you grow your business online, feel free to reach out to us when you need us. We’d love to hear from you!
This article is part of our digital marketing trends series, showcasing the primary pillars of digital marketing that we at SnellMedia focus on; PPC, SEO, Social media, Email marketing, Web design, and content marketing.
It is safe to say that email marketing is definitely useful and beneficial. That is why it is so popular today, especially among B2B marketers. Today, 84% of B2B marketers state that email marketing is their most successful marketing tool, and a whopping 93% of B2B marketers are continually using the marketing tactic. With a well thought out strategy, email marketing is one of the tools with the highest ROI potential.
To get a sizeable email list, it is important that you make use of all your channels. Import all of your current clients, use social media platforms and pop-ups on your website to create new engagement, and import subscribers from your website. You can also create different experiences to keep users entertained with interactive features like questionnaires, on-site games, and quizzes. Lastly, there is always the opportunity of buying a cold list from an email database vendor.