Email can be your most powerful B2SMB marketing tool.
Excerpted from our Guide, The Definitive Guide to Accelerating the SMB Buyer’s Journey. Download it here.
Newsletters still work. While a combination of the most appropriate distribution channels is ideal, nothing gets eyeballs on messaging like packaging and delivering it right to your audience in an email. Email is a consistent communication channel and remains the number one way of distributing content. According to a study by McKinsey, email marketing is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter. The reason is reach. Social media usage is highly fragmented, while 91 percent of all American consumers use email daily. What’s more, Salesforce found that 60% of consumers prefer email for receiving updates and promotions from brands.
Email newsletters are a powerful foundation for, or extension of your messaging and content platforms. Social media can be effective in generating subscribers for your publications and driving readers to your content, but email newsletters are a dependable channel for distributing content that you own and control. Here are some tips for being successful with them.
- List segmentation
The success of each newsletter can be widely affected by how your audience is segmented. According to MailChimp, segmented campaigns result in 14 percent more opens and 64 percent more clicks.
While there is a seemingly endless number of ways you can segment your email list, your content will be highly influenced by the type of data and information available about your target audience. For example, if you target different titles in different ways, then segmenting and creating content by title is a good option.
If you don’t have defined buyer titles, or the personas you do have are out of date, there are many other ways you can deliver more relevant, personalized content. We have found that segmenting by customer versus prospect and by company size are good starting points when targeting SMBs.
- Email capture
When your tactics, whether SEO, paid search or a display campaign, have led a buyer to your site, remember that fewer than 5 percent of visitors are ready to buy today. So what about the other 95 percent?
Those 95 percent were interested enough to click on a search result or an ad, or maybe type your URL into their browser, so they are interested in something. This is where having an email newsletter for prospects, chock full of great content, can be quite powerful. Turning a visitor who is not ready to buy into an email newsletter subscriber gives you a recurring, consistent communication channel and puts your brand and message in front of them when they are ready to buy.
- Gated content
Another way to capture email addresses comes from gating high-value content. Gating content versus not gating content has been a raging de- bate for a few years now, with good points on both sides of the argument.
I prefer David Meerman Scott’s approach of not gating less-valued, similar-themed content assets and then gating “next- step,” or higher-value, assets. In the race to capture as many leads as possible, consider this: if you are looking for leads that are more likely to buy, then only gate assets with topics that are more closely aligned with the purchase of your product. This way, if a visitor opts into product aligned content, he or she is probably further down the buyer’s journey. Use this approach and your sales team will thank you, because the leads represent interested buyers and not just those interested in the content.
Ungated assets are more likely to be shared, therefore exposing more people to the gated assets. Your salespeople are likely to also appreciate this aspect. Too much gated content frustrates users, while gating only high-value content produces more qualified leads.
- Online forms
I suggest putting email sign-up forms on as many URLs as possible, especially adjacent to content. If visitors like the content you are providing, you want to give them an opportunity to get more of it sent to their inbox, and you want a way to reach them in the future.
You must make sure any form on your site is as painless as possible for visitors to fill out. According to a study by MarketingSherpa, every field you add to a form reduces opt-ins by 11 percent. This study also found that 61 percent of B2B marketers keep forms between two and four fields. The most common requirements were email address and name. Any additional fields should be determined by your content goals. For example, will you target prospects by the size of their company, or by industry? Be strategic in the information you require of opt-ins.
Your best audience is the one you own.
In their new book, Killing Marketing, Content Marketing gurus Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose say this about the customers and prospects who sign up for your email list. They are “people who want to hear from (you)…They are people who are willingly sharing their personal data…and giving you permission to converse with them.” These are your best prospects.
This article was excerpted from our eGuide, The Definitive Guide to Accelerating the SMB Buyer’s Journey. download it here.