In the last twenty years, email’s become a well established, stalwart marketing channel with dependable ROI. But best practices for email evolve continuously, as today’s marketing mix progressively includes new channels and devices. John DiStefano, Research Director for BtoB led off a recent webinar by sharing the current state of context for email:
Marketers using email prioritize customer acquisition and customer retention in equal measure.
The number-one challenge/opportunity for the B2B marketer using email marketing is delivering highly relevant content; it ranks a surprising (to me, anyway) 45 percent higher than the second-place “Measuring the ROI of email programs”.
From the same recent study, 47 percent said they were improving email by working on delivering the right content to segments, and 43 percent are working on lead nurturing. (Hmmm…things marketing automation does well. Just sayin’.)
If you’re spending more on email, you’ve got plenty of company. While just 5 percent of marketers plan to decease the email budget, 60 percent intend to maintain and a full 35 percent plan to spend more. Here’s how much they spent in 2012:
John’s best practices included:
- Maximize deliverability using list hygiene, design and other strategies
- Use trigger emails
- Incorporate promotional messages into transactional emails
Phil Dolan, CMO of Navicure, spoke about some of his company’s challenges, including complacency and differentiation. His recommendations for best email practices include:
- Set annual objectives for marketing funnel stages
- Have both a push (on your timetable) nurture campaign schedule and a pull (on the buyer’s timetable) nurture campaign schedule
- Use lead scoring to weight the signals that mean the most
- Analyze where leads get stuck and see what might dislodge them; new content
- Establish rapport and trust prior to the beginning of the buying cycle
Alison Shaffer, director of marketing operations and analytics at Dell, stressed that email is a good way to collect behavioral data, and that combining email with a strong online presence can shorten the buying cycle. Her best practice recommendations included using three types of engagement emails:
- Newsletters. Communicate at either a very broad or targeted level. Collect the clicks, usage data and gauge customer interest.
- Follow up messages: Use trigger messages in response to a website action; focus on a specific behavior, thank the customer, or follow up with additional information.
- Usage encouragement. Send emails to recipients on how to use more of your product and remind them of the capabilities and benefits you offer.
To sit in on the full discussion of best practices for email, watch the on-demand webcast of Email Marketing: Best Practices in a Multichannel, Multi-Device World, a BtoB webcast sponsored by Act-On.