Email is still the king in B2B marketing dominating social media, mail, and all other forms of marketing combined. Although LinkedIn is making inroads on the king, a recent study by McKinsey concluded that email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Twitter and Facebook.
So what about email? How can your organization best leverage it? Some of the Best Practices are similar to what you’ll find in the Blog BP. Still, there are important distinctions. Here are the Best Practices for leveraging email.
1) Have a good list. Make sure your list data has 90% + integrity and that its focused. Don't try to boil the ocean by including everyone. Know the right role or roles and focus your list build on them so the message will be more relevant, thereby increasing your probability for engagement with the right people.
2) Plan. Plan the campaign theme, the send schedule, the content, the follow up. Even though the plan will change because of current events, changes in the organization, or a myriad of other variables, having the framework will make your work more fruitful in the long run. Just be consistent in execution.
3) Have a creative headline. The headline is critical...it's the doorway to your message. Believe it or not, most email headlines are poorly written. You have 2-3 seconds to grab a busy person's attention. Make it count. Being creative doesn't mean sensationalize. It needs to simply compel the reader to open the message and keep reading. And it needs to be relevant to the content within the message. Make it authentic and appropriately clever. Often a simple "Touching base" is effective. Another best practice...keep it short. Use five words or less. Two is optimal. Another example headline "Anything missing?" If you want a great resource for testing keywords, check out http://subject-line-checker.adestra.com/. Invest time in your headline. If you’re not good at writing headlines, pay a professional. Yes it’s that important.
4) Write content with hooks. Be compelling and inviting with your content. And it’s about them not your features and benefits. Within the theme you’ve selected, it's about what they can do with your offering. It's about what they will experience and gain. And storytelling is powerful, but at this point only a compelling peek into the story will work. Too much too fast and there is no hook. You only have about 5-7 seconds to hook the reader beyond the headline. And you want to keep them hooked. A compelling email has 4 hooks…headline, salutation, KPI or benefit highlight within the core message, and the CTA (Call To Action). The CTA must be something they need to do to get the result they want. Write it as if you were them reading it in their environment.
5) Listen to the macro data. But balance that with what you know to be working for you. TrackMaven recently released results from their latest study centered on rising above the “noise” of email. Highlights (with notes based on our experience in parentheses) include: send in the mornings and evenings on weekends (generally true), keep the subject line word count under 20 (best practice is 2 with a max <5), use a question mark in the subject line (very effective), keep your word count under 300 (target 50 with max <100 for best results), don’t use images (good for blogging, and social posting, not good for email as images flag spam), use links to share more information (good, link to content you own is optimal). Most people are doing much of the opposite and not because audiences prefer it.
6) String it all together. Since you are working multiple channels to reach the right people, ensure the campaign theme compliments the other channel work you are doing in messaging and timing. Social selling via LinkedIn, conferences, phone calls...whatever you are working, make sure you are thoughtful and deliberate in how you attempt to connect. You don't want your efforts to feel canned. Be as authentic as possible within each channel you work while avoiding becoming inefficient.
7) Measure your results. And adjust. If you can’t track manually, get a tool like campaign monitor or mail chimp. Salesforce.com App Exchange has some bolt-on options as well. The primary KPI is conversation rate...how many conversations did you generate. Other KPIs for email are: open rate, click rate, direct response rate, opt-out rate, and spam rate.
If email is something you think you could improve on with professional management, let us know. We can help with our email management services. Jut give us a call or email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org.