Article

Keren Mulia
Keren Mulia 24 August 2016
Categories B2B, Content, Email & eCRM

22 Important Tips to Improve Your B2B Email Marketing

The most important information must be placed on top, as the recipients’ email clients or devices have a limited view at the first glance. Don’t make your target audience scroll far too long for them to get your key message.

Aesthetics

  1. Capture your audience at the first glance
    The most important information must be placed on top, as the recipients’ email clients or devices have a limited view at the first glance. Don’t make your target audience scroll far too long for them to get your key message.

01_outlook_campaignmonitor.png
Source: Campaign Monitor

01_mobile_campaignmonitor.png
Source: Campaign Monitor

  1. Include alt-text to your images
    Emails are rendered (a.k.a. viewed) in HTML or plain text. Some of your recipients do not automatically see visuals so it’s important to insert text for each image.

bride_images_on.jpg

Preview of HTML-rendered email
Source: Campaign Monitor

bride_images_off.gif

Preview of text-rendered plain text email
Source: Campaign Monitor

  1. Incorporate images that are relevant
    The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than the time it takes for the brain to decode text1. Help your target audience understand what you are trying to say faster.
     
  2. Split important components to grab attention
    Don’t write chunky paragraphs, use different font sizes to increase visual dominance, incorporate bullet points if required.
     
  3. Strike a balance
    Using too many images can trigger spam filters. Keep an image-to-text ratio between 60-40 or 40-60.
     
  4. Clean (uncluttered) design, with some colour
    Design preferences change from time to time, but the principle is the same: always know what is popular now (for your target audience). Here is a nicely curated whitepaper “The Email Design Lookbook” by SalesForce Pardot if you want samples.
     
  5. Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)
    I think HubSpot did a good job to share the best practices here, so I will let the article do the talking.

Content

  1. Speak to your audience in their language
    Beyond marketing psychographics and demographics, pay attention to the way your target audience communicates, behaves and the type of concerns or activities they are interested in. Help yourself by having a buyer’s persona and mimic their language.
     
  2. Be trendy to portray thought-leadership
    Use free online tools to find out what’s trending and be in the same conversation as your audience. Refer to the community sites that your target audience frequently visit to understand the latest topics that are buzzing. I often use BuzzSumo.
  3. Formal, polite and succinct tone and manner
    Since you are in the B2B field, ensure your language and style fits and gets localised according to the differing market needs. Keeping things short will benefit you, as executives do not have much spare free time.
     
  4. Avoid jargons
    Don’t use flowery words, take out meaningless superlatives as this will confuse your target audience or even reduce credibility of your company.
     
  5. Back up your claims
    Present your arguments or points with evidence. 72% of consumers say reading a positive customer reviews increase their trust in a business2.
     
  6. Personalize (beyond a customer’s “First Name”)
    Use behaviour-triggered emails to interact with your customer real time. Moz, a popular SEO software company delivers email via marketing automation to guide and provide the correct emails for their customers3.
     
  7. Trustworthy senders’ information and credible sign-off
    HubSpot carried out a test and it’s proven that sending an email with a sender’s name instead of a generic entity worked better4.

    03_HubSpotTest.png
    Source: Crazy Egg
     
  8. Think of next steps
    I strongly believe in the effectiveness of inbound marketing5. However, converting a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) takes time and effort6. What SalesForce Pardot does is once a user downloads an eBook, they provide other recommendations in the thank you page. Although email marketing does not function like a landing page, the same theory applies. Probe your audience for a clear action. Examples include asking them to email you back, or by giving relevant information for them to evaluate and digest at their pace.
     
  9. Practice multi-channel marketing with social media
    Maybe your target audience is not ready to interact with you (yet) or require more lead nurturing before they are ready to make a purchase. Don’t waste this email marketing budget by forgetting to open more doors to keep your brand top-of-mind.
     
  10. Avoid “SPAM” words
    DON’T TYPE IN CAPS and avoid using words that trigger spam filters7.
     
  11. Effective subject title
    Firstly, use this tool (Hint: keep it below 35 characters). Secondly, keep track of the email subject titles that you have used to see which works better for your target audience. I’ve seen interesting end-user millennial versions with emojis, but if it’s B2B remember to keep it short but intriguing.

Technology

  1. Optimize and test, test, test
    Before deployment, check if it looks good using softwares such as Litmus on major platforms and devices. At the end of the day, a campaign preview or dashboard is still the easiest to use for analysing. I believe one of the best would be Optimizely, however I’ve used QlikView and it is fantastic as well. As a start, find the best day and time to email your audience.
     
  2. Use the right credible email blasting systems
    In very layman terms: an email blasting system has different ratings that allows or prevents it to demonstrate its “ranking” to servers whether the email should be published or not. In short, it’s crucial to pick the right marketing automation platform and email blasting system to avoid high bounce rates and your emails not being sent. For lean teams, I recommend MailChimp or GetResponse.
     
  3. Code like a master (or work with one)
    Not all email clients were made equal8, so HTML email can display differently in different devices. As such, you actually need an awesome marketing technologist who can optimize for mobile as the number of people who open their emails via mobile can be 47%9!
     
  4. Re-engage with inactive contacts or delete them
    Yes, I know you spent a lot of time to do list building. While that is still important and a good practice, deleting inactive contacts actually improve email deliverability; decrease costs and therefore improves ROI10.

There are still many tips and tricks but I hope I’ve covered most of the essential ones. Please note that I’ve tried to be brand agnostic as this is was not a sponsored content. If you think I’ve missed out any crucial points, kindly comment or drop me an email at keren.mulia@yahoo.com. Thank you.

References
1 http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-infographic  
2 https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey-2014/
3 https://blog.kissmetrics.com/6-email-personalization-techniques/
4 https://blog.crazyegg.com/2014/06/05/high-email-open-rates/
5 http://www.business2community.com/inbound-marketing/20-stunning-inbound-marketing-statistics-0937976#yStKYqofs55x9laC.97
6 https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2015/04/takes-6-8-touches-generate-viable-sales-lead-heres-why-gp.html
7 http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/30684/The-Ultimate-List-of-Email-SPAM-Trigger-Words.aspx
8 https://www.campaignmonitor.com/dev-resources/guides/mobile/
9 https://blog.bufferapp.com/8-effective-email-strategies-backed-by-research
10 https://www.mailmunch.co/blog/delete-inactive-email-subscribers/

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