Email plays an important role in effective Internet marketing. Especially in the business-to-business world, connecting with clients and prospective buyers via email is a great way to keep the brand on recipients' radars. Email can be used both for content marketing initiatives aimed at positioning the brand as an industry thought leader, as well for promotional purposes to spread the word about a new product or service or sale.
B2B email marketing
With email at the heart of many effective multichannel B2B marketing strategies, new research revealed how it's benefiting companies. According to MarketingProfs, Yesmail studied 5.4 million marketing emails sent during the third quarter of 2013. At the average B2B company:
- The email delivery rate was about 72 percent
- The bounce rate hit nearly 28 percent
- The open rate was almost 14 percent
- The unique click rate was 1.2 percent
- The total click rate was 1.7 percent
- The click-to-open rate reached roughly 8 percent
- The unsubscribe rate was 0.5 percent
The study also pointed out the significant effect mainstream mobile adoption has had on email marketing, MarketingProfs reported. Among B2B and business-to-consumer emails studied, 16 percent of sales generated from these messages occurred on smartphones or tablets. Additionally, the portion of email recipients who only check their inboxes on mobile devices grew nearly 50 percent between Q2 and Q3.
3 tips to strengthen open and click-through rates
Email open and click-through rates are reliable metrics to use to determine the effectiveness of email marketing because they show whether recipients are actually viewing the messages the brand sends and following through on calls to action. Here are three ways to improve these rates and see better result from email marketing efforts:
- Write bold subject lines: Because the subject line is the first part of an email recipients will see, it has to be intriguing and relevant. This sentence should be short, punchy and to-the-point.
- Make it personal: Econsultancy noted segmenting email marketing audience members is crucial to sending them the right message. Brands can divide their contact lists based on who the recipients are or what role they play at their organizations and where they are in the buying journey. Doing this allows B2B marketing professionals to customize their campaign messages and offer content that relates to to the specific needs of individual prospects and past clients.
- Be mobile-minded: As Yesmail's study results show, the number of people checking their email on smartphones and tablets is incredibly significant. Emails should be crafted in a way that appeals to mobile users who want relevant, fresh content quickly.
Successful B2B marketing today involves making effective use of multiple channels. Internet marketing tactics and in-person events can be utilized cohesively to reach lead generation and conversion goals. However, multichannel marketing requires a certain level of strategic planning. Companies must thoroughly map out what they wish to achieve through these efforts and how they'll track progress.
Marketers want greater ROI from event marketing
According to MarketingProfs, a recent study from the Association of National Advertisers found that marketers may not be seeing the results they want from sponsorship and event marketing. The ANA surveyed 78 marketing professionals about their opinions on the effectiveness of sponsoring live happenings – like sports, entertainment and nonprofit events – and in-person initiatives aimed at placing potential clients in direct contact with the brand. Sixty-two percent reported being at least somewhat satisfied with the return on investment in such tactics, while 16 percent said they're very satisfied and only 4 percent are completely satisfied.
While these figures may not be extremely impressive, they are up from those found in a similar study conducted in 2010, suggesting businesses are improving their sponsorship and other live-event strategies. According to MarketingProfs, other findings from the ANA's survey include:
- Less than half of marketers surveyed have a defined process to measure sponsorship and event marketing results.
- Three-quarters gather, analyze and act on data to for event and sponsorship decision-making.
- 70 percent said their organizations' need to validate results has risen in the past two years.
- 3 in 5 marketers have a dedicated budget for these initiatives, up from 2 in 5 three years ago.
6 tips for an improved event marketing strategy
As the demand for a clear ROI on event marketing initiatives increases, B2B organizations may consider reevaluating how they envision, plan, carry out and measure these efforts. Here are six tips on getting the most out of sponsorships, participation in trade shows and company-hosted gatherings:
- Make a marketing calendar: Effective planning is at the heart of any B2B marketing initiative, and having a calendar allows organizations to capitalize on every opportunity to reach potential clients. Depending on the event type, the business should decide how early marketing initiatives need to kick off – whether it be months or weeks in advance. From there, businesses can coordinate message-sending across email, social media, website content marketing and other channels.
- Use channels to their fullest potential: While it's important that brands spread a consistent message via all platforms, sharing information in ways that engage users may require diversifying content presentation. For example, spreading the word about an event via LinkedIn and Twitter should be approached differently. Tweeting an intriguing fact or statistic pertaining to the event and linking to its Web page can be effective, while on LinkedIn, posts can be more fleshed out.
- Approach the event from different angles: Speak to the unique interests of audience members by highlighting different elements about the event in various promotional messages. While an initial invitation may introduce the trade show or product launch, reminder messages can profile speakers, nuance the theme of the event and explain the takeaways attendees will benefit from.
- Use the best metrics: The ANA's study found that media exposure and social network traffic are the top measures marketers use to determine ROI and return on objectives. Other metrics respondents reported using heavily include brand awareness and lift. These and website analytics are strong measures, but just monitoring won't accomplish much. It's important to develop actionable insight from data gathered.
- Collect information: Because live events are great lead generation opportunities, brands should collect contact information from attendees, as well any other data that may provide insight into what type of marketing messages individual prospects may respond to.
Content marketing plays a crucial role in turning a prospect into a buyer. Buyers at business-to-business companies today have more access to information than ever before. They research content on multiple platforms throughout each stage of the decision-making process, and brands that can provide B2B buyers with the data information they require when they need it are most likely to succeed.
According to MarketingProfs, recent research conducted by software provider Pardot found B2B buyers want different types of content at each step along their decision-making journey. As they research information and move along in the process, the majority say their searches become more specific. Additionally, the greater the cost of the purchase being considered, the more information buyers look up.
However, while B2B buyers seek to be heavily informed before making a purchasing decision, content that is too long can turn them away. Seven in 10 respondents to Pardot's survey said content types like case studies and white papers should be no longer than 5 pages.
Effective content marketing involves delivering detailed, relevant information in a format that's digestible and pleasant to read. Especially as people increasingly access content on mobile devices, presenting concepts and findings in a legible, easily consumable way is just as important as providing information that's intriguing and original.