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Email marketing can be a highly effective tactic for building brand awareness and generating leads. In the B2B world, email enables companies to create consistent touchpoints with their target audiences and strategically filter prospects through a sales funnel – all while tracking engagement and ROI. However, not all email initiatives are successful. The effort can also annoy your customer base, lead hot prospects to unsubscribe and diminish your credibility or brand value.
While there are numerous ways B2B companies can utilize email, a newsletter is generally a great place to start. It serves as a platform for increasing education and thought leadership while including a subtler, softer sales message (which means people will look forward to receiving your newsletter because it’s not just a blanket sales pitch or advertisement).
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 81% of B2B marketers use e-newsletters and 31% find e-newsletters to be most effective at nurturing leads. Further, the Direct Marketing Association found that for every $1 spent on email marketing, $41 is the average return, making for an impressive ROI.
Sounds great, right? To get these results and avoid the Scarlet S (spammer), it’s vital to follow best practices.
Take Care with Subject Lines
Your subject line is the sole determiner as to whether or not recipients will open your newsletter (assuming it lands in their inbox). Straightforward statements that are descriptive of the newsletter content tend to work best, as opposed to gimmicky or complicated statements that can be deemed as clickbait. Sometimes a pun or a creative play on words will generate interest, but that move can be risky because many folks get an onslaught of emails daily. They may not understand the catch immediately, or they may simply be too busy and delete.
A preheader is the summary text that follows the subject line when an email is viewed in an inbox. This is your second chance to entice the recipient. Typically 50 to 100 characters in length, you will commonly see logistical messages like “click here if you are having trouble viewing this email.” While it’s important to provide an HTML viewer option, this specific location represents critical newsletter real estate that can be used to promote the content and intrigue recipients to click. Here, you should carry on the story of your subject line, teasing to a specific hook or incentive within the newsletter.
Get Visual (Carefully)
Don’t underestimate the power of visuals! Using videos, photos, graphics and even gifs greatly aid the process of storytelling, driving sales and educating the recipient about your company, services or products.
However, it’s important to be mindful when incorporating visuals because there are numerous reasons why email programs flag newsletters as spam. For instance, high-resolution images or an abundance of images increase load time and may send your newsletter to junk. You also have to be careful in balancing images with text. Emails may be deemed suspicious if they lack any text and just include a giant graphic. For the best results, optimize all images for the web and increase your text-to-image ratio by adding more copy to the email introduction, footer and call-to-action (CTA).
Insert a Call-to-Action
Once armed with the knowledge in the newsletter, what do you want the recipient to do? A clear CTA directs the recipient to take a specific action. For instance, you can send readers to a specific portion of your website, enable them to buy products or services, offer a complimentary incentive or join an exclusive group. Also, be cautious of inserting multiple CTAs into a single newsletter, which can overwhelm or confuse the reader, or negate the overall impact.
Test it Out
While you can’t prevent all email newsletters from going into the spam box (due to the recipient’s individual email settings), you can take steps to maximize your chances. Most popular email marketing platforms have standard testing capabilities built into the service – you just have to use them. Aggressive email marketers can rely on services like Litmus, which offer substantial testing and optimization capabilities.
After you’ve sent out a newsletter, it’s important to review the analytics. Assess when it’s getting opened, by whom, what’s getting clicked on the most and what’s not. These results allow you to see what your audience is most intrigued by, helping you adjust the next newsletter with your audience’s interests at heart.
People are getting more and more emails daily, making it tougher to stand out. Companies that rely on best practices and take care to develop and test engaging content will rise to the top of the inbox. For additional information on enhancing your email marketing, visit: