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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2018-03-14

A new study by Demand Gen Report says that email remains the top, go-to marketing channel for 67% of marketers. In addition, those surveyed ranked email as the most effective driver of sales in the early stages of engagement -- higher than search and website, and even more effective in the later stages of the sales funnel as well (above website and telemarketing).


Yet for those marketers who feel their email campaigns are falling short when it comes to converting prospects into customers, here are five common mistakes I’ve seen marketers make – along with my best advice on how to fix them:


1.Putting your company first: When creating a B2B email campaign, many marketers make the mistake of focusing on their company, their products, their offers, etc. – without ever stopping to establish mutual ground with their audience.


How to fix it: Start the conversation by demonstrating your understanding of a known challenge or pain point shared by your audience including the time and costs involved in managing it, how it impacts their company and professional lives, and the pros and cons of various approaches to resolution. Then offer some sort of helpful tool – a guide, video or article – on how other professionals have solved this challenge. Your products and company don’t need to be a part of the initial discussion – that can come later.


2.Long emails: In this day and age, when your audience no doubt receives hundreds of emails per day and only has the time to scan them quickly, long blocks of text simply don’t resonate anymore. If your email content looks like a page out of a novel, your message is likely getting lost.


How to fix it: When demonstrating that you understand your audience’s challenges and offering to help solve them, use as few words as possible. Replace long lines of text with headers, bullets, graphics, video and/or pictures that quickly convey what you are offering. Also, don’t try to communicate too many ideas in one message. If your product is a bit complex, consider using multiple email messages to get your ideas across.


3.Unclear call-to-action: Remember that you’re dealing with short attention spans, so don’t make your audience have to take the time to figure out your call-to-action. And don’t make them go to your website in search of the right content, unless you’re taking them directly to a dedicated landing page that clearly spells it all out for them. Your email must leave no question about the one thing you want your recipient to do.


How to fix it: Offer a single link in your email that is easy to find (e.g. “click here to learn more”) and a dedicated landing page with a matching look and feel, including, for example, a picture of the same e-book cover as the one included in your email message. The idea is to let prospects know they came to the right place. The landing page can also be programmed to track a specific email campaign: ask for just a few fields of information from the prospect before releasing the e-book to them, and follow-up with an automated additional offer after they’ve downloaded it.


4.Not believable: In this era of click bait and fake news, everyone sees lots of claims and often too little substance to back these up.


How to fix it: Don’t ask your audience to simply take what you have to say at face value; point to data or statistics provided by reputable third parties, the hard dollar ROI that you’ve achieved for your clients, or positive reviews or social media shares/likes by your satisfied customers. Prove what you say by providing as much data as possible; don’t make your prospects conduct research on their own – they likely won’t.


5.Not formatted for mobile: Data shows that at least half (or even two-thirds) of all email is read on mobile devices. Those emails that are not rendered for mobile devices will likely not be received, read or responded to.


How to fix it: In addition to making sure your email shows properly on mobile devices, use larger text to ensure readability, keep images small and include easy-to-click links or buttons. In addition, be sure to test your campaigns on a range of mobile devices and email service providers (ESPs) to ensure your messages get through, look perfect and are easy to read and click.


Email is very effective for initiating and nurturing the B2B sale – when done correctly. Eliminating these common mistakes should put you on the path to success.


Are there other email mistakes you’ve made that have limited your success in the past? Tell us about them – and how you overcame them!



Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI by targeting your best prospects and, ultimately, converting more prospects into customers. Take a look at our case studies to find out more

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At OMI, we believe good things happen when you share your knowledge. That's why we're proud to educate marketers at every level - in every size and type of organization - about the basics of email marketing and the contact data that powers it.

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