What can you learn about B2B email marketing when your target audience is experienced chief marketing officers (CMOs) -- who themselves are savvy email marketers? Quite a bit, according to Liz Miller, who communicates with the world’s most elite CMOs on a daily basis in her role as SVP of Marketing for the CMO Council.
In my weekly video series last month, “Thought Leader Life,” Mitchell Levy and I spent time with Liz to discuss how she leverages email marketing to engage with the 9,700 CMOs who have membership in her organization.
Liz conveyed five key B2B email lessons learned from targeting such experienced marketers:
- Email is still king: Since 2007, the CMO Council has issued its annual “State of Marketing” study, in which it publishes the results of detailed member surveys on myriad marketing activities, methods and results. The number one area of investment for these seasoned marketing experts? Email. Through all the other marketing trends and fads, email remains the best way to engage with prospects and customers – and the top marketing discipline of most interest to those who know marketing best, says Liz.
- Admit you aren’t doing email well: To improve your email initiatives, it is best to start by realizing and admitting that you aren’t doing it well, Liz advises. Even the savviest marketers will recognize how much they don’t know, and how much they can improve their email marketing efforts, when they look outside their organizations. Admitting the need for improvements is the first step in accelerating changes that will take email marketing programs to the next level. “Never stop learning” is a mantra that marketers need to keep in mind, Liz suggests.
- Email should guide the customer journey: Email content should not be an intrusion or interruption to your prospects, but instead a welcomed communication to help guide them through their customer journey. As such, email is ideal for providing quick bites of information, updates and reminders. Give your prospects a way to take the next step in their buying journey. Hint: this is not done via “do not reply” email messages.
- Measure engagement: The measurements for email marketing success have evolved over the years. Whereas clicks or web page visits were thought to have been important in the past, savvy marketers today realize that measuring customer engagements is much more valuable. Such measurements should include responses, shares or other reactions. It’s all about how you can engage – and re-engage – with prospects.
- Give your customers the content they want: Liz recently spoke to a marketer from a large retail brand who said they were experiencing an increase in email opt-outs from customers. As a result, they were considering significantly scaling back their email activities. After conducting some analysis on these customers, the retailer learned they were still buying the retailer’s products. So why the opt outs? It was soon determined that the issue was a mismatch in desired and expected content. Simply put, the content sent was not what customers were looking for. The lesson learned is to determine what content is desired by your prospects and customers, and provide it to them.
Success in B2B email marketing doesn’t end with an initial email to a prospect. Rather, the key to email success is to support and optimize your customers’ buying journey – a journey that (hopefully) ends with a buying decision. And even then, the relationship is really just beginning.
To watch our session with Liz Miller, click here.
In Part Four of our video series, we’ll talk more email marketing with industry luminary Brian Carroll, who serves as Executive Director of Revenue Optimization for MECLABS; blogs for MarketingSherpa; and is the author of "Lead Generation for the Complex Sale." Stay tuned!
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