The majority of marketers agree that email marketing is core to their business. But despite the ongoing dominance of this massive marketing channel, and the many recent advances related to it, here at our company we continue to come across large business-to-business (B2B) organizations that, somewhat surprisingly, have not tapped into its potential. Many of them, in their quest to generate new business, are finally turning to email to replace or augment their other marketing channels in 2016.
However, as readers of my blog know, email marketing is way more complex than it seems on the surface. And perhaps that’s one factor that keeps some businesses from diving in. For others, direct mail and telemarketing have been their traditional channels, and those channels have been working pretty well for them, until recently. These organizations are now witnessing a digital transformation across their customer base—with massive changes in buying, selling and communication behaviors taking place.
The reality is that expanding relationships with existing clients and building relationships with new ones requires a multi-channel approach today, particularly as digitally-savvy millennials begin to make up a greater share of the business world. And email is as reliable as an approach there is when it comes to digital, with reports of 222% return on investment for some organizations.
Those new to email marketing are learning that it’s both a science and an art. It involves creativity, testing, market segmentation and a strong focus on data. The process begins with identifying your ideal prospects and targets: knowing who your customers are is essential to success. Determining how to best reach them—at the right time, and in the right context—is critical. That’s why building an accurate, targeted email list is an important early step in email marketing. But, it’s no easy task, especially for those just getting their initiatives going.
Acquired email data can help a business jumpstart its first email marketing campaigns when their database, or house list, is short on contacts. Or alternatively, it can help a company breathe new life into existing initiatives by empowering marketers to zero in on specific target audiences or expand their marketing reach into new areas, whether that means connecting with executives with specific titles (i.e, CEOs, CMO, CFO, etc.), cultivating relationships in new vertical industries, and more.
Only when you have your email list properly assembled, cleansed and segmented, can you move into the next phases of your initiative involving crafting interesting content and subject lines, personalization, integration with social media, creating context and so on. After all, email marketing today is less about generating empty clicks and more about building engagement and customer lifetime value.
So, if you’re new to B2B email marketing, don’t fret. I look forward to providing more email marketing guidance and advice on these topics and much more over the coming year.
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