Email marketing is dead. Long live email marketing. The pervasiveness of spamming has forever damaged the reputation of email marketing and yet the practice refuses to quietly fade away. I’ll say that’s because email marketing remains a useful B2B communication platform. It’s just that marketers need to be smart about how to utilize this valuable resource. Email marketing in the 21st century means content marketing that addresses topics that interests your clients and delivers value to them and to you. When planning an email marketing campaign, content is king.
Content does not mean sending out a stream of tweets that describe banal banter such as what’s going on in your office today, accompanied by an image of your morning coffee and pastry sitting next to your laptop. Your clients are not interested in “fake news” that results in a slew of annoying emails that feature revelations about your perspectives only and are filled with links to Instagram photos of what you found to be amusing as you walked to the post office.
Content marketing means sharing relevant information that will make your clients become better informed and help them do their jobs better. You accomplish that by producing original material that addresses topics that your clients feel are useful and distributing it on a consistent basis through your weekly blog or monthly newsletter,
The logistics of that distribution are up to you, whether you develop an opt-in email list and distribute content through a marketing service like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp, or if you post your blog or newsletter on a site like WordPress, that is visited by numerous readers, some of whom may be your clients. In the latter scenario, there is usually an opportunity to subscribe to your content through alerts, individual emails or an RSS feed.
Regardless of your distribution platform, readers and clients appreciate an email /content marketing strategy that is customized and therefore more personal. Developing an editorial calendar adds seasonal relevance to the topics that you present, for example, as does occasionally letting your content be influenced by the news or changes in government or tax policy. It’s time-consuming, but the content that your organization provides weekly or monthly demonstrates your authority as evidenced by your expertise and judgment, as well as your opinions (don’t hesitate to have them!). Freelance consulting specialists must always enhance the perception of our bona rides and content marketing plays a significant role.
As you write, learn to occasionally weave one or two of your products or services into the narrative because after all, the real purpose of producing and distributing content in B2B emails is to create billable hours (sales). This could take the form of a client success story or news that you’ll appear on a panel, with a link to register embedded in your post.
If your email/ content marketing is sent through a marketing service as an individual email addressed to each subscriber, you are advised to pay particular attention to the subject line. According to Silverpop’s 2016 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study, the mean open rate of emails sent is merely 20 %, meaning that four out of five email marketing communications are deleted. A 2015 analysis of over 40 million emails conducted by Mail Chimp revealed that some of the most effective subject lines are (60 – 87% open rate) :
1. (Insert business name) Sales and Marketing Newsletter
2. Eye on the (insert business name) Update (insert the week or month time frame)
3. (Insert business name and date) News Bulletin
4. (Insert business name) Newsletter, with date
5. (Insert business name) Invites You!
6. Happy Holidays From (insert business name)
In 2014, Digital Marketer analyzed 125 million emails that the company sent that year and found that your business name, along with the words urgent, upgrade, alert, new, available, free delivery and newsletter are among the most persuasive. Oh, and what’s the secret to writing a good email subject line, along with using the key words that charm readers? Make the subject line describe the email topic!
So the moral of the story is, don’t dismiss email marketing as being hopelessly retro and inferior to social media posts. Instead, think about how to update and adapt its use to fit your needs and the interests of your clients. If your clients are among your Facebook friends on your Fan Page or they follow your tweets, then by all means continue. You might consider how some of that content and images might be repurposed to become part of long-form content in a blog or newsletter. Several recent studies have found that clients respond well to long-form content. You’ll figure it out and reap the benefits,
Thanks for reading,