The more things change, the more they stay the same…except in email where change is constant and fast. Although not everyone nor every industry keeps up: I still see old-school subject lines and emails in my inbox every day, so maybe some things do stay the same.
That does not mean they should, however. And if your approach to B2B email marketing hasn’t had a refresh in a while, that might be a good place to start thinking about some changes.
Why your B2B email marketing matters now more than ever
One of the most significant changes has little to do with the content of your emails and everything to do with your ability to track and score leads, and that’s the growing popularity of marketing automation technology for B2B marketing. With CRM systems and marketing automation solutions, prospects can be followed through the sales pipeline and marketed to appropriately at every stage. Which—although it’s not necessarily email marketing—requires changes to approaches in email marketing, because that is a key component to making marketing automation work.
And perhaps the biggest of those changes is to humanize B2B email marketing. Honestly, I can’t believe some of the stuff I still get from corporations: long, wordy, dry emails in a small font that is impossible to read on my smartphone. Especially in light of marketing automation and its reliance on email to do its job, I propose it’s time for B2B email to get with the program and take the user into account with these four approaches:
- Be real
Can I have a dollar for each donotreply@ email that shows up? Please? I’ve got college educations to fund in the future, you know. That’s the extreme example, I admit, but I still see plenty of cold, stiff B2B emails that lack any kind of personality—or indication that a real person was involved in their creation. How about a real person’s name in the From line? For extra credit, how about a real person’s name in the signature too?
- Be familiar
OK, I don’t mean drinking buddies familiar, but the stiff, formal business lingo has got to go. Those people you are marketing to, they get all kinds of emails from friends, families and favorite brands. How do you think your formal, stuffy email message compares to all the warm fuzzies they’re getting everywhere else in the inbox? You don’t have to use slang or call anyone Bro. But be familiar enough to sound like a real person talking about a real problem. (Because the whole reason you’re emailing them in the first place is to help them solve a problem, remember?)
- Be responsive
By this, I mean design for mobile. Chances are really, really good that your email is going to be viewed on a smartphone first, if at all. Use responsive design for your B2B email marketing to ensure your email works no matter where that busy exec is in their day.
- Be concise
Even if you don’t adapt any of the first three ideas, please keep your emails short and sweet. Email is now just one means of communicating, and chances are your audience is also getting texts, Facebook messages, tweets, chat messages and more all at the same time. Get to the point and be sure your call to action is easy to find.
No matter the role email plays in your B2B marketing, make sure it’s keeping up with the changing times and fits in with the expectations of your prospects—who are, after all, human.