5 Tips to be an All-Star Email Marketer

PropelGrowth Blog - Financial Services Marketing and Content Strategy

Tips for email marketing success, from PropelGrowth

In 2013, we posted a blog post titled, 5 Tips for Driving Conversions in B2B Email Marketing. To our delight, this post generated a lot of interest amongst our readers. As such, we’ve decided to revisit the email marketing topic and provide more tips for boosting success. Here goes!

Tip #1: Initiate a Conversation

In typical face-to-face interactions, there is a back and forth of dialogue and exchange of ideas. This same concept should hold true in your email marketing.

But many marketers are delivering a one-way monologue, whereby they hit their contacts with general marketing messages at periodic points dictated by an editorial calendar. This approach does nothing for engaging your target audience. Use your email program to build  rapport with your audience by fostering discussions that can help build a solid relationship with key clients and prospects.

You can do this by posing a thought-provoking question in your email that encourages your readers to reply. For example, if you’re a FinTech vendor providing compliance software, you could email a blog post to your target prospects on new regulations that are emerging. At the end of the email, ask your reader if they are prepared to meet these new regs and encourage them to respond. Perhaps offer to schedule a one-on-one assessment.

Also, to make your communications appear personal, try sending emails that don’t have any special formatting. These look more like they are coming from an individual person, so recipients are more apt to reply them. At PropelGrowth, we’ve had better response rates with this approach.

Tip #2: Build Trust

As humans, we are innately creatures of habit. We might take a walk at the same time everyday or stop at one particular coffee shop each morning before work. For the most part, we find comfort in such established, predictable routines.

Top performing B2B marketers are now finding that they can apply this basic notion of “consistency” to their email efforts to build trust with their prospects. To establish trust, there are a couple things to keep in mind. First, set expectations. Inform your readers how often they will hear from you and what kind of content they can expect to receive. This way, there are no surprises or annoyed recipients. Also, keep a keen eye on your branding. Ensure that the look and feel of your emails is consistent by sticking to corporate-approved font types, logos and color schemes. In terms of copy, it doesn’t hurt to keep the length and format generally similar from email to email. For example, if you craft an email with 1-2 short paragraphs describing your offer, keep this text formula consistent across all the emails you send.

Tip #3: Segment Your List

When it comes to email marketing, many companies will blast a general message out to a wide prospect base in hopes that something will stick with someone along the line. But nowadays, this “shotgun” methodology is not a reliable way of engaging leads.

A better approach is to tailor your message to your audience’s specific pain points and interests. You can accomplish this by segmenting your email contact list based on buyer persona and what stage they are in the buying cycle.

Depending on the size, parsing out your list can be an arduous process when done by hand. In this case, it’s worthwhile to invest in a list appending service that can aid you with segmentation. These services can add on important information like title, role, company, location and sometimes even social handles. Using them allows you to keep your forms brief and still get the demographic information you need for segmentation and lead qualification. Overall, segmentation will help keep your recipients engaged with your content—and potentially more likely to become a customer down the line.

Tip #4: Keep Abreast of Anti-SPAM Laws

Email marketing to a globally diverse list can be challenging. Anti-SPAM laws differ by region, so it can be challenging to get compliance right. (Check out this related post for some high level background and links to region-specific resources that can help you achieve compliance with these laws.)

Before you email anyone, it’s important to understand the concepts of implied and express consent. Implied consent is when an individual provides his or her email address to you during some form of business communication, but not necessarily for the purpose of signing up for your email marketing list. Express consent is when you explicitly ask your potential contacts for permission to send them email, and they explicitly agree. Certain countries are more lenient with email marketing laws than others. Here in the US, we need neither implied nor express consent to send commercial business email to anyone in our country. But this is not the case everywhere. The UK has perhaps one of the strictest policies regarding email marketing, as it requires an opt-in approach. As we mention above, it’s best to check regional laws to be sure you are in compliance.

Use a Double Opt-in Approach: To help build credibility of your brand, we recommend an express consent, double opt-in approach whereby your email members sign themselves up for your communications, then you send them a link to reaffirm this opt-in action. This approach will likely be strict enough to apply to any country you may market to. Also, be sure to make the opt-in/ opt-out process as easy and obvious as possible in your communications. There is no point in forcing email on people who are not interested in what you have to say.

Tip #5: Optimize for Mobile Viewing

Not only is a simple design generally easier on readers’ eyes, it is also becoming more important for mobile viewing purposes. According to an Experian quarterly email benchmark report, “53% of total email opens occurred on a mobile phone or tablet in the third quarter of 2014.” This number is only bound to increase.

Key to producing mobile-friendly emails is minimalism. Steer clear of long-winded prose and elaborate or competing design elements. This is not the time or place. Instead, use larger, legible fonts and single column layouts. To avoid your subject line being cut-off in mobile view, ensure that it conveys your offer in a short and sweet way (no more than 50 characters is a good guideline). Keep body text and layout tight with a high emphasis on your call-to-action button.

If you’re using an email service, make sure the template has a responsive design. That allows the email to reformat automatically to fit the reader’s screen. Non-responsive emails are so hard to read that most people will simply delete instead of trying to move the text around to read.

See Success in Email Marketing

Done right, email marketing is an excellent means of engaging your target prospects. To maximize your success, it’s critical to pay attention to the details. Ensure that you’re not just talking at but instead talking with your prospects using email copy that promotes action and conversation.

Also, keep simplicity of design top of mind. This will keep your audience focused on your message, as well as offer ease of mobile viewing. Lastly, know your spam laws and employ best practices for people to opt in and out of your communications. This action is not only important to email law adherence, but will generally help boost your credibility amongst customers and prospects.

For more tips on maximizing the success of your email marketing efforts, see our related posts:

Email Marketing – 5 Steps for Building an Awesome List