In the world of marketing and communications that sees new technologies arrive on the scene seemingly weekly, it’s easy to overlook the more traditional path of email marketing (or as traditional as a digital platform can be!).
However, don’t be fooled – for B2B brands, email marketing remains one of the most successful and cost-effective strategies to reach customers and prospects.
We all know that email is paramount for business, but also what it feels like to have a crowded inbox. How many times do we cycle through ‘view, delete, and repeat’ until the inbox is empty? Emails can be a tough crowd, and customers are quick to decide whether they want to engage or not.
With just a short window of opportunity, how can you differentiate your email marketing and ensure your brand message hits the target in the blink of an eye? We’ve shared our 7 top tips to avoid the digital trash bin. Read on to learn more.
- Use engaging imagery (but don’t rely on it too much!)
We’re naturally highly responsive to images and the right use of pictures or graphics can stop a serial scroller in their tracks. When creating engaging emails, vivid and vibrant (but relevant!) images will improve the reader’s experience and allow users to more effectively see what you’re trying to market.
A picture can of course tell a thousand words but be mindful that some email servers block imagery by default, so don’t always rely on them. An email design with all the information on beautiful imagery and infographics looks great but may look blank or broken to prospects, wasting a golden opportunity.
- The ‘Three S’ rule of subject lines!
B2B industries move at speed and many times, we simply don’t have the time or attention span to read long subject lines. The subject line is your shop window, and if that isn’t succinct, there’s no way we’ll delve deeper and read the value proposition or offer at hand.
At PHD Marketing, we advocate the ‘Three S’ rule for subject lines for our clients – keep it short, snappy and specific.
- Frontload your most important link
This tip works exceptionally well if your email is particularly long and text filled (though we’d usually recommend it isn’t!).
On longer pieces, natural drop-off means a proportion of readers won’t make it to the bottom of your email. This is normally where links are stored, which means many readers are missing these altogether after the first few scrolls. A prospect that has lost interest, decided the content isn’t relevant or wants to click off, simply won’t see it and, as a result, that’s one fewer potential point of engagement.
If you’re finding low traffic levels from email campaigns, try front-loading the most relevant and important link within the first few lines.
- Use fonts that are just your readers’ type!
If users view your email and the fonts are small or hard to read at a glance, the likelihood of them clicking off is high (unless they have a magnifying glass to hand).
Avoid this by only using default typefaces that everyone can access for on-page copy, and save corporate fonts for images, where it can be rasterised into a flat graphic layer. Also, keep your font sizes in focus! We recommend longer emails to keep the text at 14px minimum and for shorter emails at 16px minimum – though of course this depends on the contents.
- Don’t overload with colours
You could have the most fantastic template, images and font, but if your B2B outreach email is filled with too many colours and styles – it could read as flippant or worse, unprofessional.
Nobody says corporate identity needs to be boring but if that’s not who your business is, try to stick with a palette that connects your target consumer group with your brand identity.
- Don’t forget the Call to Action! (CTA)
As with most forms of digital marketing, one of the most important things to include in your email is a clear call to action.
After taking on this information, what do you want your customer or prospect to do? For most campaigns it will be to click through to a given page, download a document or resource, fill out certain information or contact an individual at your business. Whatever it is, be clear.
It’s also good practice to set SMART objectives, for measuring the efficacy of your CTA. After all, without monitoring, how do you know if your email is successful?
- Keep your data clean!
Your email distribution list is only as good as its last review. Naturally, individuals will move businesses, change roles, change name or contact details. An email distribution list shouldn’t be a ‘set it and forget it’ activity – draw on the knowledge from your sales team to keep it fresh, who are often the first to know when a B2B sales or procurement contact has moved, or new people that need to be added. A CRM system is invaluable for managing this ongoing challenge.
Now that we’ve highlighted some of our favourite tips for successfully differentiating your email from the crowd, what is the best platform to use for email marketing?
There are many different platforms out there that are great for design and distribution, but at PHD Marketing, we recommend Mailchimp, which we use to deliver all our email marketing campaigns.
Mailchimp is a simple but highly effective platform that enables our team to create unique, professional emails for our clients and includes a comprehensive reporting system to help track our results. For more comprehensive campaigns, the system makes it simple to integrate variables such as A/B testing.
Looking to supercharge your B2B communications strategy? Speak to us here at PHD Marketing and we’ll show you how effective our strategic joined-up thinking can be.
Call our team on +44 (0) 1977 708643 or email [email protected] and we’d be delighted to talk to you about the benefits of working with us.