When you’re looking to improve your B2B marketing performance, email marketing can be one of the most effective tools to generate ROI for Inbound Marketing. In fact, email marketing ROI is $36 per every $1 spent, and according to HubSpot Blog Research 64% of B2B marketers say their email marketing strategy was effective for meeting business goals, with 81% of them utilizing email newsletters in their strategy.
When used effectively, email marketing can supplement your buyers’ journey with helpful and relevant content while generating leads and building business relationships. The trouble is, many marketers don’t know where to begin in creating email marketing strategies for B2B businesses, leading to mistakes that can be costly to a business’s finances and relationships.
Mistake 1 - You Use B2C Email Marketing Strategies
Many B2B companies make the mistake of utilizing email marketing similarly to how a B2C company might, which can be detrimental to your marketing efforts.
The key differences between B2C and B2B marketing are the target audience, sales cycle length, and customer acquisition cost. B2B sales cycles tend to be much longer, and can take up to a year to complete. That, combined with a higher customer acquisition cost means that it’s important for both teams to build relationships and ensure a good fit in the sales process.
While a B2C company might generate more sales by rapid-firing emails several times a week, that same strategy isn’t effective for B2B companies as decisions take longer and their pain points can’t be addressed in a simple email. Bombarding a potential customer with random information that doesn’t factor in where they are in the sales process can be costly to your business relationship, and contributes to high unsubscribe rates and lower engagement.
Mistake 2 - Ignoring Your Customer’s Feelings
While strategizing your B2B marketing, you may feel inclined to lean more toward facts and figures to make the case for your solution instead of trying to connect with your prospective customer’s pain points. Imagine you went to a trusted friend with a specific problem, and they replied with a list of why their other friends trusted them with similar problems. The trust that has been built between you is now damaged because you didn’t feel like your specific problem was understood, so you don’t believe that they can help you.
It’s a common misbelief that B2B decision-makers are more rational than emotional in their business decisions. In fact, in B2B businesses, relationships are the name of the game. According to Harvard Business Review, “As B2B offerings become ever more commoditized, the subjective, sometimes quite personal concerns that business customers bring to the purchase process are increasingly important. Indeed, our research shows that with some purchases, considerations such as whether a product can enhance the buyer’s reputation or reduce anxiety play a large role.”
So how do you build relationships through email marketing? The answer is simple - by incorporating Inbound Marketing into your email marketing strategy to guide customers’ journeys through the sales process. Inbound marketing methodology aims to attract, engage, and delight potential customers through the creation and delivery of valuable content and experiences. By using email marketing to supplement your inbound marketing strategy, you ensure the timely delivery of relevant content throughout the sales process that speaks to customers’ unique problems.
Mistake 3 - You Don’t Know Your Customer
It’s one thing to say “Use Inbound Marketing in your B2B email marketing strategy,” but if you don’t know who your customers are, you’re back to square one. When used effectively, inbound marketing can address your customers’ pain points and hesitations as they come up in the sales process. This is where Buyer Personas come in.
By creating semi-fictitious examples of your potential customers through Buyer Personas, you begin to empathize and understand your customer’s thoughts and behaviors throughout the sales process. From there, you can curate content with a specific persona in mind, narrowing down your target audience and establishing a clear Buyer’s Journey.
As you get to know your customers better, you can segment your email marketing list and curate even more personalized, relevant, and timely content. Instead of sending the same generic email to all customers, you can segment your list by industry, job title, past purchases etc. This makes your customer see themselves and their problems represented in your marketing, and when your customers see themselves represented in your marketing, your leads will qualify themselves.
Mistake 4 - Not Clearly Defining Success
So you make a concerted effort to speak to your customer through your email marketing and develop new strategies to further target and segment your audience, but many people forget the most important part - measuring your email marketing performance. Seeing whether or not your efforts have been paying off helps you troubleshoot your strategy. This is especially critical in B2B marketing where sales cycles are longer, and where it is essential to have a clear vision of your Buyer’s Journey so you can provide customers with relevant and timely content along their journey.
Before beginning a new email marketing campaign or re-envisioning your email marketing strategy as a whole, it is important to set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to let you know whether you’re on the right track to meeting your email marketing goals.
It’s important to factor in the broader goals of your business when setting email marketing KPIs, instead of just focusing on marketing metrics. Some good goals and KPIs to consider when you’re defining email marketing success are:
Goal: Increase open rates
KPI: Open rate percentage - the percentage of email recipients who opened your email.
Goal: Improve click-through rates (CTR)
KPI: Click-through rate percentage - the percentage of email recipients who clicked on a link in your email.
Goal: Generate more leads
KPI: Conversion rate percentage - the percentage of email recipients who took a desired action, such as filling out a form or requesting a demo.
Goal: Build brand awareness
KPI: Brand recognition - the number of people who recognize your brand after receiving your emails.
Goal: Increase revenue
KPI: ROI (Return on Investment) - the revenue generated from email marketing compared to the cost of creating and sending emails. In addition to tracking ROI, Hubspot takes it one step further by attributing ROI to established campaigns so you can see how they were influenced by targeted emails.
When establishing KPIs, it’s important to set achievable goals that factor into current performance metrics. Slow and steady wins the race in B2B marketing, and understanding that incrementally improving your email marketing will take consistency and time to actualize will set you up for long-term success.
Mistake 5: You Aren’t Using All the Tools at Your Disposal
With HubSpot Marketing Hub, it’s easier than ever to track, measure and manage your email marketing. From email design and personalization to tracking to A/B testing, HubSpot has tools at your disposal to help you visualize and actualize your email marketing success. Read Andrea’s blog for further tips on using HubSpot’s email marketing tools for business growth:
Email marketing is one of the most important tools to use in generating ROI for your B2B business’s inbound marketing efforts. Used effectively, you can use email marketing to build up relationships with prospective and current customers, ensuring steady growth for your business that you can measure and track over time. Revving up your email marketing strategy can seem daunting at first, but once you have a clear vision of your customer and their needs, you can curate and cater relevant content to them. And if you still don’t know where to start - tag us in!
Let’s talk about how we can revolutionize your inbound marketing with an email marketing strategy that sets you up for long-term success.