Your email marketing objective whether you are doing B2B marketing or B2C marketing is the same, it’s to create a campaign that will be relevant and interesting enough to the recipient to cause them to act on it.
The difference lies in the strategy and the segmentation. Where B2C emails tend to focus on creativity and brand awareness, customer loyalty and promotion, B2B emails tend to solve problems and move customers along a funnel to a conversion.
Think of B2B marketing as a tree, a profitable tree at that.
You have your foundation – your seed, which is your brand, your core values, your value proposition to the client or even to the client’s client, if you are an agency. This is the competitive advantage you used to win the business, this is your strength. For example, you offer a 10 year warranty when none of your competitors do, or you get paid on results only, or you have valuable relationships that the client is interested in, whether it is with an agency or a software product that can add value.
Then you have your roots, think of these as the different types of customers that you serve, all with different needs. Let’s say, you are a healthcare manufacturing company who is selling machinery to hospitals = b2b. Now, there are thousands of hospitals that specialize in different things. Each one is a prospect of yours, but each one will not be interested in everything you sell. They will be interested in what you can sell to them to make them better. Each one of your roots is each one of these hospitals.
The roots all grow upward into the trunk. Think of the trunk as your messaging. The tree trunk is comprised of xylem, cambium, phloem, bark and heartwood – think of these as all the different templates you have designed for your customer, all the different messages you have come up with to communicate business to business. Here you have customized, personalized and segmented accordingly. For example, you have identified the roots (different hospitals), you have segmented the messaging to feature content (feature rehab machines) that fit the segment (hospital specializing in rehab). You have also gone out of your way to make this as personal as possible, you have found out the names of the decision makers at this company and you have personalized the email with a “Dear Mr. or Mrs.”, you have also customized this maximally, you may have data of prior purchases and so you used that in your messaging, thanking Mr. or Mrs. for purchasing machine X and in turn, recommending them Machine Z. You get the idea.
From the trunk we get to the branches. This is the most intense part of the funnel. Here you evaluate the behavior of all the different segments and messages in the trunk. Did segment A open message A? Did segment A click on a link in message A? Did segment B purchase a product featured in message B? Once you have the answers to those questions, you can branch out your messaging further. This is where the tree gets really bushy. Here you setup follow up messaging using logic. Building off of the previous example, if rehab hospital didn’t open the rehab message, they should receive a second email telling them why they should open this email the second time around, how the products are relevant to their business and identify their need for them. If rehab hospital purchased a machine, you will send them a second email thanking them and telling them about a machine that will help clean the machine they just purchased, etc. If they did not open your email at all, you alter the subject line and go at them using different wording, highlighting a different value proposition. Essentially, there are two parts to branching. Part 1 of branching is to nurture the lead, to educate and to create a brand relationship so that your business is top of mind when the prospect decides to convert. Part 2 is about customer loyalty – your lead converted on first try, which makes them your most valuable client. They need to be pampered and asked whether they are satisfied with the product, whether they are interested in another series of products. Part 2 is about using a smart strategy to keep the interest high post conversion, retaining this customer and giving them a chance to convert all over again, for years to come.
Your tree now has branches sticking out everywhere, one following up on the other. From those branches grow leaves. These leaves are your goals. Your goals are not only converting your b2b prospects into clients, but also learning about them in the process in order to make your strategy stronger and your company better. The more you find out from your campaigns, the better the messaging you can write, the more intimately you can customize and personalize this messaging, the more relevant you can be to the end user and the more successful you can become in the long run. Just like leaves need nutrients, so do your prospects.
Leaves do fall and one does have to account for seasonality. But where old leaves fall, new leaves grow. You will undoubtedly have customers drop out of the funnel process and you will have unsubscribes because your branch will persistently target hot leads, and you have to assume not everyone will be crazy about what you have to say. However, for every customer that drops off, you will have built a new relationship with a different customer and they may be referring you to another business. This chain of events can serve you a pleasant surprise in lead generation as well.
Lastly, the crown of the tree. This is your Revenue. B2B marketing allows for this multi-step process, and allows for this highly targeted and segmented form of communication to take place…something that can be done in B2C but often is not. This is proven to be effective, when typically in B2B 25% of leads drop off, 25% convert and 50% need to be nurtured. Smart, strategic and data driven email marketing converts up to 200% more leads. What better way to reach your leads than with email marketing? Most companies still send newsletters to their entire database as a way of nurturing, and this doesn’t work, well maybe at times for B2C but not for B2B. For a B2B lead to convert, they have a lot of options and a lot of things to consider, they are typically not the only decision maker, there is usually a hierarchy of decision makers that make the final move, thus your email marketing strategy needs to have the right content, need to be sent to the right list, with the right subject line, and the right proposition, using the right follow up and the right timing. Often times a B2B sale is not a $15 dollar shirt you bought online, but a $15,000 business account gained. Imagine converting 20% more leads, this could be a fortune. Thus if you are a B2B company, you should be employing this kind of email marketing and capitalizing on your ROI, aka the money tree.
If you have any questions or want to learn about our Markettraq Email Software, please contact Endai using the form on the right.