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Are You Making These 5 B2B Email Marketing Mistakes?

by Stacy Bouchard | Sep 6, 2016 3:00:00 PM

b2b-email-marketing-mistakes.jpgI’m sure you’ve heard or read somewhere that email marketing is dead – or at least dying. I know I see blog posts and articles on that very topic on a regular basis. Some people keeping making that declaration even though the data clearly indicates that email marketing is very much alive.

Consider these statistics:

  • 73% of B2B marketers say email marketing is essential to growing their business. (Salesforce)
  • 59% of B2B marketers cite email as the most effective channel for generating revenue. (HubSpot)
  • 79% of B2B marketers say email directly generated ROI for their organizations. (Salesforce)
  • The number of email users worldwide is currently 2.6 billion and is expected to grow to over 2.9 billion by 2019. (MediaPost)

WOW…2.6 billion users?? To put that in perspective, that is nearly three times as many user accounts as Facebook and Twitter combined. I don’t know about you but that stat alone is enough to convince me that email marketing is still a very viable tactic for B2B marketers.

So…we’ve determined it’s alive. But what does that really mean for small to mid-size B2B marketers? Well, it means that if you are not using email marketing as part of your strategy…you better start. And if you are, you better evaluate your approach to make sure you’re as effective as you can be.

That said, effective email marketing isn’t easy. In fact, there are many mistakes you could be making in your approach. Here are five to avoid.

1. Your subject lines are an after thought

Did you know that 33% of email recipients decide whether or not to open an email based on subject line alone? Additionally, your subject line is competing with possibly hundreds of others. If it doesn’t stand out, chances are good that your email will not be opened.

Spend time crafting your subject lines. Don’t just throw something in that space when your email is done. Consider asking a question or using a statistic to grab your recipient’s attention. Be concise and direct. Try personalization tokens like first name or company name.

There are many ways to write an effective subject line. (Check out this post from HubSpot with more suggestions.) The key is to make sure you’re dedicating enough time and priority to creating subject lines that motivate your audience to read your email.

2. You’ve taken a one-size fits all approach

When I was a marketer at a small B2B manufacturing company, we were guilty of making this mistake. Instead of creating emails specific to each buyer persona, we sent a monthly email blast.

The content was relevant to some of the recipients but completely irrelevant to others. That’s the trouble with anything called an email “blast.” It’s just like blasting a message through a megaphone into a crowd of random people. If the message isn’t relevant to them, they will ignore it and probably every other message coming from that megaphone in the future.

Don’t let your email marketing be the equivalent of a megaphone. Segment your lists very carefully. Try segmenting by buyer persona or product interest or title. Craft messages that will resonate with that specific audience.

Yes…it will take more time to create multiple messages but the results will be well worth it.

3. You’re sending too many emails (or not enough)

When we talk about sales development, we often talk about establishing a “cadence” of contact. The cadence includes phone calls, voicemails and email messages. If the outreach is not timed appropriately, the likelihood of success decreases significantly.

The same is true for email marketing. While daily emails may be too much, one email a quarter may be too little.

Every audience is different. Test different email schedules to find the one that works best for yours.

4. Your emails look or sound unprofessional

When I receive an email from a company who’s eventual goal is to sell me something, I have a certain expectation of how the email should look. I also expect the content to be of a certain quality. When I open an email and it looks unprofessional or includes typos and grammatical errors, I disqualify the company…no matter what it is they’re teaching me or trying to sell to me.

And I know I am not alone. With the average person receiving 121+ emails per day in their work inbox, there needs to be a way to prioritize. For me, if the email is poor quality, I unsubscribe.

Use professionally created images in your messages. Also, proofread…like 10 times. If you’re a one-person team, enlist the help of someone in sales or another department to also read your email before you send it. There is too much at stake to be careless with your content.

5. You don’t know how well your last email performed

Metrics are an important part of every marketing tactic you’re implementing. Email marketing is not an exception. If you’re not sure how well your emails are performing, it is impossible to make the changes necessary to improve results.

Like everything else in inbound marketing there are many metrics you can measure where email is concerned. Define the metrics you will use. If you’re not sure what to track, read this post where Imagine’s Maria Votlucka shares the email metrics that really matter.

No…B2B email marketing is not dead but if not executed effectively, you may be left thinking it is. Evaluate your approach. Correct your mistakes and take advantage of what can be the most effective tactic in your strategy.