3 Common B2B Email Marketing Problems (and How to Fix Them)
Email marketing is anything but outmoded. Automation tech is still evolving, and the 2016 Adobe Email Survey even found that users between 18 and 34 spent more time checking email than any other group. Email isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So as with any other digital channel, it pays to optimize your email marketing program.
Problem: Good content, strong call to action, but weak click-throughs
The click-through rate is the most fundamental metric for the digital marketer. But if you’re just starting out with email marketing, you might not have a good frame of reference for campaign performance. Luckily, MailChimp has some great, research-based benchmarks categorized by industry and company size.
Solution: Segment your lists
Low click-through rates can be attributed to a few different factors, but one of the most overlooked is segmentation (or a lack thereof). Segmentation is critical because it impacts not just the content that’s shared, but also the specific messaging that’s used. Take a look at who actually clicked through your messages, and identify the factors they have in common. The answer might surprising, though it’s usually something like industry, region or company size. Then, tailor your messaging and content based on what you find. At the very minimum, it’s beneficial to separate your lists based on the account’s position in the sales funnel.
Problem: Segment-specific messages still have low click-to-open rates
Graphic-heavy emails are appealing: Your audience knows exactly what you want to tell them. But do they really?
Solution: Test for usability
The click-to-open rate (CTOR) is an underrated metric, but it might be the most critical. If you already have segment-specific messaging but still see a low CTOR, test the different ways that your email is viewed. This is most critical for graphic-heavy messages. Some email clients might block images by default, others might accommodate different font packs (e.g. Helvetica vs. Arial), or the message might just look clunky on mobile. It’s good practice to use live text where you can, and to label all images with alt text. It may also help to provide an option for recipients to view the message in a browser.
Problem: CTR looks good, but another conversion looks weak
Your email’s content is flawless and the call-to-action is unambiguous — but the numbers thin out at the next step.
Solution: Use conversational language to reengage your contacts
At some point in your email campaign, the conversation has to shift from marketing to sales. If your contacts need help along the funnel, that may be an indicator it’s time for your sales team to take over. And if the number of accounts in the follow-up list is too big to manage in a timely manner, set up a time for your marketing and sales teams to come up with a simple, graphic-free follow-up email to move the conversation forward. The click-to-open rate (CTOR) will also be higher on average, if only because those engaged customers want to keep the ball rolling.