Technology and business trends are in constant evolution, and so it’s a must for businesses to find new ways to acquire new customers and retain the existing ones. But, some old methods are as effective as new and innovative ones. Email Marketing is one such method that still works like a charm, equally for B2C and B2B industries.
A lot has already been written as “Email Marketing Best Practices”, and you can find tons of information online about urging consumers to click and buy. However, B2B Email Marketing is far more different than that of B2C, and applying those tried and tested B2C Email Marketing techniques might not work for your B2B brand.
So, how to develop a strong B2B email campaign?
Let’s start with some basics about the B2B industry which can help you devise a foolproof email marketing strategy. Here it goes:
1- Do not expect people to buy after reading one email; in B2B, you often have to deal with long buying cycles that may include multiple emails spread over a longer period of time. So, what you need is to have a well-thought and event-driven email marketing strategy whereby you move step by step, taking the target audience to multiple levels of awareness through useful content and ultimately to the actual buying process.
2- Content sells better than a great offer; according to B2B email marketing stats, Call to action link text “more info” works 90% better than “try me now” or “buy now.”
3- The B2B Decision-Making process is different; this is the most important point every B2B marketer should know. Unlike B2C, where an individual has to decide whether or not to buy something, the B2B process is often made by a group of people. (This is what we call Decision Making Unit (DMU)).
So, if you have lately been targeting the CEOs only assuming them to be the final decision makers, you have been doing something wrong. Having the complete or most of the DMU members in a segmented list is the key to success.
A B2B email marketing strategy based on above three points and planned using the right email marketing tools should have a better engagement. But to make sure that it has better ROI, you need to work on content strategy in parallel. As discussed in the 2nd point above, content sells better than a great offer in B2B email marketing, let’s see what B2B customers are looking for and what you should offer them in the email.
Stage 1- What’s my problem; this is very initial stage whereby the consumers are looking for education and thought leadership to understand and help define their problem.
What to offer them: Know the fact that at this stage your B2B audience may or may not have an idea what the solution will be, so the content should be more generic, i.e. the problem identification, definition, scope, and internal buy-in etc. Content that they may like includes:
- Industry trends
- Stats & Analysis
- How other people are solving this problem.
Stage 2: How to fix my problem; now this audience already knows the problem and industry trends, but they are looking for solutions and comparative analysis to help evaluate the available and alternatives solutions. The content that will interest them more includes:
- What’s the solution and how it works, i.e. case studies.
- Solution Comparisons
- Suitability Assessments
- How do I choose a vendor?
Stage 3: Are you right for me; this is much advanced stage whereby the user knows the solution and the solution providers including you. They want to know the credentials and decision support. This is where you need to work on salesy content, but that must have the supportive statistic. The content at this stage may cover the following areas:
- How to buy
- Success Stories
- Strategic Partnerships
Related Reading: How To Sell without Coming off As Salesy
The B2B buyer decision map discussed above is a great way to identify specific differences in what each segment wants to know and what to offer them.
The Bottom Line:
Translating B2C email campaigns to B2B is nothing but a waste of time, money and effort. The B2B Email Marketing requires an in-depth understanding of buyer persona and taking them through a proper lead generation funnel in order to convert them into long-term customers.