3 posts categorized "Lead generation"

Using Email for B2B Lead Generation

Email marketing experts love to say email doesn't work for customer acquisition but rocks for customer retention. That can be true when you think about a promotional email going out to a list of people who've never heard of the emailing company asking them to become a customer. As inundated as people are with email and wary as consumers are of email messages from unknown marketers, it's not surprising that few consider email a customer acquisition tool.

But, it can be, if you do it right. Email marketing can be an amazing tool for lead generation, which is the first step in customer acquisition (and leads to customer retention).

The key ingredient is an offer that matters, a useful, relevant, helpful, appreciated something, whether it's a whitepaper, ebook or tip sheet.

After you've determined your offer, the following is our recommended approach when using email for B2B lead generation. This requires a little more sophistication because it segments based on behavior, but the investment is well worth it:

  1. Start with a relevant offer that resonates with your target audience (high perceived value)
  2. Build a clear, effective landing page, and make sure you optimize it
  3. Craft several emails:
  • Initial email with the offer
  • Follow up email sent to those who do not click through and download your offer
  • Thank you email that links back to your site and asks for feedback from those who do click through and download

Keep in mind that this is - you hope - the beginning of a relationship, so you want to earn their trust. This takes us back to the initial offer once again. If you promise more than you deliver, you'll lose their trust before you have earned it. You want them to appreciate the product you have given them, to value it, and to value you for making it available to them, which makes them receptive to hearing from you again!

Then, you can use email to convert them from prospect to customer, one interaction at a time, and finally, for customer retention.

It all starts with the offer. Make sure it's relevant, with a perceived high value.

Source: The ClickMail Marketer

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10 B2B Email Marketing Best Practices

A B2B email campaign is very different from a B2C campaign. According to Simms Jenkins there are three major differences:

  1. Your tone should be much like it would be in a face-to-face meeting with your prospects: direct, professional and in a manner that makes your audience want to do business with you. Don't waste your time building up to the pitch -- state why you are sending this message and what's in it for the recipient.
  2. The message should clearly articulate the purpose and value to the subscribers while making it easy for them to identify and act on any call to action. Don't bog them down with too many cross promotional messages or secondary marketing messages. Allow them to scan the email and find out what's in it for them.
  3. Your main measurement analysis should not be based on opens and clicks but on how many leads are generated. Careful attention should be paid to forwards and any additional email subscriptions generated from the campaign. A high open and clickthrough rate but lack of leads could mean you put up too many barriers to capture the lead. Ensure your landing page and relevant gateway pages (for example, the white paper sign-up page) are easy to find and utilize. This may take some coordination that goes outside the realm of a typical email manager.

Simms lists these 10 best practices in B2B email marketing:

  • Know your audience: If you are mailing to IT network administrators, an image-heavy newsletter probably will not be well received. Instead, send a text-only message. Follow the cues of what your audience is like and don't take a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Mobile email triage is real: An increasing number of business executives use their mobile devices/PDAs to perform email triage. This means that if you have a weak message or lack something compelling or of immediate value to your email, you may have the busy exec delete your email while in a meeting. On the flip side, a unique email with a relevant purpose may get saved for the executive to read in the office.
  • Make it easy for the mobile audience: Click here to read on your mobile phone is becoming more commonplace on B2B emails and may help you escape mobile email rendering snafus.
  • From & Subject lines: Emails from a CEO to a fellow executive tend to resonate. Ensure your From line is from someone who matters. Combine this with a short Subject line that can break through the clutter while demonstrating a reason for the user to read this email.
  • Short and sweet: Whether read on an iPhone or laptop, make your message count. That means make sure it gets read. Long emails without clear calls to action will get skimmed and deleted. Make your value proposition above the fold and obvious to the people that will browse over your email looking for a reason to read (or delete).
  • Don't oversell: Too many promises, customer raves or pricing information may overwhelm your audience and diminish your opportunity to have people click on a link where they can find the details of the service or product being offered.
  • Respect the audience's time: Frequency is a significant issue for all mailings, but if a business subscriber doesn't respond to the first two messages, it doesn't mean you should send to him even more frequently.
  • Test: I received seven different emails from a lead generation company in the span of five minutes this morning. The emails actually contained decent messaging and links to at least one relevant case study. They had me until hello occurred seven times. Someone was asleep at the wheel when the campaigns were segmented and set. Do your due diligence before an email is sent as these campaigns did more damage than good.
  • Offer something unique: A white paper can often work, but they are everywhere, aren't they? Provide access and perks that are gold to the C-suite audience. For example, one client attempting to register business executives for an annual event tested pricing breaks versus admission to a VIP event. Remember, the B2B audience usually isn't spending its own money so you can guess which offer performed better.
  • Remarket: Create a follow-up campaigns based on how each user responded (or didn't) to the initial campaign. Using your metrics can guide you to a better and more relevant strategy.

Source: iMedia Connection

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

ENurturing For An Efficient Sales Pipeline

Gretchen Scheiman wrote a very interesting article about eNurturing and how email is the perfect channel to keep leads warm until they are ready to buy.

... creating a lead generation program the sales team will support is a challenge. This is where email can be a real hero. An eNurturing program, where leads are warmed up with a series of email communications, can help prequalify and target the best leads for sales -- creating an efficient sales pipeline. A good eNurturing program can even help identify topics for sales to open a conversation with.

Successful eNurturing programs have three key components: sales buy-in, clearly defined goals, and specific success metrics.

1. Sales buy-in. Including your sales team in the planning can help you identify the right targets and topics to address. If sales feels included, they're much more likely to make your program a priority.

2. Clearly defined goals. Ask the sales team to help define what a good lead would look like. This can help you define questions you need to ask, along with needs you should attempt to uncover through your eNurturing messages.

3. Specific success metrics. How many leads need to turn into sales for this program to be considered a success? What is the target gross sales goal? Communicating those metrics upfront can give the sales team a goal to shoot for, and help them sing your program's praise when they meet that goal.

Continue reading here and find out how to create an eNurturing program.

Source: MediaPost's Email Insider

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!