Tag Archives: b2b email

Email spending up, but watch for signs of overload

U.S. marketers are predicted to spend $2 billion on email marketing by 2014, amounting to an almost 11% compound annual growth rate, according to the latest forecast by Forrester Research.

Falling CPMs and high ROI are giving marketers more reason to rely on email as their primary direct marketing outreach, according to the “U.S. E-mail Marketing Forecast 2009 to 2014” report.

A major challenge for marketers to be on the lookout for is the use of email in social networks. Marketers will have to find a way to leverage social sharing tools in the same way they once used social and traditional inboxes.

But just because everyone’s doing it and spending a lot of money on it, doesn’t mean that this is the time for everyone to go into email overload.

You may be looking at email as an effective way to boost sales while your budget is feeling the pinch, but turning up the volume of emails you send customers could backfire in a big way.

“E-mail is such a low-cost channel to send that people have the impression they can keep pulling that lever,” said Aaron Smith, principal and co-founder of Smith-Harmon, a Seattle-based e-mail marketing, strategy and creative services provider.

“There’s a saturation level in the inbox that is unprecedented right now, and you are far more likely to oversaturate your customer base, upset them and turn them off.” (BtoB Magazine)

When you’re feeling the pressure to push out more emails, Smith offers some strong arguments on why it could be a bad idea in a recent BtoB Magazine article.

Why email overload can be a bad idea:

  • Lower lifetime value. The average value of an email address is $118. When subscribers start ignoring your messages or unsubscribe from your emails, that value quickly diminishes.
  • Higher spam complaints. Even if you’re sending to subscribers, they will start marking your emails as spam if you’re loading their inbox with more, but worthless messages.
  • Brand damage. It’s possible that a person can get so fed up with the amount of messages they receive from you, that they block you out entirely. Once they’re gone, it’s tough getting them back.

We’ve all had the joy of dealing with email overload in our personal inboxes. Turn those negative experiences into a chance to improve your marketing at work.

Improve your email marketing by asking yourself a few questions:

  • What standards do you have for emails subscriptions?
  • What motivates you to open an email? To click through in an email?
  • Why do you unsubscribe from mailing lists?

Understanding why you choose to subscribe, actively participate or unsubscribe from emails can give you an added insight into why your customers do the same.

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Effective list-growth tactics for B2B marketers

On-site registration and capturing information through call centers are the most effective email list-growth tactics for marketers, according to research by ExactTarget, Ball State University and the Email Marketers Club.

List rentals and outbound call-center attempts to solicit information are the least effective tactics, according to the email marketing research.

“Overall, the study found that the best way to grow email subscriber lists is to collect customers’ email addresses during times of high engagement and on occasions when the consumers’ perceive the marketer as adding value – at the point of sale, during online shopping and in-store via text messaging. These on-site list growth tactics rated as much as 60% higher than offline methods such as list rental and mass advertising.” (MarketingCharts)

Email subscription via text messaging is forecasted to grow by at least 500% in the next year, more than any other growth tactic, according to ExactTarget. They also predict that the practice of enabling subscribers to share email content with others in their social networks will increase almost 350% in 2009.

What are marketers’ top priorities for 2009?

  • 51% wanted to improve conversations
  • 41% will focus on improving email relevance
  • 38% are concerned with growing email lists
  • 5% list lowering costs as a top priority

The study also found a major rift in B2B vs. B2B email marketing. It turns out that B2B marketers are more successful in driving new subscriptions with ‘incentivized’ registration, while B2C marketers find more success with ‘non-incentivized’ subscriptions.

“The best performing list growth tactics are built on gathering subscriber data rather than hunting for it,’ said Morgan Stewart, ExactTarget’s director of research and strategy. “Whether you are a B2B or a B2C marketer, the best way to grow your subscriber list is to collect information during customer-initiated interactions.” (Marketing Charts)

Email list-growth tactics for marketers

Email list-growth tactics for marketers

B2B Humor: Common B2B email mistakes

If your business-to-business marketing emails could talk, I hope they don’t sound anything like the guy in the video below.

The folks at Email Marketing Reports created the video to shed some light on the most common B2B email mistakes found mainly in newsletters: failure to deliver value, use of no-reply addresses, poor targeting, failed personalization, etc.

Watch and learn:

Quasi opt-ins or true subscribers? Who’s counting?

Armed with just one little chart, MarketingSherpa managed to send a chill down the spine of a marketer or two at their Email Summit last week. Titled, “The Current Myth of Opt-in,” their new chart explains why not every opt-in is necessarily a willing subscriber.

The Sherpas admit the chart may be somewhat confusing, but basically they found that over 50% of respondents reported that all of the email they received from legitimate companies, they had asked only for 25% of it or less. Almost 20% said they never asked for any of it.

Email opt-ins

Email opt-ins

They define the conundrum with a highly-technical term: the quasi opt-in event. Quasi opt-in events generally happen when site visitors submit information where there was a pre-checked box or in situations where people who just wanted a white paper ended also got a subscription to a newsletter with their download.

While all of it is legal for the most part, it may not be living up to the true definition of opt-in. Signing up a prospect for emails they never asked for can seriously damage the relationship you were trying to build.

The most important piece of advice the Sherpas share in the article is to segment your quasi opt-ins accordingly. These people should not be treated the same as a true subscriber.

“Think of them in the same way you would think of a co-registration name — both need to be wooed. Separate them from other new subscribers and make sure that messaging explains why they’re receiving the email, what they’re going to get from it and why they should stick around.”

If you continually surprise people with emails they never knew they signed up for, you’ll start to see many of your emails landing in spam folders. Show people why the information you’re sending would be valuable to them, then ask if they would be interested. Simple as that.

Social media and B2B, more evidence it’s a good mix

Social media has pulled ahead of email as the most popular online activity, according to the latest research from Neilsen Online.

More than two-thirds (67%) of the world’s online population visits social networks and blogs, making participation in “member communities” the fourth most popular activity online.

Social media more popular that email

Social media more popular that email

Activity on social networks and blogs ranks fourth behind search, portals and PC software, but has moved higher than personal email use.

Social networking and blogging now account for nearly 10% of all time spent on the internet and have “become a fundamental part of the global online experience,” said John Burbank, CEO of Nielsen Online. “While two-thirds of the global online population already accesses member community sites, their vigorous adoption and the migration of time show no signs of slowing. Social networking will continue to alter not just the global online landscape, but the consumer experience at large. This study explains why.”

This isn’t evidence that email marketing has become ineffective, it depends on what works for your business. What the research does show is that whether your B2B or B2C, more of your customers are active in social networks and are reading blogs.

Your customers are using social media and so should you.

Mixing social media and B2B, it can be done

Think your B2B products are too technical for social media? Don’t think B2B buyers would participate?

One company is proving that social media and B2B can work together to achieve greatness.

IBM recently found success using social media marketing tools to create buzz around an otherwise “dry” technology product.

The campaign was targeted at a few hundred thousand IT professionals to inform them of their latest product that aids developer collaboration.

They created a character named Mr. Fong, and sent him off into space. Mr. Fong must now try to use every available tool to reconnect with his team.

Users can follow Mr. Fong’s progress via YouTube videos, video email messages, Facebook and MySpace profiles and a Twitter account. The central focus of the campaign is at the website www.connectmrfong.com.

Mixing social media and B2B

Mixing social media and B2B

In the past, IBM’s marketing team would have used a direct mail campaign to target potential customers. Today, the team is using a variety of online tactics in their marketing mix.

IBM has found the video email introduction to the campaign to be one of the most successful tactics. Email open rates are at 20% with 3.4% click-through rates over the past 11 weeks, according to Adweek.

Visit www.connectmrfong.com for ideas on how to leverage the power of social media to promote a seemingly “dry” product of your own.

B2B email best practices in 2009

Even with the rise of Web 2.0 communications and social networking, email marketing refuses to take a back seat and remains the most popular online activity for adults. As we enter the new year, top marketers predict that we’re going to see that trend continue.

HR Marketer has learned a lot this year in their marketing efforts in the HR marketplace. Luckily, they decided to share their latest best practices with all of us out here in the B2B marketing world.

But first, HR Marketer reminds us that:

  • Email marketing will become more important in 2009 than ever before, but companies need to focus on relevance.
  • Buyers of HR products and services prefer initial supplier email contact more than phone calls and face-to-face selling.
  • According to HR Marketer’s latest report, most HR suppliers feel that email marketing is the most important marketing and PR tactic out of a list of over 20 activities.

They analyzed what they’ve been doing lately and shared some of these email best practices:

  • Less is more, less is more, less is more. Keep your call to action, HTML visuals and text concise.
  • “Free” is a four-letter word. Never use the word “free” ever in your email copy or subject lines. Instead, use words like “complimentary.”
  • Content is king. Business to business content offers have better lead-generation scores than any other offers. “Give them something that will help them improve their businesses today, whether they buy anything thing from you or not.”
  • Click-thrus vs. open rates. “Just because someone inadvertently opens your campaign doesn’t mean anything.” Move your focus to click-thru rates to gauge the success of your email campaigns.

And, that’s just half of it. Make the trip over to HR Marketer for their full list of email best practices to follow in 2009.

Happy Holidays, see you next week!