Tag Archives: business to business email marketing

7 tips to turn your boring B2B newsletter into a must-read

The purpose of sending out a newsletter is to create or strengthen the relationship between you and your customers by sharing valuable content. As a part of your overall marketing mix, the B2B newsletter is a dependable method for driving customers to your site and giving a boost to your sales numbers.

In the B2B world, coming up with interesting topics that will keep your audience interested can be difficult to do with each and every mailing. Here are seven great ideas for turning your boring B2B newsletter into a must-read:

  1. Ask for help. Do you work with a vendor who enjoys writing? Ask them to write an article  to be featured in your next newsletter. It will make your newsletter more interesting while strengthening the relationship with your vendor.
  2. Summarize articles. Use short summary paragraphs to entice your readers to click through and read the article on your website. Keeping it short helps people quickly get the information they need.
  3. Have fun. Find topics that may not be directly related to the kind of business you do, but that will entertain your audience. Turning a story about an alligator caught in a sewer into a valuable business lesson may take some creativity on your part, but your audience will enjoy reading it.
  4. Answer customer questions. Are your customer service representatives being asked the same questions over and over? Turn those questions into articles that provide customers with information before they have to ask for it.
  5. Follow the competition. Sign up for your competitor’s newsletter and follow the topics they write about. Their topics could spark ideas to include in future newsletters.
  6. Reuse and recycle. Repurpose some of the old articles that have been collecting dust in your content library. As long as the content is still relevant, recycling articles is a great way to create new content.
  7. Ask your readers. Send some of your customers a small survey asking what kind of topics they would like to hear about in the newsletter. When you know exactly what they want to hear, you can’t go wrong.

Coming up with interesting content every time you put your B2B newsletter together can be extremely difficult if you’re not prepared. With a plan and a little creativity, your next newsletter can be a hit.

Do you have any more tips for turning a boring B2B newsletter into a must-read? How do you consistently come up with interesting topics?

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.

Is your web site a lazy slacker?

Is your company web site lazy? Would it rather slack off and snack on pizza instead of getting some real work done?

I found this video over at the B2B Marketing Blog and thought it would be an entertaining little clip to watch on this fine Friday afternoon.

Have a laugh, but ask yourself if your company’s web site resembles the lazy Baywatch fan in the video. If so, you’ve got some work to do.

B2B websites top choice among business decision makers

Business websites are “a highly valued and indispensable source of information” in the eyes of business decision makers, according to a survey released late last year by the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) in the UK.

Their research showed that 97% of business decision makers choose B2B websites as the media most used for work.

Other key findings include:

  • 51% of business decision makers choose business websites as their preferred source of business information.
  • 60% ranked business websites as an “essential” source of information in their work.
  • 60% consider business websites as sources of information that they couldn’t get anywhere else.
  • 56% visit B2B websites first when researching/informing business decisions
  • 55% visit B2B websites first when researching/informing purchase decisions

The survey also revealed that 82% of all business decision makers use at least one business to business digital delivery mechanism for work, rising to 91% among regular B2B websites users. Email alerts/newsletters are the most popular (51%) form of delivery.

When it comes to advertising, 43% of business professionals are more likely to respond to ads on a business website than advertising in other media.

Of those surveyed, 70% reported that business to business websites offer more engaging content and advertising than other business information sources and considered them to:

  • Offer instant access to information (79%)
  • Save time (77%)
  • Offer innovative ways to access information (74%)
  • Allow business decision makers to interact with peers more efficiently (69%)

Visit AOP UK for additional details from the report.

What’s the best email subject line length?

New research shows that the length of your email subject lines may not be the most important factor when it comes to email performance.

While sending emails with shorter subject lines does correlate with higher open and click-thru rates, subject-line word order and content may be just as important to email performance, according to new research by U.S. marketing services firm Epsilon.

Epsilon analyzed more than one billion emails over almost 20,000 separate campaigns, finding that the relationship between subject-line length and open and click-thru rates is relatively weak.

The most critical email success factors include word order, word choice and brand and audience awareness, according to their analysis.

“Marketers should keep in mind that most recipients will likely decide to open an email based on their relationship with the sender and the first 38 to 47 characters of the subject line,” the report stated. “However, that decision may depend less on a subject line of 38 to 47 characters, and more on the information those 38 to 47 characters contain. campaign, the vital piece of information may be the brand name. For another, it may be the consumer benefit.”

Here’s what you should do:

  • Put the most emphasis on positioning the most important elements first. Put the most important information at the beginning of your subject lines.
  • Keep subject lines as short as possible. Use only as many characters as you need to convey the message. Use long subject lines only when there is a compelling reason to do so.

We usually spend the most time thinking about and testing the creative aspects of emails, leaving little time to focus on subject lines. Remember, more people will be looking at our subject lines than will ever take a peek at the creative.

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!

E-mail still rules the Internet roost

Research shows that e-mail should not be taking a back seat to other forms of media, even with the rise of Web 2.0 communications. According to a survey from Mediamark Research and Intelligence, e-mail remains the most popular online activity for adults.

Almost three-quarters (74.2%) of all U.S. adults use email, up 5.2% from the fall of 2007.

Other key findings:

  • 46% of respondents obtain news online
  • 37.2% made an online purchase for personal use
  • 11.4% made an online purchase for business use
  • 28.3% obtained financial information online

When asked the question, “Is e-mail marketing becoming less important with the rise of Web 2.0 communications?” Ryan Deutsch of StrongMail Systems, in a BtoB Magazine article, responded with this:

Absolutely, positively, not. Now, please keep in mind that I am an e-mail marketer and not a purveyor of social networks, but I feel it is safe to say that as people flock to social networks—blogs, wikis and other Web-based communities—they rely heavily on the e-mail channel to keep them connected to other like-minded members. In fact, as businesspeople and consumers interact with greater frequency via multifaceted Web 2.0 channels, they’re going to expect all their other, legacy communications to follow suit.

E-mail plays a strong role in the success of Web 2.0. When people can’t be logged into their online communities, they use e-mail to stay connected and engaged in their communities.

The takeaway: Even though you may be focusing more on Web 2.0, don’t forget about the power of e-mail.