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How to use B2B email marketing to generate leads

Mailtastic
26 November 2020

There are 3.9 billion daily email users…

That’s a huge accessible audience.

But that audience is already drowning in a sea of spammy marketing emails.

So in order to reel anyone in, let alone people who are actually interested in your product or service, you need to start thinking smart. 

And as makers of a B2B email marketing platform, we can help you do just that. 

We’ve listed the things that make our campaigns great. Feel free to use these as inspiration, or make them your own.

Soon enough, you’ll be generating quality leads with your email marketing like nobody’s business.

Scroll down to hear our tips or use the menu to navigate through! 👇

Prospect | Automate | Provide value | Speak to your audience | Experiment with CTAs | Measure & Report | Handover

Prospect

A B2B email marketing campaign is only as good as your list of contacts.

Break your list down into groups. The more you segment, the more accurately you can target the leads. A good email campaign should speak directly to the recipient, so putting a bit of extra effort in here will be worth it.

In fact, marketers who segment their audience, see a 760% increase in revenue

We use Cognism Prospector to generate lists of leads. The benefit here is that you can segment lists, which will make your life easier moving forward.

Use verticals such as job title, industry, location, company size, and any others which allow you to make your messaging more direct.

Once you’ve got your lead lists prepared, you’re ready to start sending. Now, it’s time to automate.

The B2B email marketing hack your competitors don't know about

Automate

If you want email marketing to provide a substantial level of revenue, automation is an absolute necessity. It allows you to scale, without too much effort.

But be careful!

When automating at scale there are a few potential hazards to watch out for:

Errors in the messaging

Sending typos in one message is a bit embarrassing. 

Sending typos to 10,000 prospects is dangerous. 

If you haven't noticed already, we hate spam. And typos can cause your emails to fall into spam folders.

If this happens enough, your email address might be blacklisted. 

This’ll cause all of your future emails to fall into spam folders, which is a pain in the backside to fix.

If this does happen - and it does - it’s not the end of the world. Here are some tips for getting out of spam.

Merge fields

Be. Careful. Please.

Merge fields provide a great way to personalise your email, but use them sparingly. There are two reasons for this.

  1. Using a shed-load of merge fields will increase your chances of getting one wrong. Nobody wants to read an email addressed to ‘first_nsme’.
  2. Including too much of the prospect’s information is a bit weird... How often do you write a direct email including the person’s name, job title, company name and favourite flavour of Ben & Jerry’s...? 

Not that often.

Over-generalisation

What’s the first thing you do when an obviously automated email lands in your inbox?

Maybe give it a quick scan? Maybe delete it?

The way to ensure your email doesn’t get sent to the marketing graveyard is to personalise it.

But how can you personalise an automated email?

This goes back to breaking down your audience and sending highly relevant copy. Also, keep it concise:

The goal is to open a conversation here, not close a deal.  

This might sound like a lot of red tape, but as long as you stay vigilant, nothing really goes wrong. 

Every one of these problems is fixed by a quick proof read before you send. And when you’re sending to thousands of people, it’s worth your time.

Always be providing value

In sales, they have always be closing (ABC). In marketing, we have (the admittedly less slick, but just as important) always be providing value (ABV).

Providing value means generating interest before you request anything from a prospect.

 

Remember, these people don’t know you. They don’t owe you anything. And they sure as heck won’t wait around for you to deliver them a sales pitch.

Rule number one is to establish a positive relationship with the prospect. You’re their first point of contact with the company, so give them a good impression that lasts. 

This means sending plenty of relevant content. And it doesn’t even have to be yours. Sometimes sending content created by another company works really well, because it emphasises that you’re committed to providing value, rather than just promoting your own stuff. 

This is why we see so many marketing influencers offering free newsletters. They’re not actively trying to sell anything… yet. They’re building a positive relationship so you’ll be more open to a sale at a later date.

It’s good practice to have a list of your most effective content, so you’ll always have something on hand for the next email marketing campaign.

Speak to your audience

This might require some testing.

Here’s a massive generalisation for you. More senior prospects tend to appreciate a more formal tone. Now here’s where that falls short:

They’re still people. 

Sure, use a few more emojis when you’re speaking to a younger audience - but don’t send C-suite prospects an email that reads like a subpoena. 

Writing a more casual email will break down the formal walls of a business interaction. 

This kind of conversation is more enjoyable on both sides - and it allows the prospect to open up.

Having said that…

Test it. 

Writing informally can be risky. If you go too far, you might offend. Try out an informal email on a small list of prospects and see how it goes.  So give yourself the freedom to get things wrong, and change them. 

But don’t forget a B2B email marketing strategy can help you experiment in a structured way. 

If you need a few tips on how to address your audience, try listening to some sales and current client calls. It’s the easiest way to quickly identify pain points and personality types.

Experiment with CTAs

Every email campaign is different.

If you’ve done a great job of establishing your offer and presenting yourself as a positive contact, you can push for a higher commitment CTA. If you’re not there yet, make it low-key.

The trouble is, it’s hard to measure the impact you’ve had. You can’t say with absolute certainty that the value added by a higher commitment CTA outweighs the drop-off in conversions. So you do what marketers should always do.

Have a go, and see what happens.

 

The trick is to break your audience into A/B test groups. Randomly split your lists, and keep the group size over 200. You need a big enough sample size.

Test a few variations. Different levels of commitment, different styles of CTA (i.e. button, link, image), different locations.

See what works, and get rid of everything that doesn’t. And remember, no two email campaigns are identical. Learn from your mistakes, but don’t rule anything out. It might work better next time!

Measure and report

The future of marketing is data driven.

When you run an email marketing campaign, you should measure:

  • The emails sent
  • Open rates 
  • Clicked links
  • Replies
  • Bounces
  • Opt-outs
  • Click-through rate
  • Conversions.

Also, use UTM tracking links to see where any traction is coming from. This will help you segment any new leads.

Any other metrics which will help you improve should be measured too.

And if this sounds like too much information, don’t worry. The software you use is a lifejacket. It’ll keep your head above the statistics.

Most platforms also allow you to generate reports now, so you’ll have access to the data points you want, whenever you want.

Top tip

Accurate tracking and reporting will transform your lead generation into predictable lead generation. It can take a bit of time to get right, but the results will be worth it.

Handover

Surely the handover is easy? You just send sales a list of new leads for them to contact, right?

Wrong!

This approach to a lead handover will undo all of the great work you’ve done so far. You’ve already got a ton of data. Make sure it ends up in the right hands.

We recommend using a CRM system.

Step 1: Assign all of the information you’ve gathered throughout the campaign to the new lead. 

Step 2: Assign the lead to the right salesperson. Specialisation within a sales team is a bit of a taboo - but there’s no reason to avoid it. Find out which salesperson is right for the new group of leads, and let them take over.

Step 3: Write a handover note. Having all of the data in front of you is great, but some things can’t be reduced to ones and zeros. Send over any extra information the sales team could need. 

Knowledge is power!

We use Salesforce to help the handover process, but it’s really a case of finding one which fits your needs. They’re not all identical, so do some window shopping before you commit.

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