(Note: This article was originally published in May 2018 and has been updated for 2019)
When it comes to B2B email marketing, it’s all about the quality of the content you deliver to your audience. This is easier said than done, as the perceived value of your content will differ between prospects. Even an ultra-targeted email list will contain industry-related contacts sitting at different stages of the sales cycle.
So how do you effectively communicate with this B2B audience via email marketing so that they fall in love with your solutions? At Clickback, we believe that every business can benefit from our B2B email lead generation software, that harnesses the power of outbound email marketing to drive warm leads into your sales funnel.
As you may have guessed, there is much more to the equation than just clever email subject lines and engaging content. Your landing pages, call-to-action, and forms will all need to align perfectly with your message to land you the conversion rates your business deserves. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the top B2B email marketing strategies to follow in 2019 and beyond.
B2B lead generation using email
Lead generation is essential for growth, as new prospects enter the sales funnel and are nurtured to close. Studies show that email marketing is the most effective channel for B2B lead generation, with content marketing and social media following closely behind. A balanced approach of outbound and inbound marketing strategies is essential in today’s B2B landscape.
Using email to market to B2B businesses has many advantages, including ease of implementation and being cost-effective. But in order to convert a cold list of contacts into opt-in leads the campaign must first reach the inbox, and proceed to provide specific and highly-actionable value to the reader. Needless to say, this is easier said than done.
Outbound email marketing to a B2B list must put a focused effort toward converting cold contacts to opt-in to future lead nurturing campaigns. Although B2B email marketing may lack the flare and freedom of an opt-in B2C campaign, that doesn’t mean they have to be ugly or boring. In fact, some of the top performing B2B email marketing campaigns are also the most elegant.
Sending outbound campaigns to a purchased list creates even more obstacles, as the messages must also be very carefully optimized to maximize deliverability. This includes running the email content through a spam checker, and avoiding the telltale signs of a “sales blast” email.
Sending to a non-permission based list of contacts can dramatically accelerate your lead velocity, as long as you have the right tool for the job. Here at Clickback, we consider ourselves to be expert when it comes to cold email marketing, so let’s cover some of the challenges of maximizing deliverability first.
B2B email marketing statistics for 2019:
- Email newsletters are regarded as most critical to content marketing success by 40% of marketers.
- 93% of B2B marketers use email to distribute content.
- 73% of millennials prefer communication from businesses to come via email.
- >59% of B2B marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI.
One of the more interesting statistics from this list is that 73% of millennials prefer communication from businesses to come via email. Clearly, email marketing to a B2B audience is a great fit. You can find these stats and more email marketing ideas in the following article shared by HubSpot: The Ultimate List of Email Marketing Stats for 2019.
In the Top B2B Lead Gen Trends report shared by Chief Marketer, you’ll find a compelling case for a focused effort on B2B email marketing. However, these marketing efforts will underperform if your database is incomplete or out-of-date. Data is the backbone of any strong lead generation strategy, yet many B2B companies run into roadblocks due to data quality issues
As stated in the report, “the opportunity to better mine, cleanse and upgrade data is tremendous”. At Clickback, we understand the importance of investing your time and energy into quality data, which is why our software cleans and verifies your email list on import.
Top lead generation sources – Chief Marketer
B2B email marketing examples
In the following video, you’ll see some tremendous examples of effective B2B email marketing campaigns by Hugh Macfarlane. Hugh explains the importance of email marketing, and why 30% of B2B marketers report that email marketing is their biggest revenue earner.
This video covers many types of B2B email marketing types used by industry leaders. They include curated e-mail content, lead generation emails, company announcements and much more.
The key takeaways from this video can be summarized as:
- Sell the value of reading the email in the subject line
- Use the buyer’s journey to shape your content
- Keep your messages short and to-the-point
- Personalize your messages for more opens
- Use powerful images when applicable
- Sell your call-to-action well
Now that you’ve seen some examples of effective B2B email marketing campaigns in action, it’s time to give you our best advice when it comes to sending to a cold list. The strategies used by marketers to convert users on an opt-in list apply to outbound campaigns as well, but getting your audience to engage requires a solid game plan.
1. The power of a purchased list
Sending an email to a contact that did not opt-in to receive marketing materials is only spam if the offer is unrelated to their business, and provides no value whatsoever. On the other hand, an industry-related email communication that effectively describes how the product or service can clearly benefit the user can be a valuable resource to the recipient. The bottom line is, all outbound email marketing campaigns are not created equal.
Purchasing an email list can be a cost-effective way to scale your B2B lead generation efforts, and quickly grow your database of prospects. You can expand your reach to a large audience of prospects who have never before heard of your solutions. The convenience and direct nature of email provide an excellent way to consistently keep your marketing and sales funnels topped up with leads.
Unfortunately, many B2B marketers make the mistake of not taking the time to properly clean and validate their non-permission based email list first. Databases decay naturally over time, meaning that your purchased list may contain bad email addresses and potential spam traps. Clickback MAIL runs your list through a number of list cleaning steps to remove the factors that negatively impact deliverability.
In terms of email list quality, choose a reputable data provider that will guarantee the accuracy of the records. A large bulk list of emails with a low price tag and no guarantee of accuracy will create headaches such as issues with deliverability and get your IP blacklisted. Avoid any database providers that refuse to provide a sample record from a bulk email list.
The truth is, with quality data and the right email marketing software, purchased lists can be a real asset to your business.
2. Focus on lead nurturing
Historically, business-to-business companies have a longer sales-cycle than other industries. Prospective customers need to fully understand how your unique solutions can benefit their business, and why they should invest in your services over your competitors. Lead nurturing is the act of carrying those prospects through each step of the sales cycle, and effectively answering every question they have along the way.
Email marketing is one of the most practical digital channels when it comes to lead nurturing. On average, about half of the leads in any system are not yet ready to buy, which is why developing relationships with buyers at every stage of the funnel is so important. A strong lead nurturing system will identify where the buyer sits in the sales cycle, to deliver the most relevant information possible.
An email drip campaign is a valuable long-term lead nurturing strategy. By delivering frequent, relevant touch points into your prospects inboxes, you’ll move leads through the sales funnel at their own pace. Leverage helpful resources from your content marketing efforts to keep your leads educated and engaged.
For lead nurturing to be effective, you’ll need to have a lead scoring system in place. This pinpoints where a particular lead is within the brands buying model and can provide a clear direction of how to best communicate with this audience. Lead scoring systems will vary depending on your specific industry and audience, but the key aspects you should be paying attention to are:
- Fit (demographics, budget)
- Interest (online behavior)
- Buying Stage (Where they sit in the sales funnel)
Content marketing is a great way to communicate with your audience in a conversational tone, so be sure to invest time and effort into your blog. Prospects appreciate the hands-on industry-specific advice you have to offer. By sharing valuable information to a targeted audience, your brand can become an authority on the topic.
The content on your blog can generate opt-in contacts to nurture through email. Lead scoring will give you the behavioral data you need to identify where the lead sits in the funnel, so you can nurture them with the information they need to move forward. Your content marketing efforts on the blog can work hand-in-hand with your email lead nurturing efforts, so leverage both marketing strategies to tell your story.
3. The importance of personalization
Despite what you may have heard, cold email campaigns are a highly effective way of generating B2B leads. Yes, communicating with a non-opt-in audience is more challenging, but with the right approach, it can produce a continuous stream of qualified leads. By tailoring your email messages according to your prospects profiles and behaviors, you increase the potential for engagement.
Although cold email templates can create an excellent starting point for your email copy, avoid following them too closely. A popular cold email template may have been used thousands of times, and your audience will recognize this right away. Instead, write a message that focuses on the pain points of your target buyer. Quickly identify the key selling features of your offer, and how it benefits the reader in a very specific way.
Because you have no prior relationship with your audience yet, you don’t have the benefits of tailoring your approach based on a known persona. However, despite the lack of verbal feedback an in-person greeting has, there are a few strategies you can implement into your cold campaigns to help them feel a little warmer. For example, personalization has been proven to boost open rates and responses.
Leverage personalization tokens such as name and company name wherever it makes sense. This helps create the feeling of a one-to-one message and is much more likely to get noticed in the inbox. The more specific the details of your message and your unique solutions are, the better.
Take this strategy further by taking the time to understand how your audience thinks and sees the world. Make it clear why you are emailing them in particular, and that you value their time. By investing your time in understanding the buyer persona of your top prospects, you can tell a much better story that makes sense to them. This messaging must be consistent from the email subject line, right through to the call to action.
4. Speak directly to your target customer
If your business caters to C-level professionals that prefer directness over cute and cuddly, your campaigns should reflect this. A key part of effective communication with a cold audience is understanding your target customers needs, and what captures their attention. You’ll hone in on your target persona and hit them with a clear solution to their needs. If your audience persona type is too broad, you’ll need to segment the list into smaller groups of like-minded prospects.
If you’re not putting this level of time and thought into your B2B email marketing campaigns, you’re likely leaving money on the table. For a great resource of how campaign approach varies from industry to industry, have a look at the best B2B email marketing campaigns ever. From LinkedIn to Shopify, these businesses know their customers and the types of content that engages them.
You may need to get a little creative with the way you set up your messages. It all starts with a powerful subject line that intrigues your prospect to learn more. Without a strong subject line that both sparks interest in the reader and aligns with the content in your email, your chances of converting a cold email into a lead are slim.
5. Leverage B2B email lead generation software
How could we talk about the best way to approach B2B email marketing without mentioning our lead generation software that lets you send to a cold list of contacts? The truth is, Clickback is trusted by over 1000 companies to deliver their email marketing campaigns and generate a healthy return on their data investment.
At Clickback, we’re quite proud of our email lead generation software. It’s one of the best ways to safely send outbound email campaigns to a purchased list. The features built into Clickback MAIL allow you to quickly and easily optimize your B2B email marketing campaigns to generate new leads for your business.
Our users send over 110 million emails per month using our email platform. This has resulted in success stories such as clients like CDI generating $30,000 in annual recurring revenue from a single campaign. For many B2B companies, they simply do not have a way to scale their B2B email marketing efforts. Clickback provides the perfect solution for businesses looking to accelerate leads using a cold email campaign.
Clickback MAIL is the all-in-one solution for B2B marketing and sales teams looking to clean and verify email lists and send campaigns from a single platform. Here are some reasons why our B2B email marketing software is the best choice when it comes to sending to a non-permission-based list:
Push new leads into your marketing or sales funnel
We offer an easy way to top up your pipeline, sending warmer leads to marketing and hotter ones to sales to close. By combining the speed and directness of email with the potential of your existing list of contacts, you can quickly grow your leads.
Turn cold contacts into warm B2B leads
We let you send emails to your existing list of cold contacts to convert them from non-opted-in contacts to warm opted-in leads. Whether you have a cold or purchased list of contacts, you can use our lead generation software to send CAN-SPAM compliant campaigns worry-free. In fact, we manage all the risks by protecting your domains and IPs so you get optimal deliverability and open rates.
Clean your email list on import for quality results
After you import your purchased list into our software, every email address goes through a variety of health and anti-spam risk checks. These hygiene checks will reveal if an email address is a spam trap or could cause issues with spam filters, significantly improving bounce rates of your email campaigns, and can help get your message to the inbox. Also, since this is all included in the software, you won’t have to pay extra for a third-party.
Compliment your tech stack
We complement the existing platforms in your tech stack by sending emails to your non-opted in or cold lists. You can consistently fill your funnel with leads and integrate new leads into your marketing or sales software.
Real Results (Case Study)
Still not convinced that a cold B2B email marketing campaign can deliver impressive results? The following case study highlights a Clickback MAIL customer that generated over $60,000 in annual recurring revenue using outbound email marketing campaigns to a purchased list.
The software was able to maximize deliverability to the purchased list, resulting in a flood of B2B leads. Several leads converted into paying customers, which made CDI our number 1 fan.