By now, most suppliers and service providers in the industrial sector should be using e-mail for marketing purposes. E-mail remains an effective marketing tactic in the business-to-business world, your customers and prospects are receptive to e-mail, and it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to do.
If you follow proven advice, you will get good results from e-mail marketing. But if you make mistakes, you run the risk of angering your customers and prospects, harming your brand, or even getting blacklisted by ISPs.
Here are five dos and five don’ts to make you a more effective e-mail marketer.
- Do be relevant to your audience. You must understand the interests and needs of the people you are e-mailing and develop content that will command their attention. This way, they will look forward to receiving your e-mail. One way to be relevant is to segment your list and send each group targeted information. Divide your e-mail list according to logical segments: customers and prospects, or segment by types of products purchased, or by industry.
- Do build your e-mail list. Include a sign-up form on your Web pages, at the bottom of other e-mail communications, and on product registration forms, proposals and invoices—on all business correspondence with customers and prospects.
- Do use an e-mail service provider or e-mail marketing software to send and manage marketing e-mails. This way you can track important metrics such as opens and clicks; manage bounces and unsubscribe requests; and add new subscribers easily.
- Do include a call to action in every e-mail. Even if you are sending a newsletter, make sure you have some type of offer or call to action, such as downloading a white paper or data sheet, or even visiting a specific Web page. This way, you can track the effectiveness of your content, generate leads, and discover more about the interests of your audience.
- Do think outside the box of e-mail marketing to your own house e-mail list. A great way to reach new and hard-to-find prospects is to sponsor industry- or product-specific third-party e-newsletters. Check out the 60+ fully opt-in e-newsletters that GlobalSpec publishes to the industrial community on a regular basis. They have industry leading open and click through rates with a 98% delivery rate. 95% of GlobalSpec e-Newsletter subscribers are registered on GlobalSpec.com – which means that every lead you receive, you receive full contact information.
- Don’t break your implied promise. When users opt-in to receive your marketing e-mails, you should let them know how often they will hear from you. Will you send a monthly or quarterly mailing? A weekly news alert? Occasional special offers? Make it clear how often they will receive e-mails from you and what those e-mails will be about, and then stick to your promise. If you send e-mail more frequently than you say you will, recipients might get angry or ignore you. If you don’t keep up with your schedule, recipients may forget about you. In both cases, they might report you as a spammer.
- Don’t forget to adhere to spam laws. Spam is the biggest issue facing e-mail marketers today, and spam blockers can sometimes prevent your legitimate e-mails from getting delivered. If you are identified as a spammer, you can get blacklisted by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who transmit e-mail or get into legal trouble with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Here is the FTC site with the spam laws explained. Adhere to all of the best practices identified.
- Don’t forget the Big 3 components. The "From" line, "Subject" line, and the top of the e-mail are the Big 3 components that work together to entice recipients to open and read your e-mail. Make clear in the "From" line who is sending the e-mail: both person and company. The "Subject" line should be short (about 50 characters), timely, and benefit oriented. The top of the e-mail must contain a compelling headline because many recipients use the preview pane in their e-mail program to see what an e-mail is about.
- Don’t be sloppy. We’re all so accustomed to writing quick e-mails to colleagues and friends that it’s easy to forget that e-mail as a marketing tool is a form of business communication. Poor spelling, grammar, word usage and writing style all reflect negatively on your company and brand. Keep the writing professional, simple and clear, and make sure every e-mail is carefully proofread.
- Don’t forget to test. To increase the effectiveness of e-mail marketing, split your list and test different components. Test different subject lines, offers, and layouts. Test only one item at a time and incorporate successes into subsequent e-mails.