E-mail remains a popular and effective B2B marketing tactic. But as a marketer, you must fight for your audience’s attention. Inboxes are overflowing and people are quick to delete anything that isn’t of immediate interest or might be considered spam. Use these ten tips to make your e-mail marketing more effective.

  1. Identify yourself—make sure your company and brand appear in the e-mail ‘From’ line so your recipients know who the e-mail is coming from. If the e-mail is sent by an individual, unless that individual is well-known to recipients, make sure to include the company name as well.
  2. Write compelling subject lines—Short, benefit-oriented subject lines will interest your audience: “New pumps work twice as fast” or “White paper demonstrates laser advancements.” Your subject line is the most important element in enticing your recipients to pay attention to your e-mail. Don’t just dash one off.  Instead, consider testing different subject lines with segments of your audience to see what message resonates best.
  3. Use the preview pane—many people use their e-mail program’s preview pane to see what an e-mail is about before deciding to open it. Put the most important information and a call to action in the top 300-500 pixels of your e-mail to grab the interest of your audience. Don’t waste that space with large images or an overpowering header.
  4. Provide relevant content—the most important thing you can do to improve e-mail effectiveness is to provide content that is so interesting to your audience that they look forward to every e-mail you send. First and foremost, provide content that helps them do their jobs. Think in terms of how-to articles, best practices (such as this top ten tips article), educational Webinars, case studies, application ideas, downloads, free trials. Once you have established relevancy and trust, you can mix in some e-mails that promote your products and services or even are funny and entertaining.
  5. Add multiple calls-to-action—Some people like to click buttons, others look for text links. Make sure you use both and sprinkle them throughout your e-mail, without overwhelming your reader. The whole idea is to get recipients to take advantage of your offer: download the white paper, register for the Webinar, read the article, etc. Use these same action phrases on your buttons and link text.
  6. Use images wisely —Images are a great way to add visual interest and relevancy to your e-mails. Go beyond your company logo and consider adding thumbnails of white paper covers, product images, photographs of interview subjects and more. But be sure to use images sparingly – many of your e-mail recipients will have images turned off, so make sure that they don’t interfere with the text being displayed.  On a side note, if you send HTML e-mails, make sure you also produce a text-only version for recipients who indicate that preference.
  7. Write short, focused copy—Your copy should be short and focused completely on the purpose of the e-mail and the action you want readers to take. Use bold headlines. Use short paragraphs and sentences. Use bulleted lists of benefits. If your e-mail is of the newsletter variety, write brief introductions or executive summaries to the articles, then allow the reader to click through to a Web page containing the full text.
  8. Build your list—Make an effort to grow your opt-in list by promoting your e-mails everywhere you can: on Web pages, product registration cards, on sign-up forms at events, on individual e-mail signatures. Use “forward to a friend” features in your e-mails to expose more people to your content and increase subscribers. Have customer support and sales people ask customers and prospects if they’d like to be added to your company’s e-mail list.
  9. Think beyond your house list—Consider sponsoring third-party e-mails that are directed at your target audience. The publisher handles all production, sending and list management; you provide the content. It’s a great way to reach people who aren’t on your list but still fit the profile of your target customer. Check out GlobalSpec’s library of targeted industrial e-newsletters for opportunities.
  10. Test, test, test—Track the key metrics of the e-mails you send and test different elements. Metrics to track include open rate, click-through rate and conversion rate. The easiest – and often the most impactful – element to test is the subject line. You can also test your offer and where it is placed in the e-mail, the overall e-mail layout, copy, and day/time of sending. In the simplest tests, split your list in half and send a different version of the e-mail to each half of the list. Make changes incrementally to your e-mails based on what you learn in testing, and you’ll soon see an increase in response rates.

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