Email has been around for 50 years now, and it’s still a viable marketing strategy, provided you know how to engage your prospects.
When the pandemic and economic uncertainty of 2020 changed the business world, many marketers redoubled their efforts through email, focusing on a channel they could control. About 36% more marketing emails than usual were sent over the summer to the home, HubSpot reported.
Considering this substantial increase, you might think the public is getting tired of full inboxes. But the same HubSpot report found that marketing email open rates were still 10-20% above average.
Marketers will no doubt continue to capitalize on the current success of email campaigns. Additionally, growing investments in tools like Outreach, SalesLoft, and HubSpot indicate that many professionals are streamlining their marketing communications.
An environment with more emails and increased engagement, however, means increased competition for B2B marketers. To reap the benefits of the email trend, you’ll need to get ahead of the crowd. This is why you need to refresh your approach.
Focus on the following four tactics to improve your email marketing strategy in 2021.
1. First and foremost deliver value in your email
If you’re struggling to engage leads, that doesn’t mean you should give up email altogether. It just means you need a better approach.
Leave self-promotion aside and fill your communications with the type of content your prospects find useful or interesting. The content may be written by your in-house subject matter experts or an entirely different source. Put the needs of prospects first, and they’ll think of you when it’s time to buy.
Many marketers who aim to create value provide educational materials. It’s a great start, but it’s not the only way to captivate your audience. Make the content of your emails entertaining, whether it’s signing every communication with an industry-specific joke or sending a silly meme or GIF that you think prospects will appreciate. If you can make leads want to to open your emails, you will have more success.
2. Focus on personalization in your email marketing strategy
Scripted pitches are underperforming, so you’ll need to personalize your emails to get more meaningful engagement from prospects.
Test to see which approach resonates the most. Are your audience looking for discounts? Are they hoping for more opportunities for interaction (eg polls)?
Learn more about your prospects with every email and make sure they know you’re listening to them. Playing the long game is expensive, but it is an investment that must be made in an uncertain economic environment.
Marketers often overlook the importance of sharing information about themselves, but relationships are a two-way street, after all. Don’t be afraid to include some fun family photos as we all try to navigate the pandemic. The same suggestion goes for pets: no one will refuse a photo of a cute dog or cat!
If you humanize your communications, prospects will be more likely to respond.
3. Change sender or domain
Something as simple as a new sender can elicit responses from a silent audience. According to Campaign Monitor data, 68% of Americans decide whether or not to open an email based solely on the name of the sender.
If an email focuses primarily on one aspect of your business, you can try sending it from [Department Head] To [Your Company] humanize the message.
To significantly revitalize a list of unengaged prospects, you can switch domains. Just make sure to warm it up before you start sending a ton of emails. Otherwise, your communications could end up in spam folders because your new domain has no reputation. It’s also understandable if you’re not ready to make that drastic change.
Starting from scratch takes a lot of work, but it can pay off.
4. Support your sales team
When the US economy contracted in March and April, sales teams scrambled to win new contracts and fill gaps and vacancies. Commercial departments sent 44% more emails in Q2 2020 than Q1, according to the previously mentioned HubSpot report. Unfortunately, response rates have remained 25-30% lower than they were before the pandemic.
Be prepared to help your sales team win new business by supporting them more directly. If any of your marketing tactics resonate with your audience, spread the news so that your company’s sales team knows they need to keep using that tactic while pushing prospects through the funnel.
* * *
More is not always better with your email marketing strategy. The pandemic has prompted many marketers to take a mass messaging approach in 2020, but prospects are unlikely to respond to that tactic in 2021.
Instead, make a focused effort to deliver consistent value, personalize communications, and modify your sending to gain additional engagement.
And when you find a tactic that works, share the information with sales. Sales and marketing are two sides of the same coin, so there is no need to compartmentalize your successes.
More resources on email marketing strategy
Take 10: Email Marketing Strategies: Ditch The Old, Place The New
Four Ways To Boost Your Email Marketing Strategy With AI
How to keep your email marketing strategy relevant to millennials