Most Important Goal of B2B Email Marketing
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Aged Email Privacy (MPP), high open rate is an increasingly empty target, even for B2B brands that use far less MPP than their B2C counterparts.
But even before MPP, opening an email didn’t necessarily mean the subscriber found the email valuable — or that much (if any) time was spent thinking about the content of your email. After all, many emails are opened and viewed for less than a second while subscribers scroll through the messages in their inboxes.
In fairness, there are many scenarios where an unopened email could trigger positive subscriber actions, such as direct visits to your website and calls to your sales reps. But brands aren’t particularly good at connecting these dots, so such actions are rarely a specific goal.
Regardless, no, launching a campaign is not the most important job for an email marketer.
Maybe it’s a metric further down the funnel…
To get your campaign clicked?
An email click is a much better indicator of interest than an open email. Because there’s far more detail in the body of your email than you can squeeze into the contents of your envelope, a click is a much more reliable signal that recipients are genuinely interested in learning or reading more about what you’re about apply.
For the most Email Newslettera click is probably the most common campaign goal.
Having said that, I contend that getting a click isn’t an email marketer’s most important job either.
To drive a campaign conversion?
Now that we’re at the bottom of the interaction funnel, we’ve reached a metric that truly aligns with business outcomes. Whether it is an email conversion for a webinar For example, if you sign up or download a report or make a sales conversion, that conversion is valuable from a lead generation perspective or has direct business value.
But even here, at the bottom of the funnel, there are problems.
First, conversion rates for a single email campaign are quite low. With B2B brands, sales cycles can be very long, so revenue conversions for a single customer can vary widely.
And second, B2B SaaS and service companies should focus much more on customer retention as a marketing goal, making sales conversions an even less important goal for most email marketing campaigns.
These facts lead you to realize that your number one goal as an email marketer is…
Here’s how to get the next email you send: Read!
Email marketing is not about campaigns. It’s about relationships. Therefore, the sender name of an email has a greater impact on whether an email is read than the subject line.
Am I saying that continued email engagement is more important than conversions and revenue? No. I contend that when B2B email marketing programs have good open and click-through rates, conversions and sales will naturally follow. They are an early indicator of many positive developments.
For example, strong email engagement leads to…
- better deliverability, because mailbox providers send and block email from brands that send to too many subscribers who haven’t opened, clicked on, or otherwise interacted with their email for a long time
- reduced list churn, Because when subscribers are active, they are more likely to stay subscribed, which also boosts your list growth
- extended audience, because more engaged subscribers make choosing active email audiences easier and safer in the age of email privacy
Monitor your list churn and keep it low to see if you’re overly focused on the email you just sent, or if you’re focusing on respecting and retaining your subscribers, with it they read your next email.
It’s the difference between maximizing a campaign and maximizing a relationship.
Short-term campaign focus vs. long-term relationship focus
Let’s look at some examples of these two approaches in practice.
1. Subject Lines
A campaign-oriented approach would likely use a vague, “clever” open-bait-style subject line, assuming that as more subscribers open an email, more subscribers will click on it.
On the other hand, a brand with a relationship focus would use a subject line that clearly describes the content of the email. This allows subscribers to decide whether an email is relevant to them without having to open it first.
Respecting a subscriber’s time pays off in the long run: when subscribers feel their time has been wasted or they have been scammed, they tend not to stick with them.
A campaign-oriented approach would focus on list buying, contact scraping, passive and hidden permission granting, and others Tactics that often get B2B brands into shipping difficulties.
A relational approach would focus on gaining explicit opt-ins through helpful, valuable, and unique content.
3. Email Frequency
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a campaign-centric approach would require more campaigns because even if high frequency lowers response rates, the overall response rate would be higher. I’ve even heard proponents of this approach argue that You want to unsubscribeSo increase the frequency until only your most die-hard fans are left.
However, with a relationship focus, one would realize that while some subscribers are hot leads or superfans, others aren’t…at least not yet. The former has value now, while the latter will have value in the future. So the best approach is to use segmentation and automation to ensure subscribers receive emails at a frequency consistent with their current engagement level and lead score.
A campaign-oriented approach would focus on the metrics of individual campaigns and typically look at them in isolation.
A relationship focus would not disregard campaign metrics, but would also consider subscriber-centric metrics and list health metrics, such as: B. Lifetime Value, Subscriber Churn Rate, Subscriber Lifetime Distribution, MQL to SQL Conversion Rate, and Click Reach (ie, percentage of subscribers who clicked at least once in the last 30 days, 90 days, etc.).
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The premise underlying this analysis is that brands — especially B2B brands — generally play the long game with their email marketing because their businesses are the long game.
Of course, everyone wants to maximize that quarter’s sales, but it often takes months or even years for prospects to convert. And hopefully, once they convert, the relationship with that customer will last for many years to nurture.
The temptation to give in to short-term stresses can be intense, especially during downturns. However, yielding to this pressure comes with long-term costs, which for B2B email marketers include damage to your sender’s reputation, as well as reduced list size and active audience.
All of these consequences lead directly to lower future sales and lower customer satisfaction, which weakens your competitiveness.