The B2B email marketing experience checklist

Posted by frank harris on 03/08/18 14:40

survey email marketingYou’re busy. You have this to do, that to do. It’s only natural you might just forget to do something, like rushing out some email marketing with a half-baked subject line. Or forgetting to format some content so it’s readable on mobile.

 

Sometimes, we tend to forget the basics of B2B email marketing – i.e. the most important things of all.

‘Friendly from’ name

The ‘from’ or sender name is the inbox field that tells your customer who’s sent the message. Without something recognisable, your subscriber may dismiss it as spam. And no-one wants that!

Subject lines

Make it clear what the email is about in the subject line, and make it engaging.

Pre-header text

A pre-header is the short summary that follows the subject line when an email is viewed in the inbox. It’s a great way to tip your customer off on what the email contains before they open it. See it as yet another opportunity to encourage your readers to open your email.

 

What is the B2B email marketing experience?

Content and templates

First in a B2B customer experience is the following: did you know that 55% of emails are opened on mobile devices, 26% on desktops and 19% in a webmail? So, ensure your templates are mobile-responsive and optimised to work well on all devices.

Headlines are important

Make them actionable, tell the user what you want them to do and sum up the email’s content. They have lives to lead so don’t make them guess what it is you want from them.

Paragraphs or bullet points?

Before you start writing the body copy, with tablet devices and smartphones as the ‘devices of choice’ for many, it’s more important than ever to keep your emails concise. Bullets are much quicker and easier to digest.

Get personal and get noticed.

By considering demographic and behavioural data, along with your customer’s interests, you can deliver compelling and relevant information to your customers in a way that feels personal.  Dynamic content is another great way to engage your customers. Base it on their transactional data and social interests, or with live content from your website at the point of send, such as latest offers.

 

Finding out what makes them tick gets you clicks

No matter how big, bright or bold your call-to-action button is, you need to give the reader a reason to click through first. If you’ve got that right, these points will only aid your proposition.  

  • Make sure the button is visually striking with copy that compels them to click.  
  • Keep the copy short and sweet: a couple of words is best, no more than five is ideal
  • Begin with a verb like “Download” or “Register” to make it action-oriented
  • Place buttons in easy-to-find spots that follow organically from the flow of the webpage
  • Put them in a contrasting colour from that of the webpage, while still fitting in with the overall design

Be selective with segments

You can’t be all things to all people (that’s why batch-and-blast emails are a thing of the past). Every customer is different and that’s why you should segment.

 

Use all the tools at your disposal to get a handle on who you’re talking to: what they like, what they don’t, what they’ve opened in the past, what they’ve bought in the past. Here are some examples of segments you can group your contacts into:

  • Female or male contacts under or over a certain age
  • Contacts living in a particular locality
  • Subscribers who’ve never opened an email campaign

Plain-text emails make plain sense

They don’t look pretty but they play an important role in a well-rounded email marketing strategy. Why?

  • Some email clients and apps can’t handle HTML (it’s true but not as common these days) – so your email will look like a garbled mess when it lands in your recipient’s inbox
  • Some people turn off HTML for emails, which means either your message won’t be readable or it may not even arrive

Test to become the best

You might think you know what your customers want. But there’s only one real way to find out and that’s by going straight to the source.

 

Testing lets you find out what works and what doesn’t. Running A/B tests are a quick and simple way of seeing which campaigns generate the best opens and clicks.

 

Here are some of the things you can try out:

  • Variations in subject lines, like emotional vs. offer-led
  • Different lengths of copy – i.e. long vs. short
  • Design can make a difference so test a suite of templates (but only two at a time)
  • When’s the best time to send?

Landing pages can land you customers

Imagine reading a sign before entering what you were led to believe was a doctor’s surgery, only to stroll in and find it’s a dentist.

 

You’d walk back out again, right? It’s no different to sending an email about cats, to then click through to a page talking about feather dusters. A good, targeted landing page can turn potential customers into real customers.

 

For more on best email practice and why “batch & blast” doesn’t work anymore check this out:-

 

Lead Generation using  your Website and SEO

Tags: email marketing agency, email marketing, b2b email marketing, email marketing campaigns, small business email marketing

7 Tips to Get the Most out of Survey Email Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 12/11/17 16:27

survey email marketing.jpgSo many email marketing surveys seems to be sent on autopilot, without any thought of creativity or user engagement. This article gives you suggestions to help you wake up your survey request emails - and improve your response rates.

Email is one of the most popular channels for distributing a survey. But for some reason, most of the emails I receive that include a survey look like they were put together as an afterthought.

 

Many have boring subject lines and uninspiring copy and creative, so I rarely feel compelled to participate. If your email marketing survey has low opens, engagement and click-throughs, here are my seven tips for improving them:

  1. Craft Compelling Subject Lines

Typical survey subject lines:

  • Customer satisfaction survey
  • Take our survey
  • Let us know what you think
  • Satisfaction survey
  • We want your feedback

I don’t know about you, but these subject lines just don’t do it for me. Yes, they do make it clear what awaits me inside of the email, but they definitely don’t encourage me to open.

 

I’d be more likely to open if the subject line set my expectations, told me what’s in it for me and had some personalisation. I realise that sounds hard - but it’s really not. Most ESPs offer options that do all those things and more.

 

Here are some survey subject lines which caught my eye:

  • Take our short survey and get 20% off
  • How was your experience? Take our quick survey
  • We’d love your feedback! It’ll only take 3 minutes
  • Andrew, we want you to give us the scoop!

If you’re stuck for subject line inspiration, then it’s worth taking a look at Touchstone, a subject line testing app which lets you simulate a split test without having to actually send an email.

  1. Get to the Point Quickly

Your subscribers are busy people, and you are asking them to spend their time taking your survey. So don’t waste their time with a lengthy email about how valuable their input is. They are mainly interested in what’s in it for them and how long it will take to complete. Take longer than 15 seconds to get those two points across and you’ve probably lost most of them.

 

This short and sweet survey email from Airbnb is a perfect example of how to do this right. I like how it’s personalised with a name, includes just one short paragraph of text and a large call-to-action button.

 

airbnb email marketing survey.jpg

  1. Set Expectations

Please don’t send your subscribers to a 50-page survey without setting expectations about how long it will take in your email.

 

You may have noticed that the above example from Airbnb stated that their survey will only take three minutes. I also really like this example from Campaign Monitor, who sent this micro-survey to subscribers of their blog.

 

The call-to-action button is a great touch. It doesn’t say how long it will take, but it does give three questions.

 

campaign monitor survey.jpg

  1. Incentivise — What’s in it for Them?

Giving your subscribers an incentive for filling out your survey is definitely a good way to boost participation.

However, be careful to only use an incentive when necessary. For example, short surveys like the one above or product reviews don’t usually warrant an incentive.

  1. Make your Review Email More Relevant

Having high-quality reviews on your website has been proven to help increase sales. So it’s worth putting some time and effort into making your review email requests stand out.

 

One of the best ways to do this is to personalise the content of your review email with text and images from the product they purchased.

  1. Get the Survey Started within the Email

Even if you follow all of the tips above, it still can be challenging to get people to respond to your survey.

 

Why not remove one more barrier by embedding a survey question directly within your email?

 

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to embed the entire survey within the email, as many email clients would reject the code required to do that. However, this technique could produce higher click-through and survey completion rates, so it’s worth trying out.

  1. Mobile-Optimise the Entire Experience

Finally, it’s not really worth sending your subscribers an email marketing survey that they can’t complete on a mobile device. In fact, I think that so many people have had a terrible experience with a survey they’ve tried to complete on their mobile device that they’re probably too annoyed to click through.

 

So, ensure you use mobile-friendly survey software, and don’t be afraid to make your subscribers aware of this within your survey email.

 

For more on email marketing why not get the FREE eBook by following the link:

 

Lead Marketing Automation

 

 

Tags: email marketing agency, email marketing

10 Rules for Successful B2B Email Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 01/04/14 08:27

b2b-email-marketingB2B email marketing is one of the most cost-effective and therefore profitable online marketing solutions available in today’s B2B small business marketing. Its simplicity and speed, combined with its low cost and transparent, easy-to-understand reporting, make it a popular driver of business for companies of all sizes.

Despite this, as an internet marketing consultant, I see many marketers failing to maximise on their potential from email marketing. Could your B2B email marketing campaigns be more effective? Would you benefit from a quick review of B2B email marketing best practices? Are you making common email marketing mistakes that reduce the success of your campaigns?

As an internet marketing consultant, I believe that successful B2B email marketing starts with 10 easy-to-follow rules that help you maximise your results while avoiding those simple mistakes that damage your reputation and eat into your profits.  I have put them in a whitepaper available FREE to you at the end of this blog.

Let’s look at some of the bare bones of these rules here:-

1.    Keep It Relevant

When individuals give you permission to add them to your email list, they do so with the understanding that they will receive relevant email marketing messages based on their previous interactions with you.

2.    Remember That Less Is Definitely More

Email marketing campaigns are best kept short and to the point.

3.    Consider Frequency and Timing

Segment your lists then, look at the frequency and timing of your emails. The relevancy of your campaigns will nearly always be more important than the number of messages you send though.

4.    For Subject Lines, Think Headline News

The subject line is your first line of defence between your subscribers and the delete button. It should scream benefits. Think of it in the same way as a newspaper editor does a headline.

5.    Take Time for Text

Make good use of real text (not graphics) at the top of your email. A graphic-heavy email will appear blank until the subscriber has selected to download the graphics. Real text in the message will remain visible even in HTML emails and will entice subscribers to open the complete email.

6.    Automate, Schedule & Mobilise

B2B email marketing shouldn’t tie you to your desk. Use your email marketing software to automate and schedule email campaigns to reach your lists at a time that best suits your subscribers.

7.    Get Social

To encourage your subscribers to share your email marketing messages via their social networks, add social media sharing buttons to your emails and landing pages.

8.    Test

You might already consider your B2B email marketing to be pretty successful, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be better. Take time to split test your subject lines, designs, body text, frequency, time of send, etc.

9.    Understand Your Return on Investment (ROI)

It might sound crazy, but many marketers just don’t understand how to calculate the ROI from their B2B email marketing campaigns. This lack of understanding, combined with unfocused, irrelevant, and badly timed campaigns, can often leave a bad taste in marketers’ mouths and lead them to believe that email marketing doesn’t yield the kind of results they were expecting.

10.    Cleanse

Take the time to cut the deadwood from your list. Remove bounced email addresses and names that have not opened any of your emails over a significant period of time.

So there you have the headlines.  Now you need the meat to put onto them.  You can easily get them from the link below.  Just click and all is revealed. I also look forward to your comments so please take some time for feedback.

10 Rules for Successful  B2B Email Marketing

 

 

 

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, b2b website marketing, email marketing agency, b2b email marketing

Where are we with Email Marketing?

Posted by frank harris on 19/02/14 08:24

Email in small business marketing resized 600As a customer outreach tool, email marketing plays a fundamental role in today’s business landscape.

A popular method for both engaging current customers and attracting new ones, email marketing provides a wealth of opportunities to nurture and convert leads, as well as building brand loyalty and awareness.

And thanks to today’s marketing automation technologies, it’s possible to design emails that deliver the most relevant message to the right prospect at the perfect time.  Of course, email marketing offers many practical benefits as well.  Because most of the production costs in artwork, printing and delivery are eliminated, the faster and inexpensive execution levels the playing field for small businesses, entrepreneurs and enterprise brands alike.  

And unlike the momentary nature of other mediums – such as a TV ad that’s gone in thirty seconds or a social media update that gets rapidly buried under other updates – an email will stay in an inbox until the prospect is ready to deal with it. It can also work synergistically with other marketing mediums, and offers sharper tools for tracking ROI when compared to a traditional direct mail campaign.

Yet not everyone is aware of how to capitalise on email marketing’s full reach and power – or previous campaign experience has left them with the wrong impression of its potential. My new eBook covers various topics from:-

The Beginnings of Email Marketing

Email marketing has come a long way from its early days when marketers would buy a list and release an impersonal and irrelevant blast campaign to anyone they could. Those first email marketing efforts were often unwelcome and eventually inspired the invention of the spam filter. But even as marketers learned their lesson, the next generation of emails still had trouble reaching the right consumers.

Today’s email marketing is nothing like the unwanted batch campaigns of yesterday. Deft marketing strategies can craft appealing content; advanced technologies can ensure it’s delivered to exactly the right targets. A well-planned campaign is still an ideal way to initiate meaningful dialogues that lead into closed deals.

The Current State of Email Marketing

As new marketing technologies evolve, email has been able to accommodate many of the new techniques used to attract customers and deepen relationships. And with the rising popularity of mobile, users are more connected to their email than ever before. But the real value of email marketing today is its applicability to content marketing.

Email offers the perfect medium for personalised, thoughtful content. And because it can extend and intensify the customer relationship, email also has the power to foster an essential feeling of sincerity.

Emails tailored to personal nuances can carry a marketer over the obstacle of a customer’s cynicism, and build a dialogue that’s actually desired by the consumer, rather than viewed as an intrusion. Which brings us to the reason email marketing is positioned for success in today’s business world – marketing automation.

Marketing automation is an essential tool in every marketing toolbox, guiding leads from initial engagement to purchase by delivering targeted information at the right time. The more specialised the content, the greater the impact – which means that marketing automation provides email marketing with a special ability to attract, convert and close.

The first step is remembering that relevance leads to conversion. Segmenting will give every campaign a boost by providing marketers with the ability to amplify the personal significance of every email.

Marketing automation platforms can help produce polished-looking emails, engineering campaigns based on time, actions or pre-defined steps, edit email content on the fly, personalise emails through segmentation, customise text and images and more.

But to really get to grips with email in small business marketing you need to consider – “5 Paths to Good Performance

This eBook, which can be obtained from the link at the end tells you in detail about these 5 Paths:-

1.    Articulate your Business Goals

2.    Create Compelling Content

3.    Integrate Social Media

4.    Cater for Mobile

5.    Test Campaigns

Email marketing is no longer a niche channel. Nor is it still an intrusive, unwanted form of outreach. From brand management to lead nurturing and customer loyalty, email campaigns can act as the perfect medium for your marketing deliverables, driving authentic connection through personalised content – and ultimately creating revenue.

One final secret to successful digital marketing: staying responsive to changing technologies. As with everything digital, email marketing is an ever-evolving tool. Remaining flexible and educated on new developments will help you craft innovative campaigns that deliver the most meaning with the most impact, and eventually lead to closed deals.

To get the full story just click the button below:-

Where are we with  Email Marketing?

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing ideas, email marketing agency, get more sales, small business marketing automation

Six email deliverability lessons for Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 01/12/13 08:00

lead-nurturing-in-small-business-marketing-ukWeb versions aside, emails obviously can’t be publicly indexed by Google. So you don’t have to heavily optimise your emails for search engines. And when it comes to email deliverability you can just ignore SEO.

Or can you? While it may be true that search engines don’t index emails, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any lessons email marketers can learn from SEO.

Here’s six techniques borrowed from SEO that’ll help you improve your email deliverability:

1. Keep your coding simple

Search engines are not able to crawl flash content, and often have trouble with other types of coding like JavaScript. Email clients work in the same way, most of them don’t accept any form of scripting.

The majority of the clients aren’t able to load emails that are composed with scripts, which can result in email delivery issues.

That’s why you have to keep it simple. When building an email template, steer away from JavaScript and stick to HTML.

In personalised emails, ensure that once the email is sent, it is fully rendered in HTML, for instance by using an email friendly mail merge language like Smarty.

Also, always include a text version of your newsletter for email clients that aren’t even able to read HTML.

2. Use pre headers

Any smart content producer or webmaster will create meta descriptions for their web pages, allowing search engines to give their users a sneak peek of the content in their search results. Although meta descriptions might not directly influence a website’s page ranking anymore, they do play an important role in increasing the click through rate from the search engine to your pages.

In email there is the pre header or email snippet, it’s like the meta description of your email. This is the text someone sees in the inbox, underneath or next to the subject line. When left blank, the pre header will show something like:

  • Can’t read this email? Open the web version.

  • You are receiving this email because you signed up for...  

This of course will not help improve your email open rate. But when set up correctly, an appealing pre header can invite the recipient to open your email, increasing your open rate and thus improving your email send reputation.

3. Find a good balance between images and text

In SEO text is more effective better than images because search engines are unable to recognise the content of an image. But if you use the right images, it can add a lot to your content. The same goes for email, images and visual stimuli can add a lot of emotion to your emails.

Using too many images and too little text in an email can however lead to email delivery issues, because email clients aren’t able to recognise the content in your email and are more likely to filter it.

Keep the text versus images ratio balanced. And if you use images, don’t forget to add alt and title tags to your HTML source.

4. Choose your keywords wisely

Choosing the right set of keywords is an important factors in SEO. The same goes for email deliverability, as many email clients use these words to determine whether you might be a potential spammer.

Avoid profanities at all cost, and monitor deliverability closely when using words like ‘free’ or ‘special offer’ in your email’s subject line.  

5. Be recognisable

Authorship is one of the SEO ‘new kids on the block’ that’s making a name for itself. Content producers are claiming authorship to their content in increasing numbers. Recognised authorship is expected to be one of the key SEO drivers in the near future, and author portraits in the search results are already boosting click through rates.

When it comes to email marketing, being recognisable is even more important. In email, reputation is everything and for a receiving party to be able to check your identity, you should always set up your authentication data correctly.

6. Be relevant

Last but certainly not least. All techniques aside, the best way to get a good page ranking is to produce relevant content. Google and other search engines are always improving their algorithms to be able to serve their users the right search results. So as long as your main focus is adding value, in the long run that is the best SEO strategy possible.

The same goes for email marketing. Relevancy is the most valuable asset you have to improve your email deliverability. When you send relevant content, recipients won’t hit the ‘Mark as spam’ button.

Relevant content also ensures that people will open your emails, improving your email reputation and in the end, your conversions.

So there you have 6 lessons from SEO.  To improve your email lead nurturing why not download the FREE eBook below:-

30 Lead Generation Tips eBook

Tags: B2B lead generation, internet marketing consultant, b2b website marketing, email marketing agency, small business marketing consultant uk

How UK Small Business Marketing can give High-Quality B2B Leads

Posted by frank harris on 13/11/13 08:09

small-business-marketing-successUK Small Businesses use varying tactics for quality vs. high-volume lead generation. They are trying a little bit of everything, according to a survey by Eloqua, CMO.com and Software Advice. Nearly all B2B marketers surveyed reported maintaining email lists and doing search engine optimisation (SEO), but most have experimented with nearly every marketing tactic listed in the poll, whether time-tested or cutting-edge—from trade shows, to telemarketing, to social media ads, to behavioural retargeting.

Lead gen stats

The theme that emerges from the data is that inbound personalised marketing methods tend to outperform more passive outbound “blasts”—both in quantity and in quality. According to respondents, it’s not as simple as more efficient digital strategies replacing “old media.” Chasing down high-quality leads requires a mix of digital savvy and old-fashioned legwork.

When it comes to marketing tactics best suited to turning up high volumes of leads, marketers most frequently cited the work of third-party lead generators at 34%. Other trusted sources for maximising lead generation included paid search advertising and email marketing. Fourth on the list, however, was the in-person marketing that happens at network events and trade shows: 66% of UK small business B2B marketers said such events brought in a high or medium quantity of leads for them.

The survey also suggests that when it comes to social media marketing, UK B2B marketers are still having trouble finding scale. Only 10% reported getting a high quantity of leads through social media posting, and just 5% saw a high quantity of leads from social media ads; roughly two-thirds reported low lead quantity from each method. Furthermore, many UK B2B marketers reported that what few leads did come through were often of low quality.

Among the most endorsed tactics for attracting high-quality leads were in-house email marketing and search engine optimisation. Two in five said their own email campaigns produced predominantly high-quality leads; 36% said the same of leads that came in through SEO. Tactics designed to create person-to-person direct contact were also among the best performing, including telemarketing/cold-calling and trade show events, both of which most UK B2B marketers surveyed said mainly delivered leads of reasonable to high quality. Another high performer: sponsoring webinars, which 77% of respondents said led to high- or medium-quality leads.

Among the worst-quality sources of leads: third-party email marketing, print, radio and TV advertising, and CPM display advertising. The overall message of the data is not that digital channels necessarily trump traditional ones, but that high-quality leads are more likely to come from more active forms of online and offline engagement.

In-house content creation getting more attention

To follow on, still on the theme of lead generation is the growth in importance of content marketing. UK small businesses have also quickly incorporated the practice into their budgets, according to a survey of UK marketers by content marketing agency NewsReach. 78% of respondents said they had invested in content marketing, while only 19% said they did not.

The majority (55%) of UK small businesses reported creating that content in-house, but a further 40% said they worked with outside content creators.

Not only is such a high percentage already invested in content, but 80% expected their content marketing spending to increase, while 17% thought they would spend the same amount of money. Clearly, small business in the UK have seized upon the idea that consumers will increasingly encounter and respond to content marketing, whether online, via mobile browsing, or through social media platforms, and have adjusted their budgets accordingly.

Companies in the UK are also embracing the potential virality offered by social media sharing of content. Just over half of those polled said that industry news and blogs were the type of content most likely to be shared via a social platform, followed by infographics (18%), videos (27%) and white papers (4%). News and blogs are likely the most popular because they do the best job of engaging consumers.

In a world where consumers are increasingly bombarded with messaging and imagery from all angles, content marketing can serve as a conversational channel, capturing eyeballs and forging connections when interruption marketing is being tuned out.

If you’re yet to embrace the content marketing strategy world then find out how you can and best practices by downloading the eBook below:-

Get your Free Whitepaper on Content Marketing Best Practices

 

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, SEO for small business, email marketing agency, content marketing, small business marketing consultant uk

8 rules to evade the SPAM folder in Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 10/10/13 08:34

spam in email lead generation resized 600What is lead generation’s worst nightmare? No, it doesn’t involve scary clowns or being trapped in a spider web. Lead generation’s worst nightmare is spending the time and effort to create a useful, relevant email that has been meticulously targeted to a specific audience and for that email to end up in the spam folder.

Despite all of the buzz around social media, email marketing remains a staple of inbound marketing around the world. It is a tried and tested marketing tactic that has been proven to provide measurable ROI for companies. With such a powerful tool at your fingertips, it is essential to avoid the most common pitfalls, evade spam traps and ensure your emails reach the inboxes of your audience.

How can you do it? Follow these eight simple rules for avoiding the dreaded spam folder.

1. Make your content relevant.

By opting in, your audience is expecting your email. Make sure you deliver on their expectations.

2. GO EASY ON THE CAPS.

Sure, text in all CAPITAL LETTERS draws your attention, but it won't even have the option to do that if you don't reach the inbox. Overusing capitalised letters is one of the fastest routes to the spam folder.

3. Spammy phrases: Free, £££, Buy Now!!! – avoid them.

Sales-heavy wording won’t get you very far. Major email providers such as Gmail and Yahoo have algorithms to detect emails with salesy copy and send them straight to the spam folder. Make sure your email doesn’t end up among them.

4. Beware of uncommon triggers.

Not everything is a science. While you can use caution and adhere to industry best practices, every lead generation email is unique and spam filters use a very fine-toothed comb.

5. Analyse your subject line.

The subject line is the first thing your audience sees. As the gateway to your email, you should be meticulous in optimising it. Having a simple, clear subject line is key to avoiding the spam folder, but it’s not always that straightforward. Be sure to thoroughly analyse your subject line, its wording and how it will be perceived by spam filters as well as your target audience.

6. Monitor your image to text ratio.

Having a disproportionate ratio of images to text can also be a trigger. Image-heavy emails cause your spam score to skyrocket. To remedy this, be careful in your image selection and placement. Images are proven to be powerful draws for the human eye and often result in higher click-through rates. However, it is important to use caution, as too many images – or an unusually large image – can trigger spam alerts.

7. Test, test, test.

After you draft your email template and you believe it is ready to send to your audience, go through one final step: testing. Send tests internally, including only yourself and another trusted member of your marketing team. Here you should take a step back and look for any improper image rendering, misspellings or copy that could send your email to the spam folder. After you have successfully sent an internal test and made final modifications, your email is ready to send!

8. Call an expert.

Keep up to date on the latest tips and best practices for email marketing. If you have one, stay in touch with your account manager at your email service provider. They can be a great resource to help you identify how to improve your emails especially if your deliverability rates are lower than expected.

Following these guidelines is the start to successfully avoiding the bevy of triggers that keep your email from the inbox. Then, once you reach the inbox, you can start focusing on the real purpose of lead generation – sales. So spam is not the only area to look at.  Check them all out by downloading your copy of our eBook on the topic:-  

Lead Generation using Inbound Marketing

Tags: B2B lead generation, internet marketing consultant, email marketing agency, get more leads, integrated internet marketing

Why B2B Web Marketing is like five-a-side football

Posted by frank harris on 27/09/13 08:50

smart integrated internet marketing resized 600Those companies that carry out smart integrated internet marketing understand that B2B companies need to adapt for the changing nature of online marketing.

But how can you best communicate this in your company for earned and owned media?

So I thought it was time to consider this subject in a more light heated manner and therefore I will look at this in the time honoured way - a good old sporting analogy

I’ve always been a big advocate for the “un-siloing” of company’s internet marketing in uk as we arrived in the era of the social web.

The rise and rise of content marketing, aided and abetted by social media supremacy, more and more personalisation in email marketing, a fragmented media scene and Google’s pro-content algorithm shifts, has brought many B2B companies to a position that they are now unsure of what to do next.

The analogy I want to use when looking at this topic in all its complexity, and some may say, glory is to think of a five-a-side football team. All the players are playing roles that are dependent on one another and none can work effectively alone.

Companies who continue to silo these disciplines limit their own effectiveness and potential, thus wasting time, energy and most importantly your marketing budget.

So, let’s take a look at how this analogy can work for us.

Goalkeeper

Search engine optimisation - in between the posts to catch all those relevant search terms – both paid and organic – it’s SEO. Depending on how the user found you the keeper will bowl the ball to either of the defensive players on your side to build the engagement further.

Defence

Public Relations - in defence, we have PR acting as a solid sweeper that won’t let much past him whilst being a great distributor of the ball.

PR plays a dual role here: Firstly, a defensive role to stop or defuse any negative buzz around your brand online.

Secondly, an offensive role, bringing the ball out and create awareness, drawing people to your content, social networks or website, building links and influencer relations.

Midfield

Social media – here we have the luxury player, ever so talked up and hard to make work, the creative thinker that works sometimes (not always) and is difficult to measure its usefulness.  

Social media can deepen the engagement but needs to cover both defence (social customer relationship management) and attack (content outreach and engagement) to ensure it works for you efficiently.

Midfield

Content – ah here we have the real creator.

Content has developed a good relationship with SEO, PR and social media to maximise their potential on the pitch and draw people to the website.

Forward

User experience (UX) – so once the rest of the team has done its job in getting people to the brand’s website by drawing traffic in, it’s User Experiences job to drive the conversion (i.e. score). And this is combination of different techniques – web content, CTAs, landing pages and not forgetting email

So, is your site a Messi or just a mess? Is it Barcelona or Accrington Stanley?

Coach

Analytics and Measurement – this is the player-coach sitting on the sub’s bench and is the veteran, making tactical switches and coming on from time to time when needed to improve things.

In a nutshell, digital marketing is a team effort, so all departments should be talking to each other and pulling in the same direction if they’re not doing so already.

Anyone for a kick about? Are you all too unfit? Well then why not get more ideas of how to improve your B2B web marketing to make it more successful by clicking the button below?

Tags: small business marketing, get more traffic, b2b website marketing, integrated online marketing, b2b marketing consultants, email marketing agency, content marketing, inbound marketing, integrated internet marketing

10 Tips on Successful B2B Email Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 13/08/13 08:21

email-marketing-in-inbound-marketingEmail marketing is one of the most cost-effective and therefore profitable online solutions in inbound marketing in UK  available to today’s small business.  Its simplicity and speed, combined with its low cost and transparent, easy-to-understand reporting, make it a popular driver of business for companies and organisations of all sizes.

Despite this, many marketers fail to maximise on their potential from email marketing as part of B2B lead nurturing. Could your email marketing campaigns be more effective? Would you benefit from a quick review of email marketing best practices? Are you making common email marketing mistakes that reduce the success of your campaigns?

At OPTIMAX we believe that successful email marketing starts with 10 easy-to-follow tips that help you maximise your results while avoiding those “silly” mistakes that damage your reputation and eat into your profits.

Here are a summary of the first 5 tips:-

1. Keep It Relevant

When individuals give you permission to add them to your email list, they do so with the understanding that they will receive relevant email marketing messages based on their previous interactions with you (e.g., a purchase, request for information, or subscription). It is imperative that you get to know your subscribers and tailor your messages to their individual needs. Irrelevant and therefore unwanted emails will damage your reputation, reduce open rates, and potentially drive recipients to unsubscribe or, worse still, mark your b2b lead nurturing ampaigns as spam.

2. Remember that Less Is Definitely More

Email marketing campaigns are best kept short and to the point. You should try to keep any scrolling to a minimum and, through the use of clear calls to action (e.g., Buy Now or Learn More), direct recipients to your website as quickly and efficiently as possible.

3. Consider Frequency and Timing

Now that you’ve made your b2b lead nurturing campaigns more relevant and segmented your lists accordingly, it’s time to look at the frequency and timing of your emails. The relevancy of your campaigns will nearly always be more important than the number of messages you send. A single ill-thought-out monthly email newsletter, which offers little value to the recipient, will be less welcome than a more frequent series of targeted, relevant, and actionable emails. The optimum delivery time will vary depending on your target audience. For example, an email targeting a potential business client will best be delivered during working hours, while an email targeting a young mother may return more positive results if delivered later in the evening (once the kids are in bed).

4. For Subject Lines, Think Headline News

Your subject line is your first line of defence between your subscribers and the delete button. It should scream benefits. Think of it in the same way as a newspaper editor does a headline. Your subject line should tell the full story and entice the subscriber to read more. Because of this, you should give your subject line as much thought (if not more) than your body text.

5. Take Time for Text

Make good use of real text (not graphics) at the top of your email. A graphic-heavy email will appear blank until the subscriber has selected to download the graphics. Real text in the message will remain visible even in HTML emails and will entice subscribers to open the complete email. As noted in Tip 2 above, your body text should be both concise and informative, telling the complete story as quickly as possible. Use good calls to action (e.g., Buy Now or Learn More) to drive traffic to your website with the promise of more detailed information. 

To get the full details of these and the other 5 tips all you have to do is click the button below to download the FREE eBook on this topic. Email is only one of several parts of Inbound Marketing.  Why not subscribe to my blog to learn more on a regular basis by subscribing on the left hand pane.

I look forward to seeing and hearing more from you.

Get your Free eBook on 10 Tips on B2B Email Marketing

Tags: B2B lead generation, small business marketing, b2b marketing consultants, email marketing agency, get more leads, integrated internet marketing

The future of Email Marketing for Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 06/08/13 08:24

email marketing agency resized 600Email is so pervasive as a communication method that not having one is even more unusual than not having a telly.

It’s difficult to talk about a new communication channel without comparing it to email, and for email to remain relevant it needs to evolve to give consumers what they now expect from digital communication channels.

1. Become geographically and time aware

The trouble with email is that it is dumb to all the technology that is available to it. As email marketers you are used to understanding when, how, on what and where people are checking their emails – but the clients themselves aren’t using this information to produce a richer email consumption experience.

People are going to want to be able to check their email and this tech nirvana would be brought to an abrupt end when all your emails whizz past your eyes while you are trying to look hip (if Google glasses takes off!).

BUT imagine a world where your email client knows where you are (on the tube) and where you are going (you’ll be on the tube for 20 minutes), so it navigates to emails which it knows will take you 20 minutes to digest – maybe the latest from the Financial Times?

Geographically aware email is not that far away. Apple’s Passbook (Android options do exist) has been missed by so many bricks and mortar retailers that it’s frankly scary.

Passbook allows you to tag your prospect or client so that they receive notifications when they are near your store, so you get more footfall to your store from people who have already engaged with you online – something HMV would have crawled over broken CDs for.

2. Replace notifications

It is bizarre what you can do to trigger a tweet. There are some great examples on iftt.com, but the trouble with Twitter is that you easily miss tweets – especially if you follow more than a few hundred people.

To the contrary, email never goes away until you address it, bar a few smart innovations from outlook.com, so as we have more and more devices we need to keep track or we will start to see more emails from our actual belongings.

Notifications on your smart phone are pretty intrusive – the fact that the iPhone is advertised as having a ‘do not disturb’ button gives an indication of the backlash against constant interruptions.

So expect to see emails from devices and applications a lot more – an email from your boiler asking if you want to turn the heating up as it’s getting a bit chilly outside, for instance – naturally you’ll reply in human language if you want to.

3. No more annoying emails

You can’t get away with sending unsolicited emails anymore. Back in the bad old days of email, marketing spam filters weren’t very sophisticated and as long as you weren’t pushing Viagra marketers could email a lot of people quite easily.

However, after the efforts of the larger ISPs, spam filters are now very smart, meaning that you really shouldn’t receive any email that you don’t want. This decline has predominately already happened but will continue to get tighter as people become less satisfied with unwarranted marketing messages.

The emails that annoy me are the “thanks” emails or “ok”, these little digital fist bumps don’t belong on email – these belong on an Instant Messaging platform.

Soon enough there will be a common protocol for IM so it won’t matter what client or service you are using, you will simply be able to chat with people who you want to.

Important!

Do you remember when people paid attention to the priorities you set your emails to – no me neither. They didn’t work because someone else set the priority so it may have been important to them but not to you – hence why no one uses it.

In the future your email clients will decide what is important to you, much like Facebook decides what to show in your feed (though with less interjections from advertisers). As all of us know the inbox has become a place to process tasks and messages – a little help getting things in priority order would surely be a hit.

So that’s the future but what about now? Have you caught up to date with automation? Not sure, well then look at some tips on how automation can help your online marketing, including email, by getting hold of your FREE Whitepaper from the button below:-

Your FREE Whitepaper on 10 Tips on using Marketing Automation

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, email marketing agency, online marketing services, online marketing specialist

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