April 1, 2022

3 Email Marketing Best Practices to Increase ROI

Learn the fundamentals for optimizing one of B2B’s most important marketing tools.

April 1, 2022

3 Email Marketing Best Practices to Increase ROI

Learn the fundamentals for optimizing one of B2B’s most important marketing tools.

Cover image Cover image
  • Personalization that improves engagement
  • Automation that keeps operations scalable
  • Process strategies that drive results

For most B2B marketers, email isn’t the most exciting channel or tactic in their toolboxes—account-based marketing (ABM), podcasting and interactive content are all hot topics generating more buzz.

But, there’s a reason why 37% of brands plan on increasing their email spend in 2022, and only 1.3% are making cuts: return on investment (ROI). On average, email generates $38 for every dollar spent, a 3,800% ROI.

Email is still an important part of a B2B technology company’s marketing plan. These three email marketing best practices—personalization, automation and optimization—will increase engagement and improve your results.

1. Personalize content with relevance, timeliness and writing in your unique voice.

Personalization is a critical factor in successful email campaigns because the most effective marketing isn’t about your company; it’s about your customers. Eighty-four percent of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is crucial to winning their wallet share. And 65% of business buyers are likely to switch brands if a supplier doesn’t personalize communications to their company.

Yet, many email marketers’ personalization efforts fall short and do not extend beyond a first name token in an email greeting.

To successfully implement email marketing personalization on a large scale, build your strategy on messaging relevance, topic timeliness and creating communications with a person-to-person feel.

Maintain message relevance.

Most B2B technology companies cater to various types of businesses, verticals and buyer personas. Segmenting or dividing your subscribers into smaller groups allows you to align your messaging to different audiences. Building this demographic data can take planning but it is worth it—emails sent to segmented audiences have a 100.9% higher click rate.

One way to segment your audience is to write messages with a specific persona and stage of the buyers’ journey in mind. Other considerations include customer versus prospect, roles and responsibilities, location, subscription preferences, form abandonment, event attendance and site activity.

Ensure email timeliness.

So much about marketing comes down to a company’s ability to send the right message at the right time. Email is no exception.

Write each email message with a specific audience in mind and tie it to an event. Events prompting a segmented email send could be an industry trend, viral news, webinar, newsletter signup, content download or abandoned form.

Establish your unique voice.

If you want to connect with your audience, it’s important to remember that personalization works both ways—write your emails using your brand voice.

Try to send emails from an address with a recognizable name and include a photo of the staffer sending the email. Always avoid a noreply@sender.

The first step in personalization is documenting data about your audience with the end goal of sending targeted, segmented messages that are relevant, timely and seemingly from a real person (rather than a cold, faceless business entity).

2. Leverage automation and analytics to fuel engagement.

Automation makes personalization and optimization possible; your team can’t keep up without it.

Like email marketing as a channel, marketing automation as a tactic isn’t new. But very often, B2B marketers barely scrape the surface of their marketing automation platform’s potential uses and benefits.

Platforms like Marketo, HubSpot and Pardot empower marketers with data and allow you to document customer and prospect information that you’ll use for segmentation. Plus, they will enable you to test, optimize and scale your best results.

To get started with effective email marketing automation, you have to ensure you have built out integrations, data collection and customer journeys.

Integrate systems.

The first step in implementing effective marketing automation is integrating with your website and customer relationship management (CRM) system, such as Salesforce. These two integrations will provide the backbone of your campaigns.

Collect the right data.

To get the most from your automation platform, ensure you have a way to gather the data you’ll need for message targeting and segmentation.

Common data must-haves for email marketing include:

  • First name, last name and title
  • Business name and vertical
  • Contact source
  • Content viewed and visit behavior
  • Products purchased
  • Email click-throughs
  • Geolocation
  • Stage of the customer journey
  • Subscription status

Build customer journeys.

You can use the data from your CRM, website and email automation platform to create targeted customer journeys.

These journeys will begin with a trigger, like signing up for a newsletter, converting on a call to action (CTA) or sharing an email. Each trigger will result in a relevant message for the audience and event.

Customer journeys create an ongoing conversation with your subscribers and help nurture them through the marketing funnel.

Besides providing the backbone of necessary strategy elements like segmentation, automation helps marketers spot content that’s not engaging and make necessary changes to their strategy.

3. Optimize results by testing and sharing insights.

Gain insights. Optimize. Repeat. It sounds obvious, yet 55% of marketers are missing out by rarely or never A/B testing.

With advanced automation options available, it’s tempting to set it and forget it. But what sets the top marketing teams apart is their ability to set goals, measure results, iterate and share their findings.

Get started by testing email variables and having a plan to share insights you’ve gathered.

A/B testing

Every segment audience is different—find what works for yours by creating a split or A/B test. Before you start, you’ll need to decide on a goal, such as increasing email click rates. Next, create two different email versions, changing only one variable at a time.

Common email variables to test:

  • Design layout and image selection
  • Email send time and frequency
  • CTA wording or placement within the email
  • Content offer or incentive
  • Copy format and language
  • Email sender
  • Subject lines
  • Quality assurance testing

    Testing isn’t just about testing a hypothesis and measuring results; it’s also about quality assurance (QA).

    If your organization does not have a proofreading or QA process for marketing pieces, this is an excellent time to start one.

    The proofing process does not have to be complex; it can be as simple as designating two team members as the extra sets of eyes before anything is sent to a customer.

    Create a logical checklist of items for the QA team to review, including link checking, spelling, grammar and clarity of message. Moreover, you’ll want to ensure that you’re testing on all the major email providers and for mobile. An email testing tool, such as Litmus, can streamline your process.

    Share subscriber insights

    Once you’ve set up your marketing automation platform, you’ll be sitting on a treasure trove of insights. You can use this information about subscribers to help your company’s more extensive marketing and sales efforts.

    For example, you could repurpose a top-performing CTA in digital ad copy. Or, sales could use a top-clicked newsletter topic for their social selling campaigns.

    Sharing insights across your organization ensures real, customer-driven data is at the center of your strategies and breaks down team silos.

    Explore optimized multi-channel marketing.

    The right data, strategy and tools will help you create and deliver relevant email content for your audience. Get in touch today to explore how Lauchlan can help you reach your desired audiences via additional channels and tell your story in your unique voice. Amy Thacker is a content strategist and writer at Lauchlan. You can email Amy at athacker@lauchlanx.com.


    Amy Thacker

    Sr. Content Strategist and Writer

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