B2B Marketing Blog

Hinge Guest Blog: How to Create Powerful Emails to Engage Your Audience

 

Word cloud for Email marketing

 

The trick for email marketers these days is threefold: to avoid being categorized as spam, to get read, and to inspire action. Admittedly, hitting all of these targets sounds a bit daunting, but take heart: because of their relative low cost, online marketing generally has a better return on investment than traditional marketing techniques, and email in particular consistently provides one of the highest ROI among online tools. So it is possible to engage in successful email marketing. Let’s talk about how.

 

First up, your contact list. Specifically, how to grow your list organically:

Grow Your List:

  • For the love of all that’s good, stop buying mailing lists. These are not targeted contacts. Sure, they might fit some general demographics, but they aren’t necessarily anyone who’s ever heard of you or has any interest in your services. It’s likely you’ll be flagged as spam; if this happens enough, you could be blacklisted. Instead…
  • Leverage existing contacts. Encourage forwarding and sharing. Include social media sharing, email, and subscribe buttons in your emails.
  • Present calls-to-action on your website. If you’re offering valuable content (whitepapers, guides, e-books, etc.), put this content behind a registration form on your website. If a visitor wants to access certain content, they’ll have to provide a valid email address. The downside: this might turn some visitors away. The upside: the ones who do provide an address will likely be very interested in your content and, by extension, your industry and services.
  • Collect addresses through events and partnerships. Whether online (like a webinar) or offline (like a tradeshow or conference), give everyone you network with an opportunity to join your mailing list. Do the same for partnerships or shared projects. Be sure to follow up the event or joint venture with a personal email to solidify the effort and add legitimacy to future email outreach.
  • Social Media. Share quality content and contacts will follow.

Remember to keep your registration process simple. Don’t ask for more than three pieces of personal information (such as name, company, industry, website, or location). Be sure to ask for the information that you can best leverage to nurture leads.

As you grow your list and get engaged, here are some best practices for solid results.

Best Practices:

  • Set goals. These can be relatively soft (offer industry-relevant content to educate readers and grow reputation); or more quantifiable (increase website click-through rate by X%, grow email list by X subscribers, lower unsubscribes by X%). It is best, when possible, to set goals with specific numbers. This will provide clarity and make it easier to quantify your successes.
  • Don’t give a sales pitch. Let your content do the talking for you. If it’s relevant and high quality, it will sell you without the risk of a hard pitch pushing the reader away.
  • Set a schedule. There’s no single right frequency. It will depend on your content and audience. Just make sure you’re predictable and dependable. If someone signs up for a weekly newsletter, make sure you’re sending a weekly newsletter.
  • Find the right topics. Your content should be relevant to your mailing list and be consistent with your brand messaging. Topics should consist of:

o   Announcements. Let your audience know about new content (e-books, whitepapers, etc.) and upcoming events (webinars, conferences, speaking engagements, etc.)

o   News. Something big going on in your industry or your firm? Keep your audience in the loop; you never know when one of these developments is in line with their needs or interests.

o   Hard offers. When the time is right, offer your audience the opportunity to engage with you more closely—not a hard sell, but something like a free consultation or review.

  • Calls to action. In other words, give the reader something to do or a deeper way to engage with you. These can be fairly distant early in the marketing process, like giving the reader a link to a new blog post. Deeper engagement-level calls to action include participation in webinars or consultations. Here are a few best practices to ensure your calls to action are effective but non-intrusive:

o   Limit one call to action per email.

o   Repeat it. Present it twice, possibly three times in longer emails.

o   If there’s a deadline, point it out. Create a sense of urgency.

Remember, the more your potential customers know about you, the more likely they are to trust you—and to understand the ways you can meet their needs. Grow your list organically and keep your content relevant and high quality. Your emails will become a valued and actionable contribution to your audience’s inbox—as well as a way of building relationships and growing new business.

About the Author:

Sylvia Montgomery is a Senior Partner at Hinge, a marketing and branding firm for professional services. At Hinge, Sylvia provides strategic counsel to national clients. She is a co-author of Inside the Buyer’s Brain and Online Marketing for Professional Services. You can follow Sylvia on Twitter @BrandStrong.

 

Written by Sylvia Montgomery

July 22nd, 2014 at 9:59 am

Sales Pipeline Infographic – Turn Clicks Into Customers!

 

Many B2B companies operating in the industrial realm have longer and more drawn-out sales cycles. So, how do you know when a lead is ready to buy? Our Sales Pipeline infographic shows you exactly how you can use marketing automation to turn website visitors into customers.

Follow step-by-step down the pipeline to see how you can find out where leads came from and when they’re sales-ready. Automating the process allows you to focus on what’s most important – generating sales!

Written by Andrea Patterson

March 25th, 2014 at 10:25 am

It’s Valentine’s Day! Marketing & Sales – Let’s go from “It’s Complicated” to “In a Relationship”

How many times have we heard of the love/hate relationship between Marketing and Sales? The two entities can sometimes take on an “it’s complicated” relationship status instead of a harmonious one. We’ve all seen the stats saying the number one reason couples fight is due to money and finances. This could be said about Sales and Marketing.

Sales can be yelling to Marketing about generating terrible leads and spending money frivolously. In return, Marketing is yelling back at Sales to get off the computer and start working on closing leads.

So how do we patch up this train-wreck waiting to happen? Let’s start by identifying what makes this relationship complicated in the first place.

Sales thinks…

Written by Andrea Patterson

February 13th, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Posted in B2B Marketing, Sales

Marketing Automation Winners Play by The Rules

If you’re scratching your head wondering what marketing automation rules are, you’re not alone. Sure, you’ve maybe heard of them once or twice when being trained on your marketing automation tool, like ActiveConversion. However, very few actually take the plunge and uncover the time-saving potential of this valuable feature.

Automation rules can be a driving force in determining how successful your marketing automation software will be. Automation rules filter leads and simplify how they are handled. As a result, only the leads that match your company’s ideal prospect criteria enter the sales funnel. This allows sales teams to simplify the lead identification process and contact only the most relevant leads.

Here are some examples of automation rules that can bring more qualified leads to sales:

  • Geography – These rules are created to pinpoint geographical regions where your company operates in or wants to expand to. For instance, if your business only operates in North America, your rule could look something like this:

    • Rule: Disqualify Countries Outside of North America   or

    • Rule: Assign Canadian Leads to Michael Smith

Written by Andrea Patterson

January 30th, 2014 at 11:47 am

Trade Show Conversion: Slow and Steady Wins The Race

Okay, let’s face it. The main reason industrial companies do trade shows is for brand awareness and good PR.  Heaven forbid you were an “un-attendee” amongst all your major competitors.  An even bigger truth is that little ROI comes from exhibiting at these shows. When you think of it, you go through all the extensive planning, but what have you got to show for it? If you answered that question with replies like, “obviously the intangible benefits” and “we’re here because so-and-so is here”, then you need some serious advice.

Written by Andrea Patterson

November 28th, 2013 at 11:00 am

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