B-to-B Insights: Entering the Inbox
We hear how email is becoming obsolete and social networking is morphing into the medium of choice for online communication. But in the B-to-B community, it hasn't happened yet. Consider the following statistics:
• Seventy-one percent of B-to-B marketers use email marketing—"How U.S. Marketers Use Email, 2011," Forrester Research;
• B-to-B marketers (who responded to the survey) believe that email delivers the strongest ROI for acquisition and retention (at 32 percent and 51 percent, respectively), compared to direct mail, search engine optimization telemarketing and other channels—"Media Usage Forecast 2011," Target Marketing magazine; and
• Email is the method of commercial communication preferred by 74 percent of all online adults—"View From the Digital Inbox 2011," Merkle.
So, what are some of the best practices in B-to-B email marketing today?
To begin, instead of renting lists and sending your emails to cold prospects, get people to opt-in to your e-list. Then concentrate on email marketing to your house file.
Emails to house file lists generate two to three times the clickthrough rates (CTR) or higher than outside lists. And emailing to your own e-list eliminates list rental charges of $100 to $250 or more per thousand names.
How do you build your own opt-in e-list? The most popular method is offering a free subscription to an online newsletter. You also can offer a free webinar or special report. To get the free offer, the prospect must submit an email address and name, thus opting into your e-list.
How often should you email your subscriber list? The biggest worry among marketers is offending people on the e-list by emailing them too frequently. But consultant Amy Africa says the biggest mistake marketers make is not emailing their lists enough.
Here's a method of determining the optimal email frequency for your e-list: Measure the opt-out rate, which is the percentage of subscribers who unsubscribe after an email is distributed to the list. If your list has 10,000 names and your opt-out rate is half a percent, you will lose 50 subscribers for every email you send out. As a rule of thumb, your opt-out rate should be 0.1 percent or less.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.