Design and List Building Tips for B-to-B Email Marketers, Part 1
B-to-B email marketing is all about building relationships. While there are many similarities between B-to-B and B-to-C email marketing best practices, there are also a few key differences. If you ignore these differences, you might as well stop using this channel altogether. By making your email campaigns relevant to your audience, you'll build stronger relationships and ultimately grow your business.
Blue Sky Factory recently hosted a webinar called Successful Strategies for B2B Email Marketing. Two of the areas covered were growing your B-to-B email list and optimizing your email design for a B-to-B audience. In part one of this series, I tackle how to grow your B-to-B email list. In part two, which will appear in the Nov. 5 issue of All About eMail, I'll look at optimizing email design.
Building your B-to-B email list
I still get asked if it’s OK to buy an email list, and the answer is still no. An organically-grown list helps keep your emails targeted and relevant, which means more subscriber engagement with your emails. Subscriber engagement equals better inbox placement and higher conversion rates.
Here are five tips for B-to-B email list building:
1. Online event sign-up. Ask for email opt-in during webinars or other online events (e.g., announcements or follow-ups). If someone is signing up for an event to hear more from you, they’re more likely to want to receive future email communications from you.
2. Ask while on the phone. Your salespeople, client service representatives and support team are on the phone all day; encourage them to ask customers and prospects if they want to be added to your email list and then direct them to the subscription center.
3. Include a link to your email sign-up form on employees’ email signatures and business cards.
4. Promote with direct mail. Many B-to-B companies don’t send catalogs, but if you do, then by all means promote your email campaigns in your catalog. Another direct mail medium to take advantage of is billing communications. All customers look at their bills, so use this space to its fullest potential.
5. In-person events. Talk about your email subscription center while networking or speaking at events. Ask for email sign-ups while exhibiting at trade shows, but don’t forget that a business card in a fishbowl isn't necessarily permission to add someone to your email list. Send a follow-up email thanking them for stopping by, then direct them to your subscription center.
Amy Garland is the marketing manager at Blue Sky Factory, a Baltimore-based email marketing service provider. Reach Amy at email@example.com.
Related story: 5 Ways to Build a Strong Email Marketing Foundation