One of the key factors that goes into successful business-to-business online marketing is email marketing. B2B email marketing connects your company with your current and prospective customers, allowing you to build an on-going relationship in a measurable and cost-efficient way. Now I am sure that you are thinking to yourself, well my company sends out promotional emails now and then. But, customers receive hundreds of emails a day in their mailbox, making the task of grabbing the reader’s attention a hard one. However, when your customers do open your emails, the benefits are enormous.
Below are three things that you must include in your email marketing strategy to help increase your email open rate.
The #1 thing that customers are going to look at when deciding whether or not to open up an email, is the subject line. It might seem simple enough to “have a good subject line” but there are a few key things that should be included.
Character Count. In email platforms such as Mailchimp the subject line has a maximum of 150 characters and Constant Contact has seemingly unlimited characters. While this large amount of characters might be available, you should never have a subject line with more than 60 characters. Email providers will start to cut off anything more, which means that the meat of your subject line may never be seen by the reader.
Benefit Driven. Your email should provide some benefit for customers, and those benefits should be called out in the subject line. For example, if the main content piece of your email is about a blog post on how to get emails opened and a 10% promotion, then your subject line should be something like, “3 Ways to Get Customers to Open Emails & 10% off Services.” Not only does this subject line accurately preview the content of the email, but it also gives the customer a benefit which will entice them to open the email.
Use Numbers. If you have ever written pay-per-click ads or an article, you may already know the golden rule: use numbers as much as possible. Numbers tend to not only jump out amongst words, but clearly defines the benefits. Notice the use of numbers in the example above and in the title of this blog post.
Avoid Spammy Language. It is okay to sound a bit salesy in your subject line when you are advertising a discount or promotion, but you never want to sound spammy. Avoid using phrases such as “act now and get…” or “you will be amazed…” In addition, the occasional exclamation mark is okay, but avoid using excessive amounts or repeated use. Lastly, never write your subject line in all caps. You may think this will make your email stand out, but in fact it will just come off as spam to the reader.
You can read article after article telling you when the best times to send out your email are. They say not Mondays or Fridays because it is too close to the weekend, and not early morning or late evening because they will end up getting buried. But when it comes down to it, timing should be based on your audience and your audience only. So, test it out! Follow those timing best practices above, but also try the opposite of those recommendations. What may work from a B2C company, may not work for a B2B company. The best way to test time of send is to use A/B split testing. This test allows you randomly split your contact list in half and send one half at one day and time and the other half another day and time. Then look at your analytics data like open rate and click rate to determine which timing is best for your B2B email marketing campaigns.
Besides the subject line, the “from” field is the only other text that customers will read in their inbox when deciding whether or not to open the email. The “from” field is important to convey brand image and brand familiarity, but also to bring some personal aspect to emails. Always make sure that your company name is shown here, and if appropriate, the name of an associate from the company, like the CEO or president. Including a name will bring in that human element to emails. In addition, make sure that you have a recognizable email address sending out emails. Something like firstname.lastname@example.org is good because readers will see that emails are being sent by a trustworthy email associated with the company and can even send replies to that email address if they have other inquiries. You never want to send emails from a no-reply address because then customers have no way of getting in touch with your company.
So now you know how to get your emails opened, but you are only half way there! Here are some more B2B email marketing resources: