Even with the advances in communications technology, email marketing is still considered the workhorse of online marketing. In fact, a major EU study reported that “email delivers three times as much revenue as Facebook on a last-click basis.” And, according to the “2017 State of Pipeline Marketing Report,”* of all the major digital marketing channels, emails are still the top choice among marketers and rank third in effectiveness behind word-of-mouth and content marketing.
Emails Help Promote, Sell and Inform
As digital marketing professionals know, a well-structured email campaign can help you achieve several objectives. Emails are used for promotional, sales, relationship-building and informational purposes, making email marketing an important segment of every successful business’s sales funnel.
- Promotional emails can be used to capture contact information from prospects in order to sell them products or services. Promotional emails, as the name implies, also can be used to promote and sell products or services.
- Relationship-building emails, used often in the B2B space, are more of a soft sell and provide useful information to prospects with the expectation of leading them gradually along the buyer’s journey.
- As the name implies, informational emails are used to “inform” clients and/or prospects about an upcoming event or a not-to-be-missed sale. The best informational emails are simple, clear and direct—and all emails begin with compelling subject lines.
How Does an Email Campaign Work?
Let’s say you have a software-as-a-service brand designed to monitor and report back what people are saying about your brand online (aka online reputation management). Although reputation management has been part of the public relations language for decades, ORM is a relatively new pursuit in digital marketing. Companies have sprung up all over the place to help soothe that pain point among Fortune 500 companies, restaurant chains and local consultancies alike. How do you differentiate your brand?
Start with a landing page. An email campaign for such a company could start with a landing page to promote a free report on best practices for enterprise-level ORM. The report/white paper should provide useful information that can be applied in the real world without buying any special software. (This type of content marketing, when used properly, can build amazing goodwill.)
Gather contact information. Prospects will be asked to provide at least a name and an email address to access the free report. Some businesses require phone numbers, company names, prospects’ job titles and all sorts of other demographic data. Personally, I think the more in-depth the content being offered, the more information you are allowed to ask for.
I was on a site recently that required me to fill in at least 10 fields of information before the company would provide access to basic articles about an industry that is not all that. I decided I didn’t need the information that badly and went on my way to find lower-hanging fruit.
Create and send email series. As you capture email addresses, you can now set in motion a segmented, automated series of relationship-building emails. These emails continue to provide useful information to the prospect with the goal of eventually turning them into a customer. In the B2B space, the sales cycle of these campaigns may take weeks to months before you see results. Consistency is key.
Build credibility first. Of course, the business name of the SaaS and contact information is included in every email, but it will be at least three to five emails into the series (depending on the product or service being promoted and to whom) before you begin to ask for the order. You can include calls to action throughout the series, but don’t start nudging the prospect down the funnel until you’ve built solid credibility with your brand. By then, it will be time to turn the lead over to the sales team.
Hire Email Copywriters with Experience
When it comes to building professional relationships and promoting your wares, a well-designed email campaign can work wonders—if the strategy is well-defined and you work with a copywriter who can realize your vision.
*Graph from report used with permission from Bizible.com.
Phoebe King is a professional writer who helps her clients generate leads/revenue by delivering expert copywriting and content marketing services. She has worked in publishing and communications for more than 15 years, primarily in the B2B space.