04 Jun 5 Types of Emails B2B Companies Should Send (And How To Use Them)
According to the 2015 State of Marketing report from Marketing Cloud, 41% of businesses are using email to market their products and services. Of those businesses, 68% believe it’s very effective. When you narrow the field to B2B companies, 73% of those surveyed believe email marketing is core to their business.
Now that we’ve convinced you (because you needed convincing, right?), let’s talk about how you can actually structure a B2B email for marketing. We’ve identified five basic types of messages your company can and should send to their customers. You can certainly choose one type of email and stick with it, but we recommend using more than one type of email. To send more than one type of message, you’ll want to create a schedule so your audience knows what to expect. Better yet, segment your audience based on the types of articles and messages they read and where they are in the buyer’s journey (or sales funnel).
The most well-known and maybe popular message is product and service promotion. You choose a few of your best products, maybe new products or products on sale, and create a message around those items. We see this a lot with B2C companies and it works, especially around the holidays when everyone is looking for the sales updates. Your company can make it work as well, especially if you sell products that are bought with any regularity.
Our recommendation: Don’t use this type of email only. Rotate in a few educational messages as well to offer more content and service than simply sales.
Have you added a new front desk receptionist or salesperson? Have you added a new line of products or services? Maybe your staff had its annual company picnic or volunteer service day. All these events keep your customers up to date on what’s happening in your company. Knowing who’s answering the phone or how your company rewards its employees can be a morale booster for your employees and inspire confidence from your customers.
Our recommendation: These messages can be sporadic, but try to send at least one every couple of months if not monthly. It can be in the way of a newsletter. If your company isn’t doing something noteworthy, maybe it’s time to find a cause or event to support. You could also use the time to introduce specific employees to your customers.
Your customers subscribed to your list because they want to know more about your products and your industry. They have a problem and think your products might be able to help or they’ve bought from you and are interested in other services you provide. Don’t just try to sell them. Offer your readers a reason to open your emails as much as they would open B2C emails. Use your messages to drive traffic to your B2B website by including a blurb to a recent blog post and link to your site. (Looking for blog topic ideas? We have you covered there too!)
Our recommendation: Send at least one education-focused message each month and don’t focus on product sales. Use this time to grow your relationship with the customer and build their trust in your expertise. Set yourself apart as the expert in your industry.
You are keeping up with trends in your industry. You know the newest techniques and technologies. You know how legislation or recent court rulings may affect your industry (and ultimately your customers). Look for industry related articles that might appeal to or affect your customers. Write a paragraph or two of your opinion or take on the issue, how you’ve seen these changes affect your business or your customers and reference the article. You’ll set yourself apart as a company who stays on the cutting edge of your industry, which makes you invaluable to your customers.
Our recommendation: Choose an article to reference that isn’t heavy on industry jargon, and don’t use jargon in your blog posts or other content (unless your email marketing lists are people in your industry who KNOW the language.) Choose articles that are easy to read and understand by people who may not be in your industry but are affected by your industry (i.e. your customers). Not sure if the article you’re reading fits? Ask a customer to read it and tell you if they understand it.
The previous types of messages are typically sent on a regular schedule to your entire list. Behavior-based messages are triggered because your prospect or customer takes a specific action. Maybe they buy a certain product so they receive a series of messages that include support information or other products that related to the one they bought. These messages may be sent every few days and tapered into once every couple of weeks. If the prospect or customer does not engage with any of them, they will eventually drop off the list. These messages allow you to react quickly to customers or prospects when they are thinking about your product and are closer to making a buying decision rather than trying to stay top of mind.
Our recommendation: Before you start an automatic behavior based campaign, know what you want your reader to do and make it obvious. Each contact should drive them closer and closer to taking the action you’d like them to take. This automated message chain should be very specific to the buyer’s needs and should end after 5-6 contacts if the buyer hasn’t taken the action you’d like them to take.
As an inbound marketing agency, we use email as a primary way to drive traffic to B2B websites. Knowing what types of messages you should expect to send and what kind of information you need to have ready for these emails makes actually creating and sending the emails so much easier. Have you used any of these types of emails? Which ones work the best for you?