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You Had Me at the Subject Line: Best Practices for Email Outreach

For B2B marketers, email outreach forms the basis of effective communication and marketing. With the rate at which technology continues to advance, and it’s no surprise 73% of marketers recognize the importance of email marketing and that number continues to grow each year. Email is also the tool of choice within an organization, from day-to-day communications with team members to approving projects. As great as email is, there are some pitfalls of email communication that marketers should be wary of. Whether it’s getting recipients to open your email or avoiding the spam folder, these are the best practices for creating emails that will help you grow your list and build your customer relationships.

Establishing Your Audience

When it comes to email correspondence, the first step is establishing your audience. This may seem like a “duh” moment, but deciding who your target recipient is, is crucial to effective email outreach. After that, it becomes much easier to personalize and customize, which are two of the most important factors in an effective email marketing campaign or interaction. When deciding on your target audience, consider the basic, macro level questions such as “which department is this relevant to?” and “who is the decision-maker that I need to reach?” Once you know that, think about the more detailed questions. For example, if a sales rep is initiating contact with the advertising department of an entertainment agency, they need to ask questions like “what kinds of advertising does this agency already do?” and “what is the problem or inefficiency within this specific company that my product can help with?”

Creating the Perfect Email

The next step is crafting the email itself. The sender name and – in particular, the subject line – are the two most important elements when determining whether your recipient opens the email or not: 33% of people open emails based on the subject line alone. The most persuasive subject lines are basic and blunt, and direct people to click through and continue to read the email, which should continue with the same brevity. Personalization and customization become key in the body of the email, and that’s where you can use your audience research to include personal elements such as the person’s name, their company or website, and an article or product of theirs that you admire. You don’t have to personalize the entire email, providing a sentence or two of customized content is enough to make it resonate with your recipients. The rest can encourage them to follow through on your call to action.

Emails are still a core part of B2B marketing, and remain one of the strongest ways to build relationships with clients and prospects. But that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. Once you address these three main concerns: “Who are you?” “Why are you sending me an email?” “What do you want me to do?” You’ll see your engagement levels start to increase.

b2b email marketing

Email Marketing – Pardot

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3 Email Subject Line Ideas to Delight Your Database

Over 205 billion emails are sent every single day. No, that’s not a typo — two hundred five billion. With that staggering number in mind, how can B2B marketers make sure our emails cut through the clutter?

Here’s the thing: 33% of people open emails based on subject line alone. The subject line is our email’s first impression on every busy business prospect, so we’ve got to make it count. That’s why the words you choose can make or break your email marketing. Let’s take a look at three categories of emails subject lines and how great marketers make them stand out.

1. The Personalized Promo

Have you tried personalizing your email subject lines using marketing automation? You can include the recipient’s name, company name, job title, location, or virtually any other data you have about them simply by using variable tags in the subject line.

But that’s not the only way to personalize your email subject lines. If your database is segmented by the products contacts have shown interest in, you can send personalized promo emails based on that information. For example, one list can receive a subject line that says “Looking for a deal on Widgets? You’ll want to open this!” while another gets a similar email promoting a deal on Whoozits. Just make sure to use the Recency and Frequency rule type in Pardot to ensure that contacts who are on multiple lists don’t receive a flood of emails.

Tip: Avoid spammy words in your promotional subject lines! Words and phrases like bargain, profits, and CLICK HERE! are likely to trigger the spam filter. Learn more in our Spam Words Reference list.

 

2. The Autoresponder

I’ve found that most autoresponder emails I receive when I download a piece of gated content stick to a standard “Thanks for Downloading ____” format. There’s nothing wrong with that — it does get the point across, after all — but I’m always pleasantly surprised by subject lines that mix it up a little bit.

For example, I recently downloaded some content from Simply Measured. The autoresponder’s subject line said, “Your Simply Measured guide is ready!” This is a bit more exciting and personal, and it creates a sense of urgency; my guide is ready to read! And it worked; I clicked the email right away instead of letting it get lost in the depths of my inbox.

3. The Content Roundup

I always look forward to MarketingProfs’ daily content roundup emails, in part because I know exactly when I’m getting when I open them. The subject lines plainly and succinctly list several of the topic in the email, and there’s always something included that I’m interested in learning more about. Here’s one of their recent subject lines:

Online Reputation | Not Everything Has ROI | Email Competitiveness | In-Demand Freelance Skills

There you have it. In just eleven words, the team at MarketingProfs has effectively captured the attention of readers interested in four distinct topics.

Tip: Keep your subject lines short. Subject lines with 6-10 words tend to have the highest open rates. (Inc.com)

 

Conclusion

In a sea of unread emails, it takes some work to get noticed. Fortunately, with some smart copywriting and the right technology, you’ve got the tools you need to delight your database — and your CMO!

If you liked the examples of successful email subject lines in this post, grab our new e-book, 7 Inspiring B2B Marketing Campaigns. It’s full of examples of incredible marketing campaigns and tips for replicating their success with your own team!

Click here to download 7 Inspiring B2B Marketing Campaigns

 

 

Email Marketing – Pardot

How To Tell The Difference Between Marketing Automation and Email Marketing

If you’re confused about the difference between “email marketing” and “marketing automation”, you’re not alone. Even seasoned marketers may struggle to sift through the marketing speak to find the tool that provides real value. This jargon can make it seem like the lines between marketing automation and email marketing are blurred, when in reality, the distinction can be fairly simple.

Entire books have been written on the subject, so we’re going to stay high-level. Read on to learn three key lessons:

  • The simple way to tell the difference between marketing automation and email marketing
  • Why you might want to choose marketing automation instead of email marketing
  • Four ways you can better engage your audience with a marketing automation strategy

The Simple Way to Tell the Difference Between Marketing Automation and Email Marketing

Let’s start with the definitions:

  • Email marketing is a tool that helps send mass email, track replies and report on them.
  • Marketing automation is a solution that allows you to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.

So email marketing is a part of marketing automation. Email marketing is a tool, while marketing automation is a comprehensive strategy. With email marketing, you only control email sending. With marketing automation, you can automate the process of interacting with prospects and customers through all channels, including email.

Why Choose Marketing Automation Over Email Marketing?

So why is it better to use a comprehensive strategy like marketing automation instead of just straightforward email marketing? For many people, using only email marketing is like trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle with only a few of the pieces.

Do you:

  • Find your salespeople complaining about the quality of leads your marketing team is delivering?
  • Sell different products (or services) to different demographics?
  • Need an easier way to create and send targeted, multi-touch email campaigns?
  • Want to automate and customize communications based on customer behavior and titles?
  • Want to know which of your marketing campaigns are the most effective AND justify additional resources?

If you answered yes to any of those, email marketing alone won’t cut it for you. Let’s dive into a few key features that help justify marketing automation.

Four ways you can better engage your audience with a marketing automation strategy

Lead Segmentation
For businesses with multiple products or services, it’s a reasonable assumption that not all buyers need or want the same thing. A software provider for small businesses selling separate solutions for both accounting and human resources has different product lines to consider. Now, imagine that entire equation again with the understanding that multiple audiences might be interested in the this range of services.

These accounting or HR tools could be suitable for anything from law firms to restaurants, and while the functionality of the product might not change much, the messaging to each group would be quite distinct. With more products and more audiences in play, marketers need to differentiate these groups to determine first who they’re engaging with to help inform decisions around how to engage with them.

Personalization
With a better understanding of who prospects are and what matters to them, with the right automation tools, marketers can set up campaigns that recommend additional content they’re likely to care about to create a personalized experience for each client and prospect.

While email is one avenue through which this content could be delivered, one also has the option of better personalizing the on-page experience with visual or textual calls to action for each user. If a blog on a particular topic appeals to a reader, then perhaps they’d be interested in a downloadable e-book exploring
the topic in greater depth that would serve as a lead-capture device.

Customer Success:

In order to display content to where our prospects were in the buying cycle, we used Pardot’s dynamic content builder on the CollegePlus website. For example, the message and call to action in our bottom welcome bar changed based on what stage the prospect was in. It was easy to set up in Pardot and our marketing team saw an increase in conversion rates after implementation.
Allie Cappitelli | CollegePlus

List Creation & Workflow Management
As you gather more data on your prospects, you’ll likely use the information captured to create lists around these personas and better market to them individually.

These lists can be used for all sorts of highly targeted activity, ranging from identifying which customers have engaged in a past campaign on a particular topic, to targeting users by geographic area for local events. Once in a list, Pardot will allow you to create workflows, sequences, and drips to hyper-specific sections of your audience, ensuring they won’t be drowned in information and can focus on what’s most relevant to them.

Lead Scoring
With countless users engaging with the site in myriad ways, the potential for automation isn’t limited to creating unique promotions and laser-focused messaging, but helps bridge the gap between marketing and sales by helping folks tell you when they’re ready to buy.

In the hands of a savvy sales team, imagine the power of knowing the second a user who has been an avid reader of your blog and whitepapers decides to review the pricing page. Lead scoring systems assign points to a contact based on how they’ve engaged with you. As they continue to open emails, and visit pages of varying depth you can monitor their decision-making process and know it’s time to strike when they reach a particular threshold, rather than bombard them too soon or miss them too late.

This approach helped Pardot customer, Mediacurrent, increase their qualified leads by 129% YOY.

While marketing automation has a lot more value, it may seem daunting. The good news is that, at Pardot, our Customer Success Group is there for you at every corner. Even if you fully implement only one of the additional features that marketing automation offers, you’ll see a return on both time saved and new, high-quality leads. And isn’t that what every marketer wants?

Email Marketing – Pardot