We know, email is old tech (no surprise there) but it still plays a significant role in any marketing strategy. Here’s why: an email campaign is still one of the most effective ways to promote your business, engage with both your customers and prospects, as well as reach your business goals. In fact, email is so good it’s the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, trailing only colleague recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders. In addition, it also delivers the best marketing ROI. Not too shabby for the “old dog”.
Having the right channel to deliver your message is one thing, but it’s also important to stand out to your audience and the only real way that’s guaranteed to work is data. The essence of data-driven email marketing is to understand your data in order to improve the communication with your prospects and customers. That involves delivering on-topic email campaigns that target each prospect or customer based on their needs, interests, and challenges. It can all be done by gathering and implementing just a little bit of the right data. It isn’t always easy, which is why we’re here to help and share some proven tactics for your next email campaign.
The general notion behind data-driven email marketing is to enhance your current efforts and raise the overall effectiveness of your email marketing to a whole other level. For the most part, that means creating and sending a specific type of emails: nurturing email campaigns. These campaigns will help you stay on top of things by building meaningful relationships with your prospects, and to efficiently progress them down the marketing funnel. In order to achieve amazing results, you need to implement two crucial tactics:
1. Segment your contacts
For starters, perform a thorough segmentation of your contact list and create different groups that are relevant to your effort. Modern buyers no longer walk a straight path as they used to. Instead, they go through different lifecycle stages so try setting up lists closely tied to your customer lifecycle and categorize your prospects based on where they are in their buyer’s journey. It’s the research process a potential buyer goes from the starting point that is awareness (realizing there a problem and looking for general knowledge on a specific problem), to consideration (more focused on the solution, researching options to relieve specific pain points), leading up to the purchase - the decision stage, where the prospect is finalizing the decision-making process and may need a test drive to commit.
Each of those potential buyers has different interests and challenges that can be effectively addressed via segmented emails that are highly targeted. Some are at the beginning, realizing there’s a problem that needs to be solved. Some are at the point where they realize a need for a solution, while others are researching potential solutions like the one your company offers. You don’t want your marketers to send the same message to everyone and waste everybody’s time, do you?
Let’s say a CFO of an eCommerce website is having a few challenges in his/her day-to-day business. They google their issue, find a webinar you’re offering on the topic and sign up. Magic moment! This stranger is now a lead. You can fall back on your prospect fit matrix to identify if the prospect in question works in a company that can potentially become a client. If they do, you can start nurturing them down their buyer’s journey, up to the point when it's relevant to offer a demo of your solution (or directly invite them to buy).Image credit:Medium
to work is through data.Additionally, segmenting provides you with the opportunities to connect to the actual people behind your buyer personas. Understanding your buyer personas is the first step toward more advanced audience targeting where you narrow down your target audience based on demographics and psychographics: what is going to make them engage with your content. Truly understanding the names and faces behind these semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers is key to engagement. There’s a difference when talking to a CFO of a SaaS company whose primary concern is dollar-based and the IT guy who is looking at it from the software integration perspective.
In order to avoid wasting time on prospects who will never become customers, your segmentation should also revolve around these parameters (that should be aligned with the parameters you’re evaluating in your company’s prospect fit matrix):
- Geography - segmenting your list by location allows you to target your contacts according to their specific geographic area.
- Industry - for prospects that are in different industries, targeted emails about their specific business environment will have greater relevance.
- Company size
- Contact title/role - it’s important to distinguish between different titles and roles as an email that speaks to the challenges of a CEO/business owner might be different from that of a lower level employee.
According to research by Lyris, Inc., email list segmentation is effective. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you can always improve and create more detailed lists that have the potential to cultivate even more engaged customers.
2. Personalization gets you in
In addition to creating specific email lists, you can also use data to personalize the emails you send. When you think of email personalization, the first thing that most likely comes to mind is the subject line. While including the name is a part of the personalization effort that definitely works, it’s only a drop in the ocean.
Personalization has become critical to B2B marketing, especially in enterprise sales where companies buy primarily because it helps them operate more efficiently. An advanced secret to personalizing your marketing is to take a look at your prospect’s tech stack. That way, you can uncover all the technologies your prospect is using and gain a sense of their business focus so your marketing team can frame the message to be in tune with the specific perspective of your prospect. Combing through their stack provides an opportunity to expose correlated technologies: those that show a certain level of overlap you can use to expand your primary focus, as well as reveal new potential verticals, geographies, and technologies to delve into next. More importantly, you can use this to show how combined with your solution, the prospect can perform even better, be it with a more encompassing solution, wallet-friendlier, or else.
Another great way to personalize your email campaigns is to add elements based on the prospect’s tech adoption history. This type of data allows you to use their own behavior to generate more relevant emails that can move prospects down the funnel and drive purchases. By knowing not only what they use but when they added it and what they also tried in the past, you can create highly personalized content to keep them engaged, while also getting to their habits and predict future needs you can use in your emails.
Email marketing is part art and part science. If you opt to embrace and follow data-driven practices, your email marketing strategy will work wonders for your business. Modern B2B buyers don’t just settle for finding relatable content or seeing their name in an email: they look for high-value information about how a solution can ease their pain points. By strategically segmenting and nurturing your contacts through different touch points and customizing your message to reflect their state of mind, you show that you’re paying attention to what really matters to them - being helpful in solving their problems.