One of the most effective ways to get in touch with prospective customers as well as maintaining relationships with existing customers is email marketing. The key to ensuring that your email marketing strategy is actually working and driving the desired results is to put the needs of your target customers as a non-negotiable goal. Doing so will allow you to close more sales and once you do, work on upselling where it makes the most sense.
I’m guilty of sending out cold emails. It’s the nature of business. Honestly, if you never take that initial step to reach out and simply start a conversation, your chances of surviving as well as growing your business is going to be tough.
The truth is that you’ll hear a ton more “No, I’m not interested” or even be completely ignored than you’ll actually hear back from someone. To put things into perspective, think of the average conversion rate you can expect with your website, which is anywhere between 3%-5%, and anything above that is stellar. So imagine emailing 1,000 people and pushing the same conversion rate. Obviously it depends on your business but nevertheless if you’re able to convert at least 3% of those into paying customers, that’s something you should celebrate.
In today’s blog, I’m going to walk through ways you can close more sales with email marketing, so I have compiled a series of blog posts that are most relevant to this topic to get you started:
Take advantage of automation
Let’s say you’re running a webinar and you want to promote it to all of your MQLs. Your email workflow might start with the same email for everyone. But what happens when you have some people sign up for that webinar and others don’t? At this point, your email workflow might take two separate paths: one email for everyone who signed up and one email for everyone who didn’t.
When the webinar is over, your email workflow might split again: all of the attendees who took additional action might receive one email, while attendees who didn’t take action will receive another. And those that didn’t attend will receive a different email entirely.
Separating email workflows by action (or inaction) helps you keep your messaging relevant and timely. It’s personalized for each person and gives them the information and options they need at that exact moment to make an informed decision.
More specifically, here are some stat to be aware of with how beneficial automation is:
- 30% of companies find automation of the lead generation process a critical challenge to lead generation success
- Nearly two thirds of companies surveyed (63%) expect to realize the benefits of their marketing automation system within six months of implementation
- Increasing sales revenue (53%), lead nurturing (43%) and customer engagement (37%) are the most important objectives of a marketing automation strategy.
Finally, here are a few example automated email campaigns you can test out:
- Promotional emails and sales notifications
- New product launches or brand news
- Newsletters that customers have opted into
- Refer-a-friend campaigns
- Welcome messages
- Milestones and
- Surveys or polls
- Purchase behavior in the past
Relevant emails drive 18x more revenue than broadcast emails. Make sure you utilize the data you’ve collected to properly segment your subscribers and you’re creating targeted campaigns to each.
More specifically, personalized emails generate up to 6x higher revenue than non-personalized emails. For starters, you can look at personalizing subject lines. Take MailChimp’s report, based on sending 24 billion emails and studying subject lines with over 20,000 distinct words, they discovered that:
- Even though the most common approach in sending emails is using the first name, emails with the last name had a slightly better open rate.
- Mail subject lines with the first and last names had the highest open rates.
- Get the right information up front. This includes the recipient’s name, email, address, their interests, etc.
- Use your real name and email. As a small business owner, make sure you are accessible to those you are emailing. So rather than having an email address like “firstname.lastname@example.org” – include your actual email and also your real signature.
According to a Hubspot study, email segmentation resulted in higher open rates, overall engagement, and ultimately, achieving better results driving more sales.
Here are a few ways you can segment your list of subscribers:
- Segment by industry: Do you offer services and products to businesses or consumers? Knowing the industry of your subscribers is a great way to segment your email campaigns. For example, a business that sells car parts would engage at a much higher rate if they receive email campaigns on car products, compared to a business that sells software.
- Segment by company size: Segmenting email campaigns by company size or annual revenue is a great way to increase response rates. A small business that employs 5 people is not likely ready for the biggest industry conference of the year, whereas a business that employs 750 people might be a better fit.
- Segment by sales cycle: Early stage buyers will not be ready for an aggressive sales pitch or one-to-one demo but, they will be more appreciative to receive an industry research white paper. On the other end of the cycle, buyers who are ready to buy will respond well to product webinars or free trial offers.
Let’s take it for granted that you’re already on board with the need to produce high-quality content to promote your products and services. High-quality content is crucial for supporting your SEO and for helping you achieve more conversions.
Consider, however, creating a diverse body of content to promote your brand—not just textual content. Use photos, images, videos, and infographics to nurture your leads and convert them into paying customers.
Companies can increase their revenue substantially simply by adding new content in the form of infographics, question-and-answer blog posts, and videos. According to recent statistics, “85% of B2B marketers say that lead generation is their most important content marketing goal.”
Lead generation and closing more sales go hand in hand. More specifically, content is at the biggest vehicle for success to bridge the gap between these two. From blogging to creating SEO-friendly content, it’s vital to support the relationship between your content and lead generation.
Here are content assets you should absolutely share via email:
- Videos, including webinars, tutorials, product walkthroughs, and behind-the-scenes.
- White papers, guides, checklists, and data sheets.
- Upcoming virtual events you are holding and why people should attend.
- Special offerings and discounts you are running for a period of time.
- Surveys to get honest feedback from paying customers, as well as people who haven’t become customers yet but are using your product.
Just as you would plan out your entire editorial calendar when it comes to the number of blog posts or downloadable assets you plan to publish every month, plan out your email campaigns similarly.
More specifically, figure out the cadence in which you want to:
- Send a newsletter that highlights what’s happening at your company, newly published content, and any new offerings you might have.
- Send cold outreach emails along with follow-up emails. In fact, campaigns with 4-7 emails per sequence received 3X more responses than campaigns with only 1-3 emails in a sequence.
- Know which times and days are the most effective by persona for engaging with your emails.
Further, depending on which data-backed research and reports you read, many will assert the benefits of different times and days. Make sure that you put in the time to figure out what works best for you. Of course, using the studies that have already been done can give you a baseline to have an idea of what is going to help, but as you collect data of your own, you’ll have a better idea of what days and times work best for your subscribers.
Here’s a study by Mailchimp that is worth checking out:
You can see that the weekend is clearly less preferable compared to the work week, that does shift slightly depending on what type of content you send (since that affects the subscribers you have).
For example, business-related content has a less than typical number of subscribers with weekend optima. On the flip side, recreational content usually enjoys a healthier than typical percentage of subscribers with weekend send time optima. Note though that in either case, these percentages are still lower than 50%, implying that no matter what content is being sent, most lists are comprised of a majority of recipients for whom the optimal send time is during the work week.
Wrapping it up
Seasonality, different verticals, and different personas all prefer to be communicated with in different ways and styles. For example, a more technical person may care more about the specifications of what your product offers, whereas a c-level executive may want to see a quick video of what your product can do and how it alleviates their pain point.
Either way, you’ll never have the answers to these unless you test and make testing a practice rather than a chore in your email efforts. Here are a few ideas of what you can test:
- Subject lines
- Copy length
- HTML vs plain text
- Gifs and images
- Different colored CTA buttons and creative assets
- Send times and days