Email is used by most B2B marketers for a variety of purposes-many of which are executed distinctly, sometimes without visibility across the organization. There's brand awareness, lead generation, customer retention and loyalty, driving web traffic, promoting sharing with colleagues and on social networks, lead nurturing, newsletters and more. However, as more and more of B2B marketing targets prospects and customers via digital channels, it's becoming critical not to put your email in a box.
The traditional measures of clicks and opens are no longer sufficient for managing your email programs. Clicks and opens will not get B2B marketers to the accountability for contribution to revenues they're looking for.
By "In a Box" what I mean is that email programs cannot be considered as standalone activities. In fact, treating them as such can cause a variety of problems:
- Frequency. This one is very common. Demand generation creates a nurturing campaign and decides frequency in a vacuum. They are often unaware of how many other emails their prospects or customers may be receiving.
Consider an example. Let's say that you design a nurturing program based on a particular problem-to-solution scenario. Unknown to you, the prospect is also subscribed to the company newsletter put out by corporate marketing. Oops, the sends go out on the same day. Additionally, a product manager has decided to send a series of emails announcing the launch of a new product--unrelated to the story you're telling. The email hits the prospect's email two days later. Oh, and the events manager is hosting a webinar so she's sending email invitations for the event that week, too.
All of a sudden your unsubscribe rates go up or your opens and clicks go down. What may be a mystery to you is your audience saying - "Whoa, Nellie!"
- Activity. If you're not monitoring what happens after the click in an email, how do you know if your emails are actually on point for your audience?
Let's say that they click on the link to an article, but see some other content about a different problem and spend time exploring that topic. They read an article and click over to a blog post discussing an aspect of solving the problem. But, you don't track any of that behavior and continue sending them nurturing emails focused on a topic that they've told you isn't their priority-but you weren't listening.
What if they download a whitepaper and that activity places them into a related nurturing program, but they're already in another? Do you know?
- Attention. Your prospects are busy. They are distracted easily. Essentially, if you're only measuring clicks, not what happens after the click, you'll never know if they spent 5 seconds on your content, scanned it or settled in for a nice read because what you're saying has timely value for them.
- Change in Status. Whether a prospect transitions to sales or becomes a customer, or makes some other type of transition, their communication needs and preferences will change. For example, if a prospect downloads a trial version of your software and then buys it, does your drip campaign know? Or do you send emails telling them their trial is about to expire and continuing to try and sell to them?
If the prospect transitions to sales, is your nurturing program continuing, but out of sync with whatever communications the sales rep is sending?
I can tell you right now that all of these are the norm, not the exception. The oversights made by B2B marketers who only consider one email program at a time are irritating to prospects, and customers, alike.
Part of this problem is caused by marketers becoming giddy about the ease of publishing content and clicking the send button. Another part is the lack of visibility and coordination with cross-departmental programs using the same databases - or, even worse, multiple databases that have dupes.
Do your company and your audiences a favor and don't put your email In a Box.