9 B2B Email Content Strategies
"When it comes to B2B email strategies, here’s 9 things that B2B marketers need to consider when preparing content for their campaigns."
Email marketing best practices are consistent for most any type of email communication, but those of us that do business-to-business (B2B) email marketing know that we have to take a somewhat different approach to our email content. A B2B business relationship is much different than a consumer relationship, and we have to plan our messaging with that in mind.
When it comes to B2B email strategies, here’s 9 things that B2B marketers need to consider when preparing content for their campaigns.
1. Longer sales cycle. B2B sales cycles can typically be several weeks to several months, and in some cases even a year or more. B2B email marketers need to recognize the longer sales cycle and prepare proper marketing content for each part of the cycle.
2. Relationship driven. Building relationships is key in B2B sales and the longer sales cycle, when handled properly, gives the B2B marketer plenty of opportunity to build strong ties to eventual buyers. Sometimes these relationships will rise above all other factors during the decision making process.
3. Niche target market. One of the nice things about B2B marketing is that marketers typically have a smaller, more defined target audience. The bad news is that there are a limited number of prospects. Make every communication count by preparing targeted, relevant content.
4. Education required. In a B2B sales cycle, businesses tend to interface directly with potential customers multiple times in order to inform and educate the prospect. Email marketing can play a big role in this process. Businesses can use email to provide a continuous stream of educational content which can ultimately influence the final purchasing decision.
5. Complexity. Meeting your goals in a B2C relationship could be achieved with one communication. Retailers do this all the time through sales and promotions. B2B relationship are much more complex. B2B marketers must provide relevant information about their products and services, educate, nurture and be available for response. Post purchase, they must continue the relationship and assist with implementation, training, support and anything else required to strengthen the relationship. And all this must be done at the right time to the right audience instead of taking a batch-and-blast approach.
6. Information Driven. B2B marketers make a majority of their purchasing decisions based on the information they are provided or based on information that they research. Providing relevant information to B2B marketers via email can help lead recipients towards a conversion.
7. Group purchasing decision. For many business-focused email campaigns, the goal is not to get an immediate reaction but to get the email read and forwarded to the right person within the recipient's organization. Sometimes the marketing contact is not even the lead in the decision making process, but possibly a data-gatherer.
In your emails, provide content that the recipient can use to influence group decisions. Provide information sheets, presentations, or other collateral that they can print or share with their colleagues. Make it easy to have your marketing materials reviewed by groups of people.
8. Considered decision-making process. You have to approach B2B buyers as experts. 85% of B2B marketers conduct Internet research at some point during buying process. The research typically involves product or service data gathering, competitive analysis and a review of third party feedback (comments, testimonials, etc.). All this, along with the marketing messages, will factor into a very well-researched decision making process.
B2B email marketers should acknowledge this, and provide links to as much relevant web-based information as possible. Help your audience do their research and lead them to your most favorable content.
9. Enterprise level purchases. A B2B purchasing decision can be a significant investment—not just financially, but also through the future commitment of time and resources. Buying decisions will be based on how a product increases productivity, increases revenue and decreases resource time and/or expense.
To secure a B2B purchase, the price is usually not the only factor. Quality of support, product history, integration compatibility and many other factors need to be considered. Use email as a way to promote all the benefits of your product or service so that buyers are well informed and comfortable with everything you have to offer.
Experienced B2B marketers know that business decisions are rarely impulsive, and that a strategic approach with persistence and patience can achieve desired results. Always keep your recipient’s best interests in mind, and keep your messaging focused on a positive long-term experience.