January 29, 2009 | Posted by: Lee
Not only has the recession slowed down the economy, it's slowed down the whole sales process. The cycle takes longer, negotiations take longer, and it's increasingly harder to move prospects to the next step in the decision making process.
B2B Email outreach on the rise.
With the slash in marketing budgets, B2B marketers are relying more and more on tactics that deliver the best ROI. We're putting a lot of hope into our email outreach. The good news is that email can be a very cost effective way of connecting with your buyer and moving them down the sales cycle. The bad news is that everyone is thinking the same way creating more email than every for our prospects.
So how do you stand out from all the clutter?
Focus on what the reader wants to read. Not what you want to say.
The fastest way to get your email deleted is to talk about yourself. Seth Godin said it best, "People don't want Email, they want MEmail." Think about the people on your list as if they were colleagues not prospects.
- Provide content that's helps the reader with a current hot issue or which helps them do their job better.
- Don't send blatant sales pitch. If fact, don't include sale pitches of any kind.
- Buyers place a higher value on information targeted at their industry, followed next by their specific job roles. Try segmenting your list by industry or job, then push specific content to those individual segments.
Bite sized chunks.
Don't send news roundup types of email. Pick one issue or topic and send content related to only that. That will also allow you to include a very specific subject line which should help pull in the reader.
- Keep it to 2-4 paragraphs (one screen).
- Use headlines throughout and bullet copy where possible.
- Give them the highlights, then push them to more information on your site or blog.
Subject lines matter.
We've all heard how important the subject line is. Here's how to optimize it:
- The fist 2 words are the most important. Front load your subject line with benefit to the reader.
- If your content is specific to an industry or role, be sure to include that.
- Avoid sales words such "free," "exiting," "new," "you're invited," "take our survey."
- Keep between 30-40 characters.
- Test different subject lines and track what pulls best.
Don't over send.
It's important that you don't over use the list and drive prospects away or worse have them opt-out.
- You should only send correspondence when you have something to say.
- Don't tie yourself to every Friday or 1st of every month. Of course, for new prospects you'll want to send 3-4 emails timed fairly close together, but once they're in the pipeline, you can pull back to less often.
- 1 to 2 times a month seems optimal. More can be annoying, less won't keep you top of mind.
The one with the best content wins.
These days to stand out in the crowded in box, you need to be relevant to your reader. You need to be that helpful company, who sends helpful, easy to digest content. Your prospect will appreciate not being sold to and they'll begin to respect you as experts. When they have a need, they'll think of you.