Email Marketing Best Practices from MarketingProfs Digital Marketing World

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Guest Post by: Maria Pergolino

As part of a ‘mini-series’ of virtual events happening at the beginning of every month, MarketingProfs has collected a number of speakers including Sara Erzin from CheetahMail, Greg Cangialosi of BlueSky Factory and Scott Voigt of Silverpop to discuss topics ranging from email segmentation to social media and lead nurturing. With thousands of people registered for these events, I’ve decided to provide a summary of the three presentations for any that couldn’t attend.

The first presentation was Email Segmentation Made Easy presented by Sara Ezrin, a Director of Services at an Email Provider, CheetahMail. While the presentation focused on B2C, highlighting segments, such as those who abandon carts, best practices from the session could be applied to B2B organizations.

So why is Email Segmentation important anyway?

  • Forrester Research shows that 59% of consumers open email based on their individual interests and 51% open emails based on their needs at that time
  • Marketing Sherpa and Q Interactive found that 56% of recipients considered email from a known sender that was “just not interesting to me” to be spam

Why should segments be developed?

  • Improve email performance metrics
  • Sell the right product to the right customer
  • Increase message relevance
  • Increase customer loyalty
  • Increase transactions and revenue
  • Maximize the effectiveness of dynamically populated emails
  • Provide data for ongoing campaign optimization
  • Decrease Opt-outs

Segments to consider:

Basic Segmentation

Email Response Segmentation– Using email response data to create segments based on opens and clicks

  • Users who open/click
  • Those who click yet have not purchased
  • Purchases of a specific product/category/service
  • Persistent non-openers

Site Analytics Segmentation– Using site analytics data to create behavioral segments to increase the relevancy of your campaigns

  • Abandoned subscription forms
  • Product category of site browsers
  • Cross sell to purchases of a specific product

Customer Value Segmentation– Most advanced type of segmentations that looks at the revenue, frequency, and recency of behaviors and purchases of customers for segmentation

  • Loyalty
  • Buying Expensive
  • Buying More but Paying less
  • Just Bought
  • Lapsed Buyers

A final note: Once you create segments your work is not done. Make sure you are testing both the segments themselves and how well your emails are working with them. Make sure you are tracking what you are testing, and apply lessons learned across all your campaigns.

The next presentation was Maximizing Email with Social Media from Greg Cangialosi of BlueSky Factory.

People are using both email and social networks- and for good reason. It’s causing success.

A big worry is that social media will hurt email, but the opposite is happening- they are enhancing each other.

There are four ways to think about email with social media:

1. Email campaigns that drive people to your social media sites. These are emails that promote your social media presence hoping to gain friends, followers, or other social media connections. Two types of these include:

  • Sending out emails to people announcing a new or growing social media site and asking email recipients to join
  • Sending out emails to subscribers on your regular topics but including links to your social media sites inside the email

2. Social Media campaigns to drive email subscriptions. There are many ways to do this, but typically you are either sharing information about a white paper or newsletter via a Tweet or permantly posting a link up that resides in a social media page that allows someone to subscribe to your emails without ever leaving the social media site.

3. Email campaigns that include social sharing links that help email recipients share the content you have created with others who have not opted-in via social media. This has the ability to increase the reach of every one of your emails with no extra cost.

4. Creating a social graph with email. This is the most important part because it truly allows you to merge the two mediums. Essentially, because many people use the same email address for their subscriptions to your email site as they do in social media it can be the way you marry this data together. It allows you to build profiles, understanding who your most influential subscribers are or to tell which offers you should deploy in social media versus those that will work best in email alone.

Application through B2B was presented, but only briefly. It was simply stated that social media and email can help B2B companies become an authority or become a friend (not just a resource) to those using them together.

The final presentation entitled, Nurturing Prospects through the Pipeline, was by Scott Voigt of Silverpop.

Marketers need to be a lead developer, not just a lead generator

  • Generate
  • Capture
  • Qualify/Score
  • Distribute
  • Nurture
  • Report

Work with sales to develop a process of what should happen with leads and then provide them information about what leads are the best for them to spend time with. To do this, use lead scoring.

Lead scoring is a top priority for nearly half of B2B Marketers, according to Forrester Research, but according to the presentation most do not score, and those that do were better able to turn leads into opportunities.

Types of lead scoring:

  • Explicit – helps define the right type of lead
    • BANT- Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline
    • Demographic and Firmographic Information
  • Implicit- helps define the right timing of the lead
    • Recency
    • Frequency
    • Score depreciation
    • Behavior

Things to keep in mind about lead scoring:

  • Listen to sales
  • Provide a a balance between explicit and implicit
  • Measure appropriate behaviors
  • Set discounts for inactivity
  • Fine-tune over time

Next Scott talked about Lead Nurturing. He said lead nurturing is rules based marketing that drives relevant messaging given a contact’s stage in the buying cycle. It’s like smart email marketing for B2B companies.

Goals of Lead Nurturing:

  • Opens
  • Clicks
  • Site stats
  • Downloads
  • Register for an event
  • Become a Fan
  • Provide additional information
  • Have someone raise their hand to say they are ready to buy

As we can see from these goals, it’s usual to get a response often. Because of this, the presentation reminded watchers that they need to create a compelling offer to drive that response. Nurturing doesn’t just have to be emails- it can be a piece of mail or a sales call. Think about how all these methods can work together to nurture your prospects.

During the webinar a simple nurturing campaign was presented. At Marketo we call this a drip campaign. The flow they presented was:

  1. Wait until 3 months after a prospect doesn’t buy
  2. Send a check-in email from the original sales rep
  3. Wait another 2 months
  4. Send a different offer (maybe a discount), again from the sales rep

The important message here is that this process can be automated, allowing the rep to focus on active leads, and notifying them if the recipient reacts to the message in some way.

Although I didn’t include a summary of these, each presentation had a case study that accompanied it. If you want to learn more, it’s worth going back and watching these sessions, including the case study.

To learn more about email marketing, watch the Marketo webinar, B2B Email Marketing and Lead Nurturing or visit our Email Marketing resource section.

Image source: derrickkwa

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