Does Email Marketing Still Work?

Posted by John Veckerelli on Wed, Aug 01, 2012

Does Email Marketing Still Work?

Email marketing is passé. Business people are inundated with so much email. The chance of getting their attention is slim. Email marketing is being replaced with other channels including mobile and social media.

All true but it begs more questions:

  • How are you using email marketing today?
  • Where did your email list contacts come from?
  • What other marketing activities are you performing?
  • What are your past results of email marketing campaigns?

There isn’t a marketing silver bullet - that includes email marketing too. Done right, an integrated email marketing approach that is part of your overall B2B marketing mix can be effective at generating qualified business leads.

Email Marketing Best Practices

Let’s review some best practices for B2B companies.

  1. Set a Goal: What’s the purpose of the email - lead generation or lead nurturing?
    • According to a 2012 study by Pardot, a marketing automation company, 30% of B2B marketers use email for lead generation while more than 60% use email marketing for lead nurturing. [Lead nurturing emails are triggered based on how a prospect responds on the website].
    • If Lead Generation, who is the audience? Segment your database to match purpose and target audience.
    • If Lead Nurturing, target the email message based on the specific responses a prospect takes. As an example from the B2C world, an email trigger based on an abandoned shopping cart would be different than one that thanks the order.
  2. Does your email design and topic suit the goal? Is the content relevant and interesting?
    • Use no more than 3 typefaces in the email.
    • Make sure the main message is visible near the top of the email.
    • Keep your email 500-650 Pixels Wide.
    • Make sure your logo appears in the upper left of the email.
  3. Write compelling subject lines and include clear calls to action.
    • Including an incentive in the email subject line can increase open rates by 50%. In a recent marketingprofs survey, B2B marketers found the most effective offers included an invitation to a webinar, to download a whitepaper or view a case study. Less effective emails included free or discounted services, and limited time offers.
    • Subject lines should be less than 50 characters.
    • Call-to-Action should appear near the top of the email body and be repeated at least 3 times in the email.
  4. Connect email campaigns and calls to action to a unique website landing page.
    • The website landing page provides the opportunity to expand on the email and invites the visitor to take action.
    • The landing page should correspond to the email content – in theme, message, and action. No bait and switch.
  5. Ready the email for sending.
    • Have at least two independent proofreaders review and test the email. Review subject and body for typos. Test compatibility, links, and landing page actions such as a download form.
    • Run an A/B test of the email. The most popular testing practices include testing two different subject lines, two different email body messages, and time of day.
    • Run a spam test. Most email marketing services allow you to perform a spam test.
  6. Schedule the email.
    • For lead generation emails, studies show the most effective Day of the week for B2B emails is Tuesday and the worst day is Friday. The most effective time of day is sending the email between 8am and 12pm local time.
    • For lead nurturing, emails are typically triggered immediately based on the prospects response. If the prospect’s action is set to generate an email alert to sales, for example, studies shows that delayed responds quickly diminish returns. A response within 15 minutes is ideal.

How to Know if Email Marketing is Working

Email marketing is often measured in open rates and click through rates. We also like to review response rates to the calls to action on the website landing page as well as the overall impact on website traffic. 

According to a recent marketing profs article on email open and click through rates, the following charts show the benchmark returns, based on your industry.

Email marketing open rates

email marketing click through rates

Email marketing as part of your overall marketing mix can help stay in front of customers as well as generate qualified sales leads.

If you have a question or need to lift your email marketing results, contact me for a confidential, no obligation call.  

Topics: Marketing Mix, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Metrics, Email Marketing