Many technology companies find email marketing is one of the best lead generation tactics they use. Marketing automation software provider Optify found in their 2012 B2B Benchmarking Report that email marketing had the highest lead conversion rate of any inbound marketing tactic employed. The email marketing lead conversion rate of 2.9% compared with an average inbound conversion rate of 1.6%. Here are some best practices to follow for your technology company email marketing program.
Maintain a clean, up-to-date email list
A clean, up-to-date email list of recipients who have opted in to your email marketing is the foundation of an effective email marketing program. According to HubSpot, email lists degrade at a rate of 25% per year. People change jobs, email addresses and interests. It's important to grow your list with new members to achieve targeted business results.
It's also important to "clean" your list periodically to keep it healthy. In my business, if someone doesn't open five emails that I send, I proactively ask them if they'd still like to receive my emails. Face it, if someone isn't opening your emails, they're probably not a qualified sales prospect. With respect to an opt-in list, it's not an option - CAN-SPAM legislation requires that you only email people who have opted in to your communications.
Segment your lists to maximize results
Most technology companies have several audience segments with different interests. Your company may have groups of potential investors, potential customers and potential employees, not to mention various targeted industry groups. If you send an email to everyone on your list, you will likely disappoint most of your constituents. The best email marketing segments recipients based on their interests and sends emails to each segment based on their needs. Email marketing provider MailChimp found that segmented email marketing produces 14.4% higher open rates and 15% higher click through rates than unsegmented email.
Send content that your recipients want to read
Like all of your inbound marketing, content that is relevant and engaging to your target audience always provides the best result. Ask yourself this question before you send an email: is this something my audience would want to read? I can almost guarantee you that your audience doesn't want an email from you every day. I don't want to project my preferences onto others, but I almost invariably unsubscribe from any email list that is sending me daily emails. Quality will always provide better results than quantity.
Another way to give your audience what they want is to provide several content options for them to choose. For example, they could manage their preferences to choose to receive monthly newsletters, new content offers and/or technical tips. Give your recipients options and make it easy for them to choose what they want to receive. Most email marketing platforms make it easy for you to provide these options. And don't forget about mobile devices. Make sure your emails are optimized for mobile devices so that you meet the needs of this growing audience segment.
Make your email easy to share
The best recommendation for the quality of your content is when one of your recipients shares it with one of their friends or colleagues. Make it easy for them to do so! Include social sharing buttons in your emails. Here's an example of what they might look like:
Integrating email and social media marketing is an excellent way to optimize results.
Analyze your email marketing and adjust for best results
Most email marketing providers offer analytics to help you measure the success of each email send. For every email you send, measure delivery rates, open rates, click through rates and bounce rates. Look for patterns in the emails you send to see what works best for each of your list segments. Here is a great source of benchmark information from MailChimp to help provide context to your results. Experiment with your email sends - try sending on different days and different times of day to find the optimal times for your company. On average, MailChimp finds that mid-week emails sent between 2 PM and 5 PM get the best results.
Email marketing is the most effective lead generation tactic for B2B marketing. Follow best practices to maximize your results. Maintain a clean list, segment your email sends, send engaging content that can be shared and analyze your results to get the most out of your efforts.