Don’t Fall for the Hype: Why Email Still Reigns Supreme in B2B Marketing

b2b marketingIf you’re in charge of B2B marketing, the good news is that you have access to higher budgets and can sell more profitable items. The bad news is that this also makes you a target for everyone selling shiny toys, services and ways to complicate your marketing unnecessarily.

The truth is that even if you look at the biggest companies in the world, their email does most of the heavy lifting, and can be credited with most of their conversions.  That isn’t to say you can’t use anything beyond just email, just that you need to view those things as secondary.

Email serves as the foundation of good B2B marketing, and then everything else can be an add-on that comes on top of a good foundation.

Why Email Is the B2B Marketing Unicorn

With all of the messaging coming at you, about “the great new thing”, I can’t blame you for getting distracted. Whether this is about some amazingly cool viral social media campaign or a fancy “AI chatbot”, it can be hard to keep focused.

Billions of dollars are being spent in the pursuit of getting you to invest in the wrong thing. And the people selling these shiny and overpriced toys are pretty convincing. It is after all their job to lead you astray, not to make sure you’re prioritizing things correctly. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that it’s easy to focus on what matters.

The fact is that email is still the B2B marketing unicorn. So  Unfortunately it often gets prematurely dismissed, for no reason other than the fact that it’s not as “exciting” as the new, shiny, stuff. You have to remember that your job as a B2B marketer is to focus on boosting ROI and getting the best results possible. Your job isn’t to “have fun” testing the latest toys and party tricks.

b2b marketingWith that said, let’s look at some reasons why email deserves your unwavering attention and primary focus, even in the age of omnichannel marketing.

1. Unmatched Reach & Engagement

Forget the fleeting reach of social media posts or the impersonal nature of display ads. With email you get direct access to decision-makers. You appear right there in their inbox, and it feels way more personal. This is probably why email has such great engagement rates out of the box.

This is all just by making sure to use email often enough, before you implement all the engagement boosting powers that it provides. If you follow some of the best practices that we outline in this guide, and learn more about engagement, expect some outrageous open rates and clickthroughs that are simply impossible with any other channel.

2. Measurable ROI & Predictable Results

Unlike these other channels that are literally a “black box”, email marketing delivers clear, measurable results. You can track open rates, click-throughs, conversions, and sales that can be directly attributed to specific email campaigns and efforts. This is light years ahead of what any channel allows.

b2b marketingAnd it’s not just about having this data for the sake of curiosity alone. This data-driven approach allows you to leverage the incremental method so that you can fine-tune your campaigns, automations and tactics. It allows you to have a clear path toward success where you know exactly what to tweak and test to boost results even further.

3. Automation Powerhouse & Scalability 

Email is truly the only channel that can boast an ability to run on “autopilot”. It is absolutely the closest thing that you can get to a “marketing machine that just converts people for you on autopilot”.

Now, you’re not going to achieve this on day one, as you will need to start out by testing different things manually. However, the more campaigns that you run, the more you will understand what works. And then, the more things that you can automate and let us handle for you automatically.

4. You own your audience

I’m surprised any time that I see people pouring untold amounts of effort and resources into channels owned by someone else. And this is beyond just the three main disadvantages we discussed now. The main disadvantage is that they own your leads. 

That’s right, when you invest a ton of money into any other channel besides email, you’re literally building up an engaged audience for someone else. They own those leads, not you. 

b2b marketingIf you truly understood the full repercussions of building an audience for someone else, you would be completely reluctant to invest in or prioritize such channels. To learn more about why, check out: Why Email Is Now More Important Than Ever.

Best Practices To Leveraging Email for B2B

So, we’ve established why email reigns supreme in B2B marketing. Now, let’s dive into the best practices you can implement to leverage its full potential and watch your B2B marketing efforts soar. Achieve more, by doing less.

Understand the customer journey

You’re probably aware that the idea of a customer journey, and an understanding of stages and touch points are at the core of digital marketing. But here’s a fun fact that nobody mentions: email is the only marketing channel where this is applicable in a practical manner.

Using all kinds of channels and platforms sounds fun, until you realize you have no way of tracking which exact person viewed what exact post on social media, or watched which one of your videos on YouTube. Such platforms only give you aggregated information and keep the exact touch points to themselves.

b2b marketingWhen you utilize an advanced platform like Emercury, you can track every touchpoint and custom-tailor a personalized customer journey. And with custom event tracking, this goes beyond just email. We can track for you when a person visited your pricing page, or performed an action somewhere on your website, and then send campaigns their way, automatically.

This is only possible with platforms that you own. Whether this is your blog, membership website, or the emails that you send. It is also one major reason why you want to prioritize fully leveraging the assets you fully own, before you invest too much in building someone else’s platform. 

To learn more about this, check out: Mastering the Marketing Funnel: A Comprehensive Guide to Conversion at Every Stage

Gather behavioral data

The really good news with a platform like Emercury is that the most important data is gathered for you automatically. We already track who opens your emails and clicks on your links. That alone constitutes the 80/20 when it comes to useful data in a B2B marketing context. 

In fact, if you did nothing else except build segments based on opens and clicks over a given period, you would be able to personalize quite effectively. Check out 10 Ways to Take Advantage of Behavioral Email Marketing for some great examples.

And you know what? Even with just this, you would be further ahead than most B2B marketers in terms of results. And you know why? Because they’re too busy chasing low-leverage shiny objects with much lower returns. 

Leverage the best time to gather data

You can, and you should go beyond just the data we gather for you automatically. I recommend doing so in stages and prioritizing the highest-leverage data which is the easiest to set up.

What you will want to do first is to set up steps in your sequences that assign specific tags or custom field values based on how people interact with your emails. Your subscribers tell you a lot by which emails they interact with and how, or which links they click on.

b2b marketingAnd the very first thing you will want to do is set up a quality welcome email sequence. And then leverage this welcome sequence to gather data. This means that you tag people based on how they interact with your emails at different parts of the welcome sequence. 

Since the welcome stage is the most engaged time in your customer journey, the data that you can collect at this point is already pretty strong. So prioritize this first. However, when you’ve fully leveraged this out, you can move on to the next steps.

And there are two things you can do beyond this 

The first is to leverage the custom event tracking that you get access to as an Emercury user. With this, you can track any sort of action or behavior on any of your web assets. This means whether a person viewed your pricing page, played a video, or achieved a certain action.

With this, you can then create automations that automatically assign data based on an event. For example placing a certain tag on people who visited your pricing page, or a custom field value on a lead that has visited your blog more than 10 times.

The second thing you will want to look at is building out the sequences beyond the welcome sequence. This is a big part of setting up your lead nurturing, which is crucial to fully leveraging out email in a B2B context. And yes, you want those sequences to both leverage the data gathered up until that point, as well as to keep gathering additional data.

To learn more about how to gather and organize your data, check out: Email Segmentation Secrets: Tags, Lists, Segments, Explained

Build useful segments

If you’re not fully leveraging the power of sequences, you can’t even say that you are really utilizing email in the fullest. If you’re just sending the same broadcasts to the list as a whole, you’re missing out on the biggest advantage of email marketing.

Ideally, you should categorize your subscribers into different segments from day one. This is due to an advantage that you have in B2B marketing. The marketers who work in B2C can’t afford to ask for a lot of data upfront. Their opt-in forms typically can ask for a person’s first name and email, and nothing more.

Most B2B businesses can get away with asking questions about the lead’s business, including size, industry, and whatever data helps you segment those leads. You can then build some segments that take this data into account, so that you can treat leads differently from day one. And if you want the extra convenience, we recommend our smart segments feature.

Leverage personalization

The reason that we gather segmentation data is so that we can treat different subscribers differently. In other words, engage in personalization. This is another aspect where email is king, and no other channel comes even close.

b2b marketingEmail is the only channel where you can make sure that no two people see the same content. With email, you can, and you should make sure that everyone gets the most relevant content, at the right time.

And just how do you do that? Well, this is what all the previous practices were about. If you have identified the stages of the customer journey and have solid behavioral data, you can customize their experience to an unprecedented level which is simply impossible with other channels.

But here’s the thing, just like with everything else that we discussed, there are levels to this. You can, and you should start with the simplest form of personalization. This includes something like our “smart personalization” feature. It’s our modern upgrade to “merge tags”. This is a feature you should be using from day one.

Even if all you have on file is the lead’s business name and state, just inserting that into the email content will make a massive difference. And of course, you will want to use the traditional merge tags to personalize the subject line as well.

Beyond that, as you gather more behavioral data, you can create later-stage segments that are based on this additional data, so that you treat more mature leads in an even more personalized way. This means broadcasting different emails to different segments, but also building even finer automations. You can literally build out super-custom journeys that take into account all the custom events, website visits and actions taken on your website.

Integrate across systems

The really great thing about Emercury is that we built it to act as the core of your marketing stack, where you can plug and play different things as needed. And if you’re in B2B you will generally need to take your sales team or processes into account.

Fortunately, this is very easy thanks to our solid stack of native integrations, as well as full access to incoming and outgoing webhooks. For example, you can leverage our Calendly integration to create a smooth, flawless booking process for your sales team, and automatically enroll those leads into a sequence. And if you utilize our incoming and outgoing webhooks, the integration possibilities are endless.

With incoming hooks you can create a real-time system which automatically updates the data in Emercury with data coming from other systems. This means that if your sales team uses a CRM, you can set it up so that it sends any changing data to Emercury. Which in turn allows you to trigger or personalize your email campaigns off of that. 

Outgoing hooks work the opposite way. You can set up Emercury to send changing data to another system. For example, you can set it up so that you automatically update a google sheet that informs the sales team that they need to follow up with a warm lead. You can read about how to set up this use case example here.

Get A Strategic Partner On Your Side

There’s no need to go at this alone. While we do put out a lot of free content to help you, nothing beats a one-on-one conversation. In these articles we try to help clarify things as best as possible. However, every business is different, so we have to generalize.

If you want to understand better how to implement email marketing in your specific business, let’s have a chat. At the moment I am still able to do some free demos, so be sure to book one while I can still do these.

I would love to hear about your specific needs, challenges and any confusion you might have about email marketing strategies. And then, help you see how you can use Emercury to improve your bottom-line.

Alternatively, or in addition to booking a free demo, you can also grab a username for our forever-free-plan while we still have it. It’s probably the most generous email marketing automation plan on the planet. We include almost every feature in this plan, with very few restrictions.

Remember, you get to keep this plan for life, for free… Provided that you grab a username while registrations are still open. Note that we might decide to pull this way-too-generous offering at any point. So click that link to check if we still allow registrations.

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