By Andrew Dalglish - 26th March 2012
I’ve always felt my groaning inbox bore testament to the popularity of email marketing. Now my suspicions are confirmed.
The latest report in B2B Marketing’s Benchmark series reveals that a whopping nine in ten (88%) business-to-business marketers make use of the technique. Remarkably, amongst those doing so almost one half (44%) broadcast emails once a week or more often.
This popularity means that message overload is a real problem. A business buyer often receives several hundred marketing emails a month. Inevitably these merge into one indistinct mass.
Email marketing performance statistics reflect this fact – B2B marketers now achieve an average open rate of 24% and a click through rate of just 13%. A bit depressing when one considers that email marketing consumes one quarter (24%) of the typical marketing department’s time.
Despair not though; it is possible to stand apart.
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First, create quality content. Ask B2B marketers which style of marketing email gets them the best results and first by far is anything which shares thought leadership. Likewise, the single most effective route to boosting email performance is felt to be compelling subject matter. And as a bonus, not only will good content optimise email success, but it can feed other activity such as social media, events and PR.
Second, hook them in. Behind subject matter, the next most effective route to boosting email performance is felt to be a carefully crafted subject line. A subject line which is short, intriguing and quickly conveys the value of opening the message.
Third, focus on data. A relevant and accurate database is a pre-requisite to email success. Yet even though most (78%) refresh their database at least 2 – 3 times a year, B2B marketers tell us that data accuracy is still the most significant email challenge they face.
Finally, remember the simple touches. You have top quality content, a carefully crafted subject line and a sparklingly clean database; now be sure to strike when the time is just right. The Benchmark Report reveals that the best time to broadcast emails to a B2B audience is Tuesday between 10am and 1pm. The worst is Monday between 8am and 10am.
Read more about our approach to business-to-business (B2B) marcoms and advertising research.
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Andrew has specialised in B2B research for over a decade and co-founded Circle Research in 2006. He is a columnist for B2B Marketing Magazine, a regular contributor to Research Live and frequent speaker at leading events such as the B2B Leaders Forum, Customer Experience Live and the Social Media World Forum. Andrew is a Chartered Member of the MRS, teaches the MRS B2B research course and holds an MA in Psychology from Aberdeen University alongside an MSc in Marketing from Strathclyde University.