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15 Best-Kept B2B Email Secrets to Win Prospects’ Hearts [INFOGRAPHIC]

The-15-Best-Kept-B2B-Email-Secrets-to-Win-Prospects-Hearts

Writing sales emails is probably not your idea of spending Valentine’s Day, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get into the loving spirit while preparing your drafts and templates. The next email you send out just might be what you need to move the sales process forward – if you put your heart into it, that is.

How exactly do you win over B2B prospects through emails?

But how exactly do you win over B2B prospects through emails? Today’s infographic shows 15 proven ways to generate more opens, click-throughs, replies, and conversions. These best practices cover 5 crucial requirements of a compelling B2B email:

  1. Finding the optimal sending schedule and frequency
  2. Capturing your audience’s attention with an irresistible subject line
  3. Striking the right balance between content and design in the email body
  4. Ending on a right note with an engaging closing line
  5. Helping recipients act and respond with a clear CTA

 

Infographic-The-15-Best-Kept-B2B-Email-Secrets-to-Win-Prospects-Hearts

 

1. Finding the best sending schedule and frequency

Just like dating, wooing prospects through emails requires impeccable timing. You need to know the right day and time to send out emails, as well as determine how frequently to stay in touch.

There’s no hard-and-fast rule that tells you the ideal email sending schedule, and different studies in the B2B marketing literature can suggest vastly different email sending times and frequency. This means you’ll have to determine this based on your own experience and requirements.

Fortunately, marketing project management platform CoSchedule has published extensive compilations of various studies on optimal email schedule and sending frequency, which we can use as starting points to time our emails more effectively:

  • The best day to send emails is Thursday, and the best time is from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • You should send no more than 5 outreach emails each month and 1 email newsletter each week.
  • 89% of email contacts expect you to reply within 1 hour.

 

2. Capturing your recipients’ attention with an irresistible subject line

In many ways, subject lines work like pick-up lines. They’re both designed to hook and retain your audience’s attention, and both try to achieve the objective of initiating a conversation.

But, unlike a pick-up line, a subject line (mostly) does away with cheesy puns and wordplays, focusing instead on substance and conciseness.

Again, there’s no magic formula to craft succinct subject lines (although AI seems to be getting better at this task), so you have to test and iterate to find subject lines that work best for you.

Addressing recipients by their first name in the subject line increases open rates by 20%

Here’s a couple of things to keep in mind in your quest for a captivating subject line:

  • From lines trump subject lines at driving email opens: 64% of recipients will read an email based on the sender’s identity, while 47% will open an email based on the subject line.
  • Subject line length impacts open rates: subject lines with 6 to 10 words generate the highest open rates.
  • Subject line personalization works: Addressing recipients by their first name in the subject line increases open rates by as much as 20%.

 

3. Striking the right balance between content and design in the email body

Now that you’ve gotten your recipient’s attention, it’s time to bring your email’s main message in front of your audience. Getting your message across means applying the right mix of content and design elements on your email body.

The email body is where you deliver what your subject line has set out. It’s where you build the case for taking the action specified later in your CTA, so the components of the email body all need to move toward that direction.

right-balance-between-content-and-design-in-the-email-body

There are millions of possible copywriting angles and design choices you can make when developing the email body, and only a handful will actually have a direct, positive impact on engagement, response, and conversions.

The following email body best practices are supported by recent research in B2B email marketing:

  • Email messages that have between 50 to 125 words generate response rates of more than 50%.
  • Emails written at a third-grade reading level have the highest  response rates, fetching 17% higher response rates than emails written at a high school reading level and 36% higher response rate than emails with a college-level writing style.
  • Email recipients rank the top email turnoffs as: too much text (17%), slow-loading images (17%), emails not optimized for mobile (16%), and inconsistent design choices (12%).

 

4. Ending on a right note with an engaging closing line

A quick glance at messages in a typical inbox is enough to tell us that most marketers tend to treat closing lines only as an afterthought. Closing lines play a more important role than simply providing a place for you to sign off.

Closing lines impact whether recipients act or ignore your CTA

Email closings bridge the gap between your message and the action you want recipients to take. If subject lines determine whether a prospect opens an email, closing lines impact whether recipients act or ignore your call-to-action (CTA).

To maximize responses and conversions, consider the following research-backed tweaks to your email closing line:

  • Email closings are great places to personalize. Emails that mention the recipients’ first name tend to produce above-average reply rates.
  • A little gratitude goes a long way. Emails that end with some variation of “thank you” generate 63% to 65% response rates.
  • For emails with a conversational tone, signing off with “Cheers” yields a 54.4% reply rate.

 

5. Enabling recipients to act and respond with a clear CTA

Anyone who has seen at least two dozen rom-coms will eventually notice that practically every movie in this genre includes a climactic scene where one of the lovers chases down the other and make a grand speech in some comically unsuitable setting.

While the CTA resembles the climax to a story, it’s very different from what happens in a film. Your email’s call-to-action sets the stage for the next step in your relationship with a prospect. It’s where prospects decide how the rest of the story plays out.

treatment-group-test-b

A/B Test: Putting only 1 CTA lifts CTRs by 42%

So, to improve the chances of prospects acting on your CTA, take these key insights in to account when crafting your call-to-action:

  • Clear and simple CTAs produce higher conversions. Emails with a single, specific CTA generate over 370% more clicks.
  • CTAs with some personalization Perform 202% Better Than plain-vanilla, generic CTAs.
  • The most common verb in a CTA is “Get”, and CTAs tend to be 14 characters on average.

 

Conclusion:  Use these 15 email secrets on your next send-out or campaign, and win the hearts and minds of your target prospects.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Author Bio:

Rebecca Matias

Rebecca Matias is VP of Sales & Marketing at Callbox. A sales professional with an engineering background, she has more than 10 years of experience in the B2B marketing space and has spearheaded many of the innovations at Callbox. Follow Rebecca on Twitter and Facebook.

Download the Ultimate Lead Generation Kit eBook

How-to-Manage-Leads-and-Appointments-from-your-Outsourced-Agency
Why-Businesses-Struggle-With-Lead-Generation

15 Best-Kept B2B Email Secrets to Win Prospects’ Hearts [INFOGRAPHIC]

The-15-Best-Kept-B2B-Email-Secrets-to-Win-Prospects-Hearts

Writing sales emails is probably not your idea of spending Valentine’s Day, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get into the loving spirit while preparing your drafts and templates. The next email you send out just might be what you need to move the sales process forward – if you put your heart into it, that is.

How exactly do you win over B2B prospects through emails?

But how exactly do you win over B2B prospects through emails? Today’s infographic shows 15 proven ways to generate more opens, click-throughs, replies, and conversions. These best practices cover 5 crucial requirements of a compelling B2B email:

  1. Finding the optimal sending schedule and frequency
  2. Capturing your audience’s attention with an irresistible subject line
  3. Striking the right balance between content and design in the email body
  4. Ending on a right note with an engaging closing line
  5. Helping recipients act and respond with a clear CTA

 

Infographic-The-15-Best-Kept-B2B-Email-Secrets-to-Win-Prospects-Hearts

 

1. Finding the best sending schedule and frequency

Just like dating, wooing prospects through emails requires impeccable timing. You need to know the right day and time to send out emails, as well as determine how frequently to stay in touch.

There’s no hard-and-fast rule that tells you the ideal email sending schedule, and different studies in the B2B marketing literature can suggest vastly different email sending times and frequency. This means you’ll have to determine this based on your own experience and requirements.

Fortunately, marketing project management platform CoSchedule has published extensive compilations of various studies on optimal email schedule and sending frequency, which we can use as starting points to time our emails more effectively:

  • The best day to send emails is Thursday, and the best time is from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • You should send no more than 5 outreach emails each month and 1 email newsletter each week.
  • 89% of email contacts expect you to reply within 1 hour.

 

2. Capturing your recipients’ attention with an irresistible subject line

In many ways, subject lines work like pick-up lines. They’re both designed to hook and retain your audience’s attention, and both try to achieve the objective of initiating a conversation.

But, unlike a pick-up line, a subject line (mostly) does away with cheesy puns and wordplays, focusing instead on substance and conciseness.

Again, there’s no magic formula to craft succinct subject lines (although AI seems to be getting better at this task), so you have to test and iterate to find subject lines that work best for you.

Addressing recipients by their first name in the subject line increases open rates by 20%

Here’s a couple of things to keep in mind in your quest for a captivating subject line:

  • From lines trump subject lines at driving email opens: 64% of recipients will read an email based on the sender’s identity, while 47% will open an email based on the subject line.
  • Subject line length impacts open rates: subject lines with 6 to 10 words generate the highest open rates.
  • Subject line personalization works: Addressing recipients by their first name in the subject line increases open rates by as much as 20%.

 

3. Striking the right balance between content and design in the email body

Now that you’ve gotten your recipient’s attention, it’s time to bring your email’s main message in front of your audience. Getting your message across means applying the right mix of content and design elements on your email body.

The email body is where you deliver what your subject line has set out. It’s where you build the case for taking the action specified later in your CTA, so the components of the email body all need to move toward that direction.

right-balance-between-content-and-design-in-the-email-body

There are millions of possible copywriting angles and design choices you can make when developing the email body, and only a handful will actually have a direct, positive impact on engagement, response, and conversions.

The following email body best practices are supported by recent research in B2B email marketing:

  • Email messages that have between 50 to 125 words generate response rates of more than 50%.
  • Emails written at a third-grade reading level have the highest  response rates, fetching 17% higher response rates than emails written at a high school reading level and 36% higher response rate than emails with a college-level writing style.
  • Email recipients rank the top email turnoffs as: too much text (17%), slow-loading images (17%), emails not optimized for mobile (16%), and inconsistent design choices (12%).

 

4. Ending on a right note with an engaging closing line

A quick glance at messages in a typical inbox is enough to tell us that most marketers tend to treat closing lines only as an afterthought. Closing lines play a more important role than simply providing a place for you to sign off.

Closing lines impact whether recipients act or ignore your CTA

Email closings bridge the gap between your message and the action you want recipients to take. If subject lines determine whether a prospect opens an email, closing lines impact whether recipients act or ignore your call-to-action (CTA).

To maximize responses and conversions, consider the following research-backed tweaks to your email closing line:

  • Email closings are great places to personalize. Emails that mention the recipients’ first name tend to produce above-average reply rates.
  • A little gratitude goes a long way. Emails that end with some variation of “thank you” generate 63% to 65% response rates.
  • For emails with a conversational tone, signing off with “Cheers” yields a 54.4% reply rate.

 

5. Enabling recipients to act and respond with a clear CTA

Anyone who has seen at least two dozen rom-coms will eventually notice that practically every movie in this genre includes a climactic scene where one of the lovers chases down the other and make a grand speech in some comically unsuitable setting.

While the CTA resembles the climax to a story, it’s very different from what happens in a film. Your email’s call-to-action sets the stage for the next step in your relationship with a prospect. It’s where prospects decide how the rest of the story plays out.

treatment-group-test-b

A/B Test: Putting only 1 CTA lifts CTRs by 42%

So, to improve the chances of prospects acting on your CTA, take these key insights in to account when crafting your call-to-action:

  • Clear and simple CTAs produce higher conversions. Emails with a single, specific CTA generate over 370% more clicks.
  • CTAs with some personalization Perform 202% Better Than plain-vanilla, generic CTAs.
  • The most common verb in a CTA is “Get”, and CTAs tend to be 14 characters on average.

 

Conclusion:  Use these 15 email secrets on your next send-out or campaign, and win the hearts and minds of your target prospects.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Author Bio:

Rebecca Matias

Rebecca Matias is VP of Sales & Marketing at Callbox. A sales professional with an engineering background, she has more than 10 years of experience in the B2B marketing space and has spearheaded many of the innovations at Callbox. Follow Rebecca on Twitter and Facebook.

Download the Ultimate Lead Generation Kit eBook

How-to-Manage-Leads-and-Appointments-from-your-Outsourced-Agency
Why-Businesses-Struggle-With-Lead-Generation

Your Marketing Holiday Checklist to End and Start the Year with a Bang

The holiday season is just around the block. You might have stumbled over a few wintry decorations and be filled by inevitable Christmas tunes but with the annual celebration comes a challenge faced by marketers over the holidays. Just because the ho-ho season is already in does not mean you need to put your job efforts on hold.

While it could be a hiatus for some, you are still left with a struggle in catching up with your potential prospects or even keeping your connections with your current clients. You cannot escape the feels of Christmas but it comes alongside the stimulating task in your valued profession.

So, before you proceed in wrapping your gifts, you do not want to miss the essential marketing holiday checklist for you to also wrap the year up. Below are some of the things you need to get over with by the end of the year:

 

Send out an email to your clients.

In connecting with existing clients, you may opt to ask about their plans, inform them of an upcoming offer, or merely check on how they are doing. The season would likely keep your clients more occupied for the holidays and staying active on social would keep you on track and more engaged with them. Why is that so?

As what John Hall, contributor at Forbes, put in his writing, “Potential clients will be using social, and if you want them to find you, you’ve got to stay active. Now, you don’t need to bombard them with updates — just a gentle reminder that you’re present is enough to make a difference.” Indeed, a thoughtful client update is as vital as clients themselves.

Sell Smarter with these 6 Email Marketing Automation Workflows (Blog Thumbnail)

How does email marketing automation work? Here are 6 examples of email marketing workflows and how you can automate them for better customer engagements.

 

Send out holiday greeting e-cards

Unless sending out e-cards expressing well wishes would make you sound cheesy, it does not hurt to let your clients know that they, in any way, are remembered. It will not be cheesy as it sounds because the holiday season can be a great cover-up. Your clients would appreciate it if you would go the extra mile, much more if they were not expecting it. Sending them a quick greeting for the holidays would make them feel valued and it would definitely leave a lasting impression.

What to Get Your Prospects for the Holidays: 4 B2B Gift Ideas (Video Thumbnail)

As you’re making your list and checking it twice, here are 4 great ideas on what to get your prospects for the holidays.

 

Share relevant content

Content plays a big role in boosting your lead generation and this was highlighted in Why Content Is Your Best Asset for B2B Lead Generation published by Cox Blue. Understand that the contents you share must be relevant aside from creative and must offer something of value in order to pull your customers further into your website. Given that it’s the month of jingling bells and fancy candy canes, you do not want your content still be filled with the creeps of November. Keep in mind that relevant and engaging content matters.

Content Intelligence: Leveraging Data and AI to Create Smarter Content (Blog Thumbnail)

In this article, we will be exploring content intelligence and how we can utilize data, insights, and AI in our content marketing strategy.

 

Set marketing goals for the holiday

Enjoying the holidays while being able to pursue marketing tasks are of great importance because you get to enjoy the best of both worlds. Organize your to-dos, plan your content calendar, set up meetings – those are some of the things that you need to finish and cross out of your checklist. During the holidays, there will be things that would slip off your mind so setting up a list will not only make you organize the things that you plan to do but will also make you manage your time effectively.

Moreover, planning your content calendar is equally important as your posts in every platform. Synectics Media outlined that content calendars are great organizational tools for short and long-term planning and goals in your marketing strategy and the benefits include organization and consistency. Also, before the new year would start kicking in, make sure you have set appointments on prospects immediately after the holidays.

Of course, your life does not end after the holiday season was over. Considering that you have ended your year with a bang, you may probably think of starting another with the same promising approach. Here’s how:

 

Follow-up on Prospects

Now that you have kept track on your prospects the previous year, you might want to consider doing a follow-up on January. As what Jeff Hoffman stated at HubSpot, January is the ideal time to upgrade, renew, and cross-sell to existing customers and a great way to cap the year and ensure you haven’t left any issues unresolved. Picking up where you left off would mean a productive start for the new year.

Value Your Leads: Lead Nurturing Best Practices to Boost Conversion (Blog Thumbnail)

Value your leads by learning about the best practices of lead nurturing and start improving your lead handoff process and sales conversions.

 

Identify Their Priorities for the Year

Given that you have already made a follow-up on your existing client, you may want to know what their priorities would be for the year. As mentioned in Hoffman’s post at HubSpot, you have to “get a sense of client marketing cadence, trade show schedules, and product/feature roadmaps for the year. When you know what clients have prioritized, you can plan outreach accordingly and offer what they need before they know they need it.” The fact that you are able to make plans on their calendar, there is a greater possibility that you will have a place on their list of priorities for the first three months, the least.

 
The holiday season is not just about decorative wreaths and gifts, it is about being able to make the best of the year and before you know it, you have already made a successful start for the days to come!

 

Author Bio:

Rebecca Matias

Rebecca Matias is VP of Sales & Marketing at Callbox. A sales professional with an engineering background, she has more than 10 years of experience in the B2B marketing space and has spearheaded many of the innovations at Callbox. Follow Rebecca on Twitter and Facebook.



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Influencer Interview Series: What Top Marketers Are Thankful For

It’s a great time to be a B2B marketer. Although the way that things are evolving can be worrying at times, the fact remains that the changing marketing landscape also brings with it real opportunities and improvements, not just risks and challenges.

Even if around 65% of B2B marketers today feel more stressed-out than ever (with 53% reporting having too much on their plate), there’s plenty of reasons that make marketers feel really thankful:

These are, of course, what we’re collectively grateful for as B2B marketers. The Callbox team also wanted to know the specific things that marketers genuinely appreciate as individuals.

So, in honor of Thanksgiving, we reach out to top B2B marketers and ask them about developments in their professional and personal lives that they believe their future selves will be thankful for. Here’s what they shared:

 

Tim Hughes

Timothy Hughes Quote

Tim Hughes, CEO and founder of the world’s top social media management consultancy Digital Leadership Associates, weighs in with his thoughts on how his team is helping shape a better marketing future for all of us.

For Tim, leading a passionate group of experts that proactively contribute to how marketing moves forward is the biggest thing he’s thankful for:


Here at Digital Leadership Associates social-experts.net we (and our global reseller network) put out a unique piece of content every day; the whole team know and understand they need to contribute.

Why? Because it creates us 3 pieces of inbound every day. We as a social business, don’t do any outbound, no advertising, no cold calling, no unsolicited emails and we run no events.

I’m thankful to “Team DLA” now and I know (based on the fact that interruption and broadcast Marketing is broken) we will all be thankful for this in the future.


Mobile-First Indexing: What It Means for SEO and How to Prepare (feat. Timothy Hughes of Digital Leadership Associates) (Blog Thumbnail)

Make your website ready for Google mobile-first indexing with practical tips and ideas from a number of experts, including first-hand insights from Timothy Hughes of Digital Leadership Associates.

 

Jan Gordon

Jan Gordon

As the founder of marketing resource platform Curatti and a top content marketing influencer, Jan Gordon adds some pretty interesting points to our Thanksgiving roundup.

Most of the things that make Jan thankful lie outside of business, which many of you will probably agree with—especially once you let her concluding remark sink in.


The things I will always be most grateful for are good health, love, family, friends and nature’s beauty. Nothing in business can come close. Everything else in life is just a bonus.


Influencer Interview Series: Mom Was Right (Blog Thumbnail)

We’ve interviewed a number of marketing influencers to find out how their mother’s wise words and guiding hand have shaped the kind of marketer they are today.

 

Reginald Chan

Reginald Chan

Reginald Chan is a leading online marketing expert that helps marketers optimize engagement and conversions. As an avid blogger and SEO enthusiast, he offers up a stimulating take on our Thanksgiving question.

Reginald says that it’s the chance to try hard and do his best that his future self will thank him for later. As we sit back and relax for Thanksgiving, Reginald’s thoughts on hard work serve as great points to ponder on:


Work even harder now! As the saying goes, “work hard now to enjoy the fruits later!”

Don’t live life regretting things you didn’t do or could do better. So always try hard and try harder!

 

Jan Barbosa

Jan Barbosa

Brand ambassador and thought leader Jan Barbosa chimed in on our expert roundup with a thought-provoking answer that most modern B2B marketers can relate to.

That’s because the vast majority of today’s marketing professionals (53%) say they have too much to do and too little time to get things done. Jan mentions it’s actually time that he and his future self will be grateful about, and we couldn’t agree more:


TIME

After days of contemplation, I definitely think my future self will thank me for the gift of time. Time given to my parents to watch old Humphrey Bogart films over and over again on weekends, time listening to those close to me about those little big things that trouble or bless their daily routines, time to the ones about to depart, telling their stories so that they will be remembered.

Sometimes those precious pieces of time seem like a burden but end up being a blessing in disguise, like taking your wife to that concert you simply don’t want to go to, driving home a friend who had too much to drink or spending hours trying to help your son decide which college courses to take for the next semester.

In the end, my future self will thank me for all seconds that can’t ever be recovered, good and bad that served to change my life and those around me, because truly “time” is one of those few very precious gifts that keep on giving, even when we are no longer around.


Influencer Interview Series: Jan Barbosa Marries Content Marketing and PR (Blog Thumbnail)

Influencer Interview Series: Jan Barbosa talks about content marketing and PR

 

John White

John White

With his roles as CMO at Social Marketing Solutions and columnist for Inc. Magazine, John White clearly stands at the forefront of marketing today. But there’s one often-overlooked thing that John really appreciates.

After going through a serious illness, John says it’s good health that he feels most thankful for, not only for himself but also for his loved ones.


After a recent unexpected trip to the hospital for pancreatitis, I was humbled and once again reminded the importance of good health. I am most thankful to be feeling well again and for the health and prosperity of all my loved ones.

 

Mike Allton

Mike Allton

As Brand Evangelist for social media management tool Agorapulse, Mike Allton is keenly aware of the value of genuine connections with people.

That’s why he believes his future self will thank him for the time and effort he invests in building and growing relationships. Mike says he owes much of what he has accomplished by having the right people around him.


I believe that my future self will be even more thankful than I already am for the time I’ve spent developing relationships and forming mastermind groups.

My career – the dream job that I have now – is thanks in large part to the relationships that I started to build and foster many years ago. As I became aware of that fact this year, I’ve made an even greater effort to concentrate on developing that aspect of my life. I have formed mastermind groups of select peers that have been tremendously helpful, and have guided others to do the same.

Regardless of what business you’re in, there’s no substitute for having incredible people around you.


Influencer Interview Series: Mike Allton Wears The Social Media Hat (Blog Thumbnail)

Social Media Marketing isn’t new, but everybody makes it sound like it’s the coolest thing since the internet. One of the people whose calling card shouts social media marketing expert shares some valuable insights to us. Here’s Mike Allton of The Social Media Hat.

 

Kim Reynolds

Kim Reynolds

Kim is one of the leading thought leaders in the social media space today. She wears many hats including Marketing Manager for Social Media Examiner and an independent digital strategist. This puts her right in front of the biggest marketing trends.

No wonder that she thinks her future self will be grateful for augmented reality. As marketers, we’re already starting to see AR’s potential for enhancing engagement. Once this technology matures, it’s going to be an indispensable tool in our arsenal.


I think my future self will be thankful for augmented reality. Right now it is just a novelty of sorts, but in the future it will be integrated into every aspect of our lives. Language barriers can be crossed, information will be at our fingertips, all without even touching our phones.

 

Sarah Arrow

Sarah Arrow

Content Strategist Sarah Arrow adds an interesting and timely take to our Thanksgiving-themed expert roundup. Sarah’s role as a content marketing coach at Sarkeymedia.com gives her a unique vantage point for appreciating the value of customers in shaping marketing success.

As we all know, marketing continues to become more customer-centric and less brand- or product-centric. Marketers who understand this and act accordingly will be very grateful for taking this route.


I’m always grateful for the customers that bring me their content challenges to unravel. I’m truly blessed to work with such amazing people who make their customer’s world a better place with their products and services.

 
Conclusion:  We all have a lot of things in our careers and personal life that may not mean much today, but will be the reasons for our gratefulness someday. Now, it’s your turn. What are some upcoming things that you think your future self will be thankful for?

From the Callbox team, we wish you a relaxing and meaningful Thanksgiving.


Author Bio:

Rebecca Matias

Rebecca Matias is VP of Sales & Marketing at Callbox. A sales professional with an engineering background, she has more than 10 years of experience in the B2B marketing space and has spearheaded many of the innovations at Callbox. Follow Rebecca on Twitter and Facebook.



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6 Scary (but Useful) Lessons Lurking in your Spam Folder

6 Scary (but Useful) Lessons Lurking in your Spam Folder (Blog image)

Once in a while, I rummage around my spam folder hoping to find the latest edition of the Nigerian prince email scam. These fraudulent missives never fail to make me double over with laughter, that I’m almost hoping these scammers would put up some sort of subscription service.

Gizmodo once dissected what was quite possibly the weirdest Nigerian email scam ever, involving a request for $3 million to help a trapped Nigerian astronaut safely return to Earth from a secret Soviet-era space station. That was absolutely priceless.

But, as you may know very well, not all junk mail is funny. In fact, from a B2B email marketer’s perspective, some are downright scary.

 

The Inescapable Clutches of Spam Filters

The Inescapable Clutches of Spam Filters

Most of the time, it’s pretty easy to spot why messages provoke the wrath of the email gods (e.g., use of known trigger words, inadequate authentication, irrelevant content, etc.). While these are definitely cringe-worthy examples of poor email practices, there’s an even more spine-chilling situation playing out in most spam folders today.

A good deal of legitimate emails now gets snagged in spam traps. In fact, last time I checked, I found some editions of my favorite newsletter and even a Google Alerts email in the junk folder.

This should scare the living daylights out of all of us doing email marketing. In recent years, ISPs and webmail providers have ramped up their efforts at blocking spam. Unfortunately, this has the unwanted side effect of increasing the false positive rates for many spam filters, resulting in more and more legitimate emails being incorrectly classified as junk.

And, of course, you know what happens when more and more of your emails get flagged as spam. It hurts your sender reputation, which in turn harms deliverability, which leads to further damage to your sender reputation, which again results in more serious deliverability issues—and the vicious cycle repeats ad nauseam.

In short, no one is spared from the clutches of overzealous spam filters—not even email marketers who follow the rules. It seems sticking to tried-and-true email deliverability tactics isn’t going to be enough.

Related: Dissecting the World’s First Spam Email: 5 Timeless Lessons We Learned

 

Avoiding the Dark Abyss of the Spam Folder

Avoiding the Dark Abyss of the Spam Folder

If email best practices don’t guarantee safe passage for your emails, then what does? The answer lies in the depths of the spam folder itself. If we look more closely at the doomed emails in the junk folder, there’s plenty of lessons they can teach us to save our emails from the same horrible fate.

 

1. There’s no such thing as a silver bullet that slays all your deliverability fears.

We all know that segmentation and personalization tend to improve email marketing results, and we’re demonstrably better off applying these two things into our campaigns. But the problem arises when we treat segmentation and personalization as the answer to every deliverability issue we face.

While it’s true that relevant emails lead to better engagement (in terms of opens and clicks) and eventually results in lower spam complaints and bounce rates, the path from targeted emails to better overall deliverability isn’t as straightforward.

Don’t get me wrong, segmentation and personalization work, but only when used the right way. As Neil Patel points out, the main reason why most personalization tactics fail is that they’re actually making emails less and less personal. He even suggests a few ways to “de-personalize” your campaigns to achieve true personalization:

  • Drop the old “Hi {first name}” kind of personalization
  • Make sure your emails actually give more than they take
  • Be a real person reaching out to another person
  • Get in the habit of asking and listening

What Personalization Means to Your B2B Customers and How to Implement It (Blog Thumbnail)

Explore the benefits of personalization in B2B marketing and learn how to make use of it in the real-life environment.

 

2. Dead email contacts will come back to haunt you.

I totally agree with Digital Marketer’s idea that knowing which contacts to avoid is just as important as identifying which ones to reach out to. Inactive and unengaged email subscribers do have a real impact on deliverability, especially if you continue lumping them together with the rest of your subscribers.

When determining your sender reputation, mail providers and ISPs also factor in mailbox usage rates. This is the ratio of active to inactive contacts on your email list. The lower the mailbox usage, the worse off your sender reputation becomes—and consequently, the lower your deliverability rates get.

Return Path says that low mailbox usage is the third most common cause of low inbox placement, accounting for 19% of email deliverability issues.

The only way to maintain a healthy mailbox usage rate is through proper list hygiene. Marketingprofs recommends regularly checking and removing the following types of email addresses that harm deliverability:

  • Invalid email addresses
  • Spam traps
  • Departmental or role-based email addresses
  • Unresponsive subscribers

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Examine how you can run diagnostics on email marketing list health and see what you can do to improve your overall campaign.

 

3. Your reputation is your best weapon.

In the eyes of ISPs and mailbox providers, your sender reputation is one of the most crucial things that determine whether your emails make it to the inbox or get sent straight to the spam folder. That’s why improving email deliverability is almost synonymous with maintaining a high enough sender score. But how do you take care of your sender reputation?

We’ve already seen that most spam filters consider mailbox usage as a key signal in gauging sender reputation. Other factors include the volume of email send-outs, level of engagements your emails generate, and quality/relevance of your email content.

There’s a ton of helpful advice on ensuring high inbox placement rates out there, but some aspects of sender reputation need to be thoroughly covered:

  • Work with a reputable email service provider
  • Make sure your IP is never used for spam (by you or someone else)
  • Let your recipients easily and reliably identify you as the sender
  • Segment by IP and subdomain

 

4. In most cases, your recipients will be your only allies.

I’d argue that one of the main reasons why legitimate emails end up in the spam folder is that the senders themselves have forgotten that email is supposed to be a two-way conversation. This is a bit unfortunate since, in our struggle against spam, it’s the recipients who are our best allies.

Recipients have the power to tip the balance in your favor by actively opening, clicking, and engaging your emails. They can also destroy your campaign by ignoring or (when push comes to shove) hitting the spam complaint button.

That’s why it’s essential for reaching excellent deliverability results that you not only offer relevant emails but provide a compelling email experience as well.

Opt-in Monster points out some extra steps you can take to set the stage for a genuine, two-way conversation between you and your recipients:

  • Identify yourself clearly with a valid ‘from’ name information and address
  • Align the subject line with the body of your email
  • Instruct recipients to whitelist your emails
  • Ask Gmail users to move your emails from Promotions to their Primary Inbox

 

5. You only fix symptoms, while the real problem remains unseen until it’s too late.

Let’s say your delivery and inbox placement rates start to trend downward. The first place you check is your list where you find a substantial number of unresponsive contacts. You scrub the list, and results begin picking up again. A few months later, the same trend shows up, and you apply the same fix but this time, things don’t improve.

This is a sign that you’re not really addressing whatever underlying deliverability problems that plague your campaign or strategy.

To make sure that you really reach the root of any deliverability issue you encounter (and not just the visible symptoms), you need to adopt a holistic approach at problem-solving similar to what Return Path recommends:

  • Set up an email feedback loop (FBL), which most reputable ESPs provide
  • Make sure all your sending IP addresses are enrolled in your email feedback loop
  • Develop a strategy for managing bounced addresses
  • Use your bounce logs to identify the source of a block
  • Clarify what recipients can expect from you at the outset

 

6. Clues that unlock deliverability mysteries are usually hidden in plain sight.

Like everything else in marketing, determining what’s working and what’s not in your email deliverability tactics boils down to monitoring the right metrics. While the exact KPIs to keep track of will depend on your campaign, a few of the core email numbers you need to constantly follow include:

  • Delivery Rate
  • Inbox Placement Rate
  • Soft Bounce
  • Hard Bounce
  • Open Rate
  • Spam Complaint Rate

One crucial thing to keep in mind when measuring your campaign’s deliverability performance is to make sure that each metric is taken in context, not analyzed in isolation.

The Only Guide to Email Marketing Analytics You’ll Ever Need (Blog Thumbnail)

Here’s a complete walkthrough of email marketing analytics. This guide breaks down email analytics into its key component metrics and untangles the relationships between the numbers.

 

The Takeaway:  Well, there you have it. Six frightening email deliverability lessons lurking in your spam folder. The main point is that it’s easier for our emails to become ensnared in spam traps than we think, but there are steps we can take to keep our emails from falling down that route as much as possible. If this doesn’t scare you into action, I hope this has (at the very least) gotten your attention.

Happy Halloween, marketers!

 

Author Bio:

Rebecca Matias

Rebecca Matias is a Business Development Manager at Callbox. She is a proactive marketer who is willing to share her passion, leadership principles and craft in marketing. Follow Rebecca on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

 

 

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This Labor Day, Start Future-Proofing Your Marketing Team

Here at the Savvy Marketer, we’ve talked a great deal about the ever-evolving marketing landscape and how marketers can keep up. If there’s any single trend amid all these developments that are hard to miss, it’s that the pace of change itself is accelerating.

It seems like almost every day, we face a new marketing direction or come across a novel piece of technology that promises to “revolutionize” or “disrupt” the way we do things as marketers. But while change surely brings opportunities to the table, it carries with it a lot of challenges, too.

For example, the marketing tech ecosystem has now grown to more than 5,000 solutions, up from 200 products in 2011. That’s according to stats compiled by Scott Brinker which also find that 43% of marketers use 6 to 10 martech solutions, while nearly half of businesses (47%) admit they’re having a hard time keeping up with recent marketing trends.

This shift is taking place across all areas of marketing, not only with the tools we’re using but also with the strategies we rely on, the roles and responsibilities we perform, and the capabilities and skills we need to have. Marketers who can’t keep up with any of these developments run the risk of getting left behind.

That’s why, for this upcoming Labor Day weekend, it’s time for you to start thinking about enabling your entire team to adapt and thrive in an ever-evolving marketing world. Today’s blog post offers up some insights on how to make your marketing team robust enough to meet these challenges head-on.

 

Embrace the right mindset

Embrace the right mindset

As marketing remains in a state of ever-increasing flux, it can be very easy to lose sight of what marketing is all about. Marketing exists to grow the business. That was true yesterday, and it will always be true no matter what tools or tactics dominate the scene.

This is why the first step to future-proofing your marketing team is to develop a growth mindset at both individual and collective levels.

Dr. Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, identifies two overall types of mindset that people have: fixed and growth mindsets. When facing an obstacle, someone with a fixed mindset tends to ask “Do I have what it takes?”, while someone with a growth mindset raises “How can I take on this challenge?” Folks with a fixed mindset assume that we’re born with specific abilities, while people who follow a growth mindset believe abilities can be learned and improved.

A growth mindset encourages taking on challenges, making mistakes, and learning from failures. These are exactly what a constantly-shifting marketing landscape needs. In fact, growth mindset applied to marketing is what “growth hacking” essentially means.

Related: Sales Productivity: Tips From the Top Salespeople

 

Define and fill essential roles

Define and fill essential roles

Making your team future-proof means assigning the right roles to the right people. But with job titles going in and out of fashion all the time, it can be difficult to figure out how to structure your team.

According to sources like HubSpot and Digital Marketing Institute, tomorrow’s marketing team will most likely resemble a miniaturized but fully-functioning content publishing and distribution operation. It’s going to be made up of marketers who create content, marketers who make sure that the content reaches the target audience (through both inbound and outbound channels), and marketers who ensure that the entire process runs smoothly.

Here’s what that team will most likely look like:

  • Team Leader/Editor
  • Content Contributors
  • Designers
  • Developers
  • Data and Analytics Specialists
  • SEO/SEM Specialists
  • Social Media Specialists
  • Email Marketing Specialists
  • Phone Specialists

Related: What is Smarketing? (And Why It’s Important)

 

Gain and sharpen crucial skills

Gain and sharpen crucial skills

When we hear the term “skills gap”, we often think of a shortfall in technical skillsets. But the skills gap covers soft skills as well. In fact, some sources argue that the best way for people in specific positions to stay relevant in the next decade or so is to sharpen their soft skills.

While it’s certainly an advantage for marketers to be technically proficient, the changes happening in the modern marketing workplace require a healthy balance of soft and hard skills. As marketing increasingly becomes a collaborative and transparent effort, soft skills can help maintain teamwork, flexibility, and accountability among marketers.

Digital Marketing Institute names nine essential soft skills that all marketers need to possess, regardless of expertise or specialization:

  • Intuition
  • Curiosity
  • People skills
  • Persuasion skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Technological savvy
  • Ability to adapt
  • Multi-tasking
  • Creativity

 

Stack up your toolkit

Stack up your toolkit

It goes without saying that preparing your team for the future means equipping them with the right tools. Technology powers a huge part of modern marketing that it accounts for 22% of the marketing budget. So, how do you make sure your marketing toolkit enables (rather than hinders) your team?

Triniti Burton of Integrate, a demand orchestration software company, outlines eight must-have types of martech tools:

  • Marketing Automation
  • Top-Funnel Automation
  • Analytics Software
  • Content Experience Platform
  • Website Tools
  • Customer Advocacy
  • ABM and Predictive Intelligence
  • Sales and Collaboration Tools

When building your martech stack, the following questions can help you initially evaluate a particular tool:

  • What specific goal or problem do you want the tool to address?
  • How well can you meet the goal or solve the problem without the tool?
  • How does the tool align with your current process?
  • Does the tool add or take away a layer of complexity in your process?
  • Do you have the resources and capabilities to successfully deploy the tool?
  • Can you demonstrate to others how the tool supports specific business goals?

Related: Best Marketing Tools to INCREASE Sales Leads Production

 

Conclusion

Labor Day is the perfect time to think of ways to help everyone in your marketing team meet tomorrow’s marketing challenges.

 

From all of us here at Callbox, we salute the hard work of every marketer and sales practitioner. Have a relaxing and meaningful Labor Day!

 

Author Bio:

Rebecca Matias

Rebecca Matias is a Business Development Manager at Callbox. She is a proactive marketer who is willing to share her passion, leadership principles and craft in marketing. Follow Rebecca on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

 

 

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