Amid COVID-19, and economy’s downfall, SMEs are struggling to stay afloat and barely managing to survive, leave growing. Scaling-up in today’s time is incredibly difficult. There is no silver lining to the dark cloud looming large over our heads, but it doesn’t hurt to prepare for the times ahead, to stay in touch with your existing customers, and reach out to new ones.
In distressing times, PREPARE. The one thing that has stood out unfazed and unassuming in the times of social distancing is email marketing. While people are still getting used to dystopian roads, pleasant yet sometimes eerie ambient silence and no-handshake policy, the inbox is there, in all its glory, doing its duties with gleeful abandon. That’s the only normal connecting your 2019 and 2020. The tapping and scrolling to refresh it, the instant gratification of receiving a mail within a moment of sending- is still there. It is a complementary activity that people can do while doing other work such as watching TV (sixty-nine per cent), sitting on a toilet, in bed (fifty-seven per cent), on vacation (seventy-nine per cent) or waiting at a bus stand.
Want to see how powerful an email is for SMEs? Check these stats out:
B2B audiences rate email as the third-most powerful information source, only after industry-specific subject matter experts and peer recommendation. You get the drift, right?
- B2B emails have higher CTRs than B2C emails – almost forty-seven per cent higher!
- Nearly sixty per cent of businesses accept that email happens to be the most effective way to generate revenue for their business. The ROI is massive! In the U.S., one dollar spent on an email sees the ROI of $44, which is GBP 38 in the U.K.
- Your email opt-in customers spend 138 per cent more than the customers who haven’t subscribed or receive your emails
- Seventy-seven per cent of users prefer to receive permission-based emails.
So, the multi-million dollar question is, why more B2B SMEs are not harnessing email marketing to build up their reach and enhance the business? Why is that only seven per cent of SMEs using emails for brand awareness, whereas as many as twenty-six per cent of them think it to be an influential tool for sales?
To help you navigate through email marketing, and make you a part of the privileged ‘Super Seven Club’ using emails for branding and building their business, here’s a five-pointer list of tools, tips and solutions! Read on!
Old is not Gold.
The pre-requisite of an email marketing campaign is an email list. Often businesses rely on data aggregators or old data to send emails. It is convenient to forget that people change their jobs, their companies and emails. So, a business email may not be valid in some time but still present in your database. An email marketing database comes with an expiry date.
How do you spot if you have a terrible SME B2B email list?
These are the telltale signs that your SME B2B email list is not what it wants you to believe it is.
- If you have inherited this list as a “legacy” system, discard it.
- Higher bounce rates indicate that your email list needs an overhaul.
- If your sales department is relying on a never-ending email list or is availing services of more than one data aggregator, it is a telltale sign of poor quality. The size doesn’t correspond with the quality.
- Does your email marketing campaign receive a phenomenal response and you find yourself juggling with a lot of emails by the end of the day? Sorry to burst your bubble, but either your business is hiring or renting email lists, or your campaign is hijacked by bots.
- You don’t have opt-in subscribers.
- Your customers or email recipients are marking your business emails as spam, unsubscribing, ignoring or deleting them the right way.
While the number of emails a business receives each day hasn’t changed much since 2015, but the percentage of spam passing through the security filters has increased. Businesses need to accept that their email database is deteriorating by 22.5 per cent annually. So they need to be on top of their email list to stay a step ahead.
It is when data mining services help you go big and realistic. Using machine learning, manual prowess, statistics and database system, a data appending company would find anomalies, irregularities and pattern within your email list to weed them out. The email list in your database is flagged as valid, invalid, catch-all, spam, and so on to help you retain only the organic and original email addresses that matter.
Besides, data appending is also an integral part of data scrubbing. So, your database not only gets cleaned but also enhanced with verified information of the customers you intend to reach out! Hire a data solution company to train your employees for best data practice, and supervise the inflow of data. And act now!
Mind your language.
Carefully choosing your words can take you a long way. Particularly with digital community, when you have to vie for the attention of an idyllic thumb. Something as innocent as ‘Donate’ can reduce the CTRs by fifty per cent or even more whereas offering an opt-in bonus or incentive such as a FREE course is the easiest and fastest way to convert subscribers. It has been established that SMEs that offer lead magnets report higher conversion rates. So, use these and build your SME B2B email list fast!
These lead magnets or opt-in incentives could be sidebar forms, top bars, pop-ups, footers or anything that attracts the users to come back for more. It could be a simple bar highlighting an irresistible, never-before offer maybe.
Lock it up!
If your business is in a knowledge-sharing domain, you would consider locking your content and giving premium access to your content to people signing-up with you. If creating lead magnets is not possible, upgrading content and asking for opt-in is the perfect way to go about! However, you need to ensure that your content is excellent and not available anywhere. The content should offer value to the subscribers to convert them. White papers, case studies, e-books, online courses, resource lists and stories can be locked to provide opt-in subscription.
Pop it up!
Another way to land leads and get more traction is through pop-ups on your website. Enabling pop-ups to give your target audience a one more chance to understand there might be something more to browse through. The pop-up should be visually appealing and offer something to your subscribers so that they are tempted to drop their email IDs with you. You can send them a link to free e-book on their email ID, or a discount coupon shall be emailed to you, however, for that they need to share their email with you. Several tools can identify the users who are leaving your website and can enable the pop-up right away. If you are an e-commerce website, you can allow a ‘don’t leave your cart’ pop-up when a user is leaving the website after adding products to the cart. The pop-up can boost your conversion rates up to a brilliant fifty-eight per cent all over the website and seventy-nine per cent on the shopping cart.
Customise your form
If you are using an opt-in form for your users, you can use Smart Conditional Logic to ensure that you are asking the right questions and offering them a drop-down to choose their answers. Based on your business’ need, you can select the text field, and for rest, you can have an ‘other’ category. It makes the capturing of B2B leads quite more effortless. Since customers don’t have to type, they are prompted to fill the form and leave their email addresses. Besides, it is less cluttered and offers superior user experience along with making lead generation a lot more personal.
Emails are good for your business. Your opt-in email subscribers are three times more likely to share your content on social media than other customers coming through another means of promotions. By the end of 2020, businesses will be sending more than 240 billion emails each day. Almost eighty-six per cent business professional use emails for business communication, and if you want to stand out in their inbox, it is essential to clean your act.
A neat email list is a key to build up your email database as well as your customers. To initiate any of the steps to build an SME B2B list, ensure that the email IDs your marketing or sales team is using to send business communication is up-to-date and verified. To keep a check on influx of the leads created through this route, email verification services are recommended. Email list cleaning requires constant effort and supervision, for which data mining services are the best bet. The rest of tips and techniques come much later in focus; because irrespective of how brilliant your services, emails or lead magnets are, you can’t reach out to the target audiences if you don’t have their current email address! If you want to stay ahead of the curve and target the right customers, email address validationis the way to go!