In 2017, email marketing turned half a century old. Yet, B2B marketing professionals continue to rank the channel high on their list of preferred marketing tactics.
The reason for this is simple. Email marketing is an inexpensive way to promote products, increase sales, and retain customers. In fact, email marketing has a median ROI of 122%– more than 4 times higher than other marketing channels, including social media, direct mail, and paid search (source).
My point? Email marketing isn’t going anywhere. More than 86% of businesses surveyed in 2016 indicate that they plan to increase their upcoming email marketing budgets (source)—and you should too.
But first, the experts at ZoomInfo put together the following questions to get you thinking about the strategy behind your spending:
What is the ultimate goal of your email marketing program?
Before you can determine how much budget to allocate to email marketing, it’s important to establish your goals and priorities. These can be broad or specific, but should ultimately align with the goals for your overall marketing strategy.
For example, if you’re focused on lead generation, your email marketing goal may be to increase click-through rates. In this scenario, you would dedicate more resources toward content creation or B2B email list development.
However, if your overall marketing goal is brand awareness, your budget might be better spent on software that automates emails focused on driving customer reviews.
Ask yourself, what do I want to achieve and what resources do I need to get there?
How will you expand your reach?
Email marketers are constantly searching for ways to expand their reach and improve their lists—even marketers who already run successful email programs. In fact, 51% of marketers say enriching contact data quality is their most significant barrier to achieving email marketing success (source).
As you grow your email database, you increase the opportunity to reach potential prospects and customers. But as marketers, we know that organic database growth is not a fast process or easy feat—particularly when complicated by rapidly decaying data. This raises the question, how often are you sending email campaigns to inaccurate or stale email addresses?
No matter your goal, if your emails aren’t reaching the right people, your email marketing strategy won’t be a success. Whether done manually or by partnering with a B2B data provider, prioritize database health to get the most out of your email program.
Do you have access to the right tools?
Take a look at your current email strategy and consult with your team. Where are your emails falling short? Do you have access to the analytics you need? Is your marketing automation tool getting the job done?
The tools you use to build, send, and segment your emails are vital to the success of your program. Not sure where to start? Ask your team the following questions:
- What tools do you use every day?
- Do you have access to the analytics you need?
- Are there any tools you’d like to try out?
- How can we improve our email marketing program?
- Are you happy with the tools you currently use?
Listen to your team and invest in the software that makes sense for your company.
Do you have access to the right people?
A successful email marketing strategy often requires the expertise of several employees—an email marketing specialist, content creators, someone to manage website integrations, etc. If you have the tools you need, but are limited by manpower, use your email marketing budget to invest in the right people.
Consider whether it makes sense to hire full-time employees vs. contract employees or freelancers. Typically the latter is less expensive and can produce high-quality work.
Are you producing the right content?
High-quality content is the driving-force behind your email marketing strategy. Without it, you’ll have a difficult time generating leads and revenue. But, how do you know if your content is good enough? Take a look at the following metrics—
- Clicks/Website Visits—A high click-through rate indicates a compelling CTA or headline. If your click-through rate is low or your emails aren’t generating many website visits, consider experimenting with different types of content or headlines.
- Bounce Rates/Time on Page—Are your bounce rates through the roof? Do people leave your landing pages after only a few seconds? This is a good indication that visitors didn’t get the content they were expecting or that they found little value in the information they received.
- Unsubscribes—Take a look at how many unsubscribes you’re getting from each email send. If you see particularly high unsubscribe rates on a certain type of content, this likely means it’s not working or your audience just isn’t interested.
With the right tools, email segmentation provides ample opportunity to engage prospects with targeted content. Therefore, in the age of big data, segmenting your audience and serving content based on likes, dislikes, and demographic information is no longer an option, it’s a necessity.
When you pair a well-segmented B2B database with tailored content, you create a more human experience, which ultimately allows you to generate more leads. In fact, personalized emails are directly linked to higher ROI, generating 6x higher revenue than non-personalized emails (source).
How will your strategy evolve over time and will it impact your budget?
If you consistently test new content, maintain your data, and grow your lists, you will find that your email marketing strategy evolves over time. For example, as your opt-in lists grow, your segmentation may get more granular. As a result, you’ll need more content to send. If you don’t have the bandwidth to produce more content, your email strategy will stall.
Do your best to anticipate strategy growth and identify areas where you may need more resources down the line.