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Hard Knock Lessons from a B2B Email Marketer

by Employee on ‎08-06-2013 10:22 AM

Most firms understand the inherent value in email marketing: it’s low cost, targeted, quickly distributed to mass audiences, familiar to recipients, and it’s easy to track campaign metrics. As a marketing manager for the last 10+ years in the software, telecom, and publishing industries I have run B2B email campaigns in excess of 1 million recipients and have learned a few lessons along the way… most of them the hard way. But hopefully you can benefit from some of these hard knock lessons by keeping them in mind when developing and executing your B2B email campaigns.


Lesson 1: Be Conscious of Murphy’s Law

In no other place like email marketing have I found Murphy’s Law to be so true: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”  This simple rule should be kept in mind at every step along the way when developing a B2B email campaign: developing HTML code, embedding hyperlinks, formatting for different email clients, spam keyword testing, defining list segments, content editing, and every other step in the process has the potential for human or system error. So what’s the best way to ensure you’re properly prepared for Murphy’s Law?


Lesson 2: Test Ad Nauseam

The only way to be sure your campaigns, content, links, graphics, and delivery are working as intended  is to test, test, and then test some more. Test your email blast in different email systems. Setup personal email addresses in Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail as well as Outlook so that you can create a seed list to verify your campaigns are being delivered as intended before officially distributing them. This can often identify problems displaying graphics between email systems. I even go so far as to test my unsubscribe links multiple times to ensure they operating properly so our firm remains in CAN-SPAM compliance.   


Lesson 3: Play the Roles

As email marketers we tend to focus very carefully on the tone of our campaigns, trying to find the right mix of content, brevity, and call-to-actions that will generate interest in our readers. But I even surprise myself how often I forget a word here and there, use improper punctuation, or have a tense conflict in my writing style. Play the role of an editor when working on your campaigns to ensure you have reviewed every word carefully. Read what is actually on the screen, not what you intend to say. Play the role of the recipient as well. Did the email peak your visual interest? Did the content really grab you and tease you to read more to take the call-to-action?


Lesson 4: Don’t Forget Suppression Lists

There is nothing more annoying that receiving an email for a white paper, webcast, event, or other offer that you already signed up for. Even worse, and illegal, is receiving a communication from an organization that you unsubscribed from. If you are running multiple rounds of a campaign (whether for content or promotional offer), ensure that before each subsequent blast is sent you remove people that have already responded or unsubscribed. This is a best practice that can be easily forgotten in the hustle and bustle of trying to get an email campaign out the door.


Lesson 5: Use Your Metrics

Most emarketing systems will track metrics for your campaigns: open rate, click through rates, which links performed best, opt outs, and conversions. My advice is to use this data to guide future decision making. If you are running a campaign that has multiple rounds, use the first round to find out what worked and what didn’t. Improve the second round, continue to test, and refine your program before each subsequent blast. Your email open rate can give insight into which subject & from lines performed best, and click through rates give insight into the effectiveness of your call-to-actions and email content.


Learn more about Saleslogix marketing and emarketing solutions that can streamline promotional activities and don’t forget to take the Saleslogix Product Tour while visiting the site.

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