Have B2B e-mail campaigns matured since 2006? Forrester doesn't think so. In fact, the noted research company says many B2B e-mailers aren't even doing the fundamentals in their campaigns.
In Shar VanBoskirk's report, "The Best And Worst of Email Marketing, 2010" published earlier this month, Forrester found that the average score for B2B campaigns actually dropped since its last review in 2006.
For 2010, Forrester graded 70 e-mail programs across multiple industry verticals on 15 criteria, focusing on subscription, value, presentation, and trust. Only two programs passed; most scored very low, with two the average score.
In the next couple of columns, I'll look at the fundamentals and advanced marketing e-mail practices that Forrester reviews in its reports. I'll also offer some advice for how you can improve your campaigns and help you mature before the next Forrester review.
1. Collect Quality Opt-In Subscriptions
List growth is the lifeblood of an e-mail program. Research has found time and time again that subscribers who have recently signed up for your e-mail program are much more engaged than those who have been on your list for six months or more. However, it is always surprising to me how difficult it is to subscribe to many brands' e-mail programs.
These tips will help you evaluate your own e-mail subscriptions' practices and optimize collection to increase the acquisition of quality e-mail subscribers:
One of the best methods to sign up new subscribers for e-mail is to include a quick sign-up form on your home page and any page that receives heavy traffic via paid search.
In addition, give sales representatives and call center associates a form and training to collect opt-in e-mail subscriptions for marketing purposes in their sales and customer management tool set.
Keep your subscription form to a manageable length and ask only the basic information you need to offer the subscriber relevant e-mail content. Additional information can be collected over time as part of a lead nurture program.
2. Provide Maximum Value
B2B e-mail marketers often measure the value of their e-mail programs by how many leads the program generates. They focus on new product launches, company news, and other marketer-centric content, often forgetting about the subscribers' needs.
However, subscribers expect you to provide valuable content in your e-mails. If you don't, they will unsubscribe, complain, or tune out.
Consider these points when measuring the value subscribers receive from your e-mail programs:
While collecting quality subscribers, you set some expectations for the type of content you will provide via e-mail during the initial subscription registration. Now, your goal for each message should be to provide your subscribers with content beyond the expectations you have set:
The Next Word
Auditing your own e-mail program and implementing these tips will help your e-mail program mature and generate even more leads and revenue.
Next time, we will focus on presentation and trust criteria to help ensure that your e-mail program will pass a Forrester review with flying colors.
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Mike Hotz is a senior strategic consultant for Responsys, working with clients to design, develop, and execute cross-channel digital marketing strategies that contribute to their cross-channel digital marketing success. As an industry veteran, Mike has worked in e-mail marketing since 1998, designing, building, and executing e-mail and multichannel direct marketing strategies focusing on increasing customer engagement, nurturing leads, supporting sales organizations, and driving revenue for companies such as CDW, OfficeMax, Grant Thornton, and Digitalwork.com.
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