Updated: December 14, 2022
B2B companies learned the value of email marketing long ago. Believe it or not, since the early 1970s. It has a substantial return on investment (ROI) of $36 earned for every $1 spent. With an ROI like that, it’s easy to see why the digital marketing tactic is a favored content distribution channel amongst manufacturer marketing professionals.
Furthermore, according to annual research from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), this year 74% of manufacturing marketers used email newsletters to distribute content to their target audience. And 63% leveraged other types of marketing and sales emails to nurture leads, win new business and build relationships with existing customers.
So, why is one of the original forms of digital marketing still so powerful today? In this blog, we’ll answer that question and provide nine tips to power up your manufacturing email marketing.
B2B email marketing works
The email channel is a manufacturing marketer’s dream. By enticing prospects to give you their contact information, you have a direct conduit where you can send that person highly-targeted marketing and sales content directly to their inbox. The problem comes when you find yourself struggling to stand out.
The fight for inbox prominence is a very real one. All your competitors are likely targeting the same markets, speaking to the same pain points and offering similar products and services. How do you separate yourself?
Some frustrated marketers might be tempted to dial up their email send rates and make outrageous claims in their subject lines. But doing so is liable to backfire. You risk being ignored as just more marketing noise coming across as spammy, which isn’t very good for business. Worse, with email terms of service (TOS) including strict penalties for violations, you may be banned by certain providers. More importantly, you could incur hefty fines for violating the United States CAN-SPAM Act and/or the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), depending on where your business operates.
Instead of trying to be outrageous or increase the number of emails you send, just for the sake of improving open rates and click-throughs, follow these nine email marketing tips for manufacturer marketers that will help you stand out and get noticed in the digital age.
Choose the right email marketing software
Don’t be among the manufacturing and distribution companies that struggle to remain up-to-date with the latest technological advances. More millennials are filling B2B decision-making positions, and those prospects are probably making heavy use of their smartphones. Today’s B2B buyers, especially millennials and generation Z, do everything from searching for business solutions to building relationships with key suppliers and closing sales with their customers. Therefore, your email marketing software should give you several options to streamline your outreach efforts.
First things first, you should be able to automatically send emails to prospects who subscribe to your newsletter, thanking them for their trust. Be sure to never abuse that trust, and only send something when you have a purposeful message to send.
You can also segment your email list in the following ways:
- Where they are in their customer journey, e.g., the awareness, consideration or decision phase.
- By audience, e.g., by market, industry, vertical, role on purchasing committee, job title, etc.
- By interest.
You can then drip-market your content at regular intervals to keep your company top-of-mind. A monthly newsletter is an excellent concept that is inviting and can be welcome by recipients if it’s well done. A quality newsletter is short – about a page in length – and contains inviting media, like photographs and video snippets, as well as useful and interesting content.
Popular newsletter topics include changes to your company, new product announcements, industry news, as well as useful tips your prospects and clients can use to enrich their business efforts.
The email software you choose should also be able to send out an automatic email the moment a form is filled out, a download is completed and another critical action is taken by your prospective clients.
Comprehensive digital marketing software, such as HubSpot or Pardot by Salesforce, is better than simple email-only automation solutions. They have more advanced features and functionality than something like Mail Chimp and can integrate with other types of business technology. Regardless, whatever email system you choose needs to include the ability to integrate with your CRM so that you can import leads, stay on top of warm prospects, and even up-sell and cross-sell to customers long into the future.
Always offer quality content
Emails shouldn’t always be about trying to sell your products. Instead, focus on providing valuable information, such as your company’s safety standards, pressing matters in your industry and interviews with luminaries in the field.
Most of all, focus on content your recipients can use as 72% of B2B buyers are most likely to share useful content with their colleagues via email. For best results, concentrate on common problems, such as finding quality products that last. Write about solutions like how to find the best manufacturer for your clients’ needs. And provide tips and advice like how to get the best value for your products, as well as how to use your products properly.
Other ideas include technological developments in your industry, breaking news and emerging trends.
Case studies can also help to sway prospects and make excellent emails that prove to recipients exactly what your company can do.
Send enough valuable content and you’ll be on your way to becoming a thought leader in your industry. Soon your recipients will look forward to your emails and instantly share them without a thought. This is entirely possible as long as the quality always comes through.
Again, only send something out when you have something to say, as today’s savvy email users are highly reactive against blatant efforts to sell.
Prioritize subject line optimization
A recent study showed that great subject lines can increase open rates by 47%. The study also showed that subject lines containing the words “Money” “Revenue” and “Profit” performed highest, while “Help, “Free”, “Reminder” and “Percent Off” performed lowest. However, properly test your subject lines to see which common words and phrases your decision-making audience responds to most.
Subject line length also matters as subjects between 40 and 50 characters seem to work best.
Lastly, ensure that your subject line is relevant to your content or else your emails may be relegated to clickbait and, ultimately, spam.
Put your opt-ins to work
You can’t email the subscribers you don’t have. Therefore, your first priority should be to ramp up the number of |prospective buyers on your email list. Look for any opportunity to place an email opt-in, such as your website, downloads and even on brochures you hand out at tradeshows. Once you have a prospect’s consent, they’re yours to contact as long as you don’t do anything to make them unsubscribe.
Make your opt-in offer irresistible
Few visitors to your website will give you their contact information out of the blue. You’re going to have to cough up something of value that you can trade for their personal details. A good place to start would be a lead magnet like a whitepaper, case study, infographic or ebook.
A popular blog post, a list of industry statistics and even an offer for a free assessment or quote are other excellent ideas of “giving to get.”
Measure and maximize your success
The best way to find out what your audience responds to is to experiment. Do videos work better in emails or do photographs? Do case studies perform better than top-ten lists and whitepapers? Only by receiving enough data and then crunching the numbers can you gauge the effectiveness of your manufacturer email marketing campaign.
Remember though, data is only useful if you’re measuring the right KPIs. Open rates can be useful but aren’t enough on their own. And Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) makes determining it for Apple mobile device users and Apple Mail users tricky. Successful manufacturing industry email marketers go beyond open rates to measure email interactions, conversions and ROI. Unfortunately, HubSpot’s annual State of Inbound Marketing Trends report found that roughly 50% of brands don’t measure email interactions down to the conversion level, and less than 20% measure email marketing ROI.
Once you have the data, put it to work and keep tweaking your campaigns according to what works, and success will soon be yours.
Send at the right time
The timing of your marketing emails matters. Studies show that the best day and time to send B2B emails is Tuesday at 10 am. And the second most popular day and time is Thursday at 8 pm; with the third being Wednesday at 2 pm. That’s a lot of variation. How should B2B manufacturing marketers determine which day and time is best for gaining the most success? Again, this is something that should be tested to find the sweet spot your audience best responds to.
Get help from B2B manufacturing experts
When marketing to current and prospective purchasers, you can stand head and shoulders above the rest by selecting a cutting-edge email system, personalizing and segmenting your content, measuring your results and tweaking your efforts along the way. Sending emails at the right times and spreading your opt-ins far and wide while selecting subject lines that demand attention are all ways to supercharge your email marketing campaigns. Follow this advice to follow in the footsteps of world-class B2B manufacturer marketers.
Need help crafting your email marketing strategy? Find out how the experts can help!