Four Rules of Effective B2B Emails

About how many unsolicited emails do you receive per day at work? How many of these do you actually open? If you’re like most of us in the B2B marketplace, the former is north of five and the latter is probably zero. To be completely honest, the ones that make it past my spam filter are usually relegated to the trash folder as quickly as they appear.

But what about the flip side to that equation? Almost all B2B companies use email as a part of their marketing and lead generation campaigns. If we’ve already established that most unsolicited emails go directly into a big digital black hole, what does that say about the emails that YOU are sending? More to the point, how do you avoid the abyss?

Here are some of our most tried and true methods for ensuring effective emails:

1.  Always call first.

If you’re a follower of our blog, you know that here at Connects Marketing Group, we are all about personal connections. As such, we don’t buy into the current marketing automation trend- meaning we are not advocates of pumping out emails to prospects we haven’t reached out to by phone first.

A personal connection trumps a cold email every time. But if you’ve not been able to get through to a prospect on the phone, and you’ve left an introductory voice mail (with maybe one or two follow-ups), then an email is perfectly acceptable. In fact, a kick-ass follow-up email should ALWAYS be sent after a voice mail.

So, AFTER you’ve tried to reach out and actually speak to a prospect, and you’ve left no more than three voice mails, onwards to the perfect email…

2.  Read the subject line you just wrote. Would YOU open this email?

There are oodles and oodles of blog posts, articles and other things out there that tell you how to write compelling B2B subject lines. But your litmus test should be simple- would YOU open this email?

If you know your target market, and you’ve done your homework on your prospect, then you should know what’s more important to them. Is it price? Quality? Production Time? Something else?  Whatever it is, focus on it.

Let’s say your target works for a large OEM that manufactures food and beverage equipment. And just for kicks, let’s say your company manufactures hoses for this equipment. Which one of these two email subject lines would be more effective:

Get the Best Prices and Highest Quality from XYZ Company’s Line of Hoses

or

Our Hose is First to Obtain 3-A and FDA XYZ Approval for Dairy Processing

3.   No bad jargon! I repeat: No. Bad. Jargon.

Nothing makes me cringe more than bad business jargon. This blog post from DigitalRelevance is one of the best things I’ve read on the topic in a long time. Have a look at an excerpt here:

Exclusionary jargon is the “bad” jargon. Rarely does it impart more useful information than simpler, plainer speech. Instead, it transmits a message about the speaker: I am a business professional. It’s an easy way to establish one’s qualifications — even for the unqualified.

  •  It has become improper to say, “Let me ask my manager.” Instead, a customer’s problem is escalated. Really, though, this is just passing the buck.
  • That old software that really ought to be replaced with something better isn’t antiquated, outdated or obsolete, it’s legacy software
  • A business isn’t trying to sell you a product, it’s offering a solution.
  • Instead of having a product to sell for a particular price, companies have deliverables with a price point.
  • Those deliverables aren’t categorized, ordered or sorted, they’re bucketed.
  • Employees come away from meetings not with tasks or even a “to-do list,” but with action items.

Inclusive jargon is the “good” jargon, a business shorthand that encompasses complex ideas and multi-step actions. It’s inclusive because it binds people of the group together to discuss complicated issues. Inclusive jargon is difficult to fake because, given any industry discussion, it will soon become clear if someone really doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

  • sales funnel is a useful bit of metaphor that encompasses the entire complex array of consumers, from the general public to business leads to prospects to customers, each of which involves a different type of interaction.
  • Organic traffic—something we’re quite concerned with at DigitalRelevance—might sound like something from science fiction, but it’s a useful term in the SEO industry that describes website traffic that is earned without spending money on advertisements. That traffic comes from a lot of places: search engine results pages, blog links, social media referrals and more.

###

Bad jargon can make any well-intentioned email come across as canned and insincere. Just don’t use it. Period.

4.   Lay out what happens next.

Always end an email by clearly stating what happens next. (Notice how I didn’t say call to action?)

Here’s a great example:

Please let me know if you would like to speak with Joe Smith, our Director of Engineering.  He can explain how our solution is helping Big Hospital and other hospitals and discuss if it would be a good fit for you. In the meantime, please visit our website or join us for an informative webinar:  Title:  Subtitle, on January 17th at 10:00 am .

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely,

Your Name

And another:

Here is a great link to an interview with our founder that explains the service our company provides: Link

I’ll give you a call later this week to discuss setting up a demo of our network.

Regards,

Your Name

The bottom line: Emails are one of the most powerful tools you have to reach potential customers. When done well, they can be the key you need to open doors you never thought possible.

 

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