The Importance of Email Marketing for B2B

The Importance of Email Marketing for B2B

“Your email reminded me what a great job we had done together a couple of years ago, we should meet up for a coffee to explore how we can work together” started the reply from an ex-client of ours who we hadn’t worked with in a few years.

One thing led to another and a few months later we were onboarding his business as one of our biggest new clients of the year.

Another email started with: “From your emails it’s abundantly clear that we are on the same wavelength, and we’re currently looking for someone to redesign a pitch deck for us – would you be interested in quoting for the job?”

We got the job, then we got another one, and we’ve been working with them for over two years now. And we do have a great cultural match, she was right.

It’s funny. Back in 2013, when we took our second client on board at Switch Digital (when Digital was still a sister agency to Switch), it was for email marketing. I was surprised at the time. We had been told that email is dying. Young people don’t see their email, they don’t even have email addresses any longer, everyone’s just on Facebook.

But things change. The world changes. And oh, the world has changed.

And as the world changed, email marketing just kept getting more and more important, recovering from its “inevitable demise”. 

Here’s why:

Social Networks are like Drug Dealers for businesses

They make it extremely easy for your business to get its first fix for free, and they get you hooked, but once you get going your organic reach declines, no matter how good your content is. So you start paying, a little at first, then you just increase your spend as time goes by until you’re funding some of the world’s biggest businesses.

And to make matters worse, at the moment social networks are fragmenting greatly, so it’s becoming even harder to find the best place to get your fix.

The other issue with social media is that you’re constrained within the parameters of the medium, email gives you much more flexibility.

Your email list is yours

No matter how much you might feel like your followers on social channels are yours, they’re not. They’re tied to the platform they follow you on and you’re at the mercy of the platform’s whims.

We just had a client’s account blocked on Instagram without warning. They did not break any rules. They didn’t spam anyone. They might get the account (which has close to 10,000 followers) back, but they’re not sure if they will. 10,000 hard earned followers, lost until someone at Meta support finds the time (and will) to help.

Your email list is yours, as long as you’ve collected it in ways that conform to the various rules that govern the practice (GDPR and CAN-SPAM, mainly), you can email to your list to your heart’s content, and if your email platform goes bust you can switch to another in minutes (well it’s a bit more complicated than that, but it’s just technicalities that stand in your way).

Email is personal and intense

You can only open one email at a go, so if you use email marketing well you can grab someone’s attention completely for the time they’re reading your email. The frame of mind is very different to a social network, which is actively working to make you spend more time consuming more content on the platform.

Email lists are easier to communicate with

One of the biggest challenges for small businesses, especially if they’re starting up, is to build an active community on social media. And if you don’t have an active community, your pages look dead. With email you don’t have that problem. Even if you have a list of 20 people, you can still communicate with them as if you have 20,000 people in your list, and as long as you write and communicate as if you do have 20,000 people in your list, your audience is none the wiser.

It’s much easier to build a position of authority with email marketing than it is with practically any other channel.

Email marketing is (relatively) cheap

As long as you’re OK with sending an email, even just a completely normal one to your clients, then you are good to go with basic email marketing. Setting up and running an email tool is also extremely intuitive and relatively cheap, so the barrier to entry is low there, too. And, to make things better, for B2B marketing we’ve found that the best-performing emails are the ones that look like a regular email sent from gmail or outlook, so you don’t even need a visual component.

Email Marketing is Good for Business

The bottom line is simple. Even if you don’t compare it to any other channels, email marketing is good for business. 

  • 73% of consumers in the UK stated that email is their preferred marketing channel, the favourite by far. 
  • Email marketing delivers the highest ROI of any channel – you see this consistently across multiple studies (from 36X to 122X!) Even at its lowest, it’s a fantastic return.
  • 60% of people prefer receiving promotional emails, while only 20% want to see ads on social media.

Email Marketing allows for granular segmentation

Since your list is yours you have all the possibilities to communicate with the people in the list as a series of multiple lists, infinitely segmented in ways that allow you to send much more relevant messages to people.

Do you have a group of people who are regular customers? Split them out and send them offers before anyone else, giving them extra value and increasing loyalty. Or send out an email to everyone who’s bought running shoes when you get a new consignment of running socks. The possibilities are endless.

And in the end…

Email marketing is great, but it is still not enough as a marketing strategy itself – it’s not what we’re advocating here. What we are suggesting, rather strongly, is that you don’t ignore it as a medium.

Take the time to work on a strategy and develop the medium as a new channel. It will take time, we know it took us time to figure it out well for our audiences, but once you do there’s a good chance that you’ll find it incredibly useful. 

So don’t wait any longer if you don’t have an email marketing strategy in place. Get cracking on it, integrate it with your overall efforts and you’ll see returns that grow together with the effort you make, building and growing as you put more time and effort into the list. If you’re stuck, feel free to reach out, we have over 15 years of experience with the medium by now.

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