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An Underutilized B2B Public Relations Weapon

Posted by Wendy Marx

 

B2B public relations  professionals don’t often sing email marketing’s praises. Indeed, the B2B social media marketing community likes to say that email marketing is kaput. That the only way to generate website traffic is via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, blogs and search engines.

It just ain’t so.

emailmarketingIn fact, check out these 18 email marketing stats if you have any doubt.

And, if you still aren’t convinced, consider: Email marketing offers B2B marketers the highest quality leads of any channel, according to a Software Advice survey.

The fact is that email marketing is changing. The days of purchasing an email list from Dun and Bradstreet, loading it into your email system and blasting unsuspecting prospects is over. That type of email marketing is dead! B2B marketers that still adhere to these to antiquated practices will mostly likely get their ISP blocked and lose their privilege to communicate via email.

Here are 3 surefire ways to use email marketing to increase the impact of your B2B public relations, grow your business and deepen customer and prospect relationships.

Understand Your Buyer

The first and most important aspect of crafting a great email is knowing who is your target buyer. To write email that is relevant and valuable, understand your buyers: their needs, wants, job priorities, educational level, and job title.

Before you put your fingers on your keyboard to write your first email you need to do the following things:

  • Interview some current clients
  • Send a survey to some prospects in your lead database
  • Host a focus group meeting with your most articulate customers

Try to extract as much information as you possibly can about your prospects and customers. This knowledge base will be the foundation from which you build your email marketing campaigns.

Build an Opt In List

Once you have developed a deep understanding of your target buyer, start creating a database of prospects you can start emailing. This is where most marketers take the easy road and purchase a list from Dun & Bradstreet or Data.com. Resist this urge to buy a list. Instead build your database from the ground up. This approach is harder and more difficult, but iworth the work. Let’s look at two ways to build and opt-in database:

  1. Ask for Email Addresses: This approach of asking for email addresses might sound rudimentary. However, it can be a very effective tactic to build an opt in list of prospects. Offer to industry news, product discounts, and freebies in exchange for a prospect’s email address. You will be surprised how effective this strategy can be in growing your database. 
  2. Require Email Addresses: Another effective method to scale the size of your email marketing database is by requiring prospects to submit an email address before they can access to your premium content. “Gating” content for ebooks, industry resources, and white papers will help build your prospect database especially if you offer premium content.

Always Be Educating

Once you have your database of opt-in prospects you’re ready to create your email. At this point it’s important that you take what you have learned about your potential buyer and craft email content that addresses the needs, issues, concerns and risks that your buyer faces. By pairing your content closely with your prospect’s issues, you deliver high value content that your recipients will want to receive.

Be sure to add value and educate your audience rather than use a promotion-only strategy.

And, don’t aim, fire and disappear. Distribute your email in a regular cadence- so that you stay top of mind when someone is ready to make a purchase decision. By emailing a prospect every 4 to 6 weeks you maintain the delicate balance of keeping your company top of mind while not exhausting your database with too much communication.  

Enhance Your Credibility with Your B2B Public Relations

Here’s your chance to further the reach of your PR. Share your recent media placements in your email and/or any articles you’ve written. And don’t forget to let your audience know if you’re speaking anywhere. All of this expands your visibility and credibility.

Email marketing is alive and well in the business to business community provided you follow the new rules of email marketing.  First develop a deep understanding of your prospective buyer. Then build your email marketing database from the ground up. Finally, to minimize “list churn” develop highly valuable and educational content that adds value to your prospect’s life. If you adhere to these strategies and tactics you’ll find that email marketing exceeds your expectations. Start creating great email content today!

 

An Introduction to Email Marketing

Apr 3, 2014
 
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Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx is the founder and president of Marx Communications, a boutique inbound marketing and public relations agency. An award-winning B2B public relations pro, she has helped many small- & medium-sized firms (SMBs) become well-known industry brands and transform their businesses, going from Anonymity to Industry Icon™.

Her business articles have appeared in The New York Times, InformationWeek, Inc., Advertising Age, & Fast Company, among other outlets. 

View all posts by Wendy Marx