What are the advantages of strategically using email in marketing your business?
In this podcast, SalesNexus CEO Craig Klein continues the conversation with MarTech Podcast host Benjamin Shapiro about the advantages of email marketing. Here they delve into the different ways businesses can integrate email in their marketing strategy. In particular, they look into how you can use email as your sandbox for marketing strategies.
How can an email marketing strategy influence the stuff you’re doing outside the inbox?
CK: We work with a lot of B2B sales teams. So that can be sometimes startups. But it sometimes can be longtime established businesses that are really sales-driven for a long time. But now they’re trying to move into the digital marketing world, and finding their footing there. I see them really spin their wheels for a while because just like anything there’s a lot to learn before you really get to be an expert. What we’ve found is that, for instance, you could go and your digital marketing guy might say, “We can start a pay-per-click campaign and we can spend $5,000 for a few months. We can gather quite a lot of data. Then, we’ll start to get things tuned in and figure out what works. Maybe in six months, we’ll really start to see some ROI on that investment.” That’s a reasonable strategy.
For a B2B company, there’s so much variability in what’s going to happen after that lead converts from a Google point of view. Now they’ve got to convert as a sale for the sales team, as a customer for the business. Trying to get those two things working right, that’s the hard part. So that’s where I see an email marketing strategy being so valuable. It’s such an easy and affordable sandbox for you to play around in.
What are the advantages of an email marketing strategy?
If you’re a long-established business, and you’ve got an email list of past customers, past sales leads, and existing customers. You can take all those lists and start testing some campaigns. And it might take you a few days to put together the campaigns and the emails and orchestrate all that. However, you’re going to get data immediately. First, you’re going to look at the opens and clicks and all that and see if the email performed. Then you’re going to watch what happens with the salespeople.
Do they close any of those deals?
Once you start to get that feedback, you can go back and make some changes to the campaign. And then do it again. There’s almost zero incremental thoughts other than a little bit of time. Whereas in an Ad Words campaign (or really any digital platform), you’re going to have to rerun those ads and spend the same amount of money you spent the first time.
BS: So the idea here is that, A – for email you’re not paying on a per-impression basis like you would for your advertising. B – with an email marketing strategy you’re going to be able to collect your data faster than you would in a performance marketing campaign?
CK: Right. And it’s more directly connected to your sales data as well. Especially on our platform, it’s all in one place. So that makes it easy. But it’s just easier to marry those two data sets.
What are the challenges of an email marketing strategy?
BS: There’s a challenge with an email marketing strategy, which is you actually have to do the email collection. Think of your performance marketing efforts. You’re going to be able to go reach out and discover and find net new sales leads. Or you can do things like retargeting people that have already shown an interest in your products or services. Retarget the people that are on your website. But you don’t have to go through the process of capturing PII, somebody’s email address.
When you think about testing and figuring out what marketing strategies work, it seems like you’re in the camp of saying you should be testing with email because you know who those people are. Moreover, an email marketing strategy doesn’t cost you anything. As opposed to testing on people that don’t know, that you have to pay for.
What determines the success of an email marketing campaign?
CK: Of course for different businesses the former is not really an option. Or at least it’s not the strategy that they’re really focused on. In other words, you may be trying to break into a new market or expand into new territories or something like that. And there you may not have a lot of existing email addresses. That’s an issue you’ve got to address. You can acquire lists and if you do it right, and you do it in a careful way, it can be a great way to test your messaging. You can also run digital campaigns for the Ad words for the express purpose of building an email list. And then do further testing. It depends on the business.
The other thing that I’ve seen work really well is, if you have a list that you think represents sort of your ideal customers, like your best customers. There are services that can do look-alikes on those lists for you. They’ll help you start identifying them so that you can reach out to them via email, phone, LinkedIn, whatever.
How powerful is an email marketing strategy?
BS: That’s one of the powers of an email marketing strategy. One of the ways where you can use an email to drive efficiencies and test with your marketing is by running marketing activities to people that you know look like your customers. Often we’re thinking about email as an opportunity to directly sell to somebody that has shown an interest in the products or services.
But really what you can do is take the email addresses of your customers, of your target profile. The people that you have a high degree of certainty are going to convert. Go use the power of artificial intelligence through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, every performance marketing platform. Then say, go discover more people that look like this, that follow this profile.
There are several different ways to do that. And it’s super valuable.
CK: In fact, just going through that exercise gives you insights into who your best customer really is. You might be sitting in conference rooms with your marketing team. Maybe you’re drawing that persona on the whiteboard and making some assumptions. And then you perform this look-alike analysis, and you realize there are common themes there that you had never picked up on that are more easily identified.
For instance, it’s great to say “I always want to talk to the VP of production at the customers that I deal with”. But the problem is people don’t always have the same kind of titles. They always have different ways of stating those titles. It might be easier to identify things that you would never have guessed. Like 50% of our customers have an advanced degree, a master’s degree, or something like that. We can use that now to better target and really get our message to the right people who are going to have the highest ROI.
How else can you use an email marketing strategy to support your business?
BS: I think that there’s one last way that you can think about using email to support your marketing efforts and understand what’s working. We talked about how an email marketing strategy is cheap and easy. You can reach out to the people that have shown an interest. You can create lookalike audiences based on your email list. And you’re talking about enriching your data and figuring out what are some of the common threads amongst your most high-profile customers. Email is an easy channel to use to gather that data.
And you know what the trick to doing it is? You take the email address of your 10 best customers. Next, you compose unique emails and you schedule a meeting with those people. You ask them questions about the products or services that they’re interested in. Email is not only a form for marketing. You can also do your qualitative customer research by just reaching out to your customers.
This is not rocket science. Email is powerful because it gives you access to communicate, to talk about things outside of selling. You can actually ask your customers questions and they will give you the answers to what is important to them. You aggregate that data. Now you have a picture of who your customers are and what their interests are and how you can help solve their problems. Email’s a great way to actually reach your customers and ask them for their feedback.
At the end of the day, an email marketing strategy sort of sits in a unique place between marketing and selling.
CK: It’s more of a relationship tool than a lot of other marketing media. An email marketing strategy is also just so much more affordable in the long run that you’re crazy not to use it to experiment and learn.
BS: I absolutely agree with you. It’s one of the things that we’re focused on this year at the MarTech Podcast. We’re blowing out our website. We’re focusing more on building and relaunching our newsletters. And part of the reason is so we can capture some emails and better understand who our customers are. We want to better understand what their needs are and also have the ability to reach them. And that’s why email is such a powerful tool. Not only for direct communications, but for all of your marketing efforts.
The MarTech Podcast tells the stories of world-class marketers who use technology to generate growth and achieve business and career success.
You can also check out this episode on the MarTech Podcast website: https://martechpod.com/episode/creating-b2b-email-campaigns-that-get-results-craig-klein-salesnexus/using-email-as-a-sandbox-marketing-strategy-craig-klein-salesnexus/