E-Mail, Schmee-Mail . . . Who Cares?

You do. Hands down, email marketing campaigns rank in the top three most cost-effective ways to reach B2B prospects, right behind pay-per-click campaigns and online display ads. For every one dollar you spend, email marketing returns an average $44.25, calculates the Direct Marketers Association. Say again?

Are you overlooking this Seal Six tactic in your marketing arsenal because you believe it’s too much trouble? Weary of slogging through your Outlook in-box?
Sick of spam?

Advisors in financial and professional services manage heavy workloads. Add to this, the average corporate user sends and receives 112 email messages each day. And though we’re armed to the teeth with spam filters, research firm, Radicati Group, tells us 19 percent of your received emails count as spam-a-jama.

Your prospects spin in an e-mail whirlwind, too. According to the latest 2010 estimate, 2.8 million e-mails are sent throughout the world every second, for a daily total 240 billion, writes Science Illustrated. By 2014, e-mail will become a $2 billion annual market, predicts Forrester Research.

But if your recipient doesn’t read it, who cares? To insulate emails from the quick-finger-delete button, let’s lay down some best practices―because you really can’t afford to bite the digital dust and miss the lead purifying elements of e-mail.

The Magnificent Seven
Seven bullets worth doing well if you want to simplify the complex sale:

  • Build and continually refresh your opt-in1 prospect target list
  • Research essential issues your prospects want to solve
  • Make your content valuable, short, to-the-point
  • Create an offer to motivate response [white papers, peer analyses, reports, success stories]
  • Write an attention-getting subject line
  • Always end with the right call to action
  • Resist fancy graphics; create a subtle, attractive look to reinforce your brand

E-mail readers ask themselves: What’s this all about? What do they want me to do? Be direct and extremely clear, and don’t waste anyone’s time. Your e-mail campaigns are perfect conversation starters, and allow you to continue the conversation as prospects move through their buying process. Remember, less is more. See below for a short example:

To: Bob Smith
From: Bill MacDonald
Subject: Insight on Law Firm Partners’ Retirement Study

We recently completed an extensive study of partner retirement plans for law firms with 50 or more partners. The study offers some valuable findings, as well as new concepts that we consider as best practices.

Please let me know if you would like a complimentary copy of the study. I would be happy to forward it to you, and answer any questions that arise.

Bill MacDonald

Prospects rotate around the gravitational pull of decisions, like planets in orbit. Cold-warm-back-to-cold-warm-hot. Follow their trajectory, and find a direct path to lead generation. Our sample e-mail appeals to prospects at any stage in the buying process. Whichever e-mail style you adopt, its only exists to qualify and nurture the lead, the prospect through his buying process.

Map out a content schedule for your firm so that your e-mail pushes parallel and advance your prospect’s thinking. You don’t have to become a mind-reader. You do have to know your target prospects well, and pay close attention to their responses and, with chess-game concentration, make the next indicated move.

Situational E-Mails
I have found that when you create a series of situational e-mail templates, pegged to common business challenges, they can be easily personalized to each prospect circumstance or stage. Keep it simple, relevant and timely, and follow your message map or content schedule. This approach helps to keep messaging consistent, and allows you to continue to send out useful collateral to further mature the buying cycle. Nothing new here, but a smart way to nurture leads.

Well-Powered Strategy
Effective e-mail campaigns depend on your knowledge of the target audience. If you’ve haven’t already done so, install a hard-working Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to store key information, and to track the prospect through their buying process.

Consider, too, using a good Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress, and a well-regarded email distribution provider. Despite its funny name, MailChimp works well for Plein Aire. And don’t forget a simple metrics measuring system, such as Google Analytics, so you can track your bounce-backs, open rates and conversions. Sounds complicated, but it really isn’t, because you can affordably outsource to in-the-know professionals.

Keep smiling about that 44:1 ROI. It’s rotating in cyberspace. Waiting for you.

See you on the upside,


P.S. We’ll talk about how your website, landing pages and incentives fit into your email strategy in an upcoming blogpost, and share our Top Ten E-Mail Bloopers.

1 Critical to work from an opt-in list where recipients give permission to mail to them, or a list of clients and prospects well known to you; one way is to attract subscribers with a newsletter. We’ll discuss pros and cons of cold list acquisition in a future post.

News Alert

MERGE 2.0, read my latest book, now released by the publisher and available on Amazon to purchase.  Learn everything you need to know to book revenue in the new realities of B2B professional selling.

And, if you’re not a reader and prefer interactive learning, take our MERGE 2.0 online learning course.  Go here for more info.

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