GDPR: The Pain And The Possibilities

A lot has changed over the last two decades, from the way we live our lives to the way we do business. Just twenty years ago the internet was in its infancy, most people didn’t own a mobile telephone and the fax machine was an office favourite. Today we have super-fast broadband, everyone and her grandmother owns a smart phone and the idea of communicating via fax is frankly funny.

Two decades on and we are all now part of the Internet of Things — increasingly online and increasingly connected. We organise our lives and run our businesses via the internet, which means there is now a plethora of personal data all floating around out there in cyberspace. And this is why the EU is implementing the new General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force in May this year, to address this massive digital shift and to make businesses more accountable for the collecting, storing and processing of all this private information.

Make Sure Your Business is Ready for the GDPR

On May 25th 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulation will replace the Data Protection Act 1998 and it will impact your business. Whether you’re a large national organisation holding banks of marketing prospect information and online identifiers or a micro company with one employee, if you handle any personal data belonging to EU citizens, be that personnel, prospect or customer information, the new GDPR will apply to you.

The vast majority of businesses collect or hold some amount of data from third parties, customers or prospects. After all, a healthy business feeds on a proactive marketing approach. From 25th May things will change, and to hold, store or process personal data you will need to have an established legal basis to do so, and documentation to support that.

The GDPR will require your business to regularly assess, record and document compliance.

You will be expected to keep clear data records, make any data breaches in your organisation known within 72 hours and give individuals the opportunity to right to remove their details easily from your database at any time.

Power to the People

Essentially, the new General Data Protection Regulation gives individuals more rights. The personal data of all EU citizens will become increasingly protected and your company will become accountable for the safety of all the personal data you hold. Your business will become responsible for obtaining, storing and processing personal data securely and will have to be able to demonstrate it too.

How the GDPR Will Impact Your Business

Without a doubt, preparing for the new GDPR is going to be majorly disruptive for most businesses. You’ll need to be aware of all the personal data you hold and know where it is located; you’ll need to know who exactly has access to this information and know how it is managed.

A Few Things to Consider in Your Preparation

Audits & Accountability
An internal data audit will be necessary on the run up to May 25th, to establish what data you hold and where.  Some organisations will need to appoint a Data Protection Officer to deal with data security and to manage the processes involved.  You’ll need to be able to evidence and demonstrate the legal basis on which you hold personal data.

Transparency
It’s likely you’ll need to review and update your company’s privacy policies and statements to ensure transparency under the new regulation. Your GDPR-ready policies should give individuals more ‘clear and understandable’ information about how their personal data is used. The Information Commissioner’s Office will require your privacy policy to unambiguously inform people who you are, clarify what you are going to do with their information and inform them what use is being made of their details.

Removal & Access Requests
Under the new GDPR, every person has the right to access the data you hold on them and, in certain circumstances, the right to be forgotten.  If someone requests access to their data, you must send this to them free of charge and within one month of the request; this information can be requested in an electronic format so it can be transferred to an alternative data controller. If asked, you must also delete an individual’s private data from your database and make reasonable steps to inform any third parties.

It may be tempting to bury your head in the sand or to feign ignorance in the face of so much disruption — but the new GDPR simply can’t be ignored.

Failure to ensure your enterprise is compliant by the date the regulation comes into play and you put your business at risk. Serious breaches could cost you up to 4% of your annual turnover or 20 million Euros in fines. So it’s best to be prepared.

New Rules, New Opportunities

The fact is the new GDPR is going to happen and it will still be applicable to your business beyond Brexit. It would be a costly mistake to assume that as it’s an EU directive it will only apply to the UK for a short time. Even when we have left the EU, UK data protection laws will need to be in line with the EU’s.

But as with many things in life, what you get out depends on what you put in. Approach the new GDPR in a positive way and you’ll see that these inconvenient new rules can bring with them new opportunities for your business.

The new GDPR offers a great opportunity to sort through and better understand your data landscape. It’s always a good idea to periodically examine the data processes and procedures within your business and this new regulation offers the possibility to clean up outdated practices, to clear out useless data and to implement new, more effective ways of doing things that will benefit your business in the future.

No one likes to feel forced into doing extra housekeeping, but it is possible to find value in the cost of compliance.

Making your data collection truly transparent and your security systems safer will only help to build customer trust and benefit sales.  

How Market Location Can Help You

The new GDPR will bring with it many changes to your B2B sales and marketing activities. And you’ll need to know you’re compliant and not running the risk of fines.

But if the thought of auditing all your current data, keeping your data up to date and ensuring your data procedures meet the new regulation brings you out in a GDPR-induced sweat, we can help.

As we hold the premier B2B database of UK businesses, we fully understand and comply with the procedures as defined in the GDPR and this compliance is at the heart of everything we do.  Our large inhouse call centre constantly verifies records, making 10,000 outbound calls a day,  to make sure your B2B data is safe, compliant and of a high quality. We communicate regularly with data subjects, explaining what their data is being used for and offering them the ability to modify their data.

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, you need your marketing efforts to make an impact and make a difference to your sales. We can produce a full audit of your data, highlighting where details are out of date or businesses are no longer operational. This will help to clear up your database and improve the quality of the data you hold, reducing the volume of postal returns, bounced emails and disconnected calls.

But it’s not just the Data Protection Act that’s being updated to become the new GDPR, the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), which has provided privacy rights concerning electronic marketing since 2003, is also changing. Currently at draft stage, there is currently no date set for the new ePrivacy Regulation to come into force.

As our society quickly changes, so do our rules. But with Market Location you can trust your B2B data is of high quality, compliant and the best for your business.

A lot has changed over the last two decades and this shows no sign of slowing down.  So if you need a stress-free solution to the new regulations and want to feel confident about the B2B data you use for sales and marketing in your business, contact Market Location today, on 01252 941224 and turn the pain of change into new possibilities.

12 Tips to Achieve Success with Email Marketing

Email marketing allows businesses to engage with potential and current customers. However to achieve success, you need to follow these 12 simple steps.


Success With Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way to make potential and current customers aware of what your business has to offer. However, due to the popularity of this medium, your message has to stand out from the ‘noise’ that now populates most people’s inbox. For this reason, above all other concerns, you need to ensure your email is well targeted and highly relevant.

So, how can you maximise the visibility and responsiveness of your emails?
Here are 12 tips that will save your email campaigns from the trash and turn them into cash:

  1. Set Clear Goals – Define specific objectives for your campaign and set up goals and objectives that are clearly measurable.
  1. Segment Your Audience – Make sure your message matches what your audience wants.  Segmenting your audience allows you to test different creative approaches, which you can then measure against each other.
  1. Grab Your Headline – Be clear and concise: you’ve only got seconds before your message ends up in the trash folder. You should look to avoid using capital letters and exclamation marks, as this looks unprofessional and may appear as spam to the recipient.
  1. Timing – Do you know what the optimum time is for your audience to see your message? It’s different for different businesses, but you need to see what works best for you.
  1. Branding – Make sure the ‘from’ includes your brand name, sent from an email address that’s your recognised domain. Use your logo and brand colours so your email is in sync with your brand. You should also ensure the language and tone is consistent across all your marketing collateral to maximise impact, and prevent brand confusion and dilution of message.
  1. Design – Sometimes very simple, uncluttered, text-based emails work best; but it depends on the objectives of the campaign. Test and test again – remembering that the message should be compatible across all devices. Images often don’t display, as they are stripped for security reasons – so you need to ensure your call to actions have text links to improve the click-throughs.
  1. Personalisation – When used in an appropriate way, there is nothing more powerful than personalisation for engaging with prospects. Using the name of the business or the contact, or indeed referencing the location of the business, all add an element of engagement and help your message stand out.
  1. Call To Action – What’s the point of your email? Make sure the action is clear and the response required simple. You are unlikely to elicit reams of information, so don’t include a long form for prospects to fill in (unless you incentivise completion).
  1. Effective Landing Page – Landing pages are a great way to measure your email campaigns. The best landing pages are distraction free, so just include the information required.
  1. Sharing – Make sure that you allow your email to be shared, by including links to social media and encouraging referrals. You could also try offering an incentive such as a discount for future purchases, if customers forward your message to spread awareness of your business.
  1. Tracking – This goes way beyond opens and clicks. Often the email is the starting point that may end in a purchase or some other ‘action’. Tracking these can help you to improve targeting next time around. It is also important to monitor social media to know what is being said about your business.
  1. Testing – The beauty of email marketing is the flexibility to test every aspect of the campaign without incurring huge costs. Everything can be tested to improve impact – from the audience, copy, creative, message, position of key calls to action, frequency of sends, timing etc.

Final thoughts
So there you have it, 12 tips to achieve success with email marketing. When it comes to B2B email marketing, the magic formula is simple – give the right audience, the right message at the right time. However, getting the combination right isn’t always straightforward.

Performance Based Email Marketing

Is Lack of Control an Issue?

If done correctly email marketing is very profitable. But does a lack of control with performance-based email marketing compromise business success?


Performance Based Email Marketing

Email marketing is without doubt a hugely successful approach for both retention and acquisition marketing. Techniques have now become very sophisticated, and integration with other marketing channels has maximised the potential returns from email marketing campaigns. In addition, the relatively low cost of testing what works (in terms of message, creative, target audience etc.) makes email marketing a very flexible way to refine your marketing activities and improve results.

With its popularity continuing to increase, it is therefore not surprising that there are now several different models that are used to price email marketing – such as buying a managed service, or buying an email list or paying on a cost per lead basis.

So, which one should you choose?

On the surface, the cost per lead model seems a “no-brainer” – because you only pay for each lead generated, rather than for every prospect the email is sent to. However this increase in performance based marketing (lead generation on a cost per lead basis) does have some downsides.

For example, a client will brief an agency on what is needed, and the agency will then source different providers to obtain the relevant email data needed for the campaigns. So far so good – but there are only a very limited number of data sources, although there are many email data providers to work with.

In the end, working with multiple performance-based marketing agencies can lead to target customers receiving multiple examples of the same email, as each company is working in isolation from each other. This is about as far removed from good target marketing as you can get – and a total waste of money!

Here is a real life example:

At Market Location, we work directly with a blue chip client on customer acquisition email marketing campaigns. 

We provide email data for them to manage their own email sends, as well as direct mail and telemarketing data for their call centre. This is a tightly controlled environment; they only work with one data provider, so are able to ensure that any duplicate customers are removed and the recipient communication is fully managed.  

This seems straight forward enough, but then performance marketing is introduced – i.e. where the company pays other agencies on a cost per lead basis. What could be better for a client?  Well, surprisingly perhaps, we also work with that same payment provider through a performance based agency.  

Although unusual, their different creative treatments are broadcast, and we are able to manage the number of emails a recipient receives. However, this is where it gets complicated:

The client also works with two companies who licence our data on an ad hoc basis, and we have received the same performance brief through another two agencies that are offering the identical creative to what we are already sending. In other words, in the client’s eyes they are sending one or two emails a month to an individual, when in reality they could be sending as many as seven.  

These are, of course, just the ones that come across our desk – yet an email address is related to an individual, which means as well as it appearing on our database it could be on numerous others.  
How many emails could one person receive in a month?!

Fighting a lack of control 

This lack of control is worrying. Clearly, the client wastes a lot of money. But in addition to that, the recipient who is receiving multiple emails is going to get annoyed. This ensures the message becomes diluted at the same time as making your business or brand look very unprofessional.

Furthermore, a lack of management in regard to performance marketing also means that the client’s customers get a lot of prospecting emails. Ask yourself: is this okay? Of course it isn’t. Why on earth would you need to send multiple emails to the same recipient? Naturally this is a situation that could be easily rectified, but no one seems to want to.
All a client would need to do is ask all their data suppliers to upload data to match and de-dupe against others and output the net records. This may cost the client extra money, but which client wouldn’t want to protect their brand?

Creating Killer Content For Email Marketing Campaigns

Creating Content For Email Marketing Campaigns

Email marketing has proven itself time and time again as an effective marketing tool, but like all tools, it can only deliver results when utilised properly.  Sending out reams of correspondence without considering the appeal of the content could potentially lead to lower click-through rates, increased opt-outs and in the worst scenarios – damage a company’s reputation among its target audience.  So how can B2B marketers make sure their content is appealing?

According to Kate Adamson, a branding and media specialist at Stark Moore MacMillan, content is a key driver of engagement in the online arena. She advised putting the target audience at the heart of marketing campaigns. However, she also advocated utilising a mesh of content and channels to achieve optimisation.

With more and more platforms opening up, Ms Adamson acknowledged that it is hard for the largest companies to decide where to deploy their marketing efforts and is nigh-impossible for smaller companies to properly calculate the return on investment in this area.

Despite this fact, she lauded the opportunities for SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) looking to promote themselves digitally – noting the myriad of free options available to such firms that allow them to compete with their bigger counterparts. Ms Adamson was particularly vocal about the benefits of Twitter for companies, but warned that failure to back up a campaign on this medium with ongoing engagement and killer content could limit its success.

Similar advice was offered by advertising expert and professional speaker Philip Hesketh, who, in a recent interview, claimed…

…the key to his startlingly low email unsubscribe rate – which stood at less than one per cent – was timely, relevant and interesting communication. He advised that going the extra mile with these criteria can help a company stand out from the crowd.

Businesses were also encouraged to use email marketing in conjunction with their campaigns on other channels by Mark Brownlow, founder of information portal Email Marketing Reports. He suggested utilising this medium to promote social media pages, noting that email’s ubiquitous nature is one of its key advantages.

The statistics certainly seem to back up this view, with Eloqua’s Grande Guide to B2B Content Marketing displaying the weight companies are giving to eNewsletters, article posting and social media.

When deciding where to concentrate their content campaigns, companies are well advised to invest some time in researching the online behaviour of their target audience. One potential source is Ruder Finn’s Intent Index, an ongoing research study that offers an in-depth look at the motivations behind people’s online activities.

Figures from the report clearly show that learning is one of the key drivers of online behaviours, whether it is of an educational or informational nature. Therefore, companies might want to focus their efforts on producing their own content – promoting their status as experts in their respective fields – or alternatively, curating interesting information from other sources in their sector.

One advocate of this approach is Marina Lumley, an independent marketing consultant who spoke about B2B marketing strategies on behalf of target360 at the recent TFM&A (Technology for Marketing and Advertising) event in Manchester.

She noted that people often approach creating their own content with trepidation and suggested thinking through the potential topics that could be covered before putting pen to paper can help make this process easier.

It is paramount that companies do not take a half-hearted approach to their content and avoid being overly self-promotional. However, content is still a means to an end and once companies have engaged their target audience through this medium, an enticing call to action is a must-have for those looking to boost their click-through rate and conversions.

Email Marketing Advice

Help and advice with email marketing


Email Marketing Advice

Businesses use email marketing because it has many benefits over other marketing channels – and it works.  In fact, recent figures from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) show email marketing has now overtaken direct mail in terms of volume.

No matter what size your business is, you can benefit from email marketing.  Here are just some of the benefits of email marketing – and key reasons why your business should be using it to generate new business:

1. It’s personal

Email offers you the opportunity to personalise your message to the recipient.  Send them emails addressing them by name and give them offers targeted to their preferences.

2. It’s quicker

Direct mail campaigns can be complex and time consuming.  They typically taking more than a month to execute and then you’ve got to wait for the post to deliver it to the customer on top.

It takes far less time to plan and execute an email campaign and you get your results back almost immediately.  If you react quickly you’ll see the benefits to your business almost straight away!

3. It’s cheaper

Postage costs will make up a significant portion of the total costs associated with a direct mail campaign.  You don’t have postage costs with an email campaign and this makes it instantly much cheaper.  With response rates often higher than direct mail, email will give you a better return on your investment.

4. It’s measurable

Email campaigns are fully trackable giving you complete visibility of your results.  Being able to see exactly how many emails were delivered, opened and clicked on means you can test different campaigns and refine them to get the best response rates.

5. It helps build customer relationships

Because email communications are cheaper and easier to send, companies often use email to keep in regular contact with existing customers and this enables them to build stronger relationships with them.  Email marketing is the ideal medium to update customers with time sensitive offers and product news.

Email Newsletters Need To Be Part of a Wider Strategy

B2B Email Marketing Stratergy

Return on investment is the key driver of email newsletters. They have been doing the rounds since internet access became mainstream and businesses are always quick to champion them.

Once you get contacts on your business data list onto your subscriber list you are making progress. Email newsletter subscribers are loyal, engaged and more likely to listen to what you have to say than contacts garnered via other marketing channels.

While email newsletters have a much narrower focus, they benefit from their targeted nature, which is why open rates and response rates are so high while unsubscribe rates are relatively low.

49 per cent of email marketers cite ROI as a reason for email newsletters

This figure was shouted about in MarketingSherpa’s Email Marketing Benchmark Guide and shows that popular opinion in the business to business marketing world is that email newsletters are still hugely successful.

If you delve deeper, the stats get more interesting. People spend a substantial amount of time digesting email newsletters – almost a minute per message they receive.

Only usability issues, it seems, can hold email newsletters back – or perhaps poor email targeting. However, it is no longer possible to use email newsletters in isolation. Businesses need to engage potential clients using a whole host of channels if they are to remain competitive.

Getting the marketing mix right

  • Integrated campaigns can boost results by as much as 50 per cent
  • An online/offline marketing mix can boost online by 62 per cent

These stats are from MarketPath – a leader in the industry. They show that on its own email can be effective, but mix it with a spread of other strategies and success rates will improve markedly. That is not to say that you should swing the other way and dramatically reduce your email newsletter output, however.

It is going to be a strong year for the channel if the UK Email Marketing Benchmark Survey is anything to go by, but linking it deftly with other initiatives will pay dividends in the long run.

How best to use email in your wider strategy

This may take a rethink of your current email marketing strategy. Integration does not simply mean carry on doing what you are doing with online and start an offline campaign. You need to mesh the two and make sure that they support each other.

To do this most effectively, you will need to set some clear goals for your online strategy before complementing it with offline material – such as direct mail. To do this, you need to:

  • Be objective
  • Include content that is not about your company
  • Stick with it (brand loyalty takes time to garner)

Once your email newsletters – and their content – are clearly defined you can start distributing them over different channels and drawing links between them and other content on the web.  After this, it is a small leap to create an all-encompassing campaign that has considerably more depth – and reach – than a one-off mailshot.

Backward engineering your campaigns

Not everything starts with email, however. Businesses often have a number of other channels at their disposal and use them regularly. So, it makes sense to link promotions on these other channels back to your email newsletter, just as you would refer to your other content and promotions in a weekly or monthly email roundup.
One of the key benefits of email marketing is loyalty. Once you get subscribers on board, they will stick by you. So pushing potential clients toward your email newsletters with other promotions – including direct mail – makes perfect sense.

Four Steps To Effective Lead Generation via Email

Effective Lead Generation

Email can be a very powerful tool to reach prospective customers, finding new markets for your products. Here are some useful tips and techniques to add to your email marketing strategies:

1 – Tailor your content carefully

This doesn’t mean creating bespoke email content for individuals, but instead ensuring your prospect is sent information which is relevant to them. You could be offering excellent products or services, but if your prospects don’t understand the value of what you are offering to their business, they are unlikely to show interest and make an enquiry.

Be sure to use your email content to inform people of the benefits your services and products specifically offer them; giving a tailored message will significantly improve your campaign response rates and your email lead generation activity will flourish.

2 – Provide value

Though generating new leads and selling products will usually be the main reasons for an email campaign, don’t forget to give your recipients other forms of value; latest developments in your industry, news from your company, informative blog posts from your website. The more good, free content you can provide, the more they are likely to open your email, click the links and ultimately buy your product; it also forms the beginning of a strong relationship with businesses you hope will eventually become regular clients.

3 – Segment your customers

If you have a large email data list you want to contact, try to segment your data into smaller segments to ensure each prospect is targeted with the most suitable email content for them.  For example, prospects could be segmented by location, size of business, financial turnover and industry.  You can then email details of the most suitable product or service for them, by looking at your existing customer base and understanding what they look like and what they buy.  By taking this step, you will make the recipient feel that they are being contacted for a good reason and are not being bombarded with irrelevant emails.

Sending the right email to the right person within a company is vital for getting your message read and actioned.  Get this wrong and all your hard work will be wasted.  If you’re looking to purchase email data to contact, make sure you have the details of the Senior Decision Maker as they are most likely to be the person to decide what will be purchased.

4 – Test

Sending different email subject lines, designs and messages out to your email list is the best way to understand what works to generate response so you can maximise your ROI.

Make sure this testing is carried out and recorded in a methodical way so that you can keep tabs on your results.  Try to change only one variable each time you broadcast an email, so you can attribute any increase or decrease in response to the one thing you altered.

Following these four steps will assist in turning an email data list into viable leads for your sales team to follow up with a phone call or a direct mail campaign. With initial contact, your aim will be to make a strong impression and lay the groundwork for further interaction.

What you need to do:

  • Craft the content carefully: make sure the recipient understands why they’re receiving your email.
  • Give value: if you’re looking to build a lasting business relationship, do more than just sell – give them something useful for free.
  • Segment – get as specific as you can with your emailing in order to maximise conversion rates for different campaigns.
  • Test, observe the results, and refine your approach accordingly.

Importance of Timing When Contacting Prospective Clients

Contacting Prospective Clients

Getting in touch with a prospective client is one of the most crucial moments in your potential business relationship. First impressions tend to last for a long time and if you give a bad one, you’re likely to find you don’t get the chance to show your better side. Not only does this mean you need to be polite and courteous as well as prepared and knowledgeable when you first establish contact with a potential lead, you also want to makes sure you’re timing your phone call or email well. When it comes to choosing the optimum time to get in touch with your lead, there are quite a few factors to be considered.

Time of day

For a start, you’ll want to understand that there are certain times of the business day better suited to making contact than others. Don’t try and call a prospect first thing in the morning, just before or after lunch or last thing before end of business.

First thing in the morning, people tend to be catching up on some of the most important emails or messages they’ve received for the day. The same goes for the period directly following lunch. Straight before the lunch break, people tend to be distracted and keen to get moving and the same can be said for the end of the day. Time your calls to miss these problem areas and try to be as unobtrusive as possible.

However, if you are getting in touch with a decision maker who has a prominent position in the company, you may also want to consider calling just before or after opening hours. Most influential employees start their day early and end late, potentially offering an opportunity to catch their attention when the office is calmer.

Time of week

For email contacts, you also want to factor in the day of the week. At the beginning of the working week, when office staff are fresh from their break, your email communication is more likely to be read. For B2B campaigns (as with B2C), businesses tend to see a winding down of email attention as the week progresses, with open and click rates peaking at the beginning of the week.

Timing your email so that you can take advantage of the extra enthusiasm and willingness to engage present before the working week hits its full stride can improve your exposure and boost the likelihood of pickup.

Time of month

There are also particular times of the month that are particularly good or bad for getting in touch with businesses about new products or services. For example, you know that the finance department of most companies is likely to be struggling under a heavy load at the end of the month, so don’t pitch products that will need feedback from this department around this time, it will only put your contact and the department in a bad mood by adding an extra task to their list – no matter how much they might appreciate the services you have to offer.

Time of year

There are some other factors you may want to keep an eye on, particularly if you’ve already done some research on your lead. If you’re targeting a prospective client directly because you already have some knowledge about their business, take this information into account when calling or emailing. Does their industry have particular peak times? Can you maximise on seasonal activity like tax or holidays? Do you know whether your lead is likely to be preparing for a major conference or trade show? Being considerate of factors like these can help you get off on the right foot.

Timing your contact to fit into your prospects’ schedules rather than with your own is a simple but highly effective way to maximise the response you get. By using both statistics about business habits and what you know from research on specific prospects, you can make a big difference to your marketing activity:

  • To reach key decision makers, consider early morning or late afternoon – they are likely to be in the office earlier and longer than others and you can potentially catch them when demands on their time is minimal.
  • In general, earlier in the week is best for making email contact.
  • Most businesses plan their activity around times of the month; consider how this might change the way they would like to be contacted.
  • Consider seasonal and industry-specific times of year – you can either hook your marketing on this or avoid busy times.

What Makes Email Marketing The Channel of Choice?

Email Marketing

Convenience and flexibility are two reasons why email marketing will remain popular.

With all the dazzling marketing campaigns that cropped up in the past year it is easy to forget the underpinning metrics. What drives their success, what makes one more successful than another and what is it about a particular channel that makes it much better for my target audience?

Whenever new technologies appear on the scene, the important questions are often forgotten. Firms want to make sure they keep up with their rivals and adopt the latest techniques without proper consideration. In some respects this is a good attitude to have. Keeping your marketing arsenal up-to-date is vital. Particularly when trends in digital technology are developing so rapidly. But, diving head first into the latest online marketing fad can cause a number of problems – not just financial ones either.

For example, when social media started its march towards becoming an important business marketing tool, firms started throwing money at it. Despite the fact that social media campaigns were notoriously tricky to chart and return-on-investment difficult to define, the new technology was adopted wholesale. It wasn’t long, however, before businesses had to take a step back and analyse what it was about their social media campaigns that was proving successful and what was failing. Before long, a whole industry was created to cater for the maintenance of social media campaigns and the reversal of damage caused by ill-informed early forays into the medium.

What the early adoption of social media marketing showed was the businesses need to think carefully about what they expect from their marketing campaigns and what they hope to achieve.
The same is true for technologies that have been doing the rounds for considerably longer than social media. Take business to business email marketing for instance. If firms adopted the same attitude toward this as they did in the early days of social marketing, they would find their marketing addresses being blocked as sources of spam and their campaigns would fall short of conversion rate goals.

So as the New Year gets into full swing it makes sense to look at what must be considered if a marketing campaign is to prove successful. A good way of doing this is to look at why email marketing remains – and will remain – one of the top choices for marketing professionals.

Firstly, it is measurable. It is incredibly easy to follow the digital paper trail and find out which messages were successful, which didn’t make it through, and which were sent back by unhappy recipients. Monitoring is one of the core aspects of any marketing campaign and with email marketing it is extremely easy to not just do, but accurately quantify.

Secondly the outlay is minimal. With the right business lists in place and data that is segregated and up-to-date, companies can mount an email marketing campaign cheaply and easily. Even more money can be saved if the email design process is outsourced – not just the data gathering and creation of distribution lists.

Then there is personalisation. Email marketing can be tailored so easily that each individual recipient can be made to feel special. This isn’t just achieved in the design phase. Personalised email marketing campaigns are only as good as the business data that underpins them, so ensuring the quality of your business lists should be the first port of call.

All of these rules are a must for successful business to business email marketing, but they can be easily applied to any other form of advertising, be it social or direct mail. The benefit of using email is that all of these things are easy to achieve, which is why 2012 could be the ‘year of email marketing’.

Differences Between B2B and B2C Email Marketing

B2B and B2C Email Marketing

When creating an email campaign to draw in new business, it’s crucial to be both engaging and informative. More importantly than this is to speak to the audience you’re addressing; think about who’s going to be reading, and what they want – this is the way to reach them most effectively. With this in mind, here are some crucial differences to consider when developing a B2B email marketing campaign, as opposed to a B2C

B2B campaigns are more difficult

B2B customers typically involve more than one person, due to the size of most businesses (even smaller ones), and the fact that they’re often not buying on behalf of just themselves. B2C prospects are usually individual operators; they’re completely in control of what they’re buying, which makes their decisions simpler. B2B decisions typically take longer, need to go through more people, but involve larger, longer-term purchases that will be scrutinised and evaluated. Bear this in mind when crafting your campaign and selling points.

Tone of voice

The language of B2B marketing should be more formal and concentrate on the growth of a business. You need to appeal to the company at large, so a less personal tone is appropriate. B2C on the other hand can be more chatty and informal, customers are more likely to act on impulse and emotions, so be sure to engage these. B2B customers will put a lot of thought and scrutiny into your words, so be sure to pick them more clinically and clearly; they will likely be taken very seriously.

Numbers

As mentioned before, B2B marketing will almost always address more than one person, whereas B2C will be to individuals. A key decision maker might have to summarise and present your proposal to others, so ensure that the benefits of your product will stand out to people with a range of stakes (i.e. show how your product will work for different aspects of a business, or different departments within a business). Your email or letter may be passed on to higher authorities; all need to be convinced. With B2C you need to engage one person; once you’ve done that, your job is complete.

Emotional sell

When working on B2C campaigns, marketers typically aim for something funny and engaging on an emotional level. This is a tactic B2B marketers typically avoid, bypassing emotion for logic; a business is only interested in managing costs, increasing productivity and generating further profit. Be sure to understand this, and stick to the positive, demonstrable advantages of your product or service; don’t waste time trying to be overly witty or creative – use facts.

Selling to the right person

With B2B customers, your best bet is to target senior staff, who have the power to sign off on budgets. They may well need to pass it through other members of the company, but the more important the person who presents the idea, the more chance it has of leading to a sale. Social media is rarely a selling channel for B2B marketing as it is with B2C, so direct mail, email and telemarketing campaigns are the key avenues to direct your marketing activity through.

  • B2B campaigns are more difficult, but reap greater rewards.
  • B2B emails should be more formal in tone.
  • Remember B2B emails will be for more than one person – don’t forget to address the business as a whole.
  • Be more logical than emotional in B2B; leave emotive B2C tactics aside.
  • You will need to get in front of key decision makers via telemarketing, direct mail and telemarketing or a combination of these for B2B marketing.