8 rules for crafting an email that sells

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Unlocking the secrets to sending emails people actually engage with
Unlocking the secrets to sending emails people actually engage with

Email marketing and B2B marketing are meant for each other. But while everybody buys toothpaste and ketchup, finding people who are about to buy an accounting software, for example, requires laser sharp targeting. Email is the perfect vehicle for targeted one-to-one communications with a relevant audience.

Nevertheless, with email marketers, what separates the best from the rest is the ability to leverage data in order to generate a highly personalized experience and content that matches people's interests and stage in the buying cycle, while at the same time speaking to their most pressing problems.

Are you getting more opt-outs than clicks or do you send emails that don't generate results?  Here are eight tips that can help you craft an email that engages users, gets more clicks, and generates meetings with decision makers.

1. Segmentation. Emails that are tailored to your buyer persona are more relevant and can address the specific problems that you can solve for your prospect. One size fits all is not likely to work. Make sure that the email is actually directed to the right segment.

For example, when we do our own email marketing at Mintigo, we one email for companies that spend a lot on search advertising and a totally different email for companies that are implementing a marketing automation system. This way, our emails are always relevant and we keep our response rate far above industry benchmarks.

2. Personalization. It's not just about using a first name when greeting a prospect. A good personalized mass email uses variable fields in the email program in order to create the feeling of a hand written note. The more personal and tailored the email, the higher the likelihood that the recipient responds.

3. The subject line. It may be slightly misleading, but the aim of the subject line in email marketing is not to describe the subject of the email. Rather, it's to make people open the email and engage with your content further. Aggressive sell in the subject line is the best way to end up in the junk mail folder. If your title starts with “Get a free one month of…” you need to think about your subject line again.

The subject line is the make-or-break of every email campaign, so think very carefully about how you phrase it and make sure to test it. Our experience shows that simple and personalized subject lines work best.

4. Call-to-action. Why are you actually writing this email—do you want people to click on your email, call you, or email you back?  If your email does not spell out a clear call-to-action, people are more likely to ignore it.

At Mintigo, we experimented with many calls-to-action. When one of our reps contacts a new prospect with the aim to get a short meeting to demo our product, our call-to-action is loud and clear: “I would like to schedule a 15 minute call to show you our latest technology, please let me know when and what time works for you this week.”

Sounds simple, but this boosts the response rate of both those who would like to hear what we have to say and those who politely decline. In short, if you don't have a clear call-to-action, expect a lot less action.

5. Credibility. Have you won any awards? Do you have any famous clients or exciting testimonials? No matter if you are writing an introduction email or inviting prospects to download content from your site, don't forget to cleverly weave these in to boost your credibility. This is particularly important if your prospects are still being educated on your brand and product.

6. Quantify. “Numerical facts boost email performance by 60%.” I don't know if that's really true about your company, but at least now I got your attention. Get ahead of the marketing and sales crowd by showing that you really add value. Numbers tend to draw people's attention and increase engagement.

7. Signature. At the end of the day, people buy from other people, not emails. Don't send your email just from “Marketing.” Make sure to include your contact information at the bottom of the email so that people know how to reach you or look you up on social networks.

Emails coming from real people also increase credibility and create a relationship between you and your prospect. If you send high-quality engaging emails that benefit your prospects, they'll remember your name and will open your next email as well.

8. Opt-out. With every email you send, make sure to include an opt-out link. You only want to send email to prospects who are interested in receiving communications from you. It's not only a courtesy—it's the law.

Email marketing is a powerful tool, but in the hands of the wrong marketer it can actually have an adverse effect on your relationship with your prospects. Use the eight best practices above, and email marketing is a great way for B2B marketers to engage and nurture their prospective customers. The key is to have both quality data for segmenting and personalizing your emails and quality content to keep users engaged.

Now your next sale is just an email away.

Ariel Geifman is the director of marketing at
Mintigo, a customer targeting solutions provider.

DMNotes is DMN's around-the-clock blog. Yes, a blog in 2016.

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