Email outreach is one of the trickier types of marketing to master. It requires everything from industry knowledge and sales savvy to patience, persistence and a tolerance for rejection. As a B2B company, you also have to know the main differences between B2B and B2C outreach.
B2B customers make decisions based on the ROI, using logic to guide their choices and taking plenty of time to research. Building a relationship is important here, which includes following through on any promises you make, like offering regular discounts or a weekly newsletter.
B2C customers, on the other hand, are often led by emotion. While you need to understand the customer, you can engage them must faster than a B2B client by appealing to their emotions.
In 2019, many B2B email outreach trends will focus on building relationships. Let’s explore some of the best practices to expect this year.
Cold Email Strategy
The actual content and wording of your email is what’s going to set it apart and inspire action, but so much of the rest of the process can be automated and streamlined. If you don’t have one yet, create a standard email template to follow for all of your emails. According to Moz, emails tend to follow this standard flow:
- Ask (the action you want the reader to take)
- Giveback (what you will do in return for the reader)
Pretty simple, right? The way that you do this is important, though, and many tips and tricks can be incorporated into your template. Let’s flesh these out a bit:
- Greeting: Make it personal and casual. “Hi John” is much better than “Dear Mr. Smith.” Don’t know the person’s name? Lean toward the formal, but without being corny. “My Pal” doesn’t sound authentic, but “Hey Buddy” might, depending on your brand and who you’re writing to.
- Introduction: Again, make it personal. Mention something you know about them — if you don’t know them personally yet, dig into their social media a bit. For example, let’s say you discover the recipient likes craft beer. You could write, “Such-and-such brewery is having an event to launch their new brew on this date. If you’re in town, you should check it out.”
- Ask: Keep the ask short and sweet. You’ve already warmed them up with a personalised greeting and intro, so you can just say something brief like, “By the way, my company is launching this new product. If you have a sec to share this link, that’d be great.” (Don’t forget to include a clickable link!)
- Giveback: The best emails will offer something in return. For example, you can link to a blog post or review that you wrote about the company you’re emailing. The giveback shows that this is a reciprocal relationship and that you’re not just asking for a handout. FYI, the giveback can come before the ask, too.
- Closing: You may think you’re finished because you’re at the end of the email, but you should personalize your closing just as you did the introduction. For example, you could say, “Stay warm — I know New York just got hit with that blizzard!”
- Signature: The signature should include your name, title and brand website.
While ensuring that each of these elements are present in your message, be sure to remember the importance of brevity and clarity. As noted by marketing experts at Page One Power, “Be as direct and specific as possible. Mention the site by name and include a specific call to action (in the subject line) … The person reading your subject line should immediately understand why you are contacting them and the nature of your inquiry.” Be sure to keep correspondence personable, but don’t waste your readers’ time.
Your email template should streamline your work, but the goal here is to give yourself the time to personalize the message. Merged fields that include the recipient’s name don’t cut it anymore when it comes to personalization, and you need to differentiate the emails enough so they don’t look like canned templates.
Warm It Up
Far too often, emails are written in business-speak, i.e. language that’s cold, to the point and, frankly, off-putting. Moz talks about the “heavy ask,” in which an email asks for something straight out without even attempting to build a rapport first. That may sound something like, “Hi John, I see you’re in XYZ business. Could you share this article?”
In 2019, there’s going to be a much stronger focus on speaking in a warmer way (which will also “warm up” the person you’re emailing). Instead of a brash, to-the-point request, a warmer option is, “Hey there John, I’m loving what you’re doing over at Company X, especially XYZ technique. We’re doing something similar over at my company.”
In the second example, you may not ask the recipient to take an action right away, but you will start to build a relationship that’ll pay off down the road. If you’re not used to writing in a warm, friendly voice, start by writing a draft your normal way, then change a few sentences to make the overall tone friendlier before sending it.
When it comes to B2B communication, which has a longer timeline and requires relationship building, the warm email is a huge part of creating the type of bond you need.
Email segmentation isn’t exactly new, but it will be used more in 2019. Data collection techniques and artificial intelligence are improving, making it possible for marketers to further specify their email lists and narrow them down by more demographics. We’ve come a long way from segmenting by broad specs like gender and location; now, marketers can fine-tune audience segments so much there may even be segments of one.
Data is being collected from social media, e-commerce sites, apps and more, allowing you to unearth the recipients who will truly benefit from what you’re offering or who are most likely to engage with you. An example of segmentation for B2B audiences is pinpointing specific job titles, allowing you to address issues that affect a person in that particular role.
Commitment to Testing
In order to have a successful email outreach campaign, you must test several aspects of it, make improvements as needed, then rinse and repeat. You have to do this as many times as it takes to maximize conversion, too; one round of data collection and taking action won’t cut it. You need every single thing optimized, starting at the subject line and going all the way down to the end of the email, including your signature and the footer. By testing and optimizing your emails, they have the greatest chance of being opened and inspiring action. One technique that’s never going to be “out” is collecting data. Without analytics, you won’t know where you’re going wrong and should improve or what you’re doing right and should mimic.
Possibly the most important trend for 2019, and one that has an impact on all of the other trends, is authenticity. Whether you’re sending a cold email to an individual or a newsletter to your subscribers, make it as personal — and personable — as possible.