The State of Email Marketing 2018

Posted by Matthew Croghan in B2B Lead Generation & Sales Insights, Warm Email Marketing Insights

Every year you hear it…

“Email marketing is dead.”

And yes, as much as open rates and click-through rates decline from the heyday of email marketing, the fact remains: there are over 269 billion emails sent daily across the world.

And when you read that and account for all the competition in the inbox these days, it’s a wonder that when done right… email marketing is NOT dead. At least not for us and the clients we work with.

In this article we’ll tell you why email marketing is still a viable way to generate appointments and grow your business.

We’ve gathered the latest stats to prove it (most from studies done this year). And we’ve also provided our own commentary on what’s working now because as a company that has sent millions of emails and generated millions in revenue from the platform, we’re not giving up on it any time soon.

In this post, you’ll learn what other companies are doing and focusing on when it comes to email marketing, including:

  • The top three uses marketers and businesses use email for (both B2B and B2C)
  • The ROI that most businesses are getting from email these days
  • And what to put in your emails, including tips on the “image debate”, subject lines, how often to send and more.

Consider these stats as you look at your email marketing strategy before you press “send”.

Engagement Is A Major Goal… but Only Half the Story

 

According to one study, email marketers list ‘Engagement’ as the number one use for email marketing. An interesting fact when paired with declining effectiveness of Email Marketing.

Here are the results:

“The top three uses for email marketing are engagement for 71%, sales for 58% and lead generation or acquisition for 52%. Less than half (47%) said brand awareness and 29% said lead nurturing.

When split B2B/B2C, for B2C marketers, engagement remains top with sales second, but brand awareness rises to third and lead generation falls to fourth.

For B2B marketers, sales drops to third place, joint with lead nurturing, and lead generation rises to second.

This can be explained by the different purchase cycles often seen in B2B and B2C, which changes the way marketers use email. Ultimately ‘engagement’ is still at the top for all marketers.”

And now, here’s the truth:

While no doubt an important consideration for your email marketing to maintain effectiveness, engagement is only half the story.

If you aren’t driving your prospects towards a specific goal, your efforts are in vain. Depending on the campaign or relationship, that goal might change from a link to book a call to a link to a webinar or a link to join an online community you run. In other words, you always need to provide some form of “call to action” in every email to move the relationship closer to the sale, even if it’s simply asking for a reply.

Focus on the relationship and how you nurture your prospects into a buying opportunity.

The ROI of Email Marketing

 

Email marketing is dead? These recent stats from DMA.org prove that business are not only still using email marketing but are getting some major ROI from it…

“Email marketing’s return on investment (ROI) is up to £32.28 for every £1 spent, from £30.03 the previous year. According to the DMA’s Marketer email tracker 2018 report, sponsored by dotmailer, half of marketers (50%) are now confident they can accurately calculate this ROI figure, while just one in five (19%) believe they can determine the lifetime value of an email address to their business.

Email isn’t going anywhere in the marketing game because no matter its warts… it’s still effective.

The cost to produce, write, and deliver an email is minimal compared to many other options available.

However, that is only true if you have systems in place to consistently add new prospects to your list. Statistics like this often misrepresent the effort that goes into that.

Want to Improve Your Email Results?

Get Connect 365 to Increase Your Email Engagement On Every Send

CONTENT: What to Send and When?

 

Be Relevant: Understand Who You’re Writing To

It is imperative you understand what is important to your list. Here’s a B2B example taken directly from the “State of B2B Marketing by SuperOffice 2018”:

“B2B customers tend to have different buying motivations and the sales cycles can often take several months (or sometimes even years!). With that in mind, research from Live Hive found that B2B buyers are much more receptive to emails when they include case studies, industry articles and white papers, rather than sales-focused “demo invite” messaging.”

Think about your audience. What drives them and what motivates them? What kind of answers are they looking for?

Along those lines, consider segmentation to help with this…

Segment Your List

According to Hubspot, “Recipients are 75% more likely to click on emails from segmented campaigns than non-segmented campaigns.”

Why does segmentation make a difference? Simply because the more personalized you can make your campaigns feel to your audience, the more engagement you’ll receive.

What segments are most important for your list?

Or which details do you have information for that you can utilize?

Learn what they’re interested in, what they’re searching online for, who influences them, what they read and use that to create segments in your list so that you can speak to them about things they specifically care about.

Send Regularly

Test this.

Let’s say the even if B2B buyers typically receive 120 emails per day, it’s easy to see why your email campaigns might go unnoticed. Some businesses send emails once every 25 days, or in some cases once every 90 days. People will forget you in that time period!

Stay top of mind. Email more often, but test to see what kind of response you get from your audience. Also, remember that if you’re segmenting and sharing content they are highly interested in, they probably won’t mind more frequent emails.

De-clutter That Email

Research shows that “Despite 60% of consumers claiming they prefer image-based emails, emails that contain too many images or too many calls-to actions don’t perform as well as emails that are plain text or include fewer CTAs.”

Why is this? Give them just ONE option to focus on. Just ONE think to click on. And keep your content to just ONE topic.

Research this year from Ascend2 also has a lot to say about this…

“Single-topic email campaigns are a most effective tactic for improving email engagement for 46% of marketing influencers. By focusing the subject line, content, etc. on a single-topic, marketers are able to capture and keep the attention of those subscribers interested in that topic.”

Don’t try and get everything into one email.

Keep them short, simple, and personal and you’ll be more likely to engage your prospects.

Have one goal in mind with each email. And do your best to make the entire email serve that goal.

Subject Line Mania

You’ll hear lots of things about subject lines. Tricks to grab attention, tease, spark curiosity…

Those are all valid (as long as they’re not misleading the reader) because the purpose of the subject line is to get the email open and get your prospect reading.

Here’s another tip from Yes Lifecycle Marketing, 2017:

“Emails with personalized subject lines generate 50% higher open rates.”

This one is a no-brainer.

Especially with colder outreach make it very clear that this email is specific for them.

You can start by calling out the prospect by name, ‘Fred, did you catch this blog on the highest return on investment strategies from last year?’

Or you can even use their company name ‘Apple and LinkedSelling?’

Want to Improve Your Email Results?

Get Connect 365 to Increase Your Email Engagement On Every Send

The “From” Line

Think of the “From” line is like the “front” lines of battle… it gives the prospect an idea of who or what is coming.

Check out this stat from the State of B2B Email Marketing report by SuperOffice:

64% of subscribers open an email based on who it’s from, compared to 47% of subscribers who open emails based on the topic (the subject line).”

It doesn’t only come down to your subject line.

Who the email is from and how it’s delivered is key as well.

Remember, people aren’t interested in engaging with your organization.

They want to interact with other human beings.

It’s who they are most likely to respond to. So don’t make the mistake of just sending out emails from “YOUR COMPANY NAME.”

Make your email feel personal. The more you can personalize and make the email look 1-to-1, the more likely you are to get a response.

In another study, Super Office went undercover and tested a group of 1000 businesses, signing up for their emails and found that a full 89% of all B2B email campaigns were sent from a company name.

This is the problem.

This is a big reason why people say that email marketing has gotten cold; that’s what’s given it a bad rep.

Even if you are a B2B company targeting other companies, are you talking to the whole company or to their building? No, there is a person reading your email that you need to talk to.

People make decisions.

And people don’t like dealing with a nameless, faceless company.

Be better than your competitors and take advantage of their mistakes.

Want to Improve Your Email Results?

Get Connect 365 to Increase Your Email Engagement On Every Send

Don’t Wing It

Marketers these days are not confident in their email strategy, according to DMA.org:

“The biggest concerns for marketers are ‘lack of strategy’ (28%), a 5% increase compared to last year, followed by ‘lack of data’ (27%) and ‘data silos’ (26%). ‘Limited internal resources’, the top choice last year on 42%, and ‘lack of content’ were each problems for a quarter (25%) of respondents.”

A lack of strategy continues to dominate the big concern for marketers.

Here’s how we handle this. Our philosophy isn’t brand-new. But it works.

Consider W.I.I.F.M. – “What’s in it for me?”

With anything you put in front of a prospect that is what they’re asking themselves in a split second, without even thinking about it.

If you can focus on solving your prospect’s pain point and providing them value, you’ll be on the right path.

Recap

 

Is email marketing dead? No, of course not. It’s here for the long haul.

Is email marketing getting more difficult? Well, it depends how you communicate with your list and it depends who is on that list.

So let’s rephrase… Is mass email marketing dead? I would say that the “old way” of doing things might be. But that just means a bigger opportunity for you..

Just remember this:

There is no silver bullet with email.

It won’t be one magic email you write that gets EVERY prospect to take action.

Instead, it’s important to focus on the cumulative effect of making things easy and a “no-brainer” to your prospect.

Address their objections and eliminate their concerns about time and or money with your copy and your cumulative approach.

Like Blair Warren says in his One Sentence Persuasion Course.

“People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies.”

You can do all that with email. Following these tips, we continue to send out several emails to our lists and segments nearly every day. Review your email and try out something new. You might be surprised!

If you’d like to learn more about using and optimizing your email as part of an overall marketing strategy, click here to see how Connect 365 keeps you on the cutting-edge of email.


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