Email is a key B2B marketing tool because it pivotally reaches prospects in the middle of the sales cycle according to a recently released Walker Sands report.
The B2B marketing agency discussed four tactics to improve lead generation in the white paper How to Increase B2B Leads by 70% in 90 Days, with email listed as one of the integrated digital marketing solutions that can engage prospects on a deeper level.
John Fairley, vice president of digital services at Walker Sands, explains how email reaches prospects at a critical junction in the sales cycle.
“Any sales or marketing person will tell you that trying to convince someone to change their mind is one of the hardest parts of their job,” says Fairley. “The middle of the sales cycle is so pivotal because the decision to make a change has already been made and therefore the hard work is done. Now it’s up to you to show them why your product or solution is the best choice to solve their problems.”
Fairley recommends that email messaging should become more refined as the prospect’s needs become more defined, and as the sales team “moves in for the kill.”
Email messaging, including subject lines, should be paired to the middle of the sales funnel to provide prospects with relevant and engaging content. This is when leads “need it most,” says Fairley, adding that this helps keep the company or solution top of mind as the potential customer evaluates the competitive landscape.
Email marketing can also be a powerful tool for communicating specific messages to segmented audiences.
“Segmenting the prospect by industry and solution while aligning your message and content delivered via email is one of the primary ways to keep the sales process moving,” says Fairley.
Fairley also recommends that marketers take the extra time to develop a landing page, as opposed to simply directing readers to a general Web site.
“First impressions are just as important in the digital world,” says Fairley. “Taking the time to build out thoughtful, optimized landing pages up front will pay off greatly in the end as this is one of the first true impressions a prospect will have with your brand.”
A landing page can yield revenue potential by directly leading prospects to the solution that they are most interested in, meaning that a lead’s digital interactions with a brand are more streamlined and relevant.
“Having an effective landing page starts with setting prospect expectations via copy in the email, ad, search engine results, social post or website call to action,” says Fairley. “The landing page copy and functionality needs to align with expectations to ensure optimal conversion results. The landing page should address a pain point the prospect has and your solution to making their life easier. It should get to the point quickly and have a clear call to action for what they should do next. Well thought out landing pages will attract new leads and nurture existing prospects.”
Content should never be too promotional, however, and instead should provide leads with valuable and informational content. Brands risk losing credibility if they are overly self-promotional, says Fairley. Examples of informational content could include case studies, research papers and vendor selection guides that give brands “the opportunity to show exactly how their solution works.”
“Prospects want information from experts in their industry,” says Fairley. “Today’s B2B prospects wants to educate themselves before being ‘sold to’, hence why the mid-funnel change is so important.”