Faced with a challenging marketing landscape and increasing ROI pressure, B2B email marketers need to meet a laundry list of sales objectives.
Since B2B businesses typically face longer buying cycles, your marketing strategy requires additional nurturing efforts to maintain communication between your brand and leads.
Many B2B marketers have now turned to email marketing automation platforms to manage complex buyer ecosystems. Imagine having to send out an individual email to every email contact every week; as a busy marketer, you know that’s not an attainable reality.
Email marketing automation allows you to develop integrated campaigns that are sent at exactly the right time and provide value to your leads. With the initial setup and strategy, automation also has the potential to save your brand valuable resources and capital.
Is investing in email marketing automation a smart decision for your brand? Let’s take a look at what email marketing automation is and how you can adopt this technology as a B2B business.
What is email marketing automation?
Email marketing automation is the software marketers use to send emails automatically to leads and customers. Based on rules and triggers, you develop email workflows that send specific emails depending on the subscriber’s action or time in the sales pipeline.
For example, if someone signs up for brand updates, they automatically enroll in your workflow that sends upcoming events and recaps. Likewise, if someone fills out a contact form on your website, your automation marketing software will send a confirmation email with a thank you message.
These leads will be automatically entered into your Customer Relationships Manager (CRM) or wherever you wish to store your contacts. Automation software will also recognize how each lead interacted with your website, which gives you more insight into what their interests are and possible demographics.
Email marketing benefits for B2B brands
On a broader scale, B2B marketers use this software to automate more tedious tasks that typically require extended resources. Marketing automation is the center point of any inbound marketing strategy and helps you do more with your existing resources.
Regardless of your business size or marketing capabilities, email marketing automation provides you the following benefits:
Improves marketing efficiency
Email automation saves time and resources. Your salespeople can increase their reply rate and set appointments, and your marketing team can focus on larger strategic projects instead of busywork.
Email automation helps you avoid time-consuming tasks like:
- Developing valuable content
- Creating audience segments based on their actions
- Nurturing leads to shorten the sales cycle
- Scheduling and execute campaigns ahead of time
- Removing duplicate or inconsistent data and leads
- Improving communication between internal and external teams
Instead of focusing your time on tedious work, you’re able to improve your overall productivity. Email marketing automation also allows you to coordinate everything from one platform, instead of using different software for each channel.
Attracts and converts qualified leads
As a B2B marketer, your main goal is to provide value to leads and current customers. You can do this by automating your processes: in fact, of the top-performing companies in the B2B space, 69% use marketing automation for customer acquisition, and 50% use it for customer retention.
Why? Instant, timely communications allow you to cultivate business relationships and convert leads without having to do everything manually.
Email automation software also combines behavioral data—links clicked, emails opened, purchases made—with lead scoring, so you have more insight into your sales pipeline.
For example, you can utilize lead magnets within your website to understand what your lead’s preferences are and continue to send relevant content based on those interests. Valuable content has the power to speed up the buying cycle, and turn leads to converting customers.
B2B marketers who implement email automation have the opportunity to increase their sales pipeline. Why is marketing automation so successful at producing revenue?
You can pair lead cycle personalization with software to communicate with the right segment of subscribers at the right time. When you create a one-on-one conversation with your leads, you’re able to communicate your value better and persuade subscribers to make a purchase.
Also, email automation doesn’t bust the budget and overuse your internal resources. You can do less and deliver more impact for your brand.
Aligns sales and marketing goals
There’s a stigma about marketers and sales reps—that they clash—but email automation smooths communication and cooperation between these two departments.
Email automation provides more qualified leads for the sales team to work with and nurture. Instead of wasting their time vetting prospects, your emails provide insight into when leads are ready for the final sales pitch or need more time. After all, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases.
By working together and setting parameters, your marketing and sales team join forces for a more streamlined strategy. You’re able to impact the entire sales journey—marketing builds the initial relationship with prospects and sales focuses their time on the final conversions. It’s a dream team for your brand that’ll pay dividends in the future.
How B2B brands can adopt email marketing automation
Now that you understand the benefits of email automation, it’s time to adopt a platform and strategy for your brand to meet your B2B marketing goals. It’s important not to jump into automation without weighing your options and developing a plan that educates your audience.
What are the pain points in your sales cycle? Where are your customers dropping off? Once you identify pipeline trends, you can develop an automation strategy that fills the gaps.
To help you get started, check out three essential automation strategies to nurture your leads into converting customers:
Use a signup funnel for every digital channel.
You need to funnel prospects to your signup form, so you capture their data. While a simple “join our list” message may have worked in the past, B2B consumers are now demanding brands that showcase their value in unique ways. It’s not enough to just ask for their email address; you need to prove you deserve it.
Push all your digital initiatives—blog posts, social media feeds, and search ads—to a signup form with a strong CTA and incentive. Incentives could be an in-depth white paper, eBook, or industry-exclusive interview that’ll demonstrate your thought leadership. With this strategy, you’re offering something in return for their information. Using multiple digital channels helps streamline your list-building methods, so your automation can deliver the right message to your leads.
Create email drip campaigns based on actions.
Automated drip campaigns, also known as email journeys, are a sequence of emails that are triggered on a predetermined schedule to target subscribers. Typically sent after an action like signing up on a form or requesting a quote, drip campaigns help nurture longer sales cycles. Attached to a queued email workflow, you develop your drip campaign with pre-written content and designs.
Potential B2B drip campaign emails include:
- Welcome emails: introduce brand and set expectations for future communications.
- Events/activities: promote email courses, webinars, product announcements, and more to encourage education.
- Promotional emails: discuss your features and benefits with your leads to encourage click-throughs to your website.
- Re-engagement: target leads that have been in your pipeline for too long
Drip campaigns are an essential part of communicating and educating your leads. Overall, drip campaigns help you set appointments, promote events, build a sales pitch, and increase conversions.
Source: Really Good Emails
Use autoresponders for confirmations.
While drip campaigns help nurture your subscribers, autoresponder emails acknowledge your lead’s interest in your brand after filling out a form. Attach autoresponder emails to forms on your landing pages and let your contact know that you’ll be in touch with them soon. While it seems like a small gesture, this extra level of customer service shows not only that you care about their business, but also allows you to get additional products in front of your lead.
Consider using autoresponders when a lead:
- Signs up for your email list
- Creates a support ticket
- Purchases an item
- Changes a setting in their account
- Requests a quote or appointment
With more complex email automation platforms, you can send out autoresponders on a lead’s birthday or for membership renewals and reminders, for example. For B2B marketers, autoresponder emails still deliver personalization to earn 152% higher click rates, while also cutting down the amount of work you need to do.
Source: Really Good Emails
If you’re serious about growing your lead pipeline and increasing conversion rates, email marketing automation can make a significant impact on your objectives. With modern automation platforms, you’re still able to deliver personalized campaigns that target your lead’s pain points and move them through the sales funnel faster.
Additional B2B marketing automation benefits include:
- Saving time and resources by eliminating tedious tasks
- Attracting and converting quality leads
- Increasing your ROI and revenue potential
- Aligning sales and marketing goals for a more collaborative strategy
If you’re ready to implement email marketing automation, give Campaign Monitor a try for free today.