With lead generation as their number one goal (link is external), 51 percent of B2B marketers are increasing their marketing budgets by 6 percent this year, according to a Forrester report (link is external). The questing now arises is: Where should they put their money?
For most, the answer is email marketing.
Stats Describing 2015 Email Marketing Landscape
Data from Marketing Cloud indicates that email is not only effective, it significantly impacts the ROI for businesses using it regularly. Their stats are as follows:
- 73 percent of digital marketers said that email marketing is a core business strategy.
- 60 percent agreed that email is a vital enabler of their products and services
- 20 of them claimed that email operations are directly linked to the primary revenue source of their business
- 74 percent marketers believe that email produces/will produce ROI in the future.
Scopes for B2B Email Marketing
According to Salesforce‘s “State of B2B Marketing (link is external)” report, email is a powerful marketing tool. It surveyed around 2,200 full-time B2B marketers from across the world and half of them said that they employ email marketing as a part of their digital marketing effort. A whopping 91 percent of B2B marketers who use email marketing said “it is very or somewhat effective.”
The report clearly states that while most B2C marketers are using social platforms to reach out and connect with their customers, B2B marketers are using “traditional digital channels like email.” Nearly three-quarters of participants said, “Email produces significant or some return-on-investment.” Newsletters are the most popular form of email marketing campaigns, although mobile opt-in and birthday campaigns are reported to be most effective.
In addition to this report from Salesforce, there are various stats that indicate that email marketing is here is to stay for B2B marketers.
Why Email is Critical for B2B Marketers
It is true that email marketing faces certain challenges from Inbox overload and social media, but it still continues to be an essential marketing tool for B2B marketers. They are increasingly using it to generate leads, nurture their existing customers and to enhance their brand image, although email is not a regarded as a major brand-focused channel.
There are several reasons that make email marketing crucial for B2B industry, including:
- One reason that makes email marketing campaigns a crucial weapon for B2B marketers is that more people use email in comparison to social media channels. This is especially true for businesses where the prime mode of communication is via emails.
- In addition, it is possible to create highly targeted and personalized emails, which allows marketers to aim their email marketing campaigns at very specific audiences based on their location, preferences and position. Besides, email is personal and private. While social media help businesses to build the initial awareness, email marketing allows them to take it even further.
- It allows A/B testing so that marketers can see what headlines, graphics, and offers their customers/user better respond to.
What Makes Email More Effective Than Social Media
Many people believe that email marketing is so powerful and effective for B2B companies that it can even crush social media marketing. While social media is great, you should incorporate it in your marketing mix only if it makes sense for your business and not because everyone else is doing it. Also, you should never put social media ahead of email marketing. Here’s why.
Number Says It All
According to Radicati, there were 3.9 billion email accounts worldwide in 2013 (link is external) and the number is expected to reach 4.9 billion by 2017. The number is almost three times more than Twitter and Facebook accounts combined.
The Email Statistics Report 2014-2018 (link is external) from Radicati further suggested that “majority of email traffic comes from the business world” where 108.7 billion emails were sent and received per day. The report also suggests that by 2018, 139.4 billion business emails will be sent and received per day.
The organic reach on Facebook (link is external), on the other hand, is just 6 percent while the open rates for marketing emails is usually within 20 – 30 percent range. The picture is more or similar to Twitter, where the click-through rates on your tweets usually lag behind click through rates from emails.
It is therefore quite obvious that most B2B marketers are considering emails as foundational to their overall marketing and sales efforts.
A Transactional & Formal Medium for Businesses
As customers, we expect to get special offers from our favorite brands by emails. We also buy things via emails. For B2B buyers, this is a more common factor as most of the business transactions happen through emails. They therefore have a higher tolerance for email offers and have a buying frame of mind.
In comparison, people are there on Facebook to share photos, videos, posts and chat with friends. Even if they do check for products on Facebook, those transactions are usually B2C, making it a lousy environment for B2B marketers. Again, Twitter is a platform where users prefer to catch up with other members and/or find interesting things to share. They are hardly there to buy things (link is external).
Things are different with emails. As mentioned, customers expect offers from brands via emails; you can therefore teach them about your business value using this platform. Imagine how we wait for those promotional emails from the daily deals sites. With proper email marketing campaign, B2B marketers can create a similar opportunity for their products and services.
In addition, email is a serious and “grown-up” medium, perfect for building business relationships. It is therefore the most preferred way to communicate with clients and partners. While LinkedIn is still a platform to develop business relationships, Facebook, Twitter or other similar social channels hardly provide such opportunities because they are meant to be more informal.
While we have nothing against social media marketing, B2B marketers need to realize one simple thing. What is the use of investing time and money on multiple different channels when a single marketing platform can help them better reach their customers?
But that doesn’t mean you should overlook those channels altogether. Just that, don’t put them ahead of your email marketing campaigns, where your marketing messages get better attention. Besides, this marketing platform allows you to establish a more personal connection with your audiences, something Facebook, Twitter or the likes of them are yet to offer.
Wynn is the founder of Novage Communications (link is external) – a leading web design company in Singapore. She specializes in SEO and loves applying her skills to help local clients. She has successfully set up a baby online store in Singapore.