What is the best way of marketing your B2B product to clients? Traditionally, B2B has been the space for one-on-one meetings, product demos, and in-person interactions. Digital marketing was seen as an anachronism for the longest time.
However, business conditions have significantly changed these days. Consumers prefer researching products and services on their own.
Given the complexity and relative big-ticket size of most B2B products, sales and marketing teams receive precious little time with prospects to close a sale.
It should therefore come as no surprise that email newsletters are the second most preferred marketing strategy that B2B companies employ.
A great newsletter allows you to stay in touch with your prospects without coming across as intrusive.
It allows you to push your product without seeming pushy.
Sadly, few companies run a great B2B newsletter. Here are 4 characteristics your newsletter must have to stand out from the sea of mediocrity.
Telling a marketing and sales team to stop selling is often akin to telling a fish to stop swimming. However, in this B2B inbound marketing-driven age, selling is the last thing you want to be doing. A better way of framing this point would be to state that the nature of selling has changed.
Instead of leading with your product's benefits, companies need to lead with empathy first. Demonstrate a deep understanding of your prospect's issues and allow them to explore how your product solves everything. That's the core concept of inbound marketing.
Content-heavy strategies rely on identifying prospect issues and proposing solutions to them. Given the content-heavy nature of the average newsletter, it stands to reason that selling should be the last thing on your mind.
Some of the best company newsletters don't even mention their products and instead focus on being helpful.
Not selling is a departure from the old-school mode of sales where prospects were beaten over the head with the product until they bought it. No one enjoyed that process, and with more choices these days, don't expect your prospects to like them either.
Empathy helps you build trust with your consumers and ironically gives you the freedom to talk about a wider range of topics. Need to address controversial topics? Build trust first. Need to collect opinions on a product enhancement? Build trust first.
You get the picture.
Establish a connection, tell a great story, be human, and you'll see more of your prospects converting themselves into customers.
The last thing anyone wants to read in their inbox is a bunch of vague, incoherent sentences that don't lead anywhere. Storytelling is at the core of great B2B content, and your newsletter has to have a basic structure to it.
The great thing about stories is that they help you build authority in your niche.
For instance, if your newsletter is a round-up of notable news in your industry, you'll be viewed as a go-to source of industry news. However, this doesn't make you an authority. Can you weave a storyline through all of those news items?
Can you present a coherent narrative that makes sense of your industry to professionals in it?
This stuff sounds obvious, but most companies fumble the ball thanks to preconceived notions. They believe that a newsletter exists solely to get people to check out their website.
They then expect the website to do the trick and push people along the funnel. If only it were as simple as that!
You need to use your newsletter as a part of your thought leadership strategy if you want to succeed. Using it merely as a tool to track conversion rates or as another channel that is metric-heavy but lacks context is simply wasting a great asset.
Be direct. Be bold. Communicate honestly. If more marketing departments followed those three maxims, I wouldn't have needed to write this article. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen because of which (fortunately) I have stuff to write about!
No matter how great your open rates are, most people don't have the time to read your stuff. They likely skim your content, and if something catches their eye, they'll dive deeper into it.
Most companies try to beef up their newsletters with all sorts of vague news that no one cares about, thinking that quantity trumps quality.
We all know how that works out in the long run. Cut the fluff and the unnecessary content. Yes, your subscriber rates will drop. However, your engagement will be higher.
A large email list with low engagement is a vanity. Focus on quality and building an engaged prospect base.
That's what leads to more sales.
Most B2B newsletters suffer from a lack of consistency. The newsletter either arrives at vague times or the content seems rushed.
Consistent delivery, in both topics, tone, content, time, and format will help you build better connections with your prospects.
Email relationship-building takes time, and you have to be patient with it. Expecting a single newsletter to bring a flood of prospects isn't the right way to go about it.
You need to run your emails for at least 3 quarters (assuming monthly frequency) before you can expect some recognition.
So stick with it and be consistent. There's no magic pill here.
Simple Format, Great Results
Emails harken back to the old days of the internet, and it can be tempting to question how valuable they are. Well, the statistics don't lie, and B2B markets make use of them in many ways.
Make sure you follow these 4 tips to craft an excellent newsletter that will keep your prospects engaged and have them thinking of you when their time of need arises!