There’s no doubt that email is critical for B2B marketing—in fact, it’s often rated the top channel in industry surveys.
But when it comes to the Engagement Economy, the B2B email playbook is woefully behind. Email is primarily a 1-way channel for outbound marketing, rather than a 2-way channel for engagement marketing. Most companies don’t encourage engagement in an email, and many companies downright prevent engagement (e.g., sending the email from a “no reply”)!
For comparison, consider the way you ask for 2-way interactions on other channels:
- When you blog, you ask for comments.
- When you post on social media, you ask for replies.
- When you run a webinar, you encourage real-time questions.
- When visitors come to your website, you ask them to talk via live chat.
In all these channels, you open the door to engagement by asking buyers to engage. So why do very few B2B email programs encourage customers to respond, give feedback, and start a conversation? The answer: “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it.”
So how do you start to transition from a 1-way email sending program to a 2-way email engagement program?
Luckily that change doesn’t require a complete overhaul. You already have an excellent database, tons of intelligence on your leads and customers, and you already know how to tailor and target messages for your audience. Now you just need to go from being a great sender of email to also being a great receiver of email.
In this blog, I’ll give you three email marketing tactics to help you make your email marketing successful into the Engagement Economy.
1.) Ask for Replies
When you write a personal email to engage a colleague or friend, you ask them to respond. Sales people do this as well in their 1-to-1 outreach. So why should a marketing email be any different? Can you formulate your CTA in a question and directly elicit a reply? If a customer or prospect wants to engage with you, isn’t clicking the reply button in their email client the easiest possible buyer experience?
This tactic presents some challenges in routing those responses to the right person and tracking responses for campaign analytics and reporting. But, if enabling engagement makes your buyer experience better, these are problems worth solving. There are a variety of tools, like Siftrock, that can help you manage and measure email replies at scale across diverse programs.
It doesn’t mean that 100% of your emails should have “reply” as the CTA, but this can be a great tactic to drive engagement at certain times in the buyer’s journey. As a bonus when people do reply, you’ll also be boosting your deliverability—receiving mail servers love engagement, just like buyers.
2.) Humanize Your Formatting
If I’m asking a question, I want you to engage. I don’t need a lot of heavy formatting, graphics, or large CTA buttons. In this area, marketing can borrow a page from the outbound sales playbook and make emails more straightforward and conversational. Emails that feel like a human Go to the full article.