As a bit of background, I have been using email as a marketing tool since 1995 when I launched my first news website New Jersey Online. NJO had very active reader forums, no, we did not call that social media then, but it was. To support our social media program we also collected email addresses and used Mercury Mail, an early player in the email space, to deliver targeted emails to our large NY Metro audience.
Today, email is a part of everyone’s online life, it is the most used digital tool, and as marketers, it is, or should be, a key element of all of our business development marketing programs. But, it isn’t.
Should You Use Email Marketing For Ad Agency New Business?
Most advertising, digital, design and PR agencies have become enamored with social media / inbound marketing. And why not. All you have to do (large overstatement coming) is roll out some social media like an agency blog and you will achieve that holy grail of agency marketing, you’ll…
Win without pitching.
I advise my own agency clients on how to run strategic (and efficient) social media programs to attract clients. It is a key element of any agency marketing program if done correctly (social media is probably how you found me.) It should be your agency’s most efficient form of marketing. But, this is a very big but, I am sorry to say that you will not win without pitching. Or, to put it simply, you won’t win without also doing outbound. That means having a clear brand position, a compelling sales proposition and a list of the clients that you want to work with and then go out and touch them. Every agency must have an active outbound program and email should be its cornerstone. The secret is to:
- Build an email list based on your business objectives. I used The List Inc. and LinkedIn to build a two tiered email list. Tier One were potential clients that met all of our new business criteria (i.e. were the right fit and should be paying attention to our thought leadership) and Tier Two clients that met most of our criteria. Or, to put it another way, if they asked a bunch of agencies to a pitch and we were not on the list, it must be our fault for not being top of mind. In addition to building a list from scratch, have a system on your website to collect email addresses. This is usually a job for your blog or thought leadership program. The key here is to entice the visitor to opt in. See an example of how I do that at the bottom of this post.
- People love to read information that is relevant to their business, so, make sure that all of your communications add value. If your emails are worth reading, they will get read. This means, get past only sending emails that talk about the agency. Sorry, most potential clients are not that interested in your agency’s work unless you can relate it to their own business issues.
- Be consistent. My agency Citrus had a monthly email called One Idea. It was by nature concise and it was delivered every month. Every month, like clockwork.
Answer #2 is all about email facts
Email works in B2B marketing. Here are my 7 most important email facts that should help you build a very smart email program.
- B2B prospects open emails. Well, the smart and curious ones that actually care about growing their business will. Good news is that this is the type of client you want.
- Keep your emails simple and well-designed (offer a text only email option.) Overloaded emails will not get read. OK, your mom might read them.
- You will get more opens from your opt-in list than from compiled or purchased lists. However, my own experience is that if you have a value-oriented email program you will greatly reduce this disparity.
- Subject lines rule. 33% of email recipients open email based on subject line. (eConsultancy.) Keep those subject lies relevant and short. Test the click-through rate of personalized subject line
- Email is easy for your prospects to share.
- Pay attention to the time of day and which days you send our your emails. Email industry stats show that emails sent on low B2B volume Saturdays have a higher open rate.
- Last point about the benefit of delivering value in your emails. In 2011, Citrus did a survey with 3,500 senior marketers on the relevance of B2B email programs and strategic white papers. 87% agreed with the statement. “Do you find white papers on marketing trends and solutions valuable” and only 17% agreed with the statement that “Do most other agencies deliver white papers on an ongoing basis?” Clearly, there was and is a market gap that your agency can fill. This gap should be filled via both your inbound and outbound programs.
Back to inbound marketing. Why just hope that your brilliance will be discovered? Be proactive and send your brilliance directly to the right prospects.
There are dozens more email facts. Just go ask Google. But, the bottom line is that email marketing works.