For more than 20 years, email has been one of the most effective digital marketing tools available, especially in the industrial space. For every new channel that opens up, and for every flashy new technology at our fingertips, email remains the one that drives the highest ROI. Nothing is more personal and direct than email marketing.
But to take advantage of that long-term performance, it’s important that you follow best practices in the industrial space to drive positive open and click rates, reduce churn, and build a larger client base through smart inbound tactics. Here are five industrial marketing tactics that will help you get the most out of your CRM and your online communications strategy.
- Be direct and engaging in the subject line
- Use email to distribute content to existing contacts
- Build your email list with valuable content
- What type of industrial emails to send
- When to send your email
A 2016 market research report by Engineering.com shows that 97% of engineers will at least consider an email, even if it’s from someone they’ve never heard from before. Only 3% delete automatically, but that doesn’t mean you can just buy a big list and start spamming out your availability or new machining options.
The same study found that 83% of engineers use a spam filter and 51% will scan the subject line for interest before clicking through. This means your subject line needs to be engaging and direct. It should directly describe what you’re offering, how it will benefit the engineer reading it, and should avoid common spam-like phrases or promotions.
One of the most underutilized resources for industrial marketers is their existing customer and prospect list. Frequently, an existing account can go months or even years without a non-transactional email. This is when your CRM tool can be extremely useful.
You should follow up with your CRM contacts regularly to share new content you’ve produced, cross-post resources you’re posting to LinkedIn or Facebook, and distribute new white papers, line cards, or videos that are on your website. A combination of passive engagement on social media by younger engineers and active engagement in email by all engineers will allow you to reach a wider audience when you publish.
A good email strategy requires a strong CRM database of contacts you can reach out to. This is easier said than done. While you can certainly seed your database with existing customers and prospects, there are hundreds or even thousands more website visitors you could be capturing.
What are industrial prospects willing to exchange their email address for, though? A recent study by TREW Marketing and CFE Media showed that manufacturing prospects are most likely to provide an email address for webcasts and webinars (72% overall), followed by product information (69%), white papers (68%), trade publication articles (64%), and case studies (59%). By producing high-quality content at regular intervals, you can capture more email addresses and widen the potential gain from every email you send in the future.
What types of emails are your prospects most likely to open? It’s a common question in the industrial space, with many avoiding marketing-style newsletters and opting for text-only emails that get higher open rates. But which are actually better?
Again, it depends. A plain text email is direct and looks like a personal message from someone at a company, versus broadcast emails like newsletters, promos, featured blog posts, and eBooks. It can also be opened and read on any device, including some smartwatches. They are preferred for reading and engaging with information, and are therefore better when you want to have a direct conversation with someone.
What plain text does not do well, however, is drive action. If you want someone to download a white paper, register for a webinar, or see your new CAD library, a visual presentation with a single offset button will do the trick.
Finally, there is the email newsletter. Newsletters allow you to showcase recent blog posts, downloadable content you’ve launched, and news from your business. They are not meant to funnel action to a specific landing page so much as to highlight what you are doing and how you are doing it.
Finally, let’s talk about timing. Billions of emails are sent around the world every day. The average engineer gets between 200 and 300 emails a day. How do you break through all that noise and make sure they notice your email and engage with it?
While you’re most likely to catch an engineer or purchasing manager in the office between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. each day, that’s also when everyone else sends their emails. For an action-oriented email that requires additional steps, later in the day or earlier in the morning can be better, assuring it sits with less competition in the inbox. For business-oriented emails or transactional records, before lunch is often best, between Tuesday and Thursday.
These are general recommendations, however. Experiment with different times and see when the prospects on your mailing list respond best to ensure optimal response rates.
Get the most from your industrial email marketing strategy
Email can be a highly effective tool for any digital marketing campaign. Email drives engagement, recaptures old leads, and can directly lead to ROI from your prospect list.
Use the five tips above to ensure you’re maximizing your email efforts and to jump-start your overall digital marketing investment.