Drop the Drip and Double Down on Email Newsletters
Here’s a dirty little secret about B2B marketing:
We think of our mailing list in a transactional way: a sea of names to guide the sales funnel. A vehicle to turn leads into opportunities.
An avenue of income.
As a result, we create a drip campaign or email education that looks like this:
- Set up a sequence in your marketing automation platform.
- Immediately send an email, “Thank you for downloading our white paper”.
- Wait three business days, then send the second email: “Here are some additional resources you might find helpful.”
- Wait another three business days, then send email three: “Register for our live webinar (few spots left).”
- If there are no opens or clicks, recycle that lead so you can try again six months later.
These kinds of campaigns don’t work. In fact, I believe they only serve to damage your brand reputation. We could even go so far as to speak of electronic mail abuse.
Why Marketers Do Drip Campaigns
So why are we doing drip campaigns? Well, first consider the circumstances in which we acquire email addresses:
- Visitors to the booth had their badge scanned during an in-person conference.
- We received the complete list of contacts by being a platinum sponsor of this same conference.
- People have registered to attend last month’s webinar.
- People have downloaded our latest white paper.
- We have legacy email addresses from when we bought names from list brokers (gasp!).
These activities were all about generating leads. So our natural inclination is to take a cold lead, warm them up about what we offer, and then take them to the next stage of the buyer’s journey.
At no time has the user requested to receive emails from us. Yes, the fine print on your landing page indicates that you are eligible to send emails and yes, people understand that downloading a white paper will result in branded emails.
I argue that most people who attend your webinar or download your white paper are early in the sales cycle. They are interested in the subject you have chosen, but are not looking for the products and services you offer. They are not ready to buy.
What if we flipped the model?
Make them ask you to send them emails. Create the best email newsletter in the industry. One that genuinely serves an audience, rather than showcasing your product. Use email to build trust with subscribers, so you’re the first choice they think of when they’re ready to buy.
Stop “blasting” your list. And make your email newsletter a thing.
Related Article: Drip Campaigns Are Tiring Me
Email newsletter as a thing
Here’s what it looks like when your B2B email newsletter is a thing:
- He has a name.
- Its frequency is well known (for example, every week, every two weeks, once a month, etc.).
- It has a landing page for new users to sign up – bonus points if you provide links to past issues on this page (to give potential subscribers a taste).
- The “From” line has the same person in each issue (i.e. your newsletter has a “host” or a “curator”).
- Your team is proud to say “Subscribe to our newsletter”.
See how this model creates a healthier email relationship? First, you can stop calling it your “mailing list” and start identifying these people – human beings, after all – as “subscribers”. You no longer send “e-mail sends”, you organize and send “problems”.
Subscribers know when the next issue is out and hopefully they can’t wait to get it. If your newsletter serves your audience well, you eventually earn the right (i.e. through the trust you have earned) to occasionally mention your products and services. Yes, occasionally.
Related Article: B2B Brands: Steal These Personal Newsletter Lessons For Your Email Marketing
What happens next
It’s been 6 months or more since you received your new email newsletter. How do you know if you are doing things right? If unsubscribing bothers you.
In the days of email nurture, you were too far removed from your audience. If you had 10,000 people in a development streak and saw a churn of 0.1%, you would look at the percentage and feel comfortable with the result.
In other words, a churn rate of 0.1% isn’t as bad as 0.2% or 0.5%. But these days you have an email newsletter with a genuine desire to serve an audience. You don’t look at 0.1%, rather you realize it’s 10 people. Ten people who previously requested to receive your emails and have now decided not to.
Maybe your newsletter wasn’t what they expected. There could be a very valid reason why they don’t want to hear from you anymore. But still, it should bother you.
Try an optional prompt on your confirmation page that asks why people unsubscribed. Then, feed this information back into the process of creating your newsletter.
Make your email newsletter a thing – a thing that works.
Dennis is the founder of B2B marketing agency Attention Retention, where he works with clients on content marketing, product marketing, and social media marketing. Previously, Dennis led the content marketing function at DNN Software.