B2B email marketing is alive and well, despite what you may have heard or read to the contrary. In fact, many industries are still unaware of the power of using email in their manufacturing marketing.
Many industrial companies either ignore email marketing altogether or rely on one-off blasts asking for business. That strategy does not attract B2B leads. Most of their purchases are expensive and complex, with long sales cycles and multiple decision-makers involved.
You'll notice that open and click rates reflect this lack of alignment among marketers targeting this industry. (Click here to see rates for additional industries.) in the case of manufacturing (see the bottom entry below), the numbers looked like this as of October of 2019:
You could interpret those results in more than one way. Is one industry better than another because it places a higher value on digital marketing? Is one industry lagging because it’s notorious for overly pushy and loud marketing and sales tactics? Either way, it’s on manufacturers to step it up with more effective, efficient email marketing.
8 Email Tips for Manufacturing Marketing
Want to revive your email marketing for with modern best practices? Here are eight tips on how manufacturers can improve their lead generation with email:
- Set a goal every time
- Personalize your emails
- Educate your audience
- Be concise
- Help your leads, don't be pushy
- Use CTA's
- Nurture your email list
- Connect with your audience at the right time
1. Set a Goal Every Time
“What is the point of this email?”
If you can’t answer that question, you may want to consider whether it’s worth sending at all. To answer the question, think about what you want your contacts to do after reading the email.
Do you want them to use your blog to further their education? Download a free offer you just put out? Call you for a consultation about their engineering design?
Customize your message to gain the result you want.
2. Use Personalization
Don’t be bland. Keep your specific audience in mind.
Studies show people are more likely to open an email is the subject line includes their first name. Keeping in mind the education level, interests, and lifestyle of your leads can help you better empathize with their needs. In other words, consider your buyer persona.
Segmenting your database (more on your subscriber list in a sec) is a great way to narrow your audience when less might actually mean more. For example, you can address your audience based on factors like:
- High level of activity (These people may be ready to buy or evangelize your product!)
- Interest in a specific product/service
3. Drive Traffic by Educating
Turn your email marketing into a massive driver for website traffic. Send links to blogs they may find relevant. Make it clear where they should be clicking to get this juicy info.
In manufacturing marketing, educating your audience is important. Focus on updates to safety standards, industry trends, and other worthwhile topics that will generate leads.
These tactics will increase the potential for new sales, even it’s a gradual process.
4. Get to the Point
You only have seconds to make an impact. The sense of urgency should be even greater in B2B companies.
Don’t overload your emails with text or other visuals that overwhelm the reader.
Manufacturers are busy people. You can be brief while still sounding friendly and interested in their needs.
5. Don’t Be Sales-y
Today, a great marketing campaign helps their leads. It doesn’t badger and harass. This holds even truer in manufacturing, where “HEY COME BUY THESE POWDERED METAL COMPONENTS” isn’t a compelling marketing hook for a long sales cycle.
The emails you send should reflect recent shifts in buyer behavior. Your buyers want solutions to their problems. They want to arm themselves with as much knowledge as possible -- found online -- before they have that first phone call or in-person chat with a sales rep.
Showing a genuine desire to help and inform your leads will always trump an obnoxious approach.
6. Use CTAs
After a lead becomes interested in an email, give them something to do. Add a CTA to the end of your email to direct them toward another action. The CTA could direct your lead toward a:
- Blog post
- Signup form
- Free consultation
CTAs will help drive further traffic to your other resources in the hope of continuing their interest in your business.
7. Optimize Your Subscriber List
You can’t just buy email lists of engineers and buyers, then blast them to death with sales pitches. Emailing people without their permission is slimy. The last thing you want is your message to be marked as spam.
Instead of buying lists, grow your in-house subscriber list and get to know your customers and what they need from you. If someone is not responding, move on.
8.Pick the Right Time & Place
Automation allows you to set up and deliver consistent emails to leads at the right time.
HubSpot, MailChimp, and many other services are available to help you streamline and automate emails for your manufacturing marketing. In other words, “We don’t have time” isn’t a valid excuse.
- Keep an eye out for any trends in open rates based on time or day. Times and dates may also change later on as everyone jumps on the bandwagon and renders your “insider knowledge” useless.
- Space your emails out appropriately so the lead doesn’t feel harassed. Keep the number of emails reasonable. Don’t bombard leads into resentment.
- Track and analyze results. Why did one email perform better than another? Was it the subject line? Content?
Congrats! You’re an Email Genius.
With these eight simple steps, you can run an efficient and effective email campaign without putting too much extra stress on your staff or budget.
Now that you're ready to revive your email marketing, don't forget social media. The well-rounded manufacturer covers several bases with their marketing efforts!
If you need help with covering your other bases, check out Online Marketing Plan for Manufacturers.
(Editor's note: This article was originally published in March 2018 and was recently updated.)