Whether you’re a B2B or B2C email marketer, your goals are virtually the same. You want to improve engagement, spread brand awareness, and drive sales through email. But how do you achieve these goals? This is where the two types of marketing begin to converge. While B2B subscribers enjoy reading, they’re also pressed for time. That’s why marketers need to hyper-optimize their strategies for these subscribers. When it comes to B2B email, staggered sending actually provides several benefits over traditional batch sending. This term refers to the practice of scheduling a batch email to go out to different segments of your list at different times. In this post, we’ll go over a few key points to consider when marketing for B2B subscribers and explain how staggered sending can improve your engagement and bottom line.
What do B2B clients value in email marketing?
It’s not that B2B leads are difficult to please or convert, but their customer journeys are certainly longer. Someone making decisions for a large company has a lot riding on on each purchase. It’s important for marketers to respect this. Give your B2B subscribers the time they need to learn about your company without rushing them towards a decision. We promise it’s worth the effort. As you craft your B2B email for staggered sending, keep the following factors in mind. These are what B2B subscribers look for when they open and consume email content.
Interesting subject lines.
B2B subscribers lead busy lives, so it’s important to get straight to the point with your subject lines. 47% of people decide whether or not to open an email based on its subject line. Meanwhile, almost 70% of readers will report an email as spam based on subject line alone. Getting straight to the point with an eye-catching subject line is your best offense for standing in a B2B client’s crowded inbox.
Valuable and relevant content.
The customer journey for B2B clients is much longer than that of B2C because a company has to build a certain level of trust. The best way to do this is by delivering highly relevant and authoritative content to your B2B subscribers. Did you know that 79% of B2B buyers consume at least three pieces of relevant content before reaching out to a company’s sales department? This content can come in multiple forms, like thought-leadership blogs, informational blogs, podcasts, infographics, and other multimedia. In fact, 64% of B2B buyers consider podcasts to be valuable content in the early stages of the buying process.
Ease of access and speed.
Again, B2B subscribers are constantly busy, meaning they may not even read your emails on their desktop. Because many professionals are on the go, your emails need to render properly on their devices. Mobile optimization is an absolute must in 2019 for B2B and B2C alike. Not only do your emails need to load correctly, but they also need to load quickly. A B2B client doesn’t have time to wait for high-res images to load. Likewise, your landing pages need to load as fast as possible. This email from Moo gets straight to the point. Image Source: Pinterest
According to research from Campaign Monitor, emails with personalized subject lines have a 26% better open-rate. B2B subscribers are working for companies, but they still appreciate unique, customized content. Use real names in the “to” and “from” fields. Write email copy as though you’re having a one-on-one conversation with a real person. Segment your list and give users control over their email preferences. Your subscribers will appreciate the effort, and it can even boost your conversion rates when they’re ready to buy. Notice how this email from Listrak is written with a conversational tone, despite targeting a technical industry. Image Source: Really Good Emails
Looking to improve user experience and engagement in email? Staggered sending might be the answer.
When it comes to email, staggered sending alone won’t deliver all the results you want. However, marketers can rely on staggered sending as part of a broader email marketing campaign to reach the right audiences and reach their goals. Here’s how staggered sending can help.
1. For email, staggered sending improves deliverability.
If you work for a large company, you probably have to manage a massive subscriber list—maybe thousands or even hundreds of thousands. When you send out a batch email to that many subscribers at one time, your opportunity for problems increases. For example, how many of your subscribers do you think use Gmail or Google Suite for work? Probably a lot. Well, if you hit the Gmail server with ten thousand requests at once, it’s going to get overloaded and give up. This will leave with you a large number of soft bounces. Soft bounces aren’t the end of the world, and your email service provider will attempt to send the email several times until it’s finally delivered. You can, however, avoid this problem in the first place by staggering your emails. Sending out your emails in a few small batches instead of one giant batch will ensure that everything is delivered correctly the first time.
2. It reduces your chance of getting hit with spam filters.
There’s another issue when sending batch emails to massive subscriber lists: you look like spam. You might know you’re not spam. Your subscribers might know you’re not spam. But to the Gmail or Outlook filters, they can’t tell the difference. Unfortunately, spammers have all but ruined large-format batch sending for the entire ethical marketing community. If you send out an email to five thousand subscribers, for example, and half of them use Gmail, you could instantly be marked as spam. After all, how could an email be relevant to 2,500 people? But the truth is, sometimes a giant batch email is relevant to your entire subscriber list. Maybe you want to wish everyone a happy holiday or update subscribers about a new company policy. When it comes to this type of batch email, staggered sending is the way to go.
3. It maintains the reputation of your IP address.
Getting your campaign flagged as spam isn’t just inconvenient—it’s actually dangerous. Nations around the world have enacted very strict anti-spam laws. Gmail and Outlook have specific systems in place to protect their users and their reputations. When Gmail’s algorithm flags an email as spam, it leaves a black mark on your IP address. This increases your chances of getting hit by spam filters in the future. Not only that, but it damages the reputation of everyone else sharing your IP address and your email service provider. In a worst-case scenario, your IP address could end up blacklisted for life. Sending staggered email is an overall safe practice for keeping your IP clean and functioning at optimal levels.
4. Staggered sending lets you account for different time zones.
Thanks to our global economy, there’s a good chance your subscribers live in different time zones. You want your email to pop up in your subscribers’ inboxes at an ideal time, right? If you work for a company on the US west coast, and you send an email at 4 PM, your east coast subscribers will receive it at 7 PM their time. At 7 PM, your east coast readers may have checked out for the day and won’t open their email again until the following morning. By then, your email might be buried. When you plan email, staggered sending can help compensate for time differences around the world. This tiny tweak can help improve both your open-rate and engagement.
5. Staggered sending gives you an opportunity to segment your list.
When you decide to stagger your email campaign, you’ll need to figure out how to break up your subscribers into groups. To improve deliverability, send out the first batch to your most active subscribers first. These are the folks who always open your emails. If you send out a large batch to this group and many of them open the emails, that sends a message to the Gmail and Outlook servers that your content is engaging. When it comes time to send to the other staggered batches, you’ve already reduced your risk for setting off spam filters or getting hit with soft bounces.
6. It limits strain on your server (and staff).
The average B2B open-rate is already higher than that of B2C. Let’s say you’ve crafted a stellar email campaign and sent it to five thousand subscribers—could your website server handle the traffic? Could the person running your sales department or live chat manage all the questions? Even if your website doesn’t crash, a large influx of traffic can drain your load speed. When you’re dealing with B2B clients crunched on time, this can create a disaster. Staggering your emails ensures your website server and sales staff don’t have to manage a massive stream of traffic.
7. Staggered sending gives you some room for fast-acting tests.
Let’s say you segmented your subscriber list and sent the first batch to your most-engaged readers—and it still flopped. It’s not the end of the world because you have a chance to tweak your subject lines and copy before it goes to the rest of your list. You can’t tweak things in a pinch like this if you send a massive batch email—in that case, you only get one shot.
When it comes to B2B email, staggered sending can improve your deliverability, open-rate, and subscriber engagement. But staggered sending alone won’t accomplish these goals. It’s important to use staggered emails as part of a broader email marketing strategy for targeting subscribers at the right time with the right type of content. By understanding your audience, creating valuable content with their interests in mind, and staggering your emails, your brands will enjoy the best results. Are you ready to take your B2B email marketing to the next level? Check out some of our segmentation features at Delivra to help stagger your emails and reach the right audience.