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Why Email Marketing is (kinda) Like Football

I am often asked, “what is the ideal length for an email message?” and “what subject heading gets the best open rate?”

My response is always, “None of that matters as much as making sure you are putting your message in front of the right audience.”

In B2B marketing, there has been a lot of emphasis placed on developing content and nailing the right message. These things are obviously important. But equally important is building the right audience. If you are putting your message in front of the wrong people, the poor response may cause you to waste time refining a message that might have performed well when aimed at the right audience. This would be like trying to change how the quarterback throws when all you needed to do was replace the receiver.

Pass Incomplete: Email Marketing that Misses the Mark

Let’s use a real world example: A certain private jet charter service sent me the same email five days in a row last month. Here’s why that’s a problem:

  • I am not part of their audience. While I’m flattered that they think I might meet their demographic, I don’t. Yes, I am a CEO. Yes, I travel frequently to multiple cities. But I’m an entrepreneur running a boutique-sized, sales development firm. I’m a long way from ever contemplating flying via private jet, so their value proposition doesn’t speak to me.
  • Because the EXACT SAME email came to me five days in a row, we can assume they are (incorrectly) using some sort of email automation tool. The assumption might be that because there is no direct cost to send those emails, why not cast a wide net and see who bites. Maybe someone in my position does reach a point where a private jet charter service makes sense. (Right now I’m still at the stage where I have to rationalize choosing UberBlack over UberX.)

Here is where those two elements create a problem. If the audience is skewed toward too many people like me, the response they are getting to this outreach is going to be very low. And the low response is likely going to generate a metric that has someone scratching their head and re-thinking the approach. And they would be wasting their time looking at the wrong problem; because no matter what that email said, it wasn’t meant for me.

Email Marketing that Scores Leads

Having devoted my entire career to B2B prospecting, I can tell you that taking the time to organically build a carefully curated audience of the right prospects, pays off in two ways:

  • While building the right list requires time and resources, you’ll be able to better leverage your marketing outreach and get to your desired outcomes faster.
  • You can use the metrics to truly test which messages work and which don’t because you can rule out that it’s being ignored by someone who is not a relevant prospect.

This element has become so important for initiatives meant to quickly build a lead pipeline, that MarketLauncher has built a service offering devoted strictly to Audience Development. We establish a company profile and decision-maker personas and then research the market to build out a master list of suspects in the addressable market. Then we put a team of market researchers on the phone to navigate through organizations and identify the right decision makers – prequalifying companies and individuals based on the intel we are gathering. This approach also creates the added advantage of warming up prospects so they can be properly pulled into an email nurture campaign.

Feel free to email me if you want to learn more.

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Lara S. Triozzi
Lara S. Triozzi
As the CEO of MarketLauncher, Lara is the visionary who gets clients and team members excited about what can be and then finds ways to make it happen. Lara has always had a talent for designing new business strategies, from the fledgling start-up ad agency she joined right out of college to an opportunity to help launch Inc. Magazine’s CEO peer groups on a national scale.

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