It’s old news that email is an effective way to reach potential prospects in business-to-business sales. However, we find that a lot of companies don’t have a clear strategy for distinguishing between email activity as a form of marketing and email activity as a form of prospecting.
You, like many others, might assume they are virtually the same. But let me explain MarketLauncher’s point of view on the difference between the two. It might just change how you use email in the future to achieve a desired result.
What Is Email Content Marketing?
Because email is now the most efficient way to reach business people, every company should have a strategy for a consistent, ongoing outreach program that puts content into the hands of your target audience. This form of email marketing has essentially replaced many other “traditional” forms of marketing such as direct mail and trade advertising.
This type of email marketing strategy includes the sharing of useful, relevant content for the purpose of raising awareness and establishing mindshare with your target market. Content such as whitepapers, case studies and newsletters are distributed with a focus on providing information that your target audience will find informative or helpful in some way. Your desired outcome is that the information will be well received, will help you build awareness, educate the market about areas of need and establish your company as a trusted resource.
Measuring the outcome of this activity includes the use of a tool to track open and click through rates and the percentage of times the email was forwarded on to others.
What Is Email Prospecting?
The email marketing described above is not intended to elicit a specific call to action; however, that is where email prospecting comes in. Your email prospecting strategy should definitely leverage the benefits created by your email marketing (much the same way sales benefits from the awareness that a solid overall marketing strategy creates). The difference is that these emails are highly targeted and go out to an individual at a company with whom you are hoping to gain an audience.
These messages should be personalized, and while using a few key points available from the marketing content, it should be clear that the intent is to express a desire to meet to further discuss those points and more importantly understand how they might apply to the prospect’s own situation.
Measuring the outcome of this activity means looking at how many individuals responded directly to the message; and then breaking that down into responses that show interest, those that might have future interest and those that are not interested. And then of course, the ultimate measure is how many meetings you are able to secure as a result of that activity.
The MarketLauncher Approach to Email Prospecting
MarketLauncher uses email prospecting as an important tool in all of our outreach programs on behalf of our clients. We find that the best strategy is one where a call can be placed in the same timeframe as the email going out. And it is often a second email attempt a few days later that gets the highest response.
Like any other prospecting activity, you shouldn’t give up after the first or second attempt does not get a response. MarketLauncher will generally cycle through on a monthly basis to keep reaching out via email to a building pipeline of targets, and often we see responses from prospects after months of silence. Sometimes it’s because we finally hit them at exactly the right time that the subject matter of our client’s offering is now on their radar, and sometimes it’s because we may have shifted something in the messaging that finally got their attention.
Either way, it’s important to keep it up consistently but without overdoing it. You will definitely want to practice techniques that will legitimize your email activity and keep you out of the spam filters. But that’s a blog for another day!