For more than 20 years, email has been the most effective digital marketing tactic available, especially in the industrial space. For every new channel that opens up, and for every flashy new technology at our fingertips, email remains the one that drives the highest ROI.
But to take advantage of that long-term performance, it’s important that you follow best practices in the industrial space, driving good open and click rates, reducing churn, and building a larger list through smart inbound tactics. Here are five industrial marketing tactics that will help you get the most from your communications strategy online.
Be Direct and Engaging in the Subject Line
A 2016 market research report by engineering.com shows that 97% of engineers will at least consider an email, even if it’s from someone new. Only 3% delete automatically, but that doesn’t mean you can just buy a big list and start spamming out your availability or new machining options.
The same study found that 83% of engineers use a spam filter and 51% will scan the subject line for interest before clicking through. Your subject line needs to be engaging and direct. It should directly describe what you’re offering, how it will benefit the engineer reading it, and should avoid commonly spam-like phrases or promotions.
Use Email to Distribute Content to Existing Contacts
One of the most underutilized resources at the fingertips of industrial marketers is their existing customer and prospect list. Frequently, an existing account can go months or even years without a non-transactional email.
These contacts should be followed up with regularly to share new content you’ve produced, cross-post resources you’re posting to LinkedIn or Facebook, and distribute new white papers, line cards or videos that are on your website. A combination of passive engagement on social media by younger engineers and active engagement in email by all engineers will allow you to reach a wider audience when you publish.
Build Your Email List with Valuable Content
A good email strategy requires a strong database of contacts to which you can reach out. This is easier said than done. While you can certainly seed your database with existing customers and prospects, there arehundreds or even thousands more website visitors you could be capturing.
What will industrial prospects swap their email address for, though? It depends. A recent joint study between TREW Marketing and CFE Media showed that manufacturing prospects are most likely to provide an email address for webcasts and webinars (72% overall), followed by product information (69%), white papers (68%), trade publication articles (64%), and case studies (59%). By producing high-quality content at regular intervals, you can capture more email addresses and widen the potential gain from every email you send in the future.
What Type of Industrial Emails to Send
What types of emails are your prospects most likely to open? It’s a common question in the industrial space, with many avoiding marketing-style newsletters and opting for text-only emails that get higher open rates. But which are actually better?
Again, it depends. A plain text email is direct and looks like a personal message from someone at a company, versus a broadcast email. It can also be opened and read on any device, including some smart watches. They are preferred for reading and engaging with information, and are therefore better when you want to have a direct conversation with someone.
What plain text does not do well, however, is drive action. If you want someone to download a white paper, register for a webinar, or see your new CAD library, a visual presentation with a single offset button will do the trick.
Finally, there is the email newsletter. Newsletters allow you to showcase recent blog posts, downloadable content you’ve launched, and news from your business. They are not meant to funnel action to a specific landing page so much as to highlight what you are doing and how you are doing it.
When to Send Your Email
Billions of emails are sent around the world every day. The average engineer gets between 200 and 300 emails a day. How do you break through all that noise and make sure they see your email first and foremost?
While you’re most likely to catch an engineer or purchasing manager in the office between 7-5 each day, that’s also when everyone else sends their emails. For an action-oriented email that requires additional steps, later in the day or earlier in the morning can be better, assuring it sits with less competition in the inbox. For business-oriented emails or transactional records, before lunch is often best, between Tuesday and Thursday.
These are general recommendations, however. Experiment with different times and see when your particular list responds best to ensure optimal response rates.
Get the Most from Your Industrial Email Marketing Strategy
Email can be a highly effective tactic for any digital marketing campaign. It drives engagement, recaptures old leads, and can directly lead to ROI from your list.
Use the five tips above to ensure you’re getting the most from your email efforts and to jumpstart your overall digital marketing investment.