Why your B2B email marketing campaigns are failing

Recently, we’ve had a spate of clients come to us about under-performing B2B email marketing campaigns. They’re finding open rates are declining, clicks are dropping and overall the performance of the campaign has dipped. So why the poor performance?

Email for B2B marketers has been a fundamental staple for years. It outperforms on ROI against many other channels as it’s cheap to create and deliver, and you can push out as many as you like.

Whilst many marketers rely heavily on email marketing as part of their campaigns and activation process, on its own, email marketing is usually disappointing. As with most things, if you take a good hard look at your campaign structure and consider marrying B2B email marketing campaigns with other channels, performance dramatically improves.

First of all, why is performance dropping?

Here are three great reasons why your email campaigns aren’t performing quite as well as expected:

1. Clutter and spam

For years, we had to contend with keeping out of spam boxes. The email service providers and marketing automation platforms try hard to keep things in balance, and most were doing well, until Clutter came along.

Clutter is Microsoft’s Outlooks answer to clearing automated messages and junk, and so regardless of how important your email is, most automated emails will end up there. These enhancements to mail clients are a bit of nightmare – sifting out your email and moving important messages out of the inbox into a holding folder which has an auto-delete after 7 days. Nice.

It’s a blessing and curse. I love Clutter as it removes hundreds of unwanted emails every day, keeping my inbox filled with only relevant emails from my clients. For marketers though, it’s definitely a curse.

That begs the question about the value of your email content.

2. Quality of your content and message

If you’re sending out messages that people don’t value and they hit ‘delete’ pretty quick, then your email client will learn this and start to auto-filter them out into Clutter. Therefore, if you make it to the inbox, you’ve got to make sure your content is pretty damn good.

Whilst it’s cheap and easy to send an email, it’s important that the message is pertinent, interesting and compelling, otherwise future messages risk getting pushed into junk.

You can achieve this through personalisation. I don’t just mean ‘Hello John’, but dynamic content within the email that’s based on segmentation profiles, or richer content based on what they did before or their preferences.

Before you even get that far, you’ve got to get them to open.

3. Poor open rates

We keep hearing that open rates are declining, even with niche audiences. It could be for the above reasons, but it could also be due to the subject lines you’re using – they’re simply not getting the traction you’re looking for.

The thing here is to experiment with the subject line and be a little different – enough so that you don’t sound automated, and enough to show that your business genuinely has something valuable to share.

Improve the subject line and you’ll improve the open rates – but that only goes hand-in-hand with good content within the email.

Over the past year, we’ve written quite a lot about B2B email marketing campaigns, so if you found this post interesting, read about simple email marketing strategies and how to manage your lists effectively. If things are still not quite as expected, then give me a nudge on Twitter at @N1colaray.

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