Archive for December, 2022

How Small Businesses Can Make the Most of Email Marketing

For many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the pandemic was the nudge they needed to embrace digital technologies, like email marketing software. Plus, new challenges like inflation and labor shortages have left small businesses lacking the time and resources to maintain a robust marketing program. A recent Act! Survey found that 69% of SMB owners handle all of their company’s marketing responsibilities. Email marketing technology has quickly become a necessity for SMBs looking to keep pace with the competition.

With ROI top of mind for many of these SMB owners, it is critical to make the most of their email marketing. To do so, businesses must start by setting clear goals, then using the tools necessary to measure the success of those goals and simplify email marketing processes.

Related: Your Email Marketing Is Destined to Fail Without These 3 Essentials

SMART goals
We’ve all seen the acronym — successful email marketing starts with setting SMART goals that properly define and measure the goals of an email campaign. If you’re unsure of what your email campaigns are delivering, first ask yourself two questions:

Do you have SMART goals?
Are you effectively measuring your progress?

Often, SMBs create email marketing campaigns with (at best) poorly defined goals, like “increase the awareness of a new product.” While you may be able to track things like impressions, does that really determine the awareness you have created around the product?

Email marketing campaigns must be directed toward a specific, measurable outcome, like generating new leads, improving conversion rates and growing a subscriber list. Failure to properly define and track email campaign goals can lead to missed opportunities and uninformed decision-making down the line.

The metrics your team tracks should be determined by the goal of your email campaign. For example, if your goal is to increase the amount of time visitors spend on your website, you should track the overall time on site (TOS) while monitoring bounce rates to determine if page enhancements are enticing users to stay longer. If the goal is to generate leads, teams should be tracking lead source viability over time, leads by campaign type and the average number of touchpoints to conversion. To generate successful email marketing campaigns, marketers must first define clear goals and the metrics to track them.

Read more: How Small Businesses Can Make the Most of Email Marketing

What B2B marketers must know in the face of a potential recession

Talking about a recession isn’t always enjoyable. But it’s a situation that inevitably requires a shift in strategy and mindset to continue finding success in the face of economic headwinds.

Defined technically as a period of a significant decline in economic activity, a recession (and the looming potential for one) directly affects marketing.

In particular, B2B marketers face a unique challenge in identifying a downturn – with sales cycles expanding beyond 6, 12 or more months into the future and lacking evident shifts. Whereas, B2C and D2C marketers can feel it more quickly when complete verticals go south.

In this article, we’ll unpack how a looming recession impacts B2B marketers and the key factors to consider to successfully navigate this landscape.

What did B2B marketers do last time?
You must know the past to understand your present and future. There have been plenty of recessions – some fairly recently.

In 2007–2009, we experienced the Great Recession in which the mortgage crisis led to the collapse of the housing market bubble. While it may have ended for the U.S. in 2009, the ripple effects were felt in some European countries for years.

Countries defaulted on their national debt and had to be bailed out by the European Union, resulting in those countries enacting austerity measures to repay their debts, according to History.

Hindsight is 20/20. And when it comes to learning from past mistakes, there’s a clear connection to be made between:

Those who increase (or at least maintain) advertising budgets.
And those who cut or stop marketing efforts altogether.
When faced with a potential downturn, brands that committed to advertising and marketing efforts rebounded faster and recovered quicker than those that opted to pull back.

During the 1990-1991 recession, McDonald’s decreased its advertising and promotion budget, while Pizza Hut and Taco Bell did the complete opposite, according to Pathfind.

This allowed Pizza Hut and Taco Bell to increase sales by 61% and 40%, respectively, while McDonald’s saw 28% fewer sales.

What do B2B buyers want now?
COVID-19 is one key element that differentiates this potential recession from the others.

We just experienced a global pandemic that permanently altered the entire spectrum of consumer and business decisions.

As a result, we will need to navigate key shifts in the B2B buyer behavior and landscape.

Read more: What B2B marketers must know in the face of a potential recession

Four Things B2B Marketing Can Learn From B2C

“At the end of the day, it’s all about value delivered to the customer.” That’s how my marketing club meeting ended last month. Today, marketing goes far beyond “the performance of business activities that direct the flow of goods and services from producers to consumers.” That’s how it was described by the American Marketing Association in 1935.

Now, the AMA defines it as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Through the years, marketing has been divided into B2B and B2C. And there’s a reason for it. We act differently when choosing a software vendor (partner, in fact) for the next five years to support digital transformation projects than we do when choosing sneakers to support our exercise.

Anyhow, there is much more we, as B2B marketers, can learn from B2C to create special bonds with our customers and help them make their business more sustainable and efficient.

Typically B2B services are hard to communicate. There are so many services we provide and industries we serve. This leads to generalization or hard-to-understand concepts and deeply professional words. It creates barriers for customers. The harder it is to understand what we are talking about, the fewer chances we have to make a deal. So, let’s make our language simple. A good litmus test could be an elevator speech to a friend of yours who is not a part of the industry you work in.

A Frictionless Experience
A frictionless and transparent checkout process is the key to success for any consumer business today. Customers want to have full control of the process and be sure of any additional charges that may occur.

Read more: Four Things B2B Marketing Can Learn From B2C

B2B Marketing Trends to Watch for 2023

The B2B market is facing younger buying committees, shifts in buyer expectations about the purchase process, overcomplicated tech stacks, and uncertain economic conditions. These factors are changing how marketers can reach, engage, and retain business customers.

Buyers Reject Traditional B2B Experiences
Younger, digital-first buyers want experiences that mirror their B2C journeys. Millennials and Gen Zers are now dominant in B2B buying committees. These age cohorts prioritize vendors that are easy to engage with and expect to manage their journey on their own terms. As a result, marketers will need to provide interactions that meet these buyers’ high expectations.

The buying committee is bigger and more diverse. Buying experiences now have more involvement from multiple stakeholders of varying generations but still must resonate with each person.

Read more: B2B Marketing Trends to Watch for 2023

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