How to optimise B2B email marketing on a budget

Triana Jarman

In our new guide, Fundamentals of cost-effective lead generation activity’ we examine some of the best B2B marketing initiatives to help yield the results you’re looking for, even when operating on a limited budget. In this post we take a quick look at just one of the areas of opportunity – email marketing!

Undoubtedly the most commonly used route to market, it is not surprising that it is repeatedly found to be the most effective B2B channel for reach and engagement. Despite this however, it can be surprisingly overlooked. It is with this in mind that we take a glance at some of the cost-free and paid-for opportunities to optimise this particular channel.

Cost-free email marketing considerations

There are some well-known (and well regarded) email platforms such as Mailchimp which make everything, from managing your email lists to building and sending great looking emails, simple and easy. If you’re working with relatively low recipient numbers and don’t object to an inoffensive monkey logo in your email footer, then this is a great cost-free tool. Even the paid-for option, which allows for greater list sizes and removes any Mailchimp branding, is still a great choice for many. While these email solutions are somewhat of a no-brainer to some, others are unwittingly continuing to pay for more expensive tools which, in some instances, are less user-friendly and less innovative.

Of course, it’s not always the tools you use, but what you do with them that can dramatically alter your opportunities for lead generation success. When it comes to email, a great example of this is in segmenting your recipient lists. Spend some time looking at your customer and prospect data and it is likely you will identify some common themes or personas. By segmenting data to appropriate groups such as region, interests, company size, etc., you will be able target them by email with relevant content that is more likely to resonate with them, and therefore generate a greater response.

One of the most effective ways of building a customer relationship and optimising retention rates/upsell opportunities is to use a regular email newsletter to share quality content and position your brand as an industry thought leader. Email newsletters may seem a little ‘old school’ to some, but when it comes to cost-free activities that are proven to work, this continues to be one of the best. You’ll find some helpful guidance on how to build your newsletter list in our guide.

Paid-for email marketing considerations

While there are are clearly some great cost-free solutions and approaches that will help optimise email, there are also opportunities to get a greater return from those areas which you may or may not already be paying for.

One such area is ensuring you are making full use of marketing automation tactics. If you don’t already have the option to create email drip campaigns, which can help nurture your prospects over time (see our guide for more detail on this), then it may be worth investing in. If you do have such a facility, then be sure that you are taking full advantage of it.

Another paid-for opportunity is that of advertising in the newsletters of relevant industry publications. By advertising in the opt-in emails of reputable publishers, with a loyal and engaged audience, it is possible for your brand to reach the heart of a given target community, in a way that is almost impossible via any other channel. There are however some important considerations that may enhance success when finding and working with such publishers, from verifying claims regarding audience reach and engagement, to taking a consultative approach to campaigns. Be sure to take the time to ask the right questions so you know for certain you'll be reaching the right audience before throwing your money at an external campaign.

From content writing, to email production and automation, right the way through to effective landing pages, email marketing can involve significant marketing resource. As a result of this, some organisations may wish to consider allocating budget to the outsourcing of all or part of their email marketing programme. There are a number of pros and cons to leaning on a third party for this and other elements of marketing support, as revealed in our guide.

Ready for more?

In addition to exploring further considerations for email, the guide on 'Fundamentals of Cost-Effective Lead Generation Activity' looks at a wealth of other cost-effective opportunities including:

  • Considerations for both free and paid activity to support lead generation

  • Pros and cons on running activity in-house vs outsourced

  • A handy to-do list of things you can start actioning today!