How to make your email marketing relevant

Updated: January 01, 2012

Building brand equity through relevant email marketing can be achieved by following concepts from Keller's customer-based brand equity format. Your channel management strategy must be able to successfully answer all of these questions your ideal customer will have:

1. Who are you?

The first phase of the B2B purchase decision cycle is "Brand Building". Before your "Brand Building" email content can be created, you must evaluate how the consumer perceives your solutions and the preconceived notions they have about your strengths and weaknesses. If there is low current awareness, the goal for your email marketing is to introduce the competitive advantages you bring to organizations in solving problems and creating value added.

For your email content to resonate and be relevant, it must increase your brand awareness reach and lay the foundation for why your audience should investigate more about your company. The best lead generation campaigns build consumer comfort and confidence in brands so that the value is easily recognized at first glance. Email content must inspire users to move from a status quo acceptance of business as usual and demonstrate the clear benefits of using your solutions to resolve problems within the status quo. Closely monitor your open rates for subject line effectiveness and analyze your click-through rate by testing different call-to-action promotional offers that engage your audience to increase early stage participation with your brand.

2. What are you?

If you have gained the audience's initial engagement, your email subscribers will move on to the "Brand Scrutiny" phase and begin judging your brand from a much more critical point of view. Consumer marketing research suggests more email subscribers lose interest or disengage during this phase of the B2B buying cycle than any other.

As the audience begins this deeper investigation of the potential for a business relationship with your company, your messaging must be actionable and follow a preconceived content strategy focused on the solutions you provide, the evolving needs of your audience and building a confidence bridge between the two. Quality of product offering and content credibility are two important metrics that should be measured to determine if your brand is keeping the audience's attention. Use voice-of-customer follow up email surveys to refine the needs of your audience, aiding the critical role that segmentation plays in creating relevant content. Measure your list size growth and churn: how many new users are subscribing at your website and how many people are unsubscribing from your list each month after receiving your messaging.

3. What about you?

Feelings and judgments will develop during "Brand Scrutiny" as relevant email content leads the audience to credible and favorable associations about your brand. Email campaigns that create performance-based associations of thought leadership will go a long way during this stage. Efficiency of service, empathy with the customer's interests in mind, and reliability of responsiveness are three simple campaign messages that demonstrate you understand what users are feeling when they choose your company as a service provider to do business with.

Relevant email content delivered to audience segments in this phase could additionally focus on the quality of your team, the credibility of your product offering, and case studies of superiority of solutions your brand provides. Your goal should be to prove without a doubt that, not only are you the solution your audience should choose, you will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that choice will be regarded as an intelligent decision after the purchase has been made.

4. What about you and me?

Finally, during the "Brand Investment" phase, the consumer has validated their decision to have a relationship with you, developed an initial loyalty to your brand, added you to their community of business suppliers, and engaged with your solution. Relevant email campaigns to this segment of your audience must demonstrate you are in sync with taking great care of your business partnership.

Content strategy will focus on the resources, time and energy you are putting into the commitment of doing business with your customer. Special email offers only available to customers, interacting with your customers through email marketing research surveys to gain feedback, and thought leader email content that brings new incremental value to their business are only a few of the options that can help build attitudinal attachment.

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