If you’re stuck in an old-school approach to email marketing, it’s probably not your fault. It’s your technology. And when we say email marketing technology, we are talking about the ol’ batch and blast email service provider (ESP). Many ESPs were designed for a simpler time, when digital marketing was itself a fairly new discipline. They brought some fantastic new things to the table – like instant (if basic) analytics – and did a good job of automating some of the manual processes behind standard email blasts. But marketing has moved on – and email platforms simply haven’t.
Here’s why their limitations have become yours:
1) The email silo.
Email platforms treat email as a separate silo, divorced from all the other customer interaction channels. So you can’t merge a prospect’s email activities with his or her website visits, content downloads, social media engagements and offline interactions. As a result, your sales teams do not have a full picture of the prospect. How can you build a relationship if you don’t know that your prospect attended one of your webinars or downloaded an important piece of content? Having a single, unified view of the prospect is essential for deciding how to target – and when to hand them over to the sales team.
2) One-off campaigns.
ESPs are good for sending out one-off campaigns and email blasts. They’re not so good at designing and delivering multi-step ‘drip campaigns’ that, over time, move prospects along the purchase journey. Without marketing automation, you’re forced to send your emails based on your timetable, ignoring the buyers’. With it, you can nurture prospects as they progress through your drip campaign. Multi-step campaigns need a marketing automation platform that can take each prospect along at their own pace and nurture longer-cycle sales. Additionally, sending one-off email blasts can be time consuming and unproductive.
3) The landing page disconnect.
Emails always lead somewhere. But traditional email platforms force you to create and manage these landing pages in separate tools. So your efforts aren’t just inefficient, they’re less effective – because your ability to generate and test the right landing pages and forms for each email segment is limited. Managing your emails and landing pages together is essential to closed-loop marketing. Without it, you are leaking opportunities.
4) Trigger insensitivity.
When a prospect does something meaningful – on your website, in social channels or via email– you need to be able to respond with a relevant, timely email. If you miss these triggers and simply blast emails to everyone whenever your promotional calendar dictates, you’re ignoring your prospects and their buying signals. Email platforms can’t send automated emails based on important triggers. You need your email to be managed by marketing automation for that. Wouldn’t it make more sense to communicate with your potential buyers in a way that shows you care about their buying journey?
5) Revenue ignorance.
Email platforms can tell you about open rates and click-throughs. But what your business really wants to know is which activities led to revenue. If you can’t connect your email system to the downstream sales processes and activities, you can’t determine true ROI. If your email activities (and those from every other channel) are integrated with your CRM system, you move from being in the clicks business to being in the revenue business.
What other ways is your ESP holding you back? We would love to hear! And to find out more strategies to optimize your email marketing, check out our new ebook Beyond B2B Email Marketing: Turbocharging Your Email Strategies and Campaigns