Email marketing… the name itself infers a breadth of skills and knowledge many businesses lack in-house, let alone individuals. Technology meets the esoteric world of psychology. But it is a strategy that works very well, particularly with regard to B2B contact. Good businesses understand how important good supplier relationships are… and they want to stay connected and informed. Email marketing has power.
So, with that said, it is something to get right. And to get it right, a business should never focus on technology at the expense of talent and skills. Not convinced? Let us explain…
What skills are actually involved in an email marketing campaign?
At a top level, these will be driven by the goals etc. of the business. Knowing what your messages are, and who you are looking to engage with to contribute towards achieving the business plan, will help prevent you from just firing out ad hoc campaigns. Every pound and every minute spent on a campaign needs to achieve a return.
At an implementation level, a good strategist will plan for an email campaign to be aligned with other channel strategies. They will also ensure that the campaign has the right content for each recipient regarding their place in the buyer’s journey. And they will have checked that the business has the capacity to respond to all leads that are generated.
Graphic Design Skills
Excellent graphic design capability is critical for a successful campaign. The brand messages need to work across channels to ensure consistency whilst still promoting the call to action. The look of the campaign needs to catch the eye and appeal to the audience in an appropriate way. However, the layout also needs to work well as an email template and not get caught in spam filters etc. Even if the graphic designer doesn’t actually build the template, they need to know what works and what doesn’t.
Often employees in a business are too close to be able to write effectively from a copywriting perspective. They know too much about the products to think like a customer… and that’s as much an issue for B2B as it is B2C. Good copywriting communicates a message in a way that a recipient can receive and react to… almost without thinking. It’s very much about less being more. Punchy subject lines. Engaging intros. Strong calls to action. Meaningful content that whets the appetite and doesn’t bore or give too much away. And all this still has to positively reflect the brand through its tone.
Data Management and Analytical Skills
Data matters. Or more to the point, accurate and useful data matters. If nothing else, GDPR has highlighted this in a spectacular way. But obviously the data used for an email marketing campaign is just the start. The skills to then analyse the data on click-throughs, trends, responses, etc. is what then informs the strategists on the success of the campaign; what worked and perhaps what didn’t. Any information on what will provide for a more targeted campaign next time is valuable.
Software and hardware… both could have a huge impact on an operation if they don’t work properly. And yes, we are talking techy stuff like mail servers, application hosting and management, DNS configuration, security, and connectivity. But there are greyer aspects too. Up to date knowledge on what spam filters are on the lookout for is critical. It doesn’t matter how good your data is if your emails don’t reach a recipient in the first place. Well-built templates, correctly configured DNS settings, and ‘white’ mail servers take experience to manage.
Project Management Skills
It takes the right person to be able to pull all these disparate skills together cohesively and make them work. Someone with technical understanding, a feel for marketing, and good people management capabilities. They don’t have to know everything about everything, but they do need to know how to inspire, motivate, and strive for excellent results. They need to appreciate the importance of good communication, be able to allocate time and resource to testing, and analyse the results rigorously.
Lead Conversion/Sales Skills
And, of course, you need the right people waiting to respond to leads that then come in from a campaign. Whatever the call to action is, they need to understand what it means to a potential business customer. They then have to know how to manage the process through to whatever the successful conclusion is; whether that’s a sale, a meeting, or simply a new email address to be added to the database.
A final word…
That’s quite a set of skills, eh? Many B2B businesses have realised that it makes sense to utilise what they have in-house in combination with turning to external help. There’s no point in adding to the head count when specialised knowledge and expertise can be available on tap for a lot less. A tap that can be turned on and off when required.