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B2B Guide to Beating the Holiday Inbox Rush Q&A

I had an awesome time geeking out with you guys over marketing (and gearing up for the holidays!) during our B2B Guide to Beating the Holiday Inbox Rush webinar. Big thanks to the folks at MarketingProfs for hosting us and for posting a recording of the webinar (registration required) in case you missed it or just want to relive the magic over and over again.

That's me, Jamie!

It's always fun to share ideas with such a savvy, engaged audience, and you all had so many great questions that I just couldn't get to them all during the webinar. Thankfully, MarketingProfs was kind enough to compile the rest for us so we could answer them here on the blog. Enjoy!

1. When you say to “embrace the scroll” — is there a perfect length you’d recommend?

There’s no “silver bullet” when it comes to email length. Embracing the scroll is good, but don’t just send a long email to send one, especially if you don’t have enough content to fill it up.

When it comes to things like B2B newsletters, in lieu of sending a “content digest” with just text and links, incorporate images like your B2C counterparts. The biggest thing is to make sure that all of the items you put in your mailing are focused around a singular goal.

2. Should B2B brands “ramp up” their sending during the holidays, too?

Yes – but make sure you’re doing it strategically! This is where segmenting comes in handy. You don’t need to send every day, but if raising brand awareness is a goal for your business (and it is for 82% of B2B marketers!), you want to give your brand a fighting chance in these crowded holiday inboxes.

A huge thing to remember while you’re doing this is transparency. If you plan on ramping up your broadcast sends, let people know. I think the most important thing is, again, remembering that there are humans on the other end. If you fundamentally change something that affects your audience and could potentially alienate them, it doesn’t hurt to start a virtual dialogue about it. More than likely, they'll appreciate the upfront, clear communication.

3. How personal is too personal in B2B email marketing? Can we be more relaxed in today’s business climate?

A human-sounding brand voice works best in email, but thankfully being human is about a lot more than making jokes or sending people cat GIFs.  If you’re marketing for a health company, for example, humor probably isn’t the best way to reach an audience to whom you’re delivering vitally important, incredibly serious information. So, in lieu of jokes, clarity and smart targeting using data (aka, relevant content) is the way to go. Relevance is the key to being personal without getting personal.

4. What are some good data points to use when it comes to segmenting my B2B audience?

This is where most B2B brands have an advantage over B2C. Retail is usually on the forefront of most marketing trends because, by and large, retailers are working in a crazy-crowded space filled with the shiniest assets (great photography, a lighter brand voice, etc.). However, as a B2B brand, you probably have access to way more concrete information about your audience based on how they found you.

For instance, you probably have a sales or support team that is logging data based on their conversations, cases and so on. You also probably have more opportunities to track meaningful website data that’ll deliver so much more helpful information than just how many times a site visitor clicked on a particular shirt. If a new site visitor comes from an ad that was aimed squarely at creative agencies and goes crazy for your white papers covering a specific topic, then you know that that person should get more of that kind of content.

And even if you don’t have data that sophisticated, you can always monitor what content pieces perform especially well and start serving it to everyone on your list. You can serve more of that type of content to the individuals who respond well to it and try sending something different to those who don’t. Continue the trial-and-error process until you’ve identified which type of content appeals to each member of your audience.

5. In the B2B world, do you still think it’s most critical to design emails in the mindset that they will be viewed on mobile?

YES!!!! Sorry for the all caps, but I can’t stress it enough. People are chained to their desks less and less in the B2B world, so designing for mobile is more important than ever. They’re checking email on their phones, during meetings (pay attention, Phil), when they’re out to lunch or in line at the coffee shop. Besides, if an email looks great on mobile, then it will also look great on the desktop – but not necessarily the other way around.