Industrial Companies shouldn’t Replace Email Marketing with Social Media

Right off the bat let me say that this post is not about email marketing versus social media. However, I’ve had conversations with manufacturers and industrial companies where I am asked if email marketing is still relevant and effective since all the talk these days is about social media. Yes, social media generates all the buzz but discarding email marketing, a tried and true workhorse would be a mistake and here is why.

In a March 2012 online survey of US marketing professionals, trade publication Chief Marketer found that the most popular tool in digital campaigns, according to 78% of the respondents was email marketing followed by Email newsletters (59%) and a close third was social media at 58%.

Here is a chart from emarketer.com showing the growing number of tools used by marketers to improve Website engagement.

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Using E-mail Marketing for Lead Generation

Most manufacturers and industrial companies use email marketing as a way to keep in touch with new leads and existing customers. This usually means sending out a bi-weekly or a monthly email newsletter.

It has been my experience within the industrial sector that these companies rarely use email marketing proactively for lead generation. Here I am not referring to new subscribers to newsletters and free content. To me, those contacts are prospects and not leads. There is a difference. For more on that, refer to my post, “Subscribers to Free Content are NOT Leads.”

How to generate quality leads using email marketing

Email marketing is an effective tactic for generating high-quality leads from an audience of engineering, industrial and technical professionals. However, it does require you to think about emails somewhat differently.

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Making Industrial E-mail Marketing More Relevant

E-mail marketing to a house list continues to be the top marketing channel for many industrial companies and manufacturers according to Trends in Industrial Marketing 2011 from GlobalSpec. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that industrial marketers are very happy with the results.

The biggest challenge in e-mail marketing faced by industrial marketers, besides not enough resources, is getting their subscribers to pay attention to their emails when everybody’s inboxes are already overflowing with messages. Keeping e-mails relevant has become the key factor in proving their worth in industrial marketing.

In this post, I’ve listed the major areas to focus on if you want to make your industrial e-mail marketing more relevant and productive.

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Industrial E-mail Marketing: Use Application Notes to Engage Engineers

E-mail marketing to in-house lists is the most popular marketing channel for reaching engineers and industrial professionals. This was one of the findings in a recent study published by GlobalSpec. The chart below shows the different online marketing tactics that manufacturers and industrial companies plan to use in 2011.

Marketing Channels Planned Usage by Industrial Companies in 2011

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Boost Email Relevancy With Dynamic Content

Email marketing has been a staple of industrial marketing for a long time. However, many of these marketers are now experiencing declining open and click through rates.

With all the buzz about social media, blogs and RSS feeds, are email marketing and eNewsletters dead?

Not so fast!

IMO, they are and will continue to be very useful provided your content is relevant.

That’s the standard advice you are likely to get from most marketing consultants. It’s easier said than done as you’ve probably already discovered.

The solution – use dynamic content to boost relevancy of your emails and make them highly personalized in order to truly engage with your audience of engineering, technical and industrial professionals.

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