B2B marketers have typically assumed that email consent has been given until a prospect has opted out, but this is all going to change over the next two years as new EU privacy regulations take effect. The GDPR will slap fines on marketers who send messages without permission.
In the past, regulations were vague and thus interpreted by individual countries. The standard of sending email to prospects was fine until they opted-out, and this worked well for B2B marketers since email lists are cheap and readily available. But this approach will no longer be accepted when the new rules kick in. Heavy fines will no longer allow B2B marketers to rely on lists.
Predictions have shown that only one in five B2B marketing messages will be delivered to email inboxes that are, at best, not checked and, at worst, no longer valid. This could have a negative effect on campaigns, and metrics. In order to avoid negative results, marketers should proactively clean their lists in advance of the regulations. Dropping people on the list who haven’t opened, clicked through or interacted in the last six months is a good idea. You can then reintroduce yourself to people on your email list and confirm permission, to ensure that they are truly interested. While your lists may shrink, you will only have people on them that want to hear from you, which is better for engagement and driving conversions.
Once your list is smaller, it’s a good time to begin acquiring fresh leads. B2B marketers can use content marketing to drive leads, improve customer engagement and build brand awareness. According to a recent report from Ascend2, 58 percent of marketers reported that increasing lead generation was a top priority and 55 percent of marketers said that improving customer engagement was most important.
Despite this need, many marketers are challenged with limited budgets, and the lack of an effective content marketing strategy. In fact, according to the report, a total of 48 percent of marketers revealed that a lack of a coherent content strategy was their biggest challenge and 47 percent said that budget constraints were an issue.
There are several ways that you can optimize your website to help you build your list in a cost effective manner. The first is to run PPC campaigns. This proven tactic works because B2B buyers often use search engines to research products and services. It’s important to avoid running your campaigns 24/7 and instead run these search campaigns at the times when your buyer is most likely to make a purchase, such as in the afternoons during the week, rather than on the weekend or at night. To make PPC effective, it is also important to ensure that landing pages for each ad are specific to each campaign.
LinkedIn is another great way to reach prospects and build your list. The social networking site for business professionals offers cost-per-click ads that don’t charge per impression like some other channels require. It’s essential that your LinkedIn campaigns show your value proposition. This is often achieved using concise and compelling text and a strong call-to-action.
Affiliate marketing is another great way to build your list. Affiliate partners can help expand your reach within your target audience. It’s important to find the right partners when you employ this strategy. You should avoid trying to partner with as many sites as possible and instead focus on target sites that can help you generate qualified leads.
There are lots of ways to regenerate your list after you’ve cleaned it up. This approach to clean hygiene is the right way to avoid the hefty fines of regulation.