Email is dead. We’ve all heard it. It’s often suggested most B2B communication today is channeled via other types of media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and even Facebook). Most companies already have a chatbot on their website. Customers expect prompt answers and immediate results. In a world of instant communication, this makes sense. In fact, this has been predicted before:
“I’m predicting that a new communication channel will replace email by 2020.”
— John BrandonContributing editor, Inc.com, 2015
However, empty predictions are a dime a dozen, and like many others, this one doesn’t quite hold up to statistics either. According to Radicati group, 4 billion users still rely on email in 2020. That’s over half of the world’s population. What’s more, according to HubSpot, a staggering 86% of professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes.
Essentially, this suggests, at least in the initial stage of every deal, email remains the preferred mode of communication. This is especially true in the biopharma space, as buyers typically like to determine if the solution fits their needs before sharing sensitive information and committing time to meet in-person. I would go so far as to say email is the primary lead generation channel for biopharma and life science sales in 2020.
Now, this obviously doesn’t mean every email you send will be greeted with the same enthusiasm as you had when you wrote it.
So now that we’ve established email is still alive and kicking, the real question is does spending all that time composing emails really pay off, or do most emails get deleted as soon as they land in someone’s inbox?
In our experience, prospects really do engage with emails. In fact, I’d argue they do so more than they do on social media, where most users just passively scroll through a never-ending stream of content.
There are some really interesting statistics on this topic that corroborate our findings. According to Campaign Monitor, you’re 6 times more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet. A message is 5x more likely to be seen in an email than via Facebook (Radicati, 2017). What’s more, B2B organizations report a whopping $46 return on every invested dollar in email marketing (DMA, 2019). If these numbers tell us anything, it’s that you’re missing out if you’re aren’t leveraging email as a communication channel to reach your prospects.
But of course, not all emails are created equal. We’ve all come across emails that wind up straight in the trash. This is typically due to a lack of (or insufficient) research, and not really understanding your (potential) customers. There are three basic guidelines that you should follow to personalize your emails:
Segmentation is the division of potential clients into smaller tranches in order to ensure your content is personalized and relevant to each and every recipient. In other words, you wouldn’t want to market reagents to a bioinformatics company, would you? Or offer clinical trial management services to a preclinical biopharma company? There are many ways to approach this, and even basic segmentation, such as by industry type, leads to a huge improvement in response rates. According to Mailchimp, recipients are 75% more likely to read emails from segmented campaigns than non-segmented ones.
We use our phones everywhere and for everything. Take one look around and chances are you’ll see a majority of people glued to their screens. Phones have become our payment systems, navigation devices, source of news, and even entertainment. It’s not surprising then that almost every study on email open rates concludes at least 50% of all emails are read on mobile devices (Campaign Monitor, 2018). This means one, and only one thing. Your email has to look as good on mobile as it does on a computer screen. Period. Bite-sized sentences organized in clean, readable stanzas.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. See what works and what doesn’t, starting with the subject line down to the CTA. Use well-defined metrics, and some good old fashioned statistics to continuously measure and improve response rates to ensure your customers find your content valuable. Everything else will follow.
If you’re feeling stuck, or worse, your emails often wind up in the spam folder, we should talk. We’re happy to discuss our experience with email marketing and share our insights. You can get in touch with us.