IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Breaking Through the Email Noise

IT service providers can up their email marketing game, and ultimately increase sales potential, by following these pointers. By Scott Kaplan

If you’re an IT services provider using email marketing, that’s good news. You’ve clearly recognized that email is a key opportunity to connect with customers and prospects. When implemented strategically, it can generate real results. And despite its oversaturation in recent years, email remains one of the best ways to optimize reach and scalability while leveraging a direct, personal route to users—provided, of course, that you use it wisely.

The goal is not to simply compose and send emails, but to increase your open and click-through rates, minimize your unsubscribes, and ultimately increase your sales potential. Here are a few key pointers to upping your email game.

Segment Your Lists

One mistake we’ve seen a lot of managed service providers (MSPs) make is to blast everyone on their lists with the same message. The problem is, in this line of work your target audience might include everyone from IT staff to salespeople to executives. At some companies you may even see HR employees or more junior-level staff acting as key drivers in pushing new technologies and solutions up through the ranks.

Obviously, sending a nuts-and-bolts style technical email to a nontechnical audience is not a smart approach. Similarly, you wouldn’t want to send messaging that’s too big-picture, broad, or simplified to technical folks, because it may seem irrelevant or not differentiate you enough from your competitors. Dividing and conquering is the best way to approach your lists. While there are more finely tuned ways to do this—for instance, by leveraging intent data—looking at job title and function is a good start.

Tailor Your Content

Once you’ve segmented your lists into known buckets of audiences, it’s time to tailor your content accordingly. Remember that the vast majority of decision makers aren’t likely to have a deep understanding of the technology side, so you’ll want to explain things in layperson’s terms and keep the business impact in mind. Never assume your audience is fully up to speed on terms like cloud computing, IT infrastructure, or virtual desktops. Not only are there a lot of misconceptions about these types of services, but you run the risk of isolating prospects who aren’t comfortable with the terminology. In those cases, it’s best to position yourself as informative and educational—again, always with the business impact at the forefront.

Remember that content isn’t just limited to the body of emails! It entails everything from the subject line, your signature, which links or media you choose include, and even the send-from name and email address. All of these should be designed to hook your target audience.

Test, Test, Test

Harnessing any digital channel successfully—whether it’s email or social media or advertising—is never a one-and-done deal. It’s all too easy to get excited about a new email marketing initiative or campaign, only to get stuck in a pattern of doing things the same exact way, month after month.

If you want to drive real, needle-moving results for your business, you have to be open to continuously testing, challenging, and refining your approach. This doesn’t necessarily mean a complete overhaul of what you’ve been doing, but implementing small, iterative changes here and there that can ultimately make a big difference. For instance, you might find that including an actionable key word in the subject line leads to higher open rates, or that including fewer links results in higher click-throughs. Test everything from content variation to how often you send to which day and what time you send, and you’re apt to learn more valuable information about your customers and prospects in turn.

In addition to focusing on creating recurring revenue streams and expanding your advanced cloud portfolios, the ability to market and sell your business is a critical ingredient for success. This is because in order to stay competitive and accelerate progress, you must think strategically and transition from working in your business to working on your business. Digital channels like email marketing represent powerful outlets for you to achieve this.

SCOTT KAPLAN is associate director of marketing at Nerdio, provider of virtual desktop-centric IT automation for Azure and private cloud, based in Skokie, Ill.

Opening image: Pixabay

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