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One of the most important tactical parts of your strategy is your email marketing. With marketing automation, relevance is crucial, and is provided by timely targeted emails to your leads.

You can break down the types of emails you will need to send into five categories, which can be combined to form various courses: nurturing series, basic email marketing courses, and new lead identification programs. To understand and be successful with each email variable, you need to breakdown how each is created and executed:

1. Autoresponders

Emailed content sent directly after an action is performed – for example, submitting a form online. These help you ensure the submitted information is correct.

Use: Twofold: ensures you have the correct, working email address, and reinforces your brand with the individual.

Aim: A click through by your contact! You will be sending a URL, not a PDF. You want to make sure this email works, and start tracking their engagement.

Execution: A wide range of options are available, but stick with your company brand. This does not mean company branding, but intent. A financial management company might send a professional email created in HTML, while a tech company would probably prefer something in Rich Text format (RTF).

Keep in mind, because this email is requested by the recipient, you will most likely have extremely high engagement levels. Keep this in mind while forming your various programs.

Subject: Reference the recent action taken, make it clear this was requested, and avoid company branding.

Sender: Two options, and you decide: either it comes from your company or the marketing division, or it can come from an individual. This depends on your overall strategy; are you selling credibility? Or building a personal relationship?

Bonus: If the content requested supports the sales cycle, consider offering, in addition to the requested asset, a second link for the next step in the cycle.

2. Sales Nurturing

These emails help your sales team scale their efforts according to response, and create long-term email programs so your company stays in front of leads for long sales cycles.

Use: Helping your sales team gauge their efforts, and let them know when to reach out.

Goal: A click through on the emailed link.

Execution: This is a very specific kind of email that recreates a sales person’s normal pitch. This means they should be sent in RTF, with a signature, and kept short – about 3 sentences maximum. For each piece of content about your company, include three that are not.

Subject: Something innocuous, such as “Following up on our last conversation” or “Thought you might like this”

Sender: This should come from the sales person’s email.

Bonus: If a lead engages with a nurturing email, your sales person will automatically be alerted via the marketing automation platform. This helps create a bond between marketing and sales, and increases conversions with hardly any effort!

3. Shared Content

These help your sales team stay in front of leads, even though they are not yet sales-ready. Similar but slightly different from the sales nurturing emails.

Use: Driving brand engagement!

Goal: Click through(s) by the lead.

Execution: Very short: 3 sentences maximum! Again, should be in RTF (not HTML), which helps diffuse the lead’s annoyance at a marketing email. This makes it seem as if it is coming from an individual rather than a marketing system.

Subject: Remember that this is not a sales email; you are educating. Keep your subject in line with that goal – for example, “Found this article very helpful” or “Thought you would enjoy”

Sender: You could use company or individual, but these do better from an individual.

Bonus: Again: this is content that educates! Try to integrate third-party content as well as your own, and make sure anything you send is evergreen (continues to be relevant long past publication). Use all content to further your campaign goals.

4. Invitational

Invite leads to events, special campaigns, or webinars. These are highly effective in driving attendance to B2B events.

Use: Raise attendance at an event.

Goal: The lead registers attendance.

Execution: HTML. This is generally sent out in a group, rather than individually. To increase engagement, make sure your email list is extremely targeted. Give two options: to sign up for the live event or receive a recording after.

Subject: Bring attention to the event, and that this is an invitation. Focus on the topic and speaker.

Sender: Either corporate or individual – use your judgment, and take your brand into account. If sending two emails, make the first from corporate and the follow-up from individual.

Bonus: Track the open rate; even though actual attendance may only be 30 percent, by tracking engagement you can see who had initial interest – and can send them the slides.

5. Identifier

When you receive leads at trade shows or webinar registrations, you might not know where in the sales cycle they fall.

Use: To identify where a lead is in the buyers’ cycle.

Goal: A self-selection into a stage of the buyers’ cycle by direct click through.

Execution: Offer various messages that lead to different stages, and see when your prospect reacts. You can either use hyper-targeted email subject lines or make multiple offers in the email. Keep this email very short.

Subject: If using subject lines to be the driver, try for 3 stages:

– Stage 1: No brand or keyword mention.
“Have you read this?” or “New research from Opportunity”

– Stage 2: Use brand OR keywords.
“Case study on increasing SEO by [your keyword]” or “How [client] gained 200 percent ROI by using [your brand]”

– Stage 3: Use both!
“[Your company] is best at [your keywords]” or “Forrester ranks [your brand] at the top of [your keyword]”

Sender: Individual.

Bonus: Try using the Choose Your Own Adventure technique to move leads through the process more quickly: if using subject line from stage 1, insert links to both Stage 1 and Stage 2 in the email body, and see where the lead engages.