Tag Archive: Marketing

Six STEPPS to Creating Contagious Marketing Content

What do hundred-dollar cheesesteaks, a golf ball destroying blender and a phone booth with a trick door have to do with creating great B2B marketing content?

In his book Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Jonah Berger uses each of these viral marketing sensations to help explore the question of why some products, ideas and behaviours succeed while others fail (a question at the heart of all marketing). While there isn’t a formula to ensure your B2B marketing content will be widely shared, there are six key ingredients that make up a recipe for contagious content. Collectively, Berger calls these the STEPPS.

  • Social Currency According to Berger, social currency manifests when “people share things that make them look good to others.” If you’ve never heard of New York bar Please Don’t Tell, you’ll want to check this out. From a B2B perspective, you can create social currency by delivering information that will make prospects look good when they share it with others, such as members of the C-Suite, managers, or colleagues.
  • Triggers Triggers are “stimuli that prompt people to think about related things.” When thinking about triggers for B2B marketing content, carefully consider context. Successful B2B marketing content is designed for every prospect’s unique environment, situation and business problem, helping to make things personal and keep the brand top of mind.
  • Emotion B2B marketing is often thought of as less personal, but B2B marketing content can still be rooted in emotion. However, as the book notes, content that is physiologically arousing (such as anger or excitement) tends to outperform content that evokes other types of emotion. From a B2B perspective, focus on highlighting core paint points and intimating how your expertise can solve a problem like increasing revenue, decreasing costs, improving productivity or decreasing risk.
  • Public As highlighted in the book, the late great Steve Jobs understood better than most that observability matters (hence why the Apple logo faces outwards on the top of its laptops). Designing your B2B marketing content so that it’s powerful enough to stand alone and leave a lasting impression is crucial. People tend to imitate and share because the choices of others help provide information, known as “social proof”. A great way to lend social credibility to your content is to include brief case study features that highlights the successes of your customer base.
  • Practical Value The simple idea here is that people like to help others and are more than willing to spread great content of practical value. Be sure to keep your B2B marketing content concise yet detailed, and remember to “package your knowledge and expertise so that people can easily pass it on.”
  • Stories Embedding B2B marketing content into stories can help to turn virality valuable. Stories, like ancient Greek tales, help to carry information in ways that straight content can’t. Focus on building Trojan Horses by embedding your content into a greater storytelling narrative that relates to the stage of the buying process your content is targeting.

The STEPPS framework is a good tool for B2B marketers to validate and develop marketing content ideas. If you’d like to understand more about marketing strategy and tactics, or need help developing great B2B marketing content, feel free to reach out to me.

What Starbucks can teach us about B2B marketing

starbucksI never used to understand the appeal of Starbucks.

Before becoming an avid coffee drinker, I couldn’t grasp why the alternative atmosphere, odd ordering system, or premium (sometimes crazy) pricing was so appealing to so many coffee loving consumers. It all seemed like a bit much.

Everything changed for me while at university. A lack of in-school study space and a need for caffeine suddenly made Starbucks a whole lot more appealing. As both a newfound coffee connoisseur and a marketing student, I spent a lot of time thinking about what makes Starbucks so successful. Howard Schultz is also a favourite of a lot of business school professors. Here a few of the top things I feel B2B marketing professionals can learn from the phenomenal success of Starbucks:

  • Start with Culture Great brands are almost always reflections of great cultures. As Bill Taylor has written for HBR, success is “about caring more than other companies — about customers, about colleagues, about how the organization conducts itself in a world with endless opportunities to cut corners and compromise on values.” A unique aspect of Starbucks’ marketing efforts is that internal culture is as much of a focus as external activities, and Starbucks is reknowned as much for its unique culture as it is for its coffee. To be truly successful, B2B marketing professionals should expand their thinking beyond the scope of traditional marketing and ensure everyone in the organization ‘lives the brand’ (through regular training initiatives and openness).
  • Create Authentic Experiences As I’ve written about previously, great brands are a summation of experiences created, conversations fostered, and feelings elicited. Where Starbucks excels is in creating a range of authentic customer experiences that are collectively designed to allow customers to satisfy their own unique needs. There’s no cookie cutter experience and a Starbucks experience is always an authentic, personal one regardless of where you are in the world. It’s been well written about that Starbucks’ goal is to become more than a coffee shop, striving to be a “Third Place”. Accordingly, the company structures itself from top to bottom with the goal of fulfilling that defining idea. B2B marketing professionals should take a similar approach to B2B products and services and design marketing programs that emphasize flexibility and relevance at every stage of the B2B sales cycle. Ensuring that ‘customer experience management’ is chief among the buzz words around your office should be a key B2B marketing priority.
  • Foster Communities At the end of the day, a great product or service will naturally generate a community of fans. But as Starbucks has proven with MyStarbucksIdea and other community building initiatives, great brands help to enable their most passionate brand advocates. From a B2B marketing perspective, fostering communities can help maximize the value of long-term customer relationships at minimal cost. Engaged customers may have information about your products and services that could be extremely valuable. Why not harness that knowledge for the benefit of all of your customers?
  • Marketing Tactics From 1987 to 1997, Starbucks spent less than $10 million per year on advertising as it expanded its empire across the globe. From a very early point, Starbucks understood that the most effective marketing tactics for the brand weren’t paid mediums, but simply word of mouth. Because of the nature of B2B business, organizations would be wise to place an equal emphasis on generating ‘offline’ buzz. Starbucks also excels at embracing opportunity with its marketing tactics, whether during holiday seasons or because of the performance of particular products. B2B marketing professionals should focus on utilizing B2B marketing tactics that are agile enough to adapt to changing circumstances and take advantage of market opportunities.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Venture Accelerator Partners can help your growing business with B2B marketing or startup marketing, please don’t hesitate to contact me or download one of our marketing white papers to continue learning.

6 Top B2B Lead Generation and Prospecting Tools

Conversations are important. Before you can win a sale, you must always first start a conversation with your prospects. But how should you reach out to them, and what prospecting tools can help you along the way? At VA Partners, we work with a variety of clients who sell to a number of industries. Whether we are helping to sell email receipt solutions to ecommerce and retail organizations, or fleet management solutions to industrial and construction organizations, choosing the right B2B prospecting tool can be the key to getting your message heard.

Here are the mediums of contact we use and the tools we recommended to maximize value:

  • A CRM for All Mediums I want to begin this list by recommending the use of a CRM. Your CRM can be your best friend in making sure that you stay in touch with your prospects, allowing you to organize information, record interactions, and schedule future activities. My coworkers and I use Salesforce, and I personally recommend it. For tips on using a CRM be sure to check out our thoughts on the 5 best practices for utilizing a CRM for Sales.
  • Skype for Long Distance Calls If you’re a startup or small business, you’ll understand the value in finding ways to do more for less. At VA Partners, there are times when some of our clients choose to target international prospects or when an international inbound lead comes in. With Skype we can make more long distance calls to reach a wider area of prospects without running the risk of incurring significant long distance phone charges.
  • ContactMonkey for Emails ContactMonkey is the most recent tool I have tried and I strongly recommend it. ContactMonkey is an inexpensive plugin that can be associated with your Outlook or Gmail account and can show you when your e-mails are opened, what time and where they were opened, and how many times they were opened. Take advantage of ContactMonkey to become more responsive to your prospects’ interest.
  • Excel and Word for Mail To mention the use of traditional mail in today’s digital era might earn a few chuckles, but it is important to remember that your medium needs to match the industry and prospects that you want to target. Recently, on behalf of a client, a mail-out was sent to a number of industrial and construction prospects. Microsoft’s Excel and Word mail merge helped me create a professional looking document, complete with a personalized touch, in a fraction of the time it would have taken to do every letter manually. If you are interested in learning how to perform a mail merge Microsoft has instructions that can help you out.
  • HootSuite for Tweets If you use Twitter as part of your social selling toolkit, I recommend going one step further and trying HootSuite or other free social media management tools as a B2B prospecting tool. HootSuite allows you to maintain a strong digital presence throughout the day through the use of scheduled tweets, and can help you monitor activity through the use of custom searches. If your organization manages multiple twitter accounts, be sure to read up on how to be successful.
  • Mobile App for LinkedIn In sales, timing and responsiveness are critical. With LinkedIn’s mobile app you can have the power of LinkedIn wherever you go. Your mobile app can allow you to view accounts,  message contacts, look for information updates, and conduct research even while out of the office and away from your computer. Stay up to date on new developments with your prospects to help win new business.

Be sure to try these B2B prospecting tools to maximize the value of their respective mediums and boost your B2B selling power. If you enjoyed this post and are fired up to learn more about prospecting and social media tools, Venture Accelerator Partners has a number of free white papers you’re sure to love.

Top sources of startup marketing wisdom

As part of my job at Venture Accelerator Partners, I’m tasked with curating great sources of startup marketing content to share with our prospects and customers.

Not only does curating great 3rd party content help build the Venture Accelerator Partner brand, but getting the chance to read so much great marketing material builds my own knowledge base and is helping me become a better marketer for our clients. I highly recommend building some time into your daily schedule to learn about leading marketing tactics and strategies; it can only benefit your business or startup, even if you don’t think you’re a marketer.

Here are a few of my favourite sources of great B2B marketing and startup marketing content:

  • B2Community B2Community is perhaps my favourite spot for insightful, original marketing content. B2Community’s mission is “to create an open community where business professionals can establish their thought leadership, increase exposure for their business/organization, and network with others.” It’s a great source of straightforward yet intriguing material.
  • HubSpot HubSpot publishes so much marketing content, at this point I’m unsure whether they sell software or are a publishing house. Despite the absolutely incredible number of emails I receive from HubSpot each and every day, it truly is a fantastic source of content. Their Inbound Internet Marketing blog is an amazing source of SEO, branding, social media, lead generation, email marketing, lead nurturing & management, and analytics content, and their eBooks are great to keep on file as quick reminders.
  • KISSmetrics In the words of those who run it, the KISSmetrics blog is “a blog about analytics, marketing, and testing”, and it’s doubtful you’ll find a better spot on the web to learn about how those three subjects relate to one another. Be sure to check out their awesome library of infographics on sales, marketing, technology, and social media.
  • RocketWatcher Run by startup marketing junkie April Dunford, RocketWatcher is a go to source for startup marketing content. Full of first-hand tactical and strategic insight from April’s time working with a number of successful startups, RocketWatcher has great advice for launching and growing new products and services.

If you’re interested in learning more about Venture Accelerator Partners can help your growing business with B2B marketing or startup marketing, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

4 Key Benefits of Content Marketing for Startups

Chances are you’ve probably heard marketers throw around the phrase “content is king”.

While the phrase has joined ‘big data’ in the pantheon of overused marketing idioms, it remains true. Content marketing, defined by the Content Marketing Institute as “a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience”, can be one of the most cost-effective (and highest ROI) marketing tactics for startups. Content marketing tactics like blogs, white papers, newsletters, case studies, webinars, videos, amongst many others, are all great ways to ensure your startup has a consistent supply of inbound leads.

If you’ve been reluctant to dive into content marketing, here are 4 of the key benefits of content marketing that might change your mind:

  • Educated Customers Educating your customers and prospects should be a key goal of your marketing and sales strategies, and marketing content is one of the best ways to do it. Providing your customers and prospects with the key information and tools they need to make decisions helps build trust and credibility. Content marketing is especially well suited to B2B, as tactics can be closely tailored to each stage of the traditionally longer buying processes of B2B businesses. For example, you may write a blog post to catch a prospect’s attention by highlighting an issue important to them, publish a white paper to help them learn more about their options and the range of available solutions, and then produce a case study to highlight the quantitative benefits of your product or service.
  • A Framework for Decision Making I came across one of the best pieces of content marketing I’ve ever seen during a search for a marketing automation vendor. New to the subject, I was looking for a set of criteria to evaluate each solution on the market, and came across the Marketing Automation Buyer’s Kit from Marketo. The kit outlined different areas required for success with marketing automation tools (each listed criteria was, of course, subtly skewed towards Marketo) and helped me tailor my search. In the end Marketo was top of mind and was the first meeting I set up to learn more about marketing automation. Ultimately, great content can help establish selection criteria and a framework for decision making that favours your product or service over a competitor.
  • Subject Matter Leadership Perhaps the chief benefit of content marketing is that content can be the best way to demonstrate to your customers and prospects that you are the best at what you do. Sharing key insights and identifying ways to relieve customer pain points is the best way to paint yourself and your company as thought leaders and ensure success.
  • SEO It’s well documented that keeping your website fresh is a best practice for SEO, and a content marketing strategy will do just that. Content marketing also encourages active content sharing, which can help link building efforts. As Rand Fiskin of SEOmoz has said, “delivering an exceptional experience and building a true web brand are now essential to long-term SEO success.” Content marketing is the key.

Don’t forget that social media plays a key role in ensuring your marketing content reaches the people you need it to reach. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can use different types of content marketing to sustainably generate inbound leads, feel free to contact me via email or over the phone.

Can milkshake marketing help your business?

After spending some time cleaning up my desktop recently, I stumbled across an old folder of articles from a marketing strategy class I took while studying at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Despite a few painful memories of long nights spent reading lengthy HBR articles, I flipped through a few and came across an old favourite. Finding the Right Job for Your Product, originally published in 2007 in the MIT Sloan Management Review, is an article that resonated with me as a marketing student and still strikes me as being particularly poignant as a practicing marketer.

In brief, the article contends that traditional marketing segmentation schemes miss the mark in today’s marketplace. The authors argue that while companies tend to segment their markets along product or customer characteristics, customers “just find themselves needing to get things done” and “hire a product or service to do the job.” Few could disagree with the premise.

For example, the authors highlight the case of a fast food company that wanted to increase sales of its milkshakes (hence milkshake marketing). Traditional marketing wisdom meant the company segmented the market for milkshakes based on product or customer categories, and subsequent product variations based on these segmentation insights didn’t impact sales.

After careful market analysis, the company eventually realized that 40% of milkshakes were being sold in the morning and customers were buying them because they helped to relieve the monotony of morning commutes, not just because they’re a tasty beverage. Understanding the milkshake’s true ‘job’ and its true competition (any other product that solves the boring commute job, like a bagel or a donut) allowed the company to tweak its products to do the ‘job’ better. As a result, the company gained market share.

Ultimately, as the article’s authors’ note, the benefits of segmenting by ‘job’ and milkshake marketing can be readily applied to the 4 P’s of any marketing plan:

    • Promotion Segmenting by ‘job’ allows for the creation of purpose brands that decrease advertising costs for early stage businesses, as purpose brands “link customers’ realization that they need to do a job with a product that was designed to do it”.
    • Product Understanding the true ‘job’ your product does will help you design your product or add features that actually improve customer experience, rather than superfluous fluff that you think your target customer might value.
    • Price Understanding your product or service’s ‘job’ and your true competition will help you set the right price for the right customers (who may not be who you initially think they are).
    • Place Understanding the ‘job’ of your product or service can help you tailor your distribution strategy and get your product to the right place at the right time.

As a growing business, choosing to segment by ‘job’ rather than traditional methods can increase the size of your market, help you to understand your true competitors, tweak your value proposition, better target your products or services, and help you “escape the traditional positioning paradigm”. Always be sure to perform situational case studies, such as the milkshake marketing example outlined above, to gain actionable and practical sales and marketing insights.

If you’d like to understand more about how milkshake marketing could apply to your business, please don’t hesitate to contact me at Venture Accelerator Partners.


Why you should be using a social media content calendar

In a world of content marketing, the one with a plan is king.

Now that the production and curation of quality marketing content is widely viewed as the best way to engage customers and drive meaningful leads, it’s crucial to have a plan that lets you take advantage. And in a world where social media has become a primary means of communication, insightful timing and dogged consistency are the keys to success.

A social media content calendar, a detailed management schedule of how you plan to leverage social media to support your sales and marketing activities, will help keep you focused, save you time, and enhance your social media ROI.

Here are 3 reasons to create a social media content calendar:

  • Integrated Sales & Marketing Support Social media is a tool to support your sales and marketing strategy – not a sales and marketing strategy unto itself. Aimlessly tweeting or posting links to Facebook without an overarching strategy doesn’t add a whole lot of value. To be successful, social media can’t exist in a silo. It must be closely integrated with all other marketing and sales elements to be worthwhile, and a content calendar can help align your social media efforts with your greater strategy. For example, if you’re planning to launch a new product in February, use your content calendar to plan your social media efforts now. Plan to write a series of blogs that help define the problem and demonstrate the need for a solution; schedule a series of escalating tweets and Facebook posts that shift the conversation towards awareness and desire as the launch date nears; plan a Facebook contest that will spur continued engagement post-launch.
  • Better Efficiency & Organization As the number of social media tools used in B2B marketing continues to grow, it’s certainly a challenge to keep track of everything. At VA Partners, our social media content calendar lives in an Excel spreadsheet that gets updated and assessed on a week-to-week basis. Though seemingly simple, our content calendar saves us a huge amount of time and effort with regards to researching and scheduling social media activity. It’s a wonder for 3rd party content curation too, providing us with a guideline/template from which to source great material from top industry sources. Other key benefits are that it keeps us focused and on message, prevents overloading on a single topic, and keeps everyone on the team on the same page.
  • Take Advantage of Timing Different social media tools work best at different times. For example, research has shown that content posted to Facebook garners the most shares around 6:00pm, the most likes around 8:00pm, and Facebook also seems to be more effective at driving engagement on weekends. For its part, Twitter seems to be most effective at driving engagement between 3:00pm-6:00pm (in terms of RTs). Of course, the best time of day will vary for every company, but using a content calendar can help ensure you’re using the right tool at the right time to reach the right audience.

Given that it’s the holiday season, it also seems worthwhile to mention that looking ahead is never a bad idea. Identifying key dates throughout the year (whether they’re holidays, birthdays, customer milestones, etc.) will help ensure you don’t miss out on an opportunity to leverage a special day to engage with customers, employees, or partners.

Does your company use a social media content calendar?

If you’re looking for help streamlining your social media efforts, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


PR Fundamentals for Startups

Recently I attended a “PR Fundamentals for Startups” Best Practices session at the MaRS Studio. These great sessions are held monthly and provide entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn about sales and marketing for startups.

Led by senior executives at Hill + Knowlton, Canada’s top-rated public affairs and public relations firm, the session focused upon developing a media relations strategy and outlined a 4 step process to “tell your story” to the media:

  • Define Your Story An important first step in developing any PR strategy is articulating what you want to say about yourself and your company. Ask yourself the following questions:
    • What problems does your product or service solve?
    • What are your key points of competitive differentiation?
    • Who will buy your product and why?
    • How did your company develop? Where did the idea come from? Media outlets always love human interest stories, so don’t be afraid to injectyourself into the conversation.
  • Research & Target Before you can engage with the media, it’s crucial to understand the landscape. Take the time to get to know the relevant media in your industry and local environment. Find out who the best journalists, bloggers, analysts, and evangelists are in your industry and make an effort to get to know them. Remember that PR is not free publicity – you only own a small piece of the pie. To be successful you have to align your PR efforts with the goals of the media. Then, decide on a “hook” you can consistently use to attract and keep media outlets interested in your company’s development.
  • Contact & Follow-Up After defining your story and understanding the media landscape, you can start building relationships. It’s important, however, not to rush this step. Many startups reach out too early and their PR efforts suffer because of it. When you have newsworthy content, reach out to your media contacts and bloggers and share the news with your partners, employees, customers, investors, and as many other stakeholders as you can.
  • Build & Continue Utilize marketing tools that complement your PR efforts by providing the media with more opportunities to cover what you’re doing. These tools can include:
    • Social Media
    • Blogs
    • Tradeshows
    • Conferences
    • Articles, Case Studies, and Whitepapers
    • PR Opportunities with Partners

A well-developed PR strategy is a crucial marketing component for any tech startup. Solid media relations can enhance understanding of a complex product or service and start to build a reputation, as well as trust, credibility and longevity. Is your company ready for PR?

If you’re looking for help creating a PR strategy, please feel free to reach out to me at any time for some tips and guidance.


Understanding your value proposition

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending my first Entrepreneurship 101 session at MaRS in Toronto. Free to the public, the Entrepreneurship 101 lecture series covers topics crucial to starting and running a successful business.

The lecture I attended was led by MaRS Discovery District Education Lead Joseph Wilson and focused on designing meaningful value propositions. As defined by Joseph, a value proposition is a clear statement of unique benefits for a certain group of people. For those crafting a value proposition from scratch, it can help to think about the concept as a hypothesis that your product or service offering will bring certain values to a target customer. There are 3 key components all value propositions should include:

  • Your Product or Service A simple, straightforward statement of your product or service
  • For Whom (Target Customers) Also very straightforward. However, it’s important to remember that when developing value propositions for your products and services you should develop unique propositions for each unique target customer you want to go after. Some value propositions may translate relatively well between target customers, but as Joseph noted, your value proposition should speak to a specific group or person and thus should be specifically targeted.
  • Value(s) Remember, the value or values your products and services provide are separate from its features. From the perspective of VA Partners, our value isn’t that we provide comprehensive sales, marketing, and social media services. Rather, it’s that our services save our customers time while ensuring cost-effective revenue growth.  In general and from a B2B perspective, Joseph advocated that important values tend to be quantifiable, rational, and have a clear link to the bottom line (i.e. convenience, customizability, or quality). At VA Partners, we believe B2B value propositions should be rooted in 4 key areas: saving time, saving money, making money, and decreasing risk.

As an example, using the above method to define my company’s (VA Partners) value proposition, you’d get: “Venture Accelerator Partners provides strategic and tactical sales, marketing, and social media services to startups and growing organizations looking for efficient, cost-effective revenue growth.”

Along the same lines, Software Hamilton’s value proposition would be something like, “Software Hamilton is a community platform, organizer, and gathering space for members of the Greater Hamilton software community looking to connect, collaborate, and create a tight-knit tech community in Hamilton.”

After reading this post, I hope you’ll take the time to analyze your company’s value proposition. Run it through this 3 step process. It’s important to remember that a value proposition isn’t just an elevator pitch, a tagline, marketing copy, or a mission statement. It’s much, much more than that. Ultimately, creating a meaningful value proposition is a “translation game” that requires you to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Features don’t matter; satisfying customer values does.

What is your company’s value proposition?

If you need help defining your company’s value proposition, please feel free to reach out to me at any time for some tips and guidance.

You can check out Joseph’s fantastic presentation here.


Create a More Engaging Email Marketing Newsletter

Email newsletters are one of the most commonly used marketing tactics by organizations of all sizes. A highly efficient and scalable marketing tool, its popularity among businesses shows no signs of slowing down as 67% of businesses plan to increase their usage of the tactic this year. When done right, newsletters can be great vehicles for engaging with your target market and establishing yourself as an industry thought leader. Here are 6 easy tips to help you create a click-through behemoth:

1. Etiquette It goes without saying that spamming is bad. Sending your newsletter to as many people as possible may seem like a great idea to increase your reach, but there’s no better way to feed the junk mail monster than by sending your newsletter to those who haven’t explicitly asked for it. Spamming might get you a few opens in the short-term, but over a longer period it will hurt both your subscription and open rates. Remember – a small, engaged audience is immensely more valuable than a large, apathetic one.

2. Study Your Target Audience This applies on several levels. Of course it’s important to target your newsletter to specific customer groups, but making an effort to understand these groups’ daily habits is crucial too. When are they most likely to open and read their daily email? How do they structure their workdays? What is the nature of their relationship with what you offer? Ultimately, a lot has been written on the mythical best time to send your email but really there is no one best time – only a best time for your audience.

3. Leverage Your Existing Content Chances are you’re already producing great content for your startup or small business using a blog, website, or social media tool. Your newsletter is a great opportunity to leverage the hard work you’ve already put in. Link people to your blog posts that are relevant to the topic of your current newsletter, pull great content from your social media tools, and offer opportunities to download your existing marketing content, such as brochures, fact sheets, or case studies.

4. Design for Success Never underestimate the power of great design. There’s nothing worse than an ugly or boring newsletter. Luckily for those of us who aren’t coding wizards, free or inexpensive newsletter management tools like Constant Contact and MailChimp have great free templates. When designing your newsletter, remember to stay on brand and integrate photographs and other rich media like YouTube videos. A recent campaign for one of our customers averaged almost a 10% increase in opens and click-through rates following a newsletter redesign that incorporated YouTube videos as content.

5. Conciseness + Consistency At the end of the day your newsletter is another marketing tool competing for your customers’ attention, so keeping things concise, to the point, and consistent is key. Let your audience know exactly what they’re in for by taking the time to read your content. Research has shown that shorter subject lines get more opens, but longer subject lines result in more click-throughs. Find a happy medium between the two. Click-throughs are more important to create engagement, but they won’t happen if no one opens your email.

6. Be Clever Most newsletters have open rates between only 13% and 23%, so to grab and maintain your viewers attention, be clever with your subject line and content. Don’t title your monthly newsletter “Widgets-R-Us Monthly Newsletter”. It’s just poor marketing communications. It’s dull, feels like a sales pitch, and won’t start many conversations. Instead, use impactful keywords, intuitive calls-to-action, or lead with your best content.

Follow these 6 tips to increase your newsletter’s open and click-through rates and ensure that your target audience no longer dreads receiving boring emails. Email marketing can be a great first step to closing more B2B sales. If you’re new to email marketing and would like to learn more, subscribe to our monthly startup and small business newsletter.