If you think that your lead magnets are sufficient for turning leads into users, I’ve got some bad use.
Though lead magnets are necessary, the vast majority of those that take the bait and download aren’t ready to become a user of your service. 99% of them are just investigating your service, working out whether it is something that would help them.
A lot of companies don’t understand this and don’t realise generating leads is a complicated and long-term process.
Though lead magnets are great for getting the ball rolling, automated email marketing is required to convert those leads into users.
Once a lead is established, your software company needs to be constantly reminding your potential users that you have a solution that can help them fix their problems.
The job of email marketing is to make sure that you’re in constant contact with the potential user so that when they are ready to get a solution, you’re the first company they approach.
In short, email marketing for software companies is about turning that remaining 99% of leads into users.
Send emails people would actually want
Email marketing campaigns have gotten a bad reputation over the years. The reason for this is the tendency of some email marketers to focus on quantity, rather than quality, spamming potential leads every day with a dozen emails that don’t help them.
The problem with this approach is twofold: first, you end up annoying your customers, causing them to unsubscribe from your mailing list.
Second, any valuable content you do send out is diluted by all the junk. Potential users will simply conclude that remaining a member of your email list isn’t worth it and they won’t use your service in the future.
Focusing on value means continuing to offer just as much value in your email marketing as you do in your regular content and lead magnets. This means tackling problems facing your potential users and providing genuine, accessible solutions.
When receiving an email, your potential users want to be able to get something out of it, either a great deal, some timely advice or some instructions on how to improve their operations. They don’t want marketing for the sake of it.
But, don’t forget you’re selling
On the other extreme, software companies who get really involved in content marketing sometimes forget that they’re not just providing potential users with content out of the kindness of their hearts.
The whole purpose of automated email marketing is to turn leads into users. That’s why every email you send out should be focused on selling.
But what does that mean in practice?
For the most part, it means offering content that links to the software service that you offer.
Suppose, for instance, that your software company offers cloud storage services.
You might send out an email teaching customers how to optimise your cloud storage files to take up less space and then mention that cloud storage is a service that your company offers this and it’s USP is that your service automatically does this,
Paired with a call-to-action, you’ll find that companies that want to save money on file storage costs start coming to trial your service.
There’s a vast difference between emails that sell really well and those that don’t. Content-heavy emails still need to follow all the rules that generate maximum conversions.
For instance, many B2B businesses, in general, send pretty, image-filled marketing emails to business addresses.
However, for security reasons, the vast majority of those business email addresses don’t display images. As a result, it’s a bad idea to create marketing emails which rely on images to convey vital pieces of information.
Let the content sell, not the email
What is the primary job of the marketing email?
Most content marketers would say that it’s to redirect people to your actual content. As such, the job of the email is to provide a compelling link to your content, either on your blog or website.
And still, it’s amazing how many software businesses still get this wrong when they’re actually doing it. Many will fill their email with thousands of words of prose without providing any outside links to their recipients. They wrongly believe that the email needs to do the selling when really that’s the task of the content.
Getting people to click through from your email to your content is easier said than done. To get people to click through to your main content pages, there are some rules that you need to follow.
The first is to use bold tags. Using bold tags and fonts helps to make your content visually appealing and provides your recipients with subtle cues telling them what’s the most important information and where the link is.
You also want to ensure that any content you introduce in your email is done so using small text blocks. Large text blocks quickly overwhelm users, causing them to close or delete the email.
Finally, make sure that your email has section headings and that links are underlined. This helps your leads navigate from one page to another, finding useful content. Ease of navigation should be a top priority, especially if you have included a lot of information.
As a general rule, try to keep the total word count in your email marketing down below 200. Any more and you risk lower click-through rates.
Stimulating engagement in email marketing is crucial to its success for your software company. However, without the right opening or conclusion, your email will fall flat and will fail to generate the kind of buzz you want.
Option 1: Ask People To Email You With Questions
Many automated marketing emails are good in the sense that they use inbound marketing methods (i.e. providing value by curating great content), but they fail to adequately engage their target audience in conversation.
Their emails are well-constructed, but there are no opportunities for further discussion, other than a simple call-to-action
That’s why many savvy software companies now offer their potential users the option of getting in touch, raising any concerns and asking questions.
Businesses that send out email series will find this particularly useful since it allows you to an opportunity to quash any objections and to improve their knowledge and interest in your service.
Option 2: Include Contact Details In Your Signature
If you’re sending out an email series, it can be easy for the receivers of those emails to lose track or get sidetracked. As a result, they need a way to be able to get in touch with you.
Your emails, therefore, should have a signature that tells your potential users that they can call you at any point for help.
Keep it personal
No matter how large your software company is, each of your users is an individual.
It’s important, therefore, to personalise your emails whenever possible. The best way to do this quickly and efficiently is to use smart fields. These fields change depending on the name of the recipient, allowing you to address your customers as individuals.
For instance, rather than the email saying “Dear customer” in the title, it might say “Dear Louise” or “Hi Troy” instead.
The great thing about smart fields or “merge tags,” as they’re sometimes called, is that they can be added to your email content dynamically, allowing you to personalise different sections of your email depending on who is receiving them.
You could keep things simple by using merge tags for names and social media, or you could take a risk and construct an entire email from merge tags, personalising it to every individual.
Personalisation doesn’t have to stop with merge tags. It can also apply to the type of user you’re approaching.
Say, for instance, one of your leads has been on your email list for 6 months but hadn’t started a free trial.
Instead of sending them a regular personalised email, a better approach would be to send them an email explaining how you’re now offering 50% off the first 3 months.
If a lead hadn’t originally used your service because they were on the fence about the price, 50% off the first three months might just be enough to push them over the edge.
Personalising emails along these lines might be difficult for software with a large number of customers, but many startups tend to have a small client base.
As a result, researching your leads previous engagement with your company is time well spent.
Keep it clean
I’m not talking about refraining from swearing or sending nudes to your leads. If you needed to be told that, you’re probably in the wrong line of work.
Instead, I mean including as little clutter in your email as possible.
One problem you might face is the use of HTML.
HTML was originally designed as a programming language for web pages and books. But today it’s often incorporated into emails to provide additional functionality.
While HTML can make your emails look attractive, it can also reduce the rate at which emails convert leads to users.
The reasons for this are many but perhaps the biggest and most unexpected is that HTML-coded emails seem to reduce click-through rates.
According to a study by Hubspot, emails that contained a lot of HTML consistently underperform those that don’t and often have lower click-through rates than their plain text counterparts.
The reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, but many experts suspect it has a lot to do with signaling. If an email contains lots of images and colorful fonts, then users interpret is as marketing and are much more likely to hit the delete button out of habit.
Plain text emails, however, are interpreted differently. They’re more likely to be seen as a one-on-one, personal communication, increasing the likelihood of response.
A second reason to use less HTML is that plain text emails have better deliverability. Many HTML emails contain a large amount of coding, which is a big trigger for spam filters.
Remember that you’re targeting potentially massive organisations with advanced spam filters so, by using HTML, your emails may be rerouted to spam folders, or even blocked from the beginning, never to be seen again.
Even if the company you’re targeting is using Gmail, then there’s also a good chance that your HTML email will be automatically redirected to the “promotions” folder which is effectively a surrogate for the traditional spam folder, rarely checked by business users.
So how can you sidestep this potential pitfall?
First of all, make sure that you send a plain text version of your email to your intended recipient. This will automatically bypass many of the problems encountered when sending an HTML email, ensuring that your email actually gets through.
The second thing to do is to reduce the number of image tags and HTML-rich templates. Again, these are interpreted by many company email filters as spam or promotional, meaning that they’re redirected away from the primary inbox.
With that said, statistics indicate that you should probably steer clear of HTML email content where possible. The data suggests that HTML versions of the same email have a 21% lower click-through rate and when combined with the fact that many HTML emails don’t even get through, open rates can be up to 51% lower!
So what’s the bottom line?
Essentially, it’s that your software company needs to make sure your email marketing is adding as much value as their regular content marketing by acting as a way to get people to valuable information.
As well as this, it needs to direct potential users to starting free trials while also reminding older leads about any new changes to your service that may get them to commit.
Want to get a Software Marketing expert to manage your email marketing? Let us handle the entire email process for you.
We’ll research your company and create an automated email marketing series that can nurture your leads into become sales-ready or even customers. The best thing? It runs completely in the background!
Alternatively, set up a call with us and we’ll go through any questions you have and see how this can work for your company.