Email marketing for MSPs, when done right, has the potential to be among the most cost effective marketing tools in your kit. Across industries – and this includes IT email marketing – emails can yield $38 for every dollar spent, which is a 3,800% return on investment (Hubspot, 2020).
A potential ROI of that level should be enough to get you salivating. Aside from inbound marketing, emails tend to have the next highest marketing ROI.
But not all emails are able to achieve such great results. Why? Because they aren’t done right.
Email marketing for MSPs can be particularly challenging. After all, one of the strengths of emails is the personal connection a sender can foster with the recipient. Creating a personal connection through topics like cybersecurity and cloud automation can be difficult (but not impossible!).
MSP Success Magazine found that 58% of MSP companies are not doing any email marketing or doing it so inconsistently that it’s gaining them no traction.
So for many MSPs, email marketing is an untapped well of potential leads being left unexplored. .
Before we dig into the best practices, a quick note: there are two types, broadly speaking, of marketing emails:
- Outbound marketing emails (cold emails)
- Inbound marketing emails (lead nurturing emails)
Inbound marketing is the use of online content, seo, ppc, and social media (among other tools) to draw in prospective customers and nurture leads down the sales funnel.
Outbound marketing, by contrast, is where you and your business approach prospective customers directly with offers, and can take the form of cold calls, cold email, and door-to-door sales.
While many of these best practices below apply to both, there are some key distinctions we’ll make along the way.
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1. Build a Strong Email List
The most perfectly crafted email marketing campaign will only get you as far as your email list allows you to go.
In other words, the best marketers in the world can’t sell something people don’t need or want.
This is why creating a comprehensive email list is paramount to achieving the best results.
But how do you build that list?
One of the best ways is to include a pop-up on your website.
Mailchimp users saw their list growth rate increase by an average of 50.8% after adding a pop-up form to their site.
Some examples of offers to include in your marketing for your MSP:
- Cybersecurity risk assessment
- IT infrastructure rating
- eBooks on Cloud Migration, cyber etc…
- Managed IT Services Buyers Guide or Checklist
Having these on your website will help you build a more robust list.
A more robust list will mean that your emails have the opportunity to yield an ROI through increasing numbers of conversions, hence getting you to a higher target MRR or revenue.
There are a number of other tools you can deploy to build your opt-in list, though.
These include webinars, Facebook/display ads, quizzes, contests, etc…
Facebook ads in particular can be powerful. You can create ads that target not only people with interests that align with your prospective customers, but you can tweak the ad to target potential buyers who are similar to your current contacts list (similar audiences).
The same Mailchimp data shows this can lead to a 29% better ROI than interest targeting alone.
Outbound Vs Inbound
Outbound email lists often consist of niche and industry specific lists. The more specific, the higher the ROI, response rates, and clickthrough rates.
Inbound emails do much better when you segment your already targeted list.
Segmenting your list means targeting specific clusters of customers by pain point, region, persona, job, industry, etc.
In essence, make the offer as personalized and tailor-made for these buyers as possible. Doing so with segmented lists can yield (Mailchimp data):
- Higher average open rates – 14% increase
- Higher unique open rates – 11% increase
- Higher click rates – 101% increase
But email marketing isn’t always so simple.
- Acquiring good lists
- Spam law compliance (GDPR, CASL, CAN-SPAM, POPI)
- Avoiding domain blacklisting
. . . and that’s just to name a few.
While these are difficulties in email marketing (and would require their own blog to solve), rest assured they can be addressed.
What’s more, if you follow the best practices, you’ll get a head start towards creating effective emails that get you leads and jumpstart marketing ROI while also circumventing the issues above.
2. Establish Metrics and KPIs
Measurements, measurements, measurements.
Emails are useless to you if you can’t measure how effective they are at getting leads and converting sales.
You’ll dramatically improve your ROI if you use the proper metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs).
A couple suggestions:
- A/B testing
- Key email marketing for MSP KPIs
- Open Rate
- Clickthrough rate (CTR)
- Bounce Rates
- Total Reply Rate
- Positive Reply Rate
- Cost per Lead (CPL)
- Marketing Cost to Acquire Client (MCAC)
A/B testing is simple: think of it like an experiment.
In order to see how effective a CTA or opt-in is in an email campaign, you’ll need a baseline comparison.
In A/B testing, you’ll include a new CTA on some emails but not on others and measure how much more or less effective the CTA group was relative to the control group.
A/B testing can be used with a number of factors, like time of day the email is sent, subject lines, copy style, etc.
IT Email Marketing KPIs
The basic email marketing KPIs are fairly straightforward.
Deliverability is the measure of which emails reach your intended subscribers’ inboxes.
Open rate is the percentage of times your email is opened once it is in the inbox. This is arguably the most important KPI as getting the email opened is a huge hurdle to clear. Once through that breach, your copy has a pretty decent shot at converting.
Getting the potential client to open the email is critical. Clever headline crafting and good copy go a long way to achieving that goal.
The vast majority of emails will go unopened – and that’s okay. That’s just the nature of the beast. But improving open rates even a few percentage points can dramatically increase the sales you’ll rake in.
CTR is the percentage of people who clicked on your CTA after seeing it (another important indicator of copy effectiveness).
Unsubscribes reveals the number of people who opt out of your list once they receive an email from you.
The most important KPIs are the bottom-line KPIs that detail how well emails are converting to sales.
Emails that make an offer in the copy itself are measured using conversion rates, while emails that are intended to get the prospective customer on a call are measured using response rates.
Bounce Rates and Blacklisting – How to Avoid
You’ll also want to keep track of the number of emails getting bounced.
A high bounce rate is dangerous; it may mean your domain is at risk of being blacklisted as spam (something that is very difficult to recover from). Anything over 5% can be considered dangerous, and ideally you want under 1%.
Avoiding being blacklisted is essential to a successful email campaign.
One of the simplest ways to prevent blacklisting is to avoid using bought email lists and instead get emails through opt-ins from other content.
Adding simple things like unsubscribe buttons and physical addresses help too.
Finally, ensuring that you’re not emailing inactive accounts – that is, old email accounts that rarely open anything at all, let alone marketing emails – is a good way to juke the algorithms and blacklisting.
In the end, KPIs are there to help you ensure that your email copy is doing the best that it can. KPIs are absolutely essential to boosting your marketing ROI as it allows you to allocate resources more efficiently, avoiding wasting time on unproven practices.
Outbound Vs Inbound
It’s important to know that inbound and outbound emails will yield different results and therefore should not be measured on the same baselines.
For instance, you should see an aggregate reply rate of about 10-20% minimum on outbound email sequences to achieve max ROI, with an aggregate open rate over 50%.
You need to aim for at least 19% open rate for initial inbound emails and 30% for targeted outbound emails.
3. Write Email Copy That Gets Sales
Remember that emails are personal.
You’re sending something directly to the customer.
As a result, the email copy should be personalized. It should feel like you’re talking directly to them. Use their name, their company name, speak in the second person (you, we, etc.) – all are valuable tools for conversion-optimized email copy.
Overall, you have to be emotionally gripping and conversational.
In email marketing for MSPs, it’s not as difficult as you think.
Remember that these customers are suffering. They are struggling with a problem that is losing them money. They’re hurt. You can cure that hurt. That’s a powerful offer, and when you play to that pain point, you’ll be amazed at how effective your emails can be.
The example above is a solid email design and copy.
Direct, clear, concise language. You don’t want to waste their time (or dissuade them from opening by being too wordy).
A CTA at the bottom.
Eye-catching pictures and consistent tone.
Putting all the tools together is possible – and can yield huge results with your IT marketing.
More Ways to Improve Email Marketing for IT
There is no doubt that email marketing for MSPs can be effective.
The best practices above will help you level up your game.
But – and this is a big ‘but’ – email marketing is only half the battle.
Without the right content, messaging, and proper inbound marketing, emails will be a siloed effort that will radically decrease their effectiveness.
Actions like layering on multi platform retargeting can dramatically improve the success of your email marketing campaigns. You want to have a strong IT marketing plan with SEO content and paid media retargeting that will fuel your email campaigns and create a feedback loop where tactics augment each other.
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