When it comes to B2B, digital marketing gurus seem to run out of ideas about once a week and start pushing out articles that look a little something like this:

“Digital marketing is dead.”

“B2B digital marketing is dead.”

“Social media marketing is dead.”

“Content marketing is dead.”

“Direct mail is dead.”

“SEO is dead”

Dead dead dead — it’s all dead if you believe these people.

(Frankly, I figure the proliferation of this headline is due more to lazy writers and the inability to come up with a creative headline than anything else, but I digress.)

B2B Digital Marketing — Image of email on a computer screen.

And of all of these, one of the favorite whipping boys of the digital marketing space is poor, frail, ancient email marketing.

After all, how could anything have survived this long in the digital era? Do people even print things anymore? Do posters even exist anymore?

For anyone with two eyes, a wallet, and an email account, it doesn’t take long to see the truth — old forms of marketing are very much alive, and email is prime amongst them.

And, in the proud space known as B2B, digital marketing efforts are often fixated on doing little more than gathering an email address.

Email Marketing Is Very Much Alive

To me, all this talk about email marketing being stabbed in a back alley somewhere is beyond ludicrous — mostly because the same folks who are saying this generally have *gasp* a convoluted series of email capture mechanisms on their website!

And to make things worse, when you give them your email, you learn that they have an absurd number of email drips primed and ready to be turned on full-blast to your poor little email box.

Dead indeed.

If the gurus are doing it, it stands to reason that us poor marketing plebs might want to consider it as well.

If Your Business Is B2B, Digital Marketing Efforts Should Focus on Email Capture

If you’re doing the digital marketing dance, stuff like:

  • PPC in any form
  • Social media marketing
  • Content marketing
  • SMS/MMS marketing
  • Affiliate marketing

Then you should probably be doing email marketing (which, itself, is a form of digital marketing).

And heck, even if you’ve just got a plain ole’ website, you should be doing email marketing.

Here’s why (this isn’t exactly genius level stuff, but it often gets missed) — because the majority of the people who are coming to your website are never going to come back (and I do mean the vast majority).

Whether they came from social or some ad you’re running in Adwords or a blog post you wrote, they’re likely a one-and-done type of visitor.

Which means that you have one chance to grab them in some way to make sure you can take them from visitor to lead.

Email Marketing Helps You Turn Visitors Into Leads

Now, here’s where things get interested. You’ve got all these visitors, most are running away, but you say to yourself:

“Hey, I don’t want their emails — I want them to contact me! I don’t want to harass someone with email marketing — I hate email marketing myself! I just want them to buy a product or fill out a form or call a rep!”

I get where you’re coming from, I really do, but here’s the truth (again, not rocket science, just something a lot of people forget):

When people come to your website, most aren’t ready to buy. They’re visiting to research and compare some options — or maybe they’re just visiting because you enticed them in with an awesome blog post.

Maybe they won’t be ready to buy for a while.

But, when they are ready to buy, you don’t want them to have forgotten you.

And, if most of your visitors disappear and never return, I promise that they’ve likely forgotten you when the time to buy eventually comes.

However, if you direct them, at the end of that blog post, on the landing page that your PPC ad points to, on that free ebook you gave them on social media, if you direct them to your email list through an email capture form or pop-up…

Now you’ve got em — and you have the opportunity to get at least one more touch before they disappear forever.

They’ve just become a lead — now it’s time to warm them up.

Email Helps You Warm Up Leads and Move Them Into the Funnel

Now that you’ve got them on your email list, it’s time to start doing two things:

  • Delivering valuable content
  • Letting them know about your services

Email marketing is not dead, but it’s tough as hell — God only knows why some of these people are signing up for your email, but they certainly have thin skin at times.

Fortunately, when it comes to B2B, digital marketing is great at widening the top of the funnel, and email is great at weeding out the jerks.

Trust me when I say this — if someone is annoyed with the valuable content you’re sharing with people in your emails, then you don’t want them as a customer.

Now, this assumes you’re providing some valuable content — some lessons or blog posts or articles or free ebooks or whitepapers or promotions or free gifts — something that is going to convince these folks that they made the right decision in joining your email list.

I’m on a lot of email lists myself. When I get valuable emails, I save them. When the content is awesome, and (importantly) when it’s the content I was lead to believe I would be getting, then I’m all in — I’m hooked, and I start becoming a stronger and stronger lead.

Some folks aren’t going to buy today or in a week, or in a decade — but they’ll buy eventually. If they’re on that email list, they’re warming up.

And, if they’re warm already and just need that extra push, email does two things:

  • It sets a very low barrier for that person to become a lead
  • It allows you to automate the warming-up process and let it work out on its own

Both of these things are valuable to you because you can avoid spending your time (or your reps time) trying to warm up folks who don’t want to be warmed up that aggressively or that quickly.

It lets the slower leads come around in their own time without you lifting a finger.

But the first point is important too, because getting that person on the phone or into a personalized email conversation may be something they’re just not comfortable doing.

We live in the age of asynchronous communication — not everyone is comfortable with (or has the time or patience for) a phone call. Or even an email conversation.

But, if you set that barrier nice and low and automate the rest, you let the lead work themselves through the funnel — you just have to set it all up right.

Digital marketing is beautiful when it works, but it only takes people so far — email takes them to your doorstep more often than social media or PPC is going to.

Once You’ve Got the Email Thing Shoehorned Into Your B2B Digital Marketing Efforts, Make Sure You Have a Marketing Plan in Place

I’m guessing you don’t have one (this isn’t a knock against you — most folks don’t have any clue what they’re doing when it comes to marketing).

Even a small plan, even a basic plan, is going to put you leaps and bounds ahead of where you already are.

Download our free B2B Marketing Plan Template and start planning out your digital strategy.

Download the B2B Marketing Template