How to Score Deals Despite Email Fatigue

Information starvation goes hand in hand with information fatigue. At some point, engaging your prospects turns from a piece of cake into a struggle. Behaviors change, the pattern of conversation goes from positive to negative and the prospects hop off the ride through the sales pipeline before reaching the appointment-setting stage

When it happens, you know that you work with the audience that has overloaded inboxes and too many value propositions. Your prospects are tired and overwhelmed by the information. 

Email fatigue: what is it and why is it bad? 

If you haven’t come across this term yet, it’s basically a term that describes the state when the prospects: 

  1. Unsubscribe from newsletters 
  2. Open your emails but ignore them
  3. Ignore your emails without opening them
  4. Delete your emails without opening them 
  5. Move batches of emails to spam folders without reading them (NOOOOO!) 

According to MarketingSherpa research, only 15% of recipients consider the sales emails they receive useful and worth looking through. The rest admitted being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of messages in their inboxes.   

Is email fatigue real for B2B? It certainly is. While your prospects need to find and build new B2B relationships, they won’t be opening and reading each email with a generic subject line that lands in their inboxes. If a value proposition does not impress them from the first lines, they won’t give it a chance. Your prospects are experienced — they already know the price of investing valuable time into a message that is not worth it. 

They won’t repeat the same mistake twice. 

Therefore, unless you work in a highly specialized industry that is not very competitive, you have to accept the fact that you are not the first title reaching your prospects with an offer, and the chances of your predecessors making a bad first impression are quite high. On the one hand, good for you. On the other hand, it means you have to deal with an aggravated audience that showcases the initial symptoms of the email fatigue. 

What triggers email fatigue

The causes behind email fatigue are not that complicated. It’s all connected to human behavior and the human reaction. 

  1. Poor targeting. Sending your message to the wrong person has a devastating effect on communication. Nothing is worse than being pestered by a sales executive who won’t be convinced that you’re not the title you’re looking for, so you’re not in charge of the topics they want to discuss. 
  2. Too many emails. Michael mentioned sending 1000 emails in one of his articles, but we would like to clarify that it means sending 1 email per each of 1000 contacts in the gathered database, not launching them all to one inbox. 
  3. Irrelevant content. Starting a conversation with a wrong value proposition and pressing on is one of the most common causes of email fatigue. Quite often, it annoys your recipients so much that they are instantly close and deletes any email that doesn’t show the knowledge of their pain points in the first sentence. 

How badly can email fatigue can harm your sales? 

In B2B every client matters. Every converted customer is a long-time partnership between a business and a vendor. Therefore, whenever you lose a prospect to email fatigue, you lose a chunk of your potential revenue and opportunities. 

How to deal with email fatigue? 

While you cannot single-handedly combat email fatigue, you can prevent your emails from becoming its main sources. 

The first rule of sending B2B sales emails that bypass email fatigue and hit the sweet spot: personalize and segment.  

With the help of MailChimp and HubSpot, you can track your Open Rate and CTR. If you see the CTR dropping gradually and high-to-medium Open Rate not guaranteeing responses from your recipients, review your ICP. Make sure that you’re targeting the right audience. Review your email templates. Put yourself into your recipient’s shoes: would you be interested in the message in your emails? Would the value proposition be relevant to you? Do you like the style and the language? 

At Belkins, we pay close attention to the Account-Based Marketing approach, which is based on personalization. It has been proven that segmentation of audience and emails results in the increase of the Open Rate by 14.3% and drop in Unsubscribe rates by 9.37%. 

So, if you want to nip the symptoms of email fatigue at the bud before they affect your campaigns: 

  1. Know your audience. Do extra research if it’s necessary. Better invest some time into scraping data pools than lose hundreds of potential deals. 
  2. Know your industry. You may be a pro, but how well are you aware of the common trends and pains in your niche? Paying attention to small details will do you a big favor. Your prospects won’t be swayed by a general “save time and budget” message, while an email outlining the lack of Ruby developers in their region will get their attention. 
  3. Get ready for research and crafting extra specific and highly personalized templates that would engage your audience. 
  4. Make sure that your content is consistent: it’s particularly important for B2B emails and newsletters. 

The second rule to surviving the emails fatigue: listen. Yes, when your recipients respond to you with “Stop emailing me!” it stings. However, such is their wish and sending even more emails asking them to reconsider won’t make them like you. Just let them unsubscribe and part ways with you. Focus on the prospects who are still with you. 

Also, you have more chances of regaining your subscribers if you comply. As time goes by and the information starvation kicks in, they may remember you, your content and how considerate you were. Therefore, they will be tempted into subscribing again. 

You already know the importance of proper timing in B2B email marketing. Now it’s time to talk about building good email cadence. 

What is an email cadence?

Not to be confused with the email frequency, email cadence is the perfect balance of timing and the amount of time between each email. 

It means more than not bothering your prospects with your emails. It means reminding them about your company in just the right moment and the right way. If you wrote the first sales email to them, your proposition should be lingering on your prospects’ minds for a while — knowing when to reel them in with a second email is the part of your strategy. 

How to build an email cadence? 

We’ve said it before and we will say it again: ICP is your friend. Some audiences prefer to respond to every email almost regularly, while other audiences are fine with getting an email per month and don’t want to be swarmed with emails throughout the entire week. 

The best way to figure out the right cadence is to take a close look at your customer’s journey. Find and map the touchpoints in your correspondence. Explore the stages of conversion at your company and incorporate them into your approach. 

See how long it takes for your customer to respond and how many emails they process per week. Find out what motivates your clients to close a deal and how many stages they go through before they make a buying decision. Use that knowledge to determine the cadence that works for you. 

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary data, launch A/B testing. Automated campaigns are not enough when it comes to pinpointing the right cadence. 

It takes sending at least 5 to 6 emails on different days to see which batch gets more positive responses. Optimize and polish the more successful batch.

  1. Remember your goals. Do you want to introduce your services to new prospects? Are you looking for the appropriate title in the target company? Do you want to re-engage the prospects who asked you to follow-up later?
  1. Think about the results. Do you want your prospects to respond? Do you want them to schedule a face-to-face meeting? Do you try to catch them for a chat over a cup of coffee while you’re in their area? 
  1. Think about your industry. Does your content reflect your strong-points well? Is your pace consistent with the working routine of your audience? If your niche is Education, do you provide enough content to show your competence? 

At Belkins, our average cadence consists of 4-to-5 waves.

Wave 1Introduction of services and company/Asking for referrals Wave 2A short and brief reminder about the first emailWave 3/4A bit of information about the company and services that is relevant to the recipients’ pain points and goals. Wave 4/5Last chance to connect. Reminding about the unresponded emails and asking for a status update. Providing an option to send a quick and certain answer. 

Email fatigue: damage control 

In case you’ve learned about email fatigue the hard way, worry not. There is a way to reverse the damage or at least minimize it. 

Usually, it’s not advised to re-engage the leads who stated their lack of interest. However, if your emails got deleted or moved to spam without a word being said to you, it’s an opportunity for the redemption arc. 

In the best-case scenario, you will be able to recover your prospects and subscribers, increasing your deliverability. In the worst-case scenario, you will get a certain and definite “NO” from your prospects and get some peace of mind. It’s better to know for sure instead of wondering and guessing for weeks. 

It’s important, however, not to be a pushover - acting that way will reserve you a spot in the spam folder and you don’t want that. 

So, how do you fix the damage done by email fatigue?

You launch cautious and highly relevant re-engagement campaigns. The best way to return your subscribers is to softly reintroduce them to your workflow and any updates your company ma have gone through. If you wrote a new tutorial, offer it to your ex-subscribers for free. If you are launching a new service, let your contacts know. If you released a new product, share the news. Don’t be overbearing though. One email per two weeks is the optimal frequency to keep the recipients interested without pissing them off.

  1. Don’t require them to engage right here, right now. Provide a bit of information about something exclusive, a great opportunity just for their business - and leave the choice up to them. Make sure to emphasize that you care about their benefit and not your profits. 
  2. Subtly share your achievements. If your company has awarded or entered a top list, you can send a short email and attach a press release link to your signature. Once again, don’t insist. Make it an amicable update instead of an urgent offer. You value your recipients’ feedback and you should demonstrate it. The lines such as “Let me know what you think”, “Your feedback will be much appreciated” or even “Thank you for being with {CompanyName}” will be efficient at breaking the ice and motivating your subscribers to revisit your site. 
  3. Hint on the things that your recipients may be missing out. It’s not pushing them to do things they don’t want to do. It’s about informing them about the new solutions to their pain points and wondering if maybe they would like to check them out. You can start with a fresh article from a credible source, share the latest highlights or report on the industry changes. Whatever topic you will be using, be informative.  

Conclusions 

Email fatigue happens to all of us. You have probably also been frustrated by the state of your inbox at some point in your life. We know because we can relate to it. Therefore, email fatigue is not something that can always be prevented. It’s something to be dealt with most efficiently. 

  1. Watch your data, see the first symptoms and take the measures at once; 
  2. Personalize your content and make it consistent; 
  3. Get rid of all irrelevant bits to improve readability;  
  4. Provide fresh and interesting information; 
  5. Never stop testing your campaigns; 
  6. Be thoughtful: relate to your recipients’ fatigue by sending the emails at the right place and in the right amount; 
  7. Hand-craft the cadence of your campaigns and follow it cautiously; 
  8. Count your waves: quality is always better than quantity. 

As you can see, the issue is not as scary when you have the means and tools to plunge into its core and dismantle it. Sometimes all you need to get through to your audience is a bit of understanding, lots of interesting content and lots, lots of patience for research and analytics.

In case you need a hand in building your cadence and getting to know your audience, we’re always here to help you optimize your B2B communication and emails.

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