How to Build Strong Long-term Relationships with Your B2B Contact Lists

How long are you planning to engage with the recipients in your B2B contact lists? If your answer to this is somewhere along the lines of “until I’ll be able to squeeze enough sales opportunities,” then you need to carefully think about your approach to communicating with your B2B email marketing list. The best way to succeed in email marketing is through building strong and longer-term relationships – that is, beyond the current marketing period or buying cycle.

Having a great contact list relationship enables you to boost your branding, marketing, and sales potential not only in the next couple of quarters but well into the future. Good relationships with the individuals in your targeted B2B mailing list increases the likelihood of actually winning their business, building customer loyalty, and generating repeat sales – all of which wouldn’t be possible with a shorter-term orientation. And so, here are some key email marketing communication guidelines to help you out:

1. Let them speak.

Of course, with email marketing, the word “speak” isn’t taken literally. Instead, this means allowing and encouraging your email contacts to respond, comment, and interact with you and your content. Your emails should facilitate feedback generation and allow your recipients to share and discuss your topics: ask them thought-provoking questions, make a stand on relevant industry issues, comment on relevant news items, etc.

2. Let them learn.

Many email marketing experts say that relevant white papers are your campaign’s best friend. White papers are excellent resources for your contacts, and including them in your email communications indicates your willingness to provide value as well as demonstrate your expertise and authority in your field. You can also direct your email recipients to other resources such as online videos, webinars, live events, and other venues to help them learn more about your industry or field.

3. Let them know.

Making sure to keep your contacts in the loop and updated on relevant developments, events, and other news-worthy items is also an effective way to earn your recipients’ trust and build strong relationships. Things are moving so fast today that it’s difficult to keep track of what’s happening even within just a single industry. That’s why you should become that trusted source of information through your emails.

4. Always deliver.

Another key relationship-building practice is to always deliver what you’ve promised to your email contacts. If you told them you’ll be sending a best practices eBook on Friday, then by all means send them the eBook on Friday. In fact, a better idea would be to over-deliver and surpass what you had originally set. Moreover, it only takes one broken promise to tarnish your reputation, so keep this idea in mind.

5. Always listen.

In connection to #1, an essential ingredient in relationship building is listening or, in the case of email marketing, reading and understanding your contacts’ replies, comments, suggestions, etc. It’s also a good idea to conduct surveys, polls, and Q&A’s once in a while that help you gauge and make sense of the changing preferences and interests of your recipients. The key idea here is to make it all about them.

6. Always respond.

While listening is an important component of the relationship-building equation, it’s only one part of the formula. Consistently responding or interacting with your contacts is the other essential element in establishing your credibility and developing relationships with recipients. Besides, email marketing is most effective when treated as a two-way conversation between you and your contacts.

Now, it’s your turn. Are you always striving to build longer-term relationships with your email contacts? What other relationship-building ideas do you have in mind?