Should B2B Marketers Ignore Personal Email Addresses? [CHART]

by Jody Mooney on Monday, November 19, 2012 in Email marketing

In B2B marketing, it is conventional wisdom that contacts with personal (gmail, hotmail, yahoo, aol) email addresses are somehow less valuable than those with corporate email addresses. To bust this myth,we looked at our own database, and evaluated basic metrics such as email opens, website visits, form submissions, and creation of leads to see if there were differences in relative engagement  between these two groups. What we found was quite surprising.

Our analysis shows that, even though personal addresses are typically a small portion of a B2B marketing database, those who willingly give you their personal email address may actually be far more engaged than other folks sitting in your database.  In fact, we found that those who submitted a personal email address were 3 times more likely to open an email or 5 times as likely to submit a form.  They even came back to the website a lot more often than the folks who provide business addresses.

email-marketing

Why should you care?

If you’re intentionally ignoring personal email addresses in your lead scoring and nurturing efforts, you might be ignoring the most engaged folks in your database!

With B2B and B2C web experiences converging, 24/7 access to information and an increasing reliance on peer recommendations in purchasing decisions, the line between our personal and professional worlds is become increasingly blurry.    When it comes to the use of personal email addresses, Gmail alone has more than 425 million monthly active users.  It’s no wonder that these are making their way into a B2B marketers’ database.

These individuals willingly gave you a personal email address - you likely didn’t buy, rent or scan them to capture it. In fact, many people guard their personal email addresses more rigorously than their work addresses, and the fact they have divulged it may even be a sign of trust in your brand.  Alternatively, it could even be as simple as having had troubles with their corporate spam filters.

Whatever the reason, you might want to take a closer look at your own database to see if you’re ignoring folks that want to be close to you.  Keep in mind that engaged buyers lead to higher conversions and more revenue.

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