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CAD email Marketing 3 Prerequisites and How to Use it Well

We recently published “8 WAYS TO RADICALLY INCREASE INDUSTRIAL MARKETING ROI WITH CAD” to apply content marketing re-use to CAD. The point is the more successful re-use of any content, the greater the ROI on the initial cost of creating that content! As the diagram above shows, step 6 of the process is using ‘CAD MODEL IMAGES IN EMAILS’ – this post focuses on that step in detail.

Why ‘Email Marketing’?

Email marketing is and remains one of the most successful online marketing techniques available. Even if you don’t use email marketing yourself you likely receive marketing emails daily. Their success is attributable to being readily customized, personalized and even automated. That success led to some overuse of email marketing but extensive research has refined and advanced it to be useful not annoying to recipients. You can find lots of generic email marketing advice online so we’ll focus on giving some specific suggestions for B2B industrial suppliers promoting their products with CAD models.

Why ‘CAD Email Marketing’ Can Work Even Better Than Other ‘Email Marketing’?

Of all types of content 3D CAD Models (and derived 2D CAD drawings or ‘CAD spec sheets’) are perhaps the most symbiotic content available to industrial suppliers (manufacturers and distributors). Why? The fastest way to model a part is to download it rather than create it in your CAD system, so designers save time and increase their productivity. At the same time suppliers get their part (including its part number) spec’d into a new design that Buyers will most likely later purchase. The time saving usefulness of CAD models can be inherited by your CAD email marketing so your emails, if done right, will be opened, read and acted upon. Just as conversion rates to sales of CAD model downloads can be much higher (as high as 50%) than other types of content so CAD email marketing can achieve higher conversion rates.

3 Prerequisites For CAD Email Marketing

  • 3D CAD models of your products available for viewing and downloading from your website – in particular from each part detail page. They should preferably be available for all your products to ensure a consistent user experience across your products.
  • Registration by email captures addresses for use in email marketing. The question is whether to require registration for CAD model viewing and CAD model downloads or just the latter?
    • For the best user experience we advise using cookies so registration is only required on the first visit (of course cookies must be enabled and not deleted by users).
    • If in doubt test with and without registration both on CAD model viewing and CAD model downloads. If your test results reveal no or insignificant user behavior change then it is obviously worthwhile doing lead generation via email registration. Once you know who the user is you can track their viewing behavior to understand the customer’s needs by what they view and hence make your email marketing more relevant.
    • To ensure you have correct email addresses, perform registration with email address confirmation (this forces another step on the user, as they receive an email at the email address they gave, then click on a confirming link).
    • Ensure registering users opt-in to receive your CAD email marketing.
  • You will likely need an email service provider (ESP) – such as Constant Contact or MailChimp for campaign emails, automated emails or both? Depending on your registration volume you may do just individual ‘campaign’ emails or automate some of your CAD email marketing. An ESP also enables you to segment your email list and target campaigns to different segments, for example, by product type, by vertical niche, by order history, by territory, by price tier or by sales rep.

What To Email About?

Here’s a generic list just to get you thinking but there must be many other topics specific to your business. The key point is to send relevant emails containing useful and helpful information or knowledge.

  • Announce the addition of CAD to your website or customer portal – if you add CAD in stages rather than all at once notify users as you add each stage.
  • How CAD designers should best use your CAD models – for example do they have connection points to other parts, do they include geometric tolerances?
  • New product and CAD model additions whenever they occur
  • After someone has downloaded one of your CAD models, send them details of similar or alternative products (with links to and pictures of the CAD models). Don’t do it just once, repeat send at regular intervals. You know this user had an interest in one of your products so your email marketing should keep them informed about that product and similar products. For example your email could be something like this:
    • email subject line:CAD models selected for you
    • email text:You recently downloaded XXX CAD model. Based on that selection you may also be interested in these products:
    • [picture] [product description] [buttons linking to 3D CAD model and 2D spec sheet]
    • [product testimonial]
  • Configurator news – announce any new configurators and, of course, the CAD models they can generate for viewing and download.

Other Points To Definitely Get Right

  • Decide how you want to handle these CAD generated sales leads and ensure coordinated execution by your sales and marketing teams. Does the lead get passed to sales for personalized followup by a specific territory or account rep? Does the lead get automated email ‘nurturing’ over time? Does it depend on the product? Because this is B2B marketing send emails from the particular rep (and always BCC the rep).
  • Avoid Channel Conflict – similarly ensure coordination of CAD email marketing messages with your channel partners!
  • Don’t always send polished marketing HTML emails – mix it up by also sending some plain text emails occasionally!
  • Always use strong email titles – truthful, useful and relevant to the user
  • Do A/B testing – test and optimize titles, text, graphics and send times
  • Get Mobile right – if your email is opened on a mobile device does it still work well?

Finally, we can say that offering online CAD models is, for industrial suppliers of parts and components, an important part of your B2B eCommerce and an enabler of your email marketing because the call-to-action (CTA) becomes ‘visit this link‘ rather than being ‘call your rep‘. If you want to know more about using CAD models for marketing, or CAD email marketing in particular, please call or click either button below.



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