How to Land in the Inbox of Key Public Sector Decision Makers

Email marketing is the cheapest and most effective way of communicating your message to your target audience. Compared to other methods, like social media and content marketing, email marketing delivers an outstanding ROI. For example, the Direct Marketing Association has determined the ROI in the UK is 42:1, so £1 spent generates £42 in return.

The success rate, however, is affected by deliverability.

Deliverability is the number of emails that reach decision-makers and aren’t bounced off firewalls, blocked by the ISP (Internet Service Provider), or relegated to spam. A good deliverability rate is typically 70% – 80%. An excellent deliverability rate is 90% and above.

It’s difficult to reach such high rates without a proper email platform. When it comes to public sector marketing, you need a platform designed specifically for B2G procurement. Most B2B email platforms don’t have the unique features or capabilities needed to properly tap into the public sector market, so it’s important to ensure the platform you choose not only helps you reach decision-makers but also enhances your email marketing strategies.

Below, we’re going to look at how to find and reach those who play a critical role in public sector procurement; a decision-makers guide, if you will.

What Is A Decision-Maker?

A decision-maker is the person who ultimately awards public sector contracts. There are unilateral decision-makers who are solely responsible for procurement, and multilateral decision-makers who need to agree on who wins the contract. You must find out which type of decision-maker your buyer uses. It’s important because you must tailor your emails to your audience.

Who Are Decision Makers?

In the public sector, decision-makers are typically department or division heads. It’s possible to place them in 5 categories.

1) Initiator: They take the bull by the horns and go with it. They may not be the final decision makers but they have the drive and determination to sell the idea to those with the decision-making power.

2) Buyer: They typically have the mandate to make purchasing decisions unilaterally. Some may have a hands-on approach and are familiar with products, services, and works relevant to the department. Others may rely on information and data supplied by those familiar with the procurement/supply chain management process.

3) Gatekeeper: Technically they aren’t decision-makers, but they are your first point of contact. You have to convince them of the value of your product or service so that they are happy to take your proposal to the people who have the power to accept or reject projects.

4) Tech fundi: They are interested in the practical applications of products and services and how they can be integrated into existing systems to enhance performance. They could be anything from electrical engineers to IT decision-makers.

5) Influencer: They might not be decision makers but they can have a say in the decision. They’re ready to go in to bat for you and take pains to emphasise the benefits in your proposal. They’re persuasive and will use their skills to sway decision-makers in your favour.

How To Find Decision Makers In A Company

It’s not always easy to find the decision-makers in the particular public sector department you’re targeting. Here are 4 tips to find the decision-makers who will hold your future in their hands.

  • Events: Attend industry events, especially conferences, where key decision-makers are speakers. Events are a great way to make a lasting impression so that when you do call or email, they know exactly who you are. 

Even if they aren’t at the event, you can still work the room and meet people who already have relationships with the decision-makers you’re after. You can get a lot of valuable information this way, including contact details and maybe some tips on how to plan your approach.

  • Pick up the phone: Who would have thought that in this digital age, a simple phone call can still do the trick? A cheery voice, personable demeanour, and winning elevator pitch can get you the contact information you need to talk to key decision-makers.

Calls work even better if you can mention the name of a mutual connection – like someone you met at an event.

  • Websites: Many websites have a Meet The Team page, which makes it very easy to find the deputy directors, directors, purchasing managers, supervisors, and presidents. You can also take a look at networking sites like LinkedIn (and LinkedIn Sales Navigator) for more company information.
  • Subscribe to newsletters: Some public sector departments have blogs or newsletters. Following the latest posts and subscribing to newsletters are great ways to get a feel for the division. You can keep up with their interests, and their thought leaders, and find out who is the most likely person to give you an audience based on your service offering. 

How To Reach Key Decision-Makers

We’ve got 5 tips that will not only help deliver your emails to their inboxes. We’ve also got some tips to ensure they are opened by the people with the power to make critical decisions. 

The tech bits

A couple of tips require technical expertise. If you have someone in-house who can do it – fantastic. If not, some marketing agencies either have specialists on the payroll or outsource the service to experts.

1) Authenticate your email domain

It already sounds foreign, but essentially things like Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) prove that you operate a legitimate business.

Part of this is using your brand or company name in your email address. Some people opt for “Do not reply” email addresses for mass broadcasts, which is fair enough when you don’t want 25,000 people flooding your email system.

However, when you’re aiming for specific decision-makers, always use a proper company email, which will help with brand recognition and make the emails more personal.

2) Upscale your IP allocation

This applies primarily to larger businesses that send in excess of 25,000 emails a day. As soon as you hit that point, you’ll need a dedicated IP address to support greater email numbers. Your IP address should be able to scale up to match your business’s growth.

The human touch

Some tips require the human touch, for instance, personalisation, engagement, and warmth. These are characteristics that you won’t get from AI, so ensure you have the right people (in-house or outsourced) who can convey the message you want.

3) Perfect subject lines

A good subject line hooks users and makes them want to learn more. It needs a delicate balance between to-the-point and snappy and engaging. It’s incredibly important to get it right because 47% of contacts open emails based on the strength of the subject line and 69% dismiss emails as spam also based on the strength of the subject line. 

How to write a good subject line.

Don’t be too clever (no puns or quirky alliteration), don’t use jargon (decision-makers might not know about DKIMs), don’t use anything spammy with ALL CAPS, don’t make promises (100% guaranteed), and don’t use exclamation marks!!!

Instead, you can try some of these options:

  • Keep it short and to the point.
  • Provide value.
  • Ask a relevant, burning question.
  • Introduce the subject and go into detail immediately in the body of the email.

Some agencies have content creators who specialise in public sector marketing and can write subject lines that directly target decision-makers.

4) Your Reputation

Your reputation depends on subscriber behaviour. Opening emails and following links (conversion goals) help establish your reliability and integrity and give you a high score. ISPs give you scores on a scale of 1 – 100 and the higher the better.

ISPs give you a low score when contacts unsubscribe, opt-out, or send you to the spam bin. Emails from low-scoring businesses are rejected as a matter of course. There is a cut-off point where businesses barely make or miss the grade. You don’t want to languish in this area.

5) Double opt-in and unsubscribe processes

Double opt-in is a system that requires users to confirm their interest in your service or product. For example, users who register for an online course in public procurement will receive a confirmation email where they have to click a link to verify their registration. 

This prevents accidental subscriptions or registrations and delivers a qualified audience interested in your business. It means more emails in inboxes and fewer in the spam bin, which is good for your reputation.

As much as you may not want to, you must include an unsubscribe option and you must make it visible and easy to use. Once again, when contacts unsubscribe, you’re left with an engaged audience and avoid damaging your reputation.

Have A Plan

Now is not the right time to wing it. You need a solid plan when you’re trying to win over decision-makers and this requires some research and some creative thinking. One of the first things you need to do is assess the information needs of different decision-makers. You’ll adapt your plan to suit each one, while still holding fast to your marketing objectives.

Good content from a writer who specialises in email marketing and the public sector is an essential part of the plan. Like your subject line, it needs to be succinct without being sparse. It introduces the pain point and then explains how your offering turns it around and not only makes the pain go away but also provides extra value that they never knew they needed.

Not all B2G suppliers have the capacity for a full-time in-house marketing department, especially if they’re startups or SMEs. It’s perfectly ok to outsource services to public sector marketing agencies. Agencies have the tools, the contacts, and the expertise to ensure that the vast majority of emails do, indeed, end up in the targeted inboxes.

Cadence Marketing has a 95% deliverability rate, which makes it one of the best in the business. It has a dedicated B2G email platform called iServe, which is the largest B2G contact data in the UK. Get in touch and arrange for a free consultation to see how they can put their services to work for you, delivering excellent ROI and establishing your business as a serious contender in public sector procurement.

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