Unlocking Successful Campaigns With B2B Email Marketing Best Practices

Unlocking Successful Campaigns With B2B Email Marketing Best Practices
21 August, 2023 • ... • 440 views
Nikita Nilov
by Nikita Nilov

The first email was sent in 1971.

In 2023, email is an absolute standard of business communication. Even more — it is an important marketing channel for most businesses.

Imagine yourself in a situation where you want to approach another business with an offer or provide information about your products or services. Chances are, email will be the first thing that comes to your mind when you start laying out the course of action.

Make no mistake: you need to learn B2B email marketing best practices to succeed, so let’s get straight to it.

The importance of B2B email marketing

Email marketing has been a staple in the world of business-to-business (B2B) marketing for years, and for a good reason. It remains one of the most effective and efficient channels for reaching and engaging with target customers.

The State of Prospecting 2023 by Sopro shows that 59% of marketers believe email is more than twice as effective at generating leads as other channels, such as pay-per-click (PPC) and paid social media.

The same whitepaper also reveals that 77% of B2B buyers prefer to be contacted over email — more than double compared to any other channel.

That makes email a valuable tool for businesses looking to drive conversions and sales.

B2B email marketing best practices you should follow

In order to succeed, follow B2B email marketing best practices that will maximize your campaigns’ impact. This article outlines some key practices to help you create effective and engaging B2B email marketing campaigns that will yield positive results.

Profile your target customers

Before launching any email marketing campaign, it is crucial to gain a deep understanding of your target customers.

Take the time to create detailed buyer personas that encompass their demographics, pain points, motivations, and preferences. This information will serve as a foundation for crafting highly targeted and relevant email content that resonates with your audience.

This is what a profile could look like for an EdTech SaaS or a productivity and time-management tool:

The customer profile portrays Jim Andrews, a 35 y.o. Software Engineer from Austin, TX. He either works for a startup or is a founder. He is also a mentor, as one of his goals is to raise a new generation of tech professionals.

Plan your campaign in stages

Developing a well-structured campaign is the key to success. Break down your efforts into stages, each with a specific objective, and weave them into a cohesive email marketing strategy.

For example, the first stage might focus on introducing your company and building awareness, while the subsequent stages can nurture leads and drive conversions. By planning your campaign in stages, you can guide your prospects through the customer journey and increase the chances of conversion. 

This is what stages for a B2B email campaign might look like in terms of content and marketing activities:

Email marketing B2B funnel with content ideas for each stage. How-to guides would work for both the awareness and the consideration stages, while demos for the consideration and the decision-making stages. Any exclusive content does magic for retention. The advocacy stage is the best time to ask for feedback and offer a referral or a loyalty program.
Stages of the B2B email marketing campaign

You don’t have to go through all the funnel stages in one campaign. For example, you can focus solely on driving awareness of your products among your subscribers. In that case, a B2B newsletter could be the way to go.

Segment your list

Not all subscribers are the same, that is why you should be addressing each group differently. Segment your email list based on factors such as your customers’ industry, company size, interests, and past interactions.

Audience segmentation doesn’t only improve the quality of your communications, but benefits the overall marketing strategy. By sending targeted messages to specific segments, you can deliver highly relevant content that resonates with each group, improving engagement and conversion rates.

To implement segmentation, you may need to collect and store relevant data about your contacts, such as job titles, industry information, or past purchase behavior. The good news is that in 2023, you can automate the whole process. Use email marketing automation tools or customer relationship management (CRM) software to manage and segment your email lists based on desired criteria.

Selzy offers a simple, yet powerful automation tool that will streamline the process and ensure accurate segmentation.

The second step of the segmentation flow in Selzy. Someone is preparing for an exclusive sale. The primary condition for segmentation is being active before 04/01/2022. Additional conditions are the city of Miami and spending over $199.
The segmentation flow in Selzy consists of three steps. First, you choose the primary criteria and conditions. Then you can narrow the segment down by adding more criteria. Finally, you can save the segments and use them whenever.

Now, let’s talk about common segmentation criteria for B2B email campaigns:

Company Size

Segment your list based on the size of the businesses you are targeting. For example, you might have different messages and offers for small businesses, mid-sized companies, and large enterprises.

Industry or Vertical

Group your contacts based on the industry or vertical they belong to. This allows you to customize your message and content to address their specific needs, pain points, and challenges.

Job Title or Role

Segment your list based on the job titles or roles of your contacts within their organizations. This helps you deliver targeted content that is relevant to their responsibilities, interests, and priorities.

Stage of the Sales Funnel

Divide your subscribers based on where they are in the sales funnel or the customer journey. For example, you can have separate segments for leads, prospects, current customers, and lapsed customers. This way you will be able to tailor emails and guide each segment through their respective stages.

Previous Engagement

Segment your list based on the level of engagement with your previous email campaigns, such as opens, clicks, or conversions. By separating highly engaged contacts and those who have been less responsive, you create an opportunity to reward the former and re-engage the latter with special offers or other incentives.

Geographic Location

If your B2B offerings have regional or location-specific relevance, segment your list based on the geographic location of your contacts. By sending localized content, invitations to local events you will be able to strengthen your brand in the said region. At the same time, the introduction of region-specific offers might bring additional sales.

Purchase History

If you have data on the past purchases or how your customers use your product or service, segment your list based on their behavior. This enables you to send personalized recommendations, upsell or cross-sell offers, and remind them to renew their subscription.

Content Interests

Segment your list based on the content your subscribers have shown interest in. You can find it out by tracking what pages of your website they visit, what resources they download and which of your webinars they choose to attend. Send targeted emails with related content that aligns with their interests. For instance, if you manage multiple greenhouses, you can segment local flower shop owners who only check out the section of your website dedicated to ornamental blooms. The other segments can include interior designers solely interested in indoor potted plants and landscapers on the hunt for lush garden flora.

Customer Lifecycle Stage

Segment your list based on the different stages of the customer lifecycle, such as onboarding, adoption, renewal, or advocacy. This allows you to send relevant emails that support each stage and nurture the customer relationship effectively.

Personalize your messages

Personalization goes beyond simply addressing recipients by their first names. Leverage data and segmentation to deliver highly relevant content that addresses the specific needs and pain points of each recipient. Personalized emails have the potential to achieve higher open and click-through rates, leading to improved engagement and conversion rates.

Here’s what an average cold email template looks like:

Subject: Introducing Our Revolutionary Product for Businesses like Yours!

Dear sirs,

I hope this email finds you well. We are excited to announce the launch of our groundbreaking product that is designed to transform businesses like yours. Our innovative solution will help streamline your operations, increase efficiency, and boost productivity to new heights.

With cutting-edge features and a user-friendly interface, our product offers a comprehensive set of tools that cater specifically to businesses in your industry. Whether you are a small startup or an established enterprise, our solution can be tailored to meet your unique needs.

Don’t miss this opportunity to stay ahead of your competitors and enhance your business performance. We are offering a limited-time discount for early adopters like you. Click on the [link] to learn more about our product and take advantage of this exclusive offer.

If you have any questions or need further information, feel free to contact our sales team at info@alphateam or +1 555-707-0012. We look forward to working with you and helping your business thrive.

Best regards,

Joshua Smith

Business Development VP

Alpha Team

Where did you stop reading? Be honest!

Let’s personalize it and highlight the changes:

Subject: Tailored Automation for Beta Industries: Invitation to Product Demo and Special Offer on Customization

Hello Irene,

I hope this email finds you well. I started following Beta Industries after coming across your report on [specific topic]. I couldn’t help but notice the impressive amount of work your team put into your marketing research.

This is why I wanted to reach out personally to discuss how our product could potentially streamline your processes through automation.

Alpha Team specializes in assisting companies similar to Beta Industries and has developed a product that can reduce the time involved in the production of reports by at least 10%.

We would love to offer you a demonstration of our product. On top of the core functionality, it offers the flexibility for further customization to align with your unique setup.

To make the customization process as smooth as possible, we are offering special pricing and a dedicated team until the end of 2023.

Click on the link below to schedule a demo and learn more about our limited offer:

[Personalized Link]

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.

You can contact me directly at h.davis@alphateam or call +1 555-707-0077.

 

Have a nice day,

Henry Davis

Business Development Manager

Alpha Team

+1 555-707-0077

Why is the second email more likely to succeed? First, the subject line mentions the name of the company being approached and signals a customized offer.

The opening paragraph suggests that the sender has done his homework and knows who he is contacting. This is where he starts building the connection with the recipient.

The email not only highlights the pain points specific for this company but also offers further customization and implementation support.

Finally, the sender emphasizes his availability for direct contact.

Another crucial aspect is that the email maintains a respectful tone without being overly formal.

Naturally, the details for your business may vary significantly, but our example will hopefully provide ideas what direction your personalization can take.

Keep your tone consistent

Consistency in your email communications is the key to building trust and maintaining a strong brand identity. The tone of voice of your marketing emails should align with your brand values. Whether you choose a more formal or a more casual tone, make sure it resonates with your target audience and remains consistent throughout your email marketing campaigns.

Hook your audience with subject lines

B2B email subject lines play a crucial role in capturing the attention of your recipients. Craft compelling subject lines that are concise, intriguing, and personalized. A strong subject line should pique curiosity and compel the recipient to open the email. Experiment with different approaches — pose questions, offer solutions, or create a sense of urgency, — to find what resonates best with your audience.

Bar chart with the email subject line statistics: 64% of the surveyed recipients open or delete emails based on subject lines, 33% open emails because of catchy subject lines, while the average open rate is 22,6%, and the average CTR is 2,9%.
Data Sources: Finances Online, 2023 and Mailchimp, 2022. Image source: HubSpot

Pay attention to design and display

The visual appeal of your emails can greatly impact engagement. A cluttered or poorly designed email can deter recipients from engaging with your content.

Ensure your emails are well-designed, visually appealing, and optimized for different devices and email clients. Use a clean and professional layout, incorporate brand elements, and include eye-catching visuals that complement your message.

Consistent design is the key to the recognizable style. Weave’s newsletter, known as “Threads,” cleverly incorporates thematic associations. It achieves this by dividing email sections with wavy lines, while using colors reminiscent of yarn hues.

From: Weave

Subject: Tips for a thriving workplace and business

Weave email design. Key elements such as font, background, and photos match in color. The primary palette is navy blue, warm sandy beige, and teal.
Source: Really Good Emails

Keep the message to the point

The average person’s attention span is short. Keep your email content concise and focus on delivering value. Avoid lengthy paragraphs and use plain language to convey your message. Break up the content into scannable sections with headers, bullet points, and images to improve readability. By keeping your message to the point, you increase the likelihood of capturing your recipients’ attention and driving desired actions.

From: Shopify

Subject: Create and manage your online business with the Shopify app

Shopify's email showcases their app, listing its functionalities in distinct blocks with bold headings and icons for enhanced visual guidance.
Source: Really Good Emails

Include a clear call-to-action (CTA)

Every email you send should have a clear and compelling call-to-action (CTA). Whether it’s encouraging recipients to download a whitepaper, schedule a demo, or make a purchase, the CTA should be prominently displayed and easy to complete. Use action-oriented language, create a sense of urgency, and provide clear instructions to guide your recipients towards the desired action.

From: Output

Subject: THERMAL: Hear The Before & After

Output introduces their distortion plugin with concise yet impactful text, complemented by visual icons depicting its application for drums, guitar, bass, and vocals. The visuals include a diagram showcasing the spectrum of its effects.
Source: Really Good Emails

Output places a CTA early in the email, right after a catchy intro, encouraging readers to try their distortion plugin. The use of impactful language — “hear the before and after,” “in action,” “incomparable edge to a dull sound,” and “transforms” — aims to prompt action and create a compelling image. Following the CTA, the email incorporates images that visualize the results achievable with the plugin, further motivating readers to click the “Check it out” button.

Choose a good timing

The timing of your emails can significantly impact their effectiveness. Consider your target audience’s time zones, work schedules, and habits when scheduling your campaigns. Analyze data and conduct A/B testing to determine the optimal times for sending emails that will generate higher open and click-through rates.

Finding the right timing ensures that your messages are delivered when your audience is most likely to engage with them.

According to the studies by GetResponse, there are two main time ranges you would want to consider: early morning (4-6 AM) and late afternoon (5-7 PM).

Best time to send an email. Graph shows that the open rate peaks at 4 AM with the second major peak at 6 PM. Peaks for click to open rate ratio happen at 6 AM and 11 PM. CTR is the highest at 6 AM, while most messages come through at 10 AM.
Source: GetResponse

While GetResponse analyzed 7 billion messages and looked only at active senders with at least 500 contacts, they didn’t make a clear distinction between B2B and B2C emails.

In fact, not many studies focus on the best time for sending B2B emails, and none can boast the same reach and recency of data.

Based on the opinions of 300 marketers, the most cited research by Hubspot from 2021 suggests setting the sending time between 9 AM and 12 PM. Supposedly conducted in the same year, Brevo’s research recommends sending B2B emails between 8 AM and 10 AM on Mondays and Tuesdays, albeit not providing clear data on the methodology.

That is why it’s important to run tests internally and ask your recipients when they are more likely to interact with your emails. Once you gather enough data, you can test the new time range compared to your current setup and see how it performs.

Don’t forget to automate

Marketing automation is definitely our favorite B2B email marketing best practice. The right automation tools can greatly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your email campaigns and communications. Set up automated workflows to deliver timely and personalized marketing messages at scale, while saving resources and maintaining consistent communication with your prospects and customers.

A B2B email automation scenario could involve the following email chain.

Email #1: Introduction and Value Proposition with highlighting the value you offer to businesses in their industry.

Call-to-Action: Request a quick call or meeting to learn more about their specific needs.

Email #2: Product Demo and Features showcasing your product’s features and benefits with a personalized demo.

Call-to-Action: Encourage them to check out your landing page and schedule a demo.

Email #3: Social Proof and Testimonials with success stories and testimonials from satisfied clients in their industry.

Call-to-Action: Offer to connect them with your existing client with similar needs for more insights.

Email #4: Limited-Time Offer or discount to create a sense of urgency.

Call-to-Action: Encourage them to take advantage of the offer.

Other scenarios could include:

  • B2B event invitations. If you organize industry events, webinars, or conferences, you can automate email invitations to the businesses or professionals in your target market.
  • Thought leadership content and industry updates. Send automated emails to share industry news, insights, and content from your blog and experts with your B2B audience.
Email automation flow in Selzy with a standard scenario: if a subscriber clicked on the link in the welcome email to read the analysis, wait for 12 hours, and send a follow-up email with a selection of related articles from the blog.
Email automation flow set within Selzy, with a focus on the blog’s content

Remember, B2B email automation scenarios should be tailored to your specific business, target audience, and marketing goals.

Final thoughts

B2B email marketing is a powerful tool for businesses that are looking for the ways to engage with their target customers, nurture leads, and drive sales. By following the best practices outlined in this article, you can optimize your email campaigns and increase the chances of your marketing strategy for success.

Remember to:

  • Profile your target customers.
  • Plan your campaigns in stages.
  • Segment your list.
  • Pay attention to design and display.
  • Keep your tone consistent.
  • Personalize your messages.
  • Hook your audience with compelling subject lines.
  • Keep the message to the point.
  • Include a clear call-to-action.
  • Choose good timing.
  • Leverage automation to streamline your marketing efforts.

With these practices in place, you can unlock the full potential of B2B email marketing and achieve your marketing goals.

21 August, 2023
Article by
Nikita Nilov
Nikita is a marketer by calling, exploring the world of digital marketing with experience in agencies, corporations and media platforms with a journalist background. Nikita is experienced in multiple industries and markets: from automotive to telecom and from government to FMCG, and from Eastern Europe to Middle East. Outside of work, Nikita’s interest lies in music, cycling and learning languages.
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