Email marketing has been one of the most trusted arsenals for B2B marketers all around the world. Though we have seen a lot of new age communication tools like social media marketing, instant messaging and intelligent chat bots, the popularity of email marketing has always been on a rise. Today, in this blog post, we would like to understand more about the B2B email marketing best practices which can be followed in 2020 and beyond.
According to the 13th Annual Email Marketing Industry Census published by eConsultancy, “Email continues to lead the pack when it comes to delivery of marketing results, with 73% of client-side marketers ranking the channel as excellent, compared to 72% for SEO and 67% for paid search, in second and third place respectively.”
This study from Hubspot, one of the brands which I love and trust, shows the following data:
“The best three lead sources for B2B companies are SEO (14%), email marketing, (13%), and social media (12%).”
So, it is clearly established that email marketing is one of the most important B2B lead generation tools around. Does that mean that B2B email marketing is easy? Absolutely not. An average office worker receives 121 emails per day. For the decision makers, generally at higher designations, this number can be significantly higher. So it is important to make your presence felt amid this clutter, isn’t it? The first challenge is to earn that spot and visibility in their inbox. And the, if they open the link, its important to keep their interest and engagement level high.
While implementing a B2B email marketing strategy in 2020, you must adopt emerging trends like email marketing automation and personalization. You must send personalized emails to each B2B customer and use software to send personalized emails automatically. But you must remember that B2B email marketing differs from B2C email marketing is several aspects. Also, you must run the B2B email campaigns more efficiently by implementing a set of B2B email marketing best practices in 2020.
How Does B2B Email Marketing Differ from B2C Email Marketing?
You must keep in mind the major differences between B2B email marketing and B2C email marketing to run email marketing campaigns efficiently. Firstly, B2C purchase decisions are made by a single customer. Hence, he can make purchase decision and place orders in a short amount of time. But the B2B purchase decisions are made by multiple professionals.
Secondly, B2B sales cycles are much longer than B2C sales cycles. The decision makers will compare your products and services using a variety of parameters and business requirements. Hence, you must focus on influencing the purchase decisions of B2B customers by providing valuable information regularly. Instead of connecting with the customer emotionally, the B2B marketing emails must present the desired information logically.
11 B2B Email Marketing Best Practices to Get a Higher RoI in 2020
Keep the Email List Clean and Up-to-Date
You cannot run email marketing campaigns successfully without keeping the email list clean and up-to-date. You must review the email list at regular intervals to send B2B emails only to relevant enterprise customers. The email list can be kept clean by removing duplicate email addresses and emails with expired domain names.
For this purpose, you can opt for email scrubbing service. Email scrubbing service will clean up your bulk email list and return the valid email ids. The verified email list significantly
- Reduces bounce rates
- Increases the probability of delivery
- lowers number of spam marking
- Increases open rates
- Increases RoI
Also, you must shortlist the email addresses based on crucial information like the intent of the website visitor.
Never Ignore the Sender Name
B2B Email marketing is all about creating and nurturing a relationship. We must remember that a relationship does not get established with one single email. It would involve a series of emails in most cases. So marketers need to make sure that the email exchange is not done from a one way email id like no-reply and there should be a sender name specified. This ensures the personal connect and human touch both.
Some brands even take this further with associating unique names with the type of content sent. I would like to quote an example from Outbrain below, where Isabella sends the case studies and Will sends the blog and other content. Hubspot, Buffer etc also follow the same method.
Personalize the Email for Each Recipient
As mentioned earlier, email personalization is currently one of the hottest trends in B2B email marketing. You cannot influence the purchase decisions of B2B clients without sending personalized emails. While collecting email addresses, you must focus on collecting personal information about a subscriber or visitor like name, location, company/organization, and designation. The information will help them to connect with the recipient emotionally by sending fully personalized emails.
The below screenshot shows an email I received recently. This is an amazing example, as not only the sender has ensured a sender name, but also they have personalized it properly.
Run Re-targeting Campaigns
You cannot leverage B2B email marketing without collecting the personal information of B2B customers regularly. Before launching email marketing campaigns, you must collect personal information of website visitors by running retargeting campaigns. Instead of introducing products or services to the customers directly, the retargeting campaigns help businesses to convey important information in phases. You must influence the purchase decision of recipients by sending emails that request them to read blogs, listen to podcasts, access tutorials, and watch videos.
Divide the Email List into Small Segments
You can easily send personalized emails to the target customers by dividing the email list into multiple segments. You can create the segments using a variety of parameters – location, industry, designation, and preferences. The email content writers can create a separate template for each segment by addressing specific needs, issues, pain points, purchasing power, and buying stage. The segmentation will help businesses to boost average customer value significantly by influencing purchase decisions.
Focus on Educating the B2B Customers
Unlike B2C email campaigns, B2B email campaigns target professionals who make crucial decisions. Such professionals often lack the time and patience to read emails received from unknown businesses. But the emails can easily impress and engage the customers by providing the right information at the right time. Several market research studies suggest that B2B customers always look for information that helps them to make the most appropriate decisions.
So, you can better engage B2B customers by sending informative emails instead of promotional emails.As per research data from the Content Marketing Institute,
- “81% of B2B marketers say their most used form of content marketing is email newsletters. “
- “87% of B2B marketers say email is one of their top free organic distribution channels.”
Keep the Email Content Short and Accessible
In addition to keeping the emails informational, the writers must focus on presenting the information in a concise and accessible way. While writing emails for B2B marketing campaigns, you must restrict the content to 20 lines or 200 words. Also, you need to divide the content into brief paragraphs. You should review the email content elaborately to convey the key information concisely and engagingly. Also, you must keep the content easy-to-scan to make the reader notice the important points without reading the content fully.
Complement the Textual Content with Images
While creating content for B2B email marketing, the content creators must not forget that a picture paints a thousand words. You can easily convey crucial information about their product or service to the enterprise customers by combining textual and visual content seamlessly. In addition to writing concise content, you can make the B2B emails more engaging by including a video clip or image. The combination will help the recipient to gather the information required to take better decisions.
You should not forget to compress your image(s) used in the email campaigns. They will improve the loading speed. Also, you should add a meaningful alt text for the image.
However, its advisable to use the similar restriction with images that we follow with text. As per the research report by Hubspot, too many images can play the spoilsport and decrease the engagement.
Avoid Including Multiple Call-to-Actions
While writing emails for B2B marketing campaigns, many marketers believe that they can easily generate more leads or persuade the recipient to place orders by including more than one call-to-action (CTA) in the content. As noted earlier, B2B purchase decisions are driven by logic instead of emotions. They must include a single CTA which is both strong and persuasive. While writing the content for emails, they must choose the most effective CTA by performing A/B testing.
Use Meaningful and Clear Subject Line
Unlike emails for B2C marketing campaigns, emails for B2B marketing campaigns cannot drive sales simply by grabbing the recipients’ attention. The emails must focus on influencing the recipient’s purchase decision by providing the right information at the right time. You can easily persuade the recipient to open and read the emails by keeping the subject line crisp and clear. Also, always to portray the benefits for the users rather than putting your product/services features. For example. in the above screenshot of Optin Monster, the senders have highlighted the benefit “Step up your conversion game”
But you must focus on creating a sense of urgency to make the recipient open the emails with the intention to address specific pain points.
Trigger Automated Emails Based on Events
In 2020, automation is one of the popular B2B email marketing trends. In addition to sending emails to B2B customers in bulk, the email marketing automation tools help you to manage email lists and monitor email marketing campaigns. You can further leverage these software applications to send personalized emails to the prospects each time they access blog posts, videos, podcasts, or eBooks. You can use personalized emails as a powerful marketing tool to influence the purchase decisions of B2B customers by providing additional and relevant content.
Some of the most popular email automation tools are Hubspot, Constant Contact, Eloqua and Marketo.
Send Follow up Emails
Your business cannot achieve predefined campaign goals simply by sending highly personalized emails to the relevant B2B prospects. While implementing a B2B email marketing strategy, you must focus on increasing sales conversion by sending follow up emails to the recipients. However, follow-up emails must not appear like reminders or requests. These emails focus on influencing the enterprise customer’s purchase decisions by providing additional and valuable information. You must explore ways to add value to the initial B2B marketing email while writing a follow-up email.
Ensure all Basic Email Regulations
This one is actually common for B2B and B2C alike. Whenever, we are sending any emails, we need to ensure some basic email rules and regulations like
- Using a reliable email service provider
- Make sure you double opt-in
- Do not use ALL CAPITALs or multiple exclamations to draw undue attention
- Do not use too obvious words like click here, order now etc. which are picked up by ISPs and spam filters
- Give an option to Opt out/unsubscribe
As a powerful B2B marketing communication channel, emails help businesses to generate leads, drive sales, and promote customer loyalty. But the businesses cannot increase RoI consistently without keeping the B2B email marketing strategy flexible enough to adopt the emerging email marketing trends and implement new best practices. They also should ensure that the messaging across various communication channels should be consistent to maintain the brand voice.