Hands down, email marketing is the most effective channel for businesses to market to other businesses. So what’s the problem?
Over 87% of B2B marketers use email. It’s ubiquitous. How can you stand out from the barrage of B2B emails flooding your client’s inbox?
In this article, we’ll share important advice to help you break through the B2B email marketing clutter. But first, we’ll highlight B2B email marketing best practices and share email marketing examples that will give you insights on creating a killer B2B campaign.
In a 2018 Content Marketing Institute survey, 79% of B2B marketers credited email as the most effective distribution channel for their demand generation efforts.
There is, of course, one important caveat: email is effective when it’s done right. And in order to get it right, you need a plan that starts with establishing goals, an audience, and a strategy.
If you have no clear goals, no defined audience, and no ways to measure your efforts, how will you know if you're doing well?
Think about who you’re talking to, and what they’re interested in. And consider factors such as how often you plan to communicate with your customer base.
There are several other aspects to contemplate, so we’ve created this email marketing cheat sheet to get you started with your strategy.
When you are serving a business, you’ll most likely work with a few different decision-makers and/or influencers. If you can help each of them individually, you’ll win their business and their loyalty.
The key to success here is segmentation. Marketers report an average increase in revenue of 760% from customized, segmented email campaigns.
There are many different ways to segment your audience. Check out our article for helpful hints, and take a look at the video below to see how to do it using MailerLite.
If you work in a B2B company, there’s a good chance you have access to data on product life cycles, customer behaviors, and other insights about your target audience. Use that knowledge to segment email messaging.
B2B segments include different business areas, different positions within a company, or different relationships. The main thing is to ensure that the right message goes to the right person.
For example, an IT manager and a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) will most likely both have input into a purchase decision for new technology, but they will likely care about different things. Your task is to make sure you know who you’re talking to – and tailor your content to suit.
Many of the following ideas can function as B2B email templates for your content marketing initiatives, helping you to approach B2B buyers in more targeted and sophisticated ways.
Events help generate the most leads in B2B. You probably attend plenty of conferences or other business events that might interest your audience too.
Remember what we said about helping your audience become better at their jobs? Here’s a chance to do it.
Before an event:
Big conferences can often be overwhelming – so many speakers and so many different topics. Help your audience by sharing your guide to an event. Give them your point of view on what’s worth seeing. You can also use the event as a chance to invite your potential customers to talk, as Influence & Co did here:
Could that be any more useful? Pre-event newsletters like this not only reinforce perceptions of you as a connected, informed part of the business community; they give you a chance to let your subscribers know where you’ll be so that you can have valuable face-to-face interactions.
After an event:
So you just attended a great event. There’s a good chance that many in your audience may not have had the time or resources to do the same. This gives you an opportunity to be their eyes and ears, delivering valuable insights and building your reputation as a thought leader who understands their market.
Even among those who did attend, a post-meeting newsletter is a perfect opportunity to increase your credibility by sharing your overview. It may only be a few key thoughts, but it’s a way to let them know you’re up to speed and you care about what’s next.
As a business that serves other businesses, you have access to the best source of information in the industry: your clients!
Most of your existing or potential customers would probably love to be recognized as thought leaders. So why not ask them to share their knowledge by sending them an email? Check out the example below:
The Uberflip content marketing manager makes the recipient of the email feel credible – and at the same time, she will attract loads of material for exclusive content. The benefit for anyone who shares their insights is exposure, which leads to greater brand recognition.
Success in business is about knowledge, and one way your B2B audience tries to stay ahead of their competitors is by gaining access to the latest information.
So if you have access to information or insights that your customers can’t get elsewhere, make the most of it! Generate a report or other content, and use an email marketing campaign as one of the distribution channels.
The following two examples show us how it’s done:
Webinars are a great way to get your customers’ attention, and at the same time deliver insights that they’ll find valuable and relevant. Use your B2B email campaign to make a date with your audience so they can catch your live stream.
Take the opportunity to connect with those subscribers who missed the live webinar by sending them a follow-up link to the recorded version so they can catch up:
Of course, B2B email marketing campaigns aren’t an end in themselves. You can use them to drive traffic to other sources of content.
Build connections to your website, company blog or other online resources such as surveys that will create value, deliver insights and deepen your relationship with your clients. It’s all part of that core strategy of making yourself relevant and helping them to be better at their job.
The role of email marketing doesn’t end with the sale. Email is a key tool to continue your customer relationship throughout the lifecycle of a product or service – informing customers of updates or new features and providing them with advice on getting the most out of your services.
Emails like this increase customer satisfaction and make sure your name is at the top of the list when their company enters its next procurement cycle.
When most people step into the office, something strange happens. They stop being their usual self and turn into their business self.
Your business self is rational and goal-oriented. You are focused on getting tasks done and interacting with others in a highly professional manner. You use words like, ‘touch base’, ‘value add’ and ‘best in class’. Transforming into your business self is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s necessary.
That said, the trick to breaking through the clutter of B2B email marketing to connect with your clients is to turn off your business self. Find a balance between sharing your business’s value while keeping in mind that you are speaking to a human.
Check out this Zillow email that blends business benefits with a human touch:
Zillow connects with the reader by acknowledging their human desire to succeed and follows it with a soft sales pitch.
Most B2B email marketing fails to excite its audience because it focuses too much on the rational, business points without adding the human, emotional aspects that are necessary to build a genuine relationship.
Email marketing is powerful because it builds long-term relationships.
Yes, B2B relationships should be rooted in logic benefits (what can your business do for my business?), but it’s the human aspect that will set you apart.
Every business is different, and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to email marketing that works. The one commonality across all businesses is that humans run them. Start with a plan that balances your great business benefits with an emotional element.
Use all the metrics at your disposal to see which content, send times and strategies are most effective. And ask for feedback from your customers using newsletter surveys.
Whatever you do, don’t just fire emails out at random and hope something sticks. Email is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing toolbox. Use it wisely, and you’ll enjoy great success.