B2B email marketing is an effective way for businesses to promote their products to other businesses. It helps you generate leads, nurture prospects, make sales, and build long-term relationships with clients.
But there’s one major challenge: Because email works so well for business sellers, everyone uses it! This means you’ll need to elbow past all the other B2B marketing emails in your contact's inbox to stand out.
In this article, we’ll share tips to help you break through the clutter. We’ll introduce best practices and highlight plenty of B2B email examples so you can promote your business in style.
B2B (business-to-business) email marketing is when you use email to promote products and services to other businesses rather than to individuals for consumer purposes.
It typically involves a combination of newsletter campaigns sent on a regular basis, and automations that go out when they are triggered at specific touchpoints in the customer journey.
Historically, B2B marketing lacked creativity and personality. That is changing! Businesses are realizing that communicating their values with a distinct personality can be extremely effective. You’ll see in the examples below how some B2B email marketers are infusing creativity into their messaging.
Here are 13 examples of great B2B email marketing. Many of the ideas can function as a B2B email template for your marketing initiatives.
Take a look at the email design, structure, and messaging and use them to inspire your own strategies and emails.
A welcome email is the first impression you make with new subscribers. These automated emails typically have very high open and engagement rates as they are sent at the exact moment the recipient has decided to start a relationship with your business.
Their high engagement makes these emails a valuable opportunity to build a connection. Use your welcome email to tell the customer more about your brand and highlight any next steps they can take. Also include links to any resources or lead magnets you promised in the signup form.
In the example below, MarketingSherpa welcomes its new subscribers into the community in their email subject line and then provides a list of all the newsletters that the reader can access. By offering several options, MarketingSherpa is segmenting its new subscribers.
It’s a simple personalized email and a neat way of reminding your new leads why they signed up in the first place!
Events are a good way to generate leads in B2B marketing. If you’re hosting or attending conferences and business-to-business events, let your audience know about them!
You’ll generate interest in the event which can result in more signups, ticket sales or booth visits. Here’s how to do it:
Before the event:
With so many different speakers, topics, and stands, big conferences can be overwhelming. Help your clients by sharing a guide to what’s happening, just like Webflow did in its Webflow Conference promotion email. Be sure to include a signup link so interested parties can register. If you’re attending an event, rather than running one, let B2B buyers know where they’ll be able to find you.
After the event
You can also send an email after an event. Use your post-event email to:
Recap what happened and reinforce key points
Include a recording link (if applicable) so people can rewatch what happened
Send a participant's survey which you can use to make your next event even better
You can use email automation to send this email to everyone on your list who attended.
"We need your opinion!"
Survey emails are a great way to find out more about your customers and what they think of your business. Use this information to create more impactful products, experiences and marketing.
Consider sending survey emails after key touchpoints in the customer journey. Zapier sends one when a free trial ends. The company can use the answers to discover why the customer didn’t sign up for the product after the trial and use knowledge of these pain points to improve the experience for future customers.
You can also use information from survey answers to segment your audience to send more relevant email marketing messages.
For example, if in a post-webinar survey, someone mentions that they found a section on social media marketing the most useful, you can add them to a segment for people interested in this topic and then send more related email content.
Have you introduced a new feature? Created a limited edition product? Set up pre-orders? Share it with your audience via an announcement email.
Local’s product update email builds excitement by highlighting all the tool’s new features and clearly specifying the benefits of each one. It also includes a button so interested customers can download the latest version of the software right away.
"Just for you!"
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 high-quality 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.
In the B2B email example below, Grammarly offers exclusive access to its State of Business Communication Report for free! By offering valuable content, they help their B2B audience stay on top of their game.
Similarly, DigitalMarketer shares a guide and a tracking sheet to help their subscribers optimize their email marketing strategy. Again, it is offered as a free gift to their subscribers to maximize conversions.
These free guides are also an effective way to segment your audience. DigitalMarketer knows that anyone who downloads the above guide on email marketing metrics is interested in this topic. They can then send more related content or highlight how their product helps with this challenge.
Our free plan includes access to the features you need to start B2B marketing including automation, segmentation, landing pages, and more.
Webinars are a great way to deliver insights that your customers find valuable and relevant. Use your B2B email campaign to make a date with your audience so they can catch your live stream.
In the B2B email below, Data.ai entices its subscribers by highlighting the benefits of the strategies shared in the webinar. The company also adds urgency by implying that time is running out to sign up.
Don't forget to send any subscribers who missed the live webinar a follow-up link to the recorded version so they can catch up.
"Hello? Still there?"
If you’ve been running your B2B email campaign for a long time, you might notice that some subscribers are inactive—meaning they no longer open or read your messages.
Typically, your inactive subscribers are either too busy to read your emails or no longer interested in your product. In either case, you need to re-spark their interest to get them back onside.
You can set up a B2B re-engagement campaign to encourage these people to start interacting with your emails again.
The exact content you include in your campaign will depend on your business. Here is an example of the type of automation you can send. Remember that the idea is to remind customers of your product and spark interest in your brand.
Send a reminder: Check in with your audience, and let them know that you’re still here.
Add an incentive: Free trials, exclusive content, and promo codes may reignite the subscriber’s interest in your product. Be sure to mention the incentive in your subject line.
Create urgency: Let your audience know that they might lose a valuable benefit if they do not engage within the time frame. Insert a countdown timer into the body of your email to highlight the point.
Say farewell: Send this email just before you unsubscribe the contact. Keep it friendly and include a resubscribe link so that they can always join your list again in the future.
If the subscriber still hasn’t engaged by the end of the sequence, remove them from your list. While it seems counterintuitive, there’s no point in emailing people who don’t interact with your emails, and low engagement can actually hurt your email deliverability.
Grammarly includes a ‘wrinkle in time’ badge, a clever way of noting the time that has passed. They also add in a bright red call to action, so that their customers can quickly re-engage with their product.
"Checked this out, yet?"
Use B2B email marketing campaigns to drive traffic to your other sources of content.
Link to your website, company blog, social media posts, or YouTube channel. You’ll build engagement on these platforms while deepening your relationship with clients and helping them to be better at their jobs.
Below, Inside Design links to multiple relevant articles, so that their subscribers can select which content they are most interested in.
Here, Upwork takes a straightforward approach, sharing a general list of ideas and inspiration for other businesses, driving traffic to their other content sources.
"New strategies to adopt now!"
In B2B marketing, white papers are longer pieces of content that exhibit your expertise and insights.
B2B white papers will reinforce your authority in your field. If you have insights into your industry trends, policy changes, or solutions, then don’t keep them to yourself—share them!
Write a long-form piece of content that delves into these topics, and show your audience that you’re up to speed with everything that’s happening.
In the email newsletter example below, Merkle shares a white paper on how consumer behavior has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic, and how businesses can develop their re-emergence strategy.
"Here's one we made earlier."
A B2B case study is a chance for you to tell your story while also exhibiting your expertise with a real example of success. You might:
Explain how your product or service changed a customer’s life
Show how you are impacting your field
Present your contribution to a project
Case studies are valuable to B2B marketers because they show subscribers your solution in action! Let your product speak for itself, and your audience will see the benefits of becoming your customers.
In the case study below, Animalz starts with a strong opening sentence, explaining exactly why their subscribers should continue reading. Then, instead of a CTA button, they start telling the story straight away, to get their readers hooked! Everyone loves stories. Tell yours, and show your subscribers exactly how you deliver value to your customers.
"Did you know?"
B2B email marketing doesn’t end with the sale! Continue to nurture the customer relationship post-sale by sharing updates, highlighting new products, and offering tips and tricks about how to get the most out of your service.
Emails such as the Asana example below will increase customer satisfaction with your product by helping people use it. They also ensure that your organization is at the top of the list when their company enters its next procurement cycle.
"Here's what's happening"
Ensure subscribers keep opening your emails by sending them curated industry updates. Being a go-to way to get the latest industry news means people will read your emails even if they aren’t interested in buying your product at that exact moment.
The Smash Digital monthly SEO roundup is a good example of this in action. Every email contains tons of interesting search-related content from the previous month.
It’s all useful information and the email copy contains very little promotional content. But by continually sending these emails the brand keeps awareness among email list subscribers high.
This means if readers ever need to hire a digital marketing agency, there’s a good chance they’ll consider Smash Digital.
"Sign up for our course."
Many of the examples so far have been about helping your subscribers stay ahead in their industry and get better at their job. Another good way to do this is to go beyond tips and articles and share complete courses to help people learn.
In this email, Semrush promotes its free competitor research course. The course also includes plenty of tips that are based around Semrush marketing tools, making it an effective way to promote the product.
You’ve seen the examples, now here are some B2B email marketing best practices to help you create an optimal B2B email marketing strategy.
Email marketing is only effective when it’s done right. To make sure your audience likes what they see and clicks your call-to-action, you need an email marketing strategy that:
Defines clear goals - What do you want your audience to do?
Identifies your audience - Who are you talking to? What are they interested in?
Establishes a clear plan - How often will you communicate with your clients? How will you measure your marketing efforts?
Without these elements, you will have no way of knowing whether your B2B marketing campaign is having the desired effect. Learn how to create an email marketing strategy in this article. We’ve even included real tips about how we built our strategy at MailerLite.
Email marketing is most effective when the people you contact have a genuine interest in your brand. Ensure this is the case by building your email list organically and collecting consent from each signup to allow you to contact them.
The easiest way to build your list is to convert people who show an interest in your brand into email subscribers with lead magnets. You can then promote these lead magnets on marketing channels like your website, social media, or even at offline events with our iOS app.
Here are some common types of lead magnets that work with B2B buyers.
Guides and reports: Create a report with a ton of valuable information and then offer it for download on your website. To maximize downloads, look at the pages on your website with the most traffic and create reports on topics that build upon this information.
Free consultations: Service businesses can offer free consultations to people who visit their website. Showing value in these consultations may lead to people becoming customers.
Free tools or trials: Create free tools that relate to your product but require people to hand over their email addresses to use them. Free product trials work in a similar way.
Product demos or webinars: Offer demos or webinars on useful topics related to your business. Once someone signs up, you can promote your product to them.
Courses: Create a micro-course on a topic related to your product that people can sign up for by handing over their email addresses.
Newsletters: Create a newsletter people can sign up for to hear the latest information about your product. Or, give it wider appeal by focusing on everything that is happening in your industry.
Use email marketing automation to send emails at optimum times without you or your team needing to lift a finger. This ensures a smooth customer experience as potential customers receive the information they need at the exact time they need it.
Most interactions can be automated, some of the most common steps to automate include.
Welcome emails: Send a message with next steps as soon as someone joins your email list
Lead magnet delivery: Send an email with a link to your lead magnet when people fill in a form. This ensures people can access it as soon as they request it
Webinar or product demo confirmation: Send confirmation and further details when someone signs up for a webinar
Onboarding workflows: Send an email sequence to help new signups get started with your product
These automations are easy to set up with MailerLite’s workflow builder. Just choose the triggers and actions then fill in the relevant details at each step. And you don’t need to stop at a single email, you can also create complex workflows with multiple emails that change depending on customer actions.
Get started in seconds by trying out one of our automation templates.
Subscriber segmentation allows you to split your list into different groups containing different types of leads or prospects.
For example, you can split your list based on:
Email campaign or automation interaction
And plenty more!
This is effective because it then enables you to send content relevant to the needs and challenges of the specific subscriber.
If someone clicks on a link to your pricing page in an email, there’s a good chance they are interested in your product. You could send content to encourage them to buy such as discounts or emails asking to schedule a call with a sales rep.
Your subject line and preheader is important as it’s the only chance you have to get people to open your email.
When writing, be clear about what your email contains and focus on the benefits of the information. Consider adding personalization if you have the recipient’s name in your profile as this can increase your open rate.
You can also test multiple versions of the same subject line with A/B testing and roll out the most effective one to all your subscribers. With MailerLite, you can test subject lines in both campaigns and automations.
It’s tempting to jump right into sales mode when someone signs up for your email list. But depending on the reason for joining your list, it’s often better to send educational content to nurture them first.
Types of content you can send include:
Knowledge base articles
This content can be both used to educate the recipient about the wider industry you work in as well as how they can use your product as a solution.
When most people sit down at their desks, 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’, ‘add value’ and ‘best in class’. Transforming into your business self is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s necessary.
But a lot of B2B email marketing campaigns fail to excite their target audiences because they focus too much on the rational business points without adding the human, emotional aspects that are necessary to build a genuine relationship.
The power of email marketing is the ability to build long-term relationships.
So when you’re building your B2B email campaigns, find a balance between sharing your business’s value and keeping in mind that you are speaking to a human.
Email is one of the most useful tools in your B2B marketing toolbox. Use it wisely and strategically, and you’ll enjoy the benefits!
Editor's note: This article was originally published in August 2020, but has been updated with fresh ideas and examples.
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