b2b email marketing

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Whether your goal is to increase sales, brand recognition, client retention, or just general business success, b2b email marketing is one of the most effective marketing initiatives.

Not only is it an affordable and scalable form of marketing, but it’s also highly targeted.

In this article, we cover everything you need to know about b2b email marketing: from how to implement a successful campaign to the best strategies for increasing conversions.

Let’s dive into the world of b2b email marketing!

B2B Email Marketing – Overview & Definition

B2B email marketing is also known as “Business To Business Email Marketing” and it’s the process of sending emails to businesses that might need your products or services.

Since its inception, email marketing has never been stronger or more used than today. According to a survey published by Content Marketing Institute, 31% of B2B marketers say email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads.

Even though email marketing is one of the oldest types of digital marketing solutions, the email channel has proven to be one of the most cost-effective strategies.

On average, companies using email marketing increase their sales by 25-45%. Not bad for an old tool!

With email marketing, you can literally reach out to thousands and thousands of people in a few seconds.

Also, (and this is important), if your customers are receiving spam emails from companies they do not know (usually called ‘cold emails’), they deem these brands as unwelcome intruders.

With an effective email strategy in place, you can generate trust and engagement with your audience that benefits future conversions.

If you don’t have a crystal clear idea about how to approach b2b email marketing, you run the risk of sending emails that will not be read, let alone acted upon.

It’s also possible that some of your emails might even be considered spammy, which can have a negative impact on your brand image.

Why Should You Have a B2B Email Marketing Strategy?

Well, as a business owner, you’re probably constantly thinking about your strategy and optimization. Maybe you have a plan for content creation, SEO, paid advertising, etc…

However, does your company have a strategy for email marketing? If not, you’re missing out on a lot of money.

So this b2b email marketing strategy guide is for you!

Now that you have a clearer idea of what is a b2b email marketing strategy, let’s get into the “why” of b2b email marketing in the 2020s.

  • Increased Visibility
  • Brand Awareness & Recognition
  • New Business Relationships
  • Effective ROI
  • Boost Sales
  • Effective Marketing Processes
  • Scalability & Expansion
  • Cost-Effective

Let’s go a bit deeper into each of these:

1. Increased Visibility

Your brand will have a higher visibility since you can reach out to more businesses than with other marketing strategies.

If your emails are relevant, the recipients will read them and maybe even engage in your business activities.

2. Brand Awareness & Recognition

Your business may be using email marketing as a way to promote your products and services. However, most of us are using email marketing for branding purposes.

It’s not just about getting sales; email marketing is a great way to build your brand’s image in the eyes of your prospects and customers.

Marketing emails keep you in the minds of your prospects and customers. With every new email campaign you send, you reinforce your brand’s identity in their minds.

3. New Business Relationships

B2B email marketing is one of the most effective ways to start a new business relationship with another company, as long as they are interested in at least one of your products or services.

As businesses, we always need to surround ourselves with new companies that can help us grow.

Through b2b email marketing, you will be able to build up a list of contacts to which you can later reach out and establish new business connections.

Even your competitors can be a blessing to your brand! Don’t frown upon that and be open!

4. Effective ROI

B2B email marketing has a higher ROI than other forms of digital marketing since it has a direct relationship with your customers.

So you have more confidence that email marketing will be effective and profitable for your business.

Also, since there are fewer competitors in the B2B world, you can definitely increase your ROI over time! The cost effectiveness of b2b email marketing is hard to beat!

5. Boost Sales

Through Email Marketing, you will be able to boost sales or other business goals/objectives you might have.

Email marketing is well known for being the best medium that can give a kick to your bottom line.

6. Easy to Do & Manage

B2B Email Marketing is not a difficult form of marketing. It’s very easy to do and doesn’t require you to make a lot of changes to your business system throughout the year in order to achieve results.

The design and implementation of b2b email marketing are well within reach, even for small businesses.

Digitally-minded businesses can achieve great results with this form of marketing without much difficulty, as long as they implement it correctly.

Once you have successfully implemented an email campaign, you will be able to expand it without making major changes or hiring new staff members.

7. Scalability & Expansion

Email marketing is pretty easy to scale in comparison to other digital marketing techniques.

For instance, if you want to scale your Google Ads campaign, you will have to adjust your daily budget gradually, n then wait for Google to optimize it which can take weeks to see better or bad results.

In a paid advertising campaign, increasing your budget doesn’t necessarily mean automatically getting more conversions. But with email marketing, it’s not really that hard to scale.

The only issue you may have is the time it would take to implement a larger scale campaign.

8. Cost-Effective

The effective cost of b2b email marketing is significantly lower than any other form of marketing. The time, effort, and energy required to run a successful email campaign is much lower.

Let’s say you want to start running email marketing campaigns, the only thing you will want to invest in is an email marketing tool and you’re good to go!

What Are The Challenges of Email Marketing?

Since everything under the sun has its pros and cons, we will now talk about the disadvantages of email marketing.

But hey, this doesn’t have to stop you from getting your foot into this super-profitable digital marketing strategy.

  • Spam filters
  • Time-Consuming
  • Overwhelmed Inbox
  • Privacy Concerns
  • Deliverability

Let’s see why these points above are a pain in your brand’s back.

1. Spam Filters

Spam filters are a pain! Nothing screams “I’m a spammer!” more than your email landing in the “junk” folder of your prospect inbox.

There are seemingly endless numbers of spam filters and it seems that no matter what you do, it’s still difficult to get yourself into the ‘Primary’ folder. Luckily for non-spammers like us, there’s a way out of the Junk folder.

Follow the instructions from Google itself to see how you can prevent your email from landing in spam folders!

But every now and then, your email may find itself sitting in a junk folder somewhere in spite of properly setting up your email account. This is something out of our control.

2. Time-Consuming

It’s quite obvious that time-consuming campaigns can quickly eat up your business time and resources. Unfortunately, email marketing might suck up your precious time.

To keep your campaigns going and on the right path, you will need to approach email marketing strategically but it remains a time killer after all.

3. Overwhelmed Inbox

While it’s true that email marketing remains one of the forms of digital marketing, it can really become annoying on the other end.

If your email campaign is poorly developed or executed, it’s very easy to overwhelm your prospects, especially when you’re dealing with business owners.

These guys are already busy with their regular routines, so if you’re not sending what they need and want, then it’s hard for them to stay interested.

This can lead to a loss of interest in your email marketing campaigns and you may never get the chance to reach out to new prospects.

4. Privacy Concerns

With the increase in cybercrimes and hacking activities nowadays, people are getting more concerned about their privacy on the internet.

During the early days of email marketing (mid-2000s), there was no permission required from the recipients in order to have one’s email land in their inboxes.

The concept of permission-based email marketing is a bit new to new small businesses and some have found themselves getting sued for invading people’s privacy via email.

5. Deliverability

Concerning deliverability, there are a few frustrating instances that you can encounter:

  • Your emails end up not getting delivered.
  • You have no idea why your email may be getting blocked by spam filters.
  • Your emails are being marked as spam by the recipients themselves, and they are opting out of your email list altogether.
  • Your emails bounced back because the address is incorrect (check typos)

For email marketers and brands alike, deliverability is an important issue. A bounced email is a huge waste of time and money.

As I said before, these are just a few challenges that you will surely encounter when starting out with email marketing.

If your business is new to marketing strategies, you should tread carefully on this very effective technique.

B2b Email Marketing – Best Email Marketing Tools

Now that you already have an idea about the effectiveness of email marketing, you may be wondering what tools will work great for your campaign.

An email marketing tool can help you develop, design, plan, execute and automate your email marketing campaign.

You may be tempted to take the free or cheap route in search of the perfect tool for your company.

Well, here’s some good news: You don’t need to spend big bucks when it comes to your email marketing tools – there are plenty of great options that don’t cost a fortune!

Obviously, you need to think twice before purchasing your email marketing tool so as not to spend your money on features you won’t need.

If you’re just starting out and don’t have much experience in b2b email marketing, get a basic plan, learn the stuff, and then you can upgrade to a plan with lots of professional features.

There are endless email marketing tools out there, but below are a few that you’d be well-advised to choose so as to be on the safe side (and to watch out for copy-cats).

1. Constant Contact

Constant Contact is one of the most popular email marketing tools on the market.

With plans starting at $9/month per user, this email marketing software is perfect for freelancers, small businesses, mid-size businesses, and even large enterprises.

With Constant Contact, you will have access to hundreds of features from email distribution and monitoring, email campaign management, lead nurturing to reporting and analytics.

Benefits of Constant Contact:

  • Create professional emails and email marketing campaigns
  • Custom-designed website
  • Great customer support (Email/help desk, phone support, knowledge base, chat, FAQs/forum)
  • Training options (live online, webinars, videos & documentation)
  • Integrates with 300+ 3rd party apps

2. ActiveCampaign

Known for being a leader in CRM, campaign management, marketing automation, contact, and lead management, ActiveCampaign is definitely a popular choice for businesses of all sizes.

With ActiveCampaign, you can use their tools to build effective campaigns and segment your subscribers based on various data points and actions.

Benefits of ActiveCampaign:

  • Affordable pricing structures starting at $15/month
  • Segmentation of your contacts based on behavior (bounce, open, click etc.)
  • Lead scoring to determine important prospects and high-potential leads
  • Automation based on contact behavior and segmentation
  • Advanced reporting and analytics
  • Amazing support (knowledge base, email/help desk, chat, FAQs/forum & phone support)
  • Training options (webinars, in-person, documentation, live online & videos)
  • Integrates with 300+ 3rd party apps

3. Sendinblue

If you want to build and grow business relationships through email marketing, Sendinblue is for you.

With an affordable rate plan of $25/mo, this email marketing tool will help you build, nurture your mailing list and improve your email marketing campaigns.

Benefits of Sendinblue:

  • Engage your subscribers and build relationships
  • Automated response and drip campaigns
  • Intelligent segmentation to deliver targeted emails
  • Set up auto-reply to deliver timely notifications
  • Powerful reporting & analytics
  • Customer support (knowledge base, chat, email/help desk, phone support & FAQs/forum)
  • Training options (documentation)
  • Integrates with 100+ 3rd party apps Get Sendinblue

B2B Email Marketing Best Practices

Before learning how to start a successful email marketing campaign, you have to know first what to do and what to avoid.

Email marketing is an opportunity to get in touch with your customers in a very personal way, not to mention its ability to help you advertise your brand and your business.

With that being said, it’s important that you build a relationship with this group of people and establish trust; which is achieved by showing them that you care about them as individuals and understand their challenges and their business challenges.

So what are the best practices to adopt when doing email marketing?

  • Build relationships
  • Customize your email
  • Evoque curiosity in subject lines
  • Keep emails short and to the point
  • Analyze statistics
  • Include a clear call-to-action

Let’s dive deeper into each of these topics to give you a better understanding of how to optimize your email marketing strategy.

1. Build a Relationship

Email marketing is first and foremost about relationships.

Building a relationship is important when utilizing email marketing because it demonstrates that you are interested in them and care about what they have to say.

This increases the value of your emails and helps get more leads through your campaigns. It’s important that you understand the purpose of emails, so you know whether to open or unsubscribe from them.

2. Customize Your Emails

People, especially business people, hate generic emails from unknown senders.

Since they can’t remember people or companies they’ve never heard of, they will use a lot of caution when opening your emails, especially when giving the sender’s name.

So instead of sending generic emails that are similar to what you send to everyone no matter who sends them, customize each email and be sure to add a personal touch so that the recipient feels a bit special.

Do your research about that person you’re reaching out to and when you will send those personalized emails, they will know that you’re not another spammer who just wants something from them.

3. Evoque Curiosity In Your Subject Line

Your emails can suffer from low open rates if the subject line is not enticing enough.

You need to make sure that the title of your email catches the interest of your recipients so they will want to open it.

When you have done this and they’ve opened it, make sure that the first thing they see is a good introduction to your topic or business without delay or distraction.

A great subject line has the power to pique their interest and create an emotional response from them.

So, use this to your advantage so that your email marketing efforts don’t go unseen.

4. Keep Emails Short & To The Point

Your emails should be short but informative. Don’t needlessly ask your users questions that aren’t relevant to them or their businesses.

If they want to know more about your services, they will contact you themselves.

Also, don’t make people scroll through a list of words and phrases if they just want the info you’re offering; remember that most people are busy, so keep it brief.

No one likes to read long messages when they just want a simple answer or look at something quickly.

Oh, do not start your email with a fake compliment. Nothing’s more irritating than that first line of superficial complimentary words.

Many digital marketing gurus are still telling people to do this but please don’t. Business people know exactly the intention behind your emails.

So, please be short and sweet and get straight to the point.

Only after building that first rapport, you can slide a nice compliment to further build that relationship.

5. Analyze Your Metrics

Tracking which emails are opened, who opened them, and how long they stay open is important in improving your email marketing performance and in making sure that you meet your target audience’s interest.

Another good practice is to track your clicks because they tell you the amount of interest you’re generating.

Most platforms and email marketing tools provide tracking services that help you understand which emails out of the thousands (if not millions) that you send a month or a year are the most effective at generating leads for your business.

Include a Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

The CTA is what you want them to do after reading your email.

It should be a clear statement of what the recipient should do next, such as visit your website, contact you for more information, sign up for a free trial, or download content.

Keep in mind that most people have very limited time to read through emails and click on links, so make your call to action easy to spot.

How to Get Started in Email Marketing

Below are 10 best tips to help you start your first b2b email marketing campaign:

  • Establish your goals
  • Decide who your audience is
  • Define your message
  • Build your email list
  • Set up strategy & tactics
  • Create the right visual appeal
  • Make sure your copy is unique
  • Reach out to the right people
  • Communicate effectively
  • Measure performance

Let’s dissect these tasks one at a time.

1. Establish your goals

Start with a goal, finish with a goal and make sure that both are measurable in your email marketing campaign.

Make sure that you know what you’re trying to achieve, whether it’s getting more subscribers or leads, or sales.  

Determine if that is what you’re trying to achieve and check if your emails are helping achieve this goal in an actionable way.

2. Decide Who Your Audience Is

Targeting the right people is the key to any successful campaign, so make sure that your audience fits the bill and will be interested in your services. A few questions you might ask are:

  • Who is your target audience exactly
  • What are their occupations/roles in their business
  • Where are they located
  • Are they mostly male or female

Finding the answers to those questions will help create the perfect buyer persona and help you decide where to focus your efforts.

3. Define Your Message

Once you have decided who your audience is, it’s time to define what you want them to do next. Define what you want them to do and be clear in your message.

Your email marketing campaign should basically be a sales pitch with an angle. It’s a short, yet powerful brief that tells your subscribers exactly what you want them to do next.

Use the copy editor or an expert to help you make sure that what you’re saying is clearly defined, direct and honest.

4. Build Your Email List

A powerful b2b email marketing campaign is only as strong as its list of subscribers. If you have existing contacts, then fine! Start with what you have!

If you’re a new business, you can start building your email list in various ways such as:

  • Squeeze pages
  • Exit-intent pop-ups
  • Loyalty and referral programs
  • Discounts and deals
  • Exclusive notifications

This is a crucial step because you want to build a highly targeted and engaged list of subscribers who are interested in your products, services and offers.

If you don’t do this, and if you go about email marketing the traditional way, it’s likely that your open rates will be low and your followers will be less likely to respond to your emails.

5. Set Strategy and Tactics

Know what you’re going to say before you start writing the actual email that you’ll send out. Know what kind of value proposition or deal is being offered to them so they respond.

Strategize in advance so that when it comes time to write the email, there is no room for error or confusion as this can affect your metrics significantly.

Before starting any email marketing campaign, have a game plan in place so that you ensure success.

6. Create the Right Visual Appeal

The visuals are half the battle so make sure that you know what your subscribers want to see in their inboxes at a glance.

For example, if you want to create an email that tells them about a very specific product, make sure that the image used for your email is in fact “about” that product.

If you want to include a link to your website, then the look and feel of the page should be consistent with the message it is trying to convey.

7. Make Sure Your Copy Is Unique

Avoid using any plagiarism in your emails or any similar strategies as this will result only in low open rates.

Avoid tiring commonality and use originality as this will boost response rates and conversions.

Don’t make emails too long because users may find it difficult read through a lengthy email when they have limited time at their disposal.

8. Reach Out To The Right People

Don’t spam your contacts with your emails. Speak directly to your audience and determine what their interests are.

It’s important to know whether the person you’re emailing is even interested in what you do, or is just a “looky-loo” who doesn’t need anything at all.

9. Communicate Effectively

This is an art in itself and it requires you to learn how to write concise, effective and persuasive emails.

Strive to write emails that encourage subscribers to take the action you want them, through your clear call-to-action button.

10. Measure Performance

Once you have sent out your email campaign, it’s time to measure the performance of your email and know if you’re hitting your metrics or not.

You should check if the right people are reading what you’re writing, whether they are clicking on any links that are being provided, whether they have taken any action after reading the emails, and other such factors.

Assess what you’ve sent out to find out if your strategy is working or not and learn from the mistakes that you’ve made so you can improve over time.

Email marketing is an important part of any business’ growth strategy.

It’s important that you abide by the 10 commandments described here if you don’t want your email campaign to sink like a stone in the ocean.

If you’re a new business or haven’t started an email marketing campaign yet, make sure that you follow these commandments to help ensure success.

Final Thoughts

Email marketing is a great way to generate leads among your subscribers; however, make sure that they’re interested in what you offer before you try to sell them a deal or a service.

Also, one of the ways to get a favorable open rate in your email marketing campaigns is to ensure that you’re following the latest best practices.

Although email marketing has not changed, the way to do it has evolved.

The techniques used 10 years ago are saturated today and will definitely not produce great results.

This doesn’t mean that email marketing is ineffective, you just need to adapt to its new exigencies and rules to find success.

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Nat Caesar is the Owner, Senior Editor & Head of Growth at Myndset. She is also the Founder of Caesar Media, a Digital Media Agency based in Mauritius. Since 2014 she has worked with more than 250 companies around the world including a few reputable brands like Adobe, Starbucks, Lacoste, and Pinterest Labs among others. Nat is also a seasoned SEO copywriter in the SaaS & B2B space. Feel free to reach out to her at [email protected]