Writing an email is easy.
Writing a good email, however, comes with a few challenges. And writing a great marketing email that actually pulls in your audience and contributes to your bottom line? Now there’s the holy grail of B2B email marketing.
You’ve heard the statistics. Almost 90% of B2B marketers consider email among their top organic content distribution strategies, while 81% call it their most used form of content marketing. Including email in your larger lead generation, nurturing, and conversion strategies isn’t optional for success…but creating an effective campaign takes an expert strategy.
While you may not consider yourself an expert, some foundational best practices can significantly improve your email marketing results. So let’s dig in. Join us in a discussion of 8 B2B email marketing best practices that have become the new table stakes. Use these best practices to enhance your email marketing strategy for any B2B audience.
1. Follow Up Diligently
It’s tempting to think of B2B emails, cold or otherwise, as intrusive. You might not want to ‘bother’ your audience, so after your initial contact, if you haven’t heard back, you leave them be. This thought process is to your detriment.
In reality, the reasons for not responding could be plentiful. Consider that 300 billion emails are sent every day, so your email might have just gotten lost in a busy inbox. A follow-up email shows persistence and keeps your company top of mind.
Your follow-up email can be as simple as a nudge, asking whether the previous email has been received and reiterating your value proposition or core message. Especially as part of a larger email automation campaign, these nudges can be invaluable in getting your audience to take action.
2. Be Prospect Driven
Keep in mind that the importance of following up only applies when your offering is relevant. These are busy professionals, after all, receiving countless other promotional emails. An email mentioning why it would be so valuable for you to have a sales meeting isn’t likely to create a conversion. However, creating real value by offering a solution to your prospects’ frequent struggles will gain their attention. Value is the determining factor in standing out amongst your competitors.
This knowledge comes from studying your audience and creating a thorough ideal customer profile. Once you understand your prospect’s motivation to buy your offering, this messaging needs to be woven into the fabric of your campaign. Give prospects a clear reason to take action. From saving time and increasing efficiency to creating an increase in sales and achieving ROI, let your audience know the value you can offer their organization.
3. Build Your B2B Emails on Personalization
After step 2, you should have a well-rounded knowledge of your buyer, who they are, and how they spend their resources. While you’ll create relevance with the help of an ICP, personalization can help your prospects feel like they’re truly connecting with your company. Especially when sending email to your B2B subscriber list, you likely have a number of opportunities for personalization:
- Sending the email from the account manager who has been communicating with them.
- Including recipients’ name in the first line, and potentially the subject line.
- Building dynamic content that shifts based on recipients’ industry, company size, or other variables.
Implementing this personalization can be complex, depending on the systems you work with. Still, it’s a crucial way to stand out in the inbox and get your audience to pay attention.
4. Keep Your Data Clean
One of the most forgotten but foundational ways to improve your B2B marketing emails is to focus on your data. Sending to old prospects with outdated information may mean your messages never get delivered while focusing on personalizing information that is no longer accurate actively harms your engagement rates.
And that’s before even discussing the legal implication of violating CAN-SPAM by sending messages to subscribers who have opted out.
That, in turn, requires keeping your email lists clean. Periodically remove inactive subscribers who haven’t opened your emails in a while. Check your unsubscribe procedures to minimize the chance of sending emails to those who don’t want to receive them. You can even manually comb your email list to make sure that segmenting information like industry and company size are still accurate.
5. Avoid Common Spam Markers
Research shows that more than 16% of all emails don’t ever reach your audience’s inbox. Bad data contributes to undelivered emails, but spam filters also play a big role. A few B2B email best practices can help:
- Don’t send too often. B2B email frequency best practices differ based on industry and content type but generally, avoid sending messages more than twice weekly.
- Avoid trigger words. Money symbols, price, quote, and others are all among the hundreds of words that could trigger spam filters.
- Follow CAN-SPAM laws. That includes listing your physical address, including a clear unsubscribe link, and avoiding deceptive language among other guidelines.
6. Segment Your Audience for Increased Relevance
Not every prospect in your database will have the same needs. They’re at different stages in the buying journey, work at different-sized companies, have different roles in the buying process, and might even operate in different industries. Segmentation is crucial to maximizing the relevance of each of your messaging. An accurate pulse on you buyer personas and sales funnel can help to guide your strategy.
While segmentation can help you to send the right message to the right audience, it’s not necessary for every company. For some businesses, a wide-net strategy can help you to gauge interest with various audiences while not eliminating potential customers. Your offering and market will determine which strategy is better suited for your company and when in doubt, test!
7. Avoid Excessive HTML or Graphics
It’s tempting to take full advantage of the design templates many email platforms offer. In reality, though, most of them are designed for consumer audiences more likely to respond to flashy graphics, visuals, and colors.
For business audiences, it pays to keep things simple. Clarity is key, which is why plain text emails consistently perform better than HTML variants in B2B environments. Plus, avoiding designs also increases the implicit personalizations of your email, which more realistically could come from individuals rather than anonymous company accounts.
8. Test and Iterate Continuously
Finally, never build your B2B email marketing strategy without a comprehensive plan of improvement. The advice given in this blog post is industry-agnostic and your specific audience or brand may have slightly different preferences and needs. That’s where testing enters the equation.
Simple A/B tests can help you to improve anything from your subject lines to your calls to action. You can also use them to see which segments of your audience respond to what type of message, and even which sender address makes the most sense.
Test variables, improve on them and test again. That continuous improvement cycle ultimately leads to learnings about your messaging and audience that you can apply across your marketing efforts.
Ready to Improve Your Strategy?
Email marketing, of course, is only part of a larger equation when it comes to B2B marketing. Best practices like the above are most effective when linked to a comprehensive strategy to generate and close leads, building a reliable revenue flow in the process.That’s where we come in. Sapper Consulting can help you to build a reliable pipeline of B2B leads with qualified prospects, resulting in ROI. Ready to learn more? Book a demo with us today.