B2B Email Marketing: A Complete Guide for Conversions

In today’s ever-connected world, B2B email marketing is a great avenue for companies looking to drive more revenue. Leveraging the power of email marketing can increase sales and boost your ROI.

email-marketing-1552135128zak

Typically, when you think of sales emails, you probably imagine all of the emails that are currently piled up in your inbox or spam folder. B2B email marketing definitely has it’s pros and cons, but to underutilize it would be a huge mistake for any B2B company.

Incorporating email marketing into your existing marketing strategy is a great way to reach new audiences, move leads down the sales funnel, and get the highest return on your investment. A study done by Experian found that for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $44.25.

In this article, we will cover the best practices for B2B email marketing and try to educate you on the best strategies that convert when it comes to emails. We will discuss what makes a B2B email marketing campaign impactful and how you can leverage the data collected from your emails for other B2B marketing initiatives.

Beyond sales, email marketing can be a great way to build a lasting relationship with existing clients, inform them of what your company has been up to, and draw more interest for the products or services that you are providing.

Unlike B2C marketing, B2B marketing often involves longer sales cycles. Email marketing is a great way for your company to stay on top of mind for prospects who are considering your services or products. The good news is that, according to Hubspot, clickthrough rates are 47% higher for B2B emails than for B2C.

Finding Your Target Audience

Once you’ve decided on your email service provider, the next step to creating a successful B2B email marketing strategy would be to determine your target audience.

Are you in the business of selling a SaaS service or are you selling physical products? Do you know who the decision makers are that would be interested in your products and who has the buying power to ultimately make that call?

If not, you would first want to build out your ideal buyer personas. When creating your buyer personas, some things to consider are customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.This can be done by identifying your current clients and finding similarities between them.

You can apply the same principle to find companies you’d be interested in courting. Are you targeting only small businesses or large enterprises? Is your product relatively costly to implement? Is your product geared towards developers or accountants? Determining which audiences to target is the most important step in the whole process.

Also, deciding if you are taking a completely outbound marketing approach, or if you are planning on adding an inbound component to your B2B marketing strategy is something that needs to be determined from the get-go.

Sending cold emails to purchased email lists or use prospecting sites like DiscoverORG can be effective in generating leads for your  outbound marketing strategy. A strong inbound marketing plan should offer something of value for prospects in exchange for their information.

You can utilize both an outbound email marketing strategy in conjunction with inbound efforts. For example, you can set up landing pages with lead magnets on different parts of your website where visitors to your site can provide their information in exchange for a free eBook, white papers or other marketing materials. This is a great way for you to add new leads from your website to your existing email lists and to determine which segments they belong to.

Creating Personalized and Automated Emails

When composing an email targeted at your ideal audience, you want to come across as both professional and authentic. Knowing when to segment your emails appropriately is also very important.

email-marketing-2362038_960_720

Subject-line emojis accounted for increased open rates for 56% of brands. Does that mean every email your write should include emojis in the subject line? Not at all.

Your approach should change depending on the type of audience that you are addressing. Using emojis, informal speech or colloquialisms in your emails might work for middle management, but the same approach could fall flat on the face with C-suite executives.

Given that the B2B sales cycle is typically much longer than that of B2C companies, your ultimate goal with email marketing should be to educate potential clients with information on your industry or product until they are ready to make the decision to buy. This can be done by linking to other marketing materials such as helpful articles, blog posts or other useful information that adds value to your recipients.

You really want to think about the type of problem that your company is solving here and create effective messaging that includes your company’s value proposition in a creative way. The other thing to note is that if you are sending cold emails, you are fighting an uphill battle as recipients will not be expecting emails from you.

This is why the subject line is key. Ideally, you would want to make it personalized by including the prospect’s name or perhaps even their company’s name. Studies have shown that personalized subject lines can help increase open rates by more than 50%.

Beyond the first email, you want to make sure the content is varied enough for any subsequent emails to avoid having your emails being marked as spam. Finding creative ways to engage with prospects will help with getting better open and click-through rates as well.

Prospecting vs. Nurturing Campaigns

Beyond just personalizing the subject line, you also want to be sure to tailor personalized content in your email campaigns for different audiences. Different emails serve different purposes.

For example, if you are sending cold emails to prospects, the messaging should be different than what you would  be sending to leads who are further down the sales funnel or existing clients who are already aware of your brand. Newsletters or blog updates inherently look very different from sales emails.

3b1dce_1c17568a9d6745189879750830bdebf4_mv2

Nurturing campaigns are a great way to upsell or retain existing customers by informing them of new features or products that you may have to offer. Launched a new product feature? Let your existing customers know via email. The key here is balance as you don’t want to fatigue your current clientbase and inundate them with emails every day. Instead, find a good cadence that fits your business.

Typically, sending once a week to the same recipients is more than enough outreach for many companies. Segmenting can also help you ensure that you are not targeting the same leads across different campaigns. Note that if you are using an inbound email marketing strategy, you can also give your subscribers the option to choose how often they receive email from you.

That being said, when it comes to prospecting, you should be relentless. One email campaign a month is not going to cut it. Many sales experts agree that it takes more than 7 touch points before a sale is made in most industries.

Leverage your sales team to make sure that they are reaching out via phone after an email campaign has been launched. You can also implement lead scoring to give points to leads based on actions taken in an email. Your sales team will come to love you if you can provide them with marketing qualified leads on a consistent basis.

Testing and Reporting for B2B Email Marketing

You’ve sent your first email campaign and now have the results to analyze it. Great! Now what? The first thing to do would be to take a look at the open and click through rates for that campaign. Is it lower or greater than you had anticipated? Is the second email in the series performing better than the first? Are you interested in knowing why that is? A/B testing can help you make that informed decision.

how-do-you-generate-leads-for-b2b-with-marketing5

A/B testing allows you to test different versions of the same email campaign to see which version of an email performs better against a controlled group. Here are some things you can test to fully optimize your sales emails:

  • Subject Lines
  • Content
  • Length
  • Templates
  • Send time

After testing, you’ve determined that the email utilizing a personalized subject line seems to be performing far better than the one with the plain subject line. Utilize this knowledge to find creative ways to incorporate more personalization into your messaging.

Sending the right message at the right time to the right people is ultimately what differentiates a successful email marketing campaign from an unsuccessful one. You won’t always get it right the first time which means that consistently optimizing your campaigns is also crucial for getting a better response rate.

Leveraging B2B Email Marketing with Other Marketing Initiatives

Are you planning on attending an industry conference in the coming months? One great way to promote that would be through B2B email marketing. Oftentimes, you can find prospects directly from conferences and follow up with them after the event and sometimes you can even obtain the attendee list to contact prospects ahead of the event.

If you are planning for a webinar, a great way to promote it would be through email marketing. You can then also follow up with a recording or presentation as a thank you note for attending the event. This builds trust with your potential clients while informing and educating them on a subject that your company is an expert at.

Are you currently running Google Ads or other promotions that are driving traffic to your website or social media profiles? If so, incorporate a way to drive traffic to lead magnets and landing pages on your website to get more inbound leads signed up to your email list. This is a great way to find new audiences that you may not have known existed.

B2B Email Marketing Best Practices

When it comes to B2B email marketing, there are many ways to slice an onion, so to speak. However, there are some general guidelines all B2B email marketing strategies should adhere to. Here are some of the best practices for utilizing emails:

  • Strong content: Content is king when it comes to email. You want to make sure that every email you send offers something of value to prospects and that the messaging will resonate with your target audience.

Adding supplemental content outside of the email by linking to blog posts or articles on your website is a great way to engage and build credibility with prospective clients.

  • Responsiveness: Given that most people are now viewing emails on the go, you need to ensure that all of the emails that you send are optimized for all viewing environments including various mobile phones, tablets, and email clients.
  • CTA: A strong call-to-action will resonate a lot better than dry sales copy for emails, particularly if the email is product focused.

Including a ‘learn more’ button is more effective than a ‘buy now’ button so be sure to work a prominent CTA into your B2B marketing emails if it fits your needs.

  • Images: When you think of sales emails, you probably imagine text-heavy emails. Many sales emails do not include any images outside of what you may find in the signature and that’s alright. This is because the email is essentially going out on behalf of a sales representative or business development manager.

With emails that are based around product marketing, however, you would be sending on behalf of your organization and would want to include a great looking template, a strong CTA, and some images to make your email really stand out.

  • Deliverability: After sending your campaigns, your ESP will provide you with information about how many emails were successfully delivered and how many have bounced. Having too high of a bounce rate can have an adverse effect on your reputation and deliverability..

If you are sending cold emails to a list that you’ve purchased, one thing you can do before sending is to ensure that there are no bad emails on your list. There are email verification services like BriteVerify that can help clean your lists before you send.

  • Lead scoring: If you are sending sales emails on behalf of a sales team, every email that you send should also be tracked in your marketing automation tool and CRM. This allows you to set up lead scoring based on actions taken by recipients of your email campaigns.

For example, if someone opens an email, you can assign them a set amount of points. If they go through and visit your website, give them even more points. If they fill out a form or request a demo, that shows intent and can be used to sift out better leads.

Complying with US CAN-SPAM and GDPR

Spam laws such as the US CAN-SPAM, the EU’s GDPR and Canada’s CASL all have to be taken into consideration when creating email campaigns. To stay compliant with the US CAN-SPAM law, your emails must include the following:

  • Your company name and address in every email
  • The ability for recipients to unsubscribe
  • Valid emails in the ‘from’ and ‘reply-to’ fields
  • Subject lines that match the content of your emails

Laws like GDPR and CASL, however, are a lot more demanding as they require proof that you have permission from recipients to store their data before you can email them. This means that prospecting emails or sending a campaign to a cold list would be against the law in those countries.

22710638270_38b3127429_b

If you are planning on sending cold emails to recipients, be sure to refrain from prospecting to potential clients in the EU or Canada. If you are planning on utilizing B2B email marketing for these markets, having a strong inbound marketing strategy is key as it allows you to show proof that recipients have opted-in to receive communications from you.

Failing to comply with GDPR can result in fines of up to €10 million, or 2% of the worldwide annual revenue of the prior financial year, whichever is higher.

Conclusion

Email marketing is here to stay as it is a great way for companies to leverage data and make informed decisions that help convert leads to clients. Whether you are a B2B-focused startup with a SaaS solution or an established B2B company selling products to large enterprises, knowing the ins and outs of B2B email marketing is a must.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one simple trick that will lead to great results for your B2B email marketing strategy. B2B marketing is all about testing and optimizing so the work is never really done. Each campaign that is sent needs to be evaluated based on performance and optimized for the future. Following all of the guidelines outlined in this article will help yield a larger return on investment from B2B email marketing for your company.

 

Put email marketing to work for your business.