Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools in a B2B campaign.
With a successful email marketing strategy, you can:
- Generate leads
- Convert opportunities
- Send targeted messaging
- Create more customer touchpoints
- Generate interest in a product or service
- Increase brand awareness
Email is a universal channel, with 99% of email users checking their inboxes up to 20 times a day. So it’s a great place to start building a relationship with prospects and existing customers.
Some marketers might think it's old-fashioned, that new messaging systems have taken over so it's bye-bye to email. But it remains one of the most lucrative marketing channels in the B2B space.
In this guide, you’ll find insights into the different aspects of running a successful campaign, including free example email templates, and tools you can use to improve your strategy.
- Why email marketing is important
- How to write a marketing email
- How to successfully do B2B email marketing
- B2B email marketing best practices
- Improving your B2B email marketing with AI
- How can email marketing fuel your overall inbound strategy
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Why is email marketing important?
Some people would have you believe email is dead. After all, don’t you get tired of sifting through your own inbox day after day? Relegating so many spam emails to your trash folder without even opening them?
But you no doubt have emails from certain companies that you look forward to opening because you want to learn more about the products you enjoy, so you actively engage with them.
Well, it’s these kinds of emails you want to be producing for your own subscribers.
But it’s not just hearsay, with 78% of marketers having seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months. Emails are ideal for creating meaningful customer relationships, and they produce an insane ROI, making it one of the most cost-effective marketing tools out there.
But aside from just gaining customers through email subscriptions, email marketing is also ideal for retaining customers (which is crucial when you consider it’s five times more expensive to gain a new customer).
Take a look at our article further exploring customer retention:
How to write a marketing email
So, how do you write those killer emails that’ll draw your audience in and encourage sales?
Well, there’s a lot to consider outside of just the content itself. But to get you started with email, we have four free welcome email templates that cover:
- Product purchase
- Service sign-up
- Newsletter sign-up
- Event registration
Crafting the perfect subject line
Studies show that 64% of email users decide whether to open an email based on the subject line, so they’re important to get right.
With countless emails piling into people’s inboxes day after day, it’s easy for yours to get buried under all the noise. That subject line is the first thing people see of your email, and unless it’s got something attention-grabbing to say, it’ll get delegated to the trash folder like all the rest.
So, how can you make sure your email subject lines are optimized to encourage recipients to open them? In this article, we take you through the different types of subject lines you can utilize and best practices.
You probably won’t stick to a standard format for your subject lines unless you’re putting out the same kind of emails every week. Depending on what you’re sending, your subject line needs to reflect what people can expect from your email when they open it.
With that in mind, here are some examples of types of subject lines you can choose from:
Letting your subscribers know about a new product? Or are any changes going to their current subscription? Stick with a concise, informative email subject line.
This kind of subject line tells the recipient what they need to know, but without giving everything away - so they have a reason to open the email. Include relevant dates for launches or upcoming events; pique their interest with product announcements.
Incorporating personalization has long been a trend in virtually all forms of content marketing. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened, so by including personal elements like the recipients’ names in the subject line, you increase your chances of getting your email seen.
There’s something about the presence of numbers that causes people to pay attention. Whether it’s a striking statistic or a list format, using numbers in your subject line is a snappy, succinct way to build curiosity and engagement.
Our brains are naturally drawn to numbers so if you have any cool stats to hand, make sure you get them into your subject line and share it with your subscribers.
FOMO (fear of missing out) is a big driver of people’s behavior. People hate to feel like they’ve missed out on something, whether a great offer, promotion, or event, so create that sense of urgency in your subject line.
Running a promotion? Put the end date in your subject line, let them know there’s a deadline fast approaching and they need to read your email right now to avoid missing out.
Using your subject line to ask your recipients a question can engage them and create an instant dialogue. Make sure your questions are open-ended without a simple yes or no answer. Make the reader want to click through your email to discover the answer or join the discussion.
When you send out emails to your clients, there needs to be some kind of value to them, a reason you think they’d want to receive your messaging. Including ‘how-to’s’ in your subject line gives recipients a specific benefit when they open the email. Guidance or advice can increase your open rates and add some real value to your email marketing.
Including incentives in your subject line is a great way to increase the open rate. Special offers, discounts, upgrades, free trials, etc., are all tantalizing draws that can encourage a recipient to open that email to earn their reward for being one of your subscribers.
Best practices for email subject lines
So now you’ve seen just some of the types of subject lines that can create a great hook for your recipients, what approaches can you try out?
You shouldn’t be sending the exact same emails (and email subject lines) to all your subscribers, as certain emails will only be relevant to some.
Sending people emails that aren’t relevant to them is a surefire way to get them to unsubscribe from your mailing list, so make sure you’re segmenting your lists using demographics like age, location, industry, job role, etc.
For an even more in-depth way to segment your list, AI can take it a step further and segment based on user behavior, check out our article about AI in email marketing for more information.
Sending an email with the right subject line at the right time is crucial for click-throughs and getting email engagement. Consider an email with the subject line: “Quick! Your subscription expires tomorrow, renew today!” sent 24 hours before a client’s subscription to your services ends. The right timing can ignite that sense of urgency in the recipient that encourages engagement.
Clear, concise language
Aside from making sure your subject lines are easy to read, there’s a benefit to keeping them short and sweet. 46% of email opening takes place on a mobile device, so you need to be concise with your character limit so anyone viewing on mobile can see the whole message.
Different email providers also have different ways of displaying subject lines, so keeping them short can help ensure they are visible regardless of which provider your recipients use.
Your overarching goal for your email subject line should be to get people to open your emails, but you can include more specific goals alongside this main one.
You may want to pique people’s interest or curiosity with information or encourage them to uptake new subscription services by sending them special offers. Whatever your goal, make sure you’re clear about what you want your subject line to accomplish.
Track the data
Finally, make sure you’re constantly keeping an eye on how your emails are performing. Perform A/B testing on your subject lines to see what works well for your brand and make small adjustments to your wording according to the results.
For a more in-depth analysis, AI software can not only monitor and track email marketing performance but can also select email subject lines for specific recipients, using data to choose the subject line most likely to result in click-throughs based on that person’s specific demographics and user behavior.
How to successfully do B2B email marketing
There’s a fine art to B2B email marketing. With so many emails flooding peoples’ inboxes day after day, you need to find ways to cut through the noise and get yours noticed.
When done successfully, it can be used to both boost profits and build lasting relationships with your customers.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the steps to creating a strategy:
- Build your email list
- Set goals and KPIs
- Plan your emails and follow-ups
- Create the perfect subject lines
- Write the copy
- Craft the email design
- Test and track the emails
- Adjust strategy based on testing
Simple right? Well, it certainly seems like less work when condensed into bullet points, but there’s a lot that goes into all the steps.
B2B email marketing best practices
When it comes to putting together your email marketing strategy there are some things you need to know.
It’s not enough to just write out an email, click send, and hope for the best. To make sure you’re getting to the top of the game, you need to consider:
- The time you’re sending out emails
- The subject line
- The email content
- Optimization for mobile devices
- Personalization and segmentation
Ensuring you're always sticking to email marketing best practices is essential. For a more in-depth look at the different components of writing those perfect emails, take a look at this blog post:
Are you an email marketer looking to expand your skills into other areas? We've got a guide for email marketers looking to become more t-shaped:
Performing these processes and testing manually can be incredibly time-consuming and labor-intensive.
Fortunately, there’s a multitude of tools available to help you, from creating eye-catching designs, sending them out at pre-determined times, and tracking and monitoring engagement data.
7 email marketing tools for B2B marketers
Whether you reach them by email, SMS, or chat, Sendinblue revitalizes your customers’ journey by automating the segmentation and marketing message processes and improving the design, deliverability, and engagement of transactional comms.
In addition, it lets you create dedicated landing pages, custom forms, Facebook ads, and retargeting campaigns from within the app.
Part of Salesforce, Pardot sells all the tools needed to create, deploy and manage online marketing campaigns - automatically.
Its solutions streamline lead management, smarten up lead gen, make email marketing effortless, align marketing and sales, match revenue against the activity, and use AI to ensure the right contacts are being approached at the right time.
Cost: Pricing is based on annual billing
Start-to-finish solutions to get impactful email campaigns out of the door. Campaign Monitor comes with 100s of templates (including things like countdown timers), lets you create personalized automation journeys, and enables data segmentation.
If you’re looking to build your base you can also grow your audience with signup forms and if you’re after ways to improve, its analytics suite gives an aggregate overview of your performance and drills into your data on a geographic, engagement, and acquisition level.
Cost: The price will depend on how many people you’re emailing but based on 5,000 you’re looking at:
With VerticalResponse, you can create branded emails in a matter of minutes, automate campaign sends, build landing pages from scratch or using templates (without code), analyze results by things like open rate, clicks, device, and location, and design and send feedback surveys.
Pre-designed marketing funnels (including emails, signup forms, webinars, and sales pages), 150+ landing page templates, easy-to-build e-commerce stores, social media ads, and automated campaigns are just some of the ways GetResponse helps organizations grow their audience and increase sales.
Drip helps you understand your market so you can make campaigns truly personal. First, it digs deep into the data with tags, custom fields, and customer behavior, then, using that info, it creates segments, sets up behavior-based automation, and sends out personalized content across multiple channels.
Marketo’s an Adobe company and comes with three offerings: Marketo Engage. Brings marketing and sales together to create personal experiences, and custom content, and track performance through every stage of complex buyer journeys.Bizible.
Delves deeper than just clicks and leads to create accurate and actionable pictures of what is and isn’t working, as well as the impact on your bottom line.Adobe Experience Cloud. End-to-end customer experience management for marketing, advertising, analytics, and e-commerce.
Cost: Varies depending on database size
Improving your B2B email marketing with AI
For any stellar marketing campaign to be successful, email marketing is vital. 99% of email users check their inbox daily, some as much as 20 times a day! But with so many emails flooding people’s inboxes every single day, how can you possibly make yours stand out and get those much-sought-after click-throughs?
AI could be the missing factor in your email marketing campaigns.
It’s no secret that personalization is key when it comes to email marketing. In fact, emails are 26% more likely to be opened when they have personalized subject lines, and marketers report a 760% increase in email revenue when using personalized, segmented campaigns.
But who has time to go through your email list manually and compose individual emails for each customer? It would be impossible. That’s where AI comes in. It uses information gathered from past customer transactions, their preferences, and browsing habits to generate the best-personalized email campaigns to suit your leads.
Here are just some of the ways AI can personalize emails to your customers:
Subject lines are crucial as they determine whether someone will even open your email to take a look, so you need something relevant to the receiver. AI algorithms can generate opening sentences that resonate with that customer and improve the chances of them opening the email.
It will analyze the effects of your email marketing strategies to enhance your subject lines over time, so instead of using trial and error, it uses data-driven observations.
Promotions and discounts
Providing exclusive discounts to people on your mailing list is the perfect way to boost your customer base and subsequent sales. AI can tailor deals to each customer by assessing the best offer for them based on collected data.
An offer for one customer may not work for another, so by offering perks like discounts or free delivery to specific customers, you increase the likelihood of a sale.
Just like automated subject lines, the entire content of the email can also be automated. AI can use pre-written copy, images, snippets from blog posts, links, and even machine-generated content to create personalized emails perfectly optimized for a high engagement rate.
The algorithm can decide on the optimal combination for the different kinds of content, saving you significant time.
Personalized product recommendations encourage customer loyalty and boost your click-to-convert ratio for your emails.
The AI algorithm can let you know about your customer’s buying and browsing history, boosting your emailing marketing strategy and eventually enhancing it to the point of sending out personalized product recommendations in real time.
Automated email marketing
Aside from knowing what kind of email content is the most effective for specific customers, it also pays to know precisely when to send those emails. Emails flood people’s inboxes all day, every day, so knowing the best time to send and actually get people’s attention is essential.
Predictive analysis and AI can study customer behavior and build an automated emailing system based on the insights it generates from data.
When you send too many emails, you can frustrate people, but too few can mean you lose them to the competition. AI can take out the guesswork and determine the correct number of emails and when to send them, based on your customer’s activity history.
The AI can use time zones and the personal habits of your customers to really pinpoint your email schedules, giving you the very best ROI.
Increase subscriber base
Aside from all the improvements to your email messaging and content, you can also use AI to help build your subscriber base. AI tools like chatbots are incredibly popular, and these bots can take what used to be a time-sensitive job of gathering information and making it an automated part of your campaign.
Chatbots can be programmed to request details from customers engaging with them, such as their email addresses. This information can then be automated into your email marketing and added to your mailing list. It’s a quick and easy way to widen your subscriber base, consequently generating more leads.
Machine learning, a branch of AI, can help marketers learn more about their customer base, not just with basic information like age, location, or gender, but more specific behavioral signals. Your customers’ subtle behavioral patterns can be turned into distinct marketing segments that can be targeted with personalized campaigns.
Your customers will have specific interests and needs, so it’s crucial to create separate lists and target them based on these details. But rather than slogging through this process manually, AI can perform this segmentation automatically, taking away the needless legwork. By segmenting your mailing list in this way, you improve your open rate, click-through rate, and your overall conversions.
The manual process of email marketing involves testing the right combination of subject lines, email content, and images to discover which emails work the best for certain audiences. It’s a tedious, time-consuming process that is prone to human error.
With AI streamlining this process, you can generate the very best content for optimal results in terms of conversion and ROI. Without wasting so much time on manual testing, you can send out the perfect combinations of messaging elements to engage with your audience.
You significantly reduce the likelihood of your emails being deleted without being opened, and increase the chances of getting your customers to engage with your messaging.
How can email marketing fuel your overall inbound strategy
Email marketing can do a lot for your business. When you send out engaging content, your audience will learn to see you as a thought leader in your industry and keep coming back for more.
Email is a crucial tool for driving inbound traffic and can promote your blog posts, new products, and services, upgrades, and encourage customer loyalty.
Using an inbound strategy means acquiring and responding to customers using email, creating a dialogue with them with useful content that they want to receive.
The goal of an inbound marketing strategy is to attract new customers, generate referrals, answer questions about your products and services, convert prospects, show appreciation for customer loyalty, and provide something valuable to your subscribers.
If you’d like to learn more about setting up goals for your B2B marketing strategy, check out this article:
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