Email has the potential to be one of the top performing B2B marketing channels out there. However, when deployed without consideration, it can also be one of the most overused and ineffective.
As a B2B brand, you may be wondering how you can make the most of what email marketing has to offer in the best way possible for your business.
In this article, we cover why email is crucial for growing your B2B business and best practices for achieving B2B email marketing success.
What’s the difference between B2B and B2C email marketing?
At the core, the objectives of B2B and B2C email marketing are the same: you’re selling a product or service to someone. However, the methods to achieve these objectives are different and it’s important to be aware of this:
Buying behaviour: The reason a B2B buyer makes a purchase is usually with the goal in mind of improving ROI. As such, B2B emails have a purpose of educating the reader in a way that shows how the product or service will relieve their pain points. In these cases, your emails should be more about building a relationship with the recipient rather than going in for the hard sell.
Timing: We all know just how important timing is to our email success and the impact it can have on your open and click through rates. However, there is still no set time to send an email for guaranteed best results. To really understand when the most effective time is for your audience, we recommend conducting your own tests.
Purchase cycles: Businesses usually take longer to make purchasing decisions as they need to do more research, get investment or sign off with further stakeholders. In turn, the buying cycle is usually longer compared to B2C customers who have the freedom to make much faster decisions and this should be taken into account when planning your campaign messaging.
Building trust: B2B emails are about building trust between you and the recipient. B2C customers are more likely to buy into one off promotions, new releases and exclusive events. B2B recipients on the other hand will often engage better with a steady stream of well thought out email communications.
Messaging: The content in your B2B emails needs to communicate how your product or service will make things easier for the business – usually by saving them time or money. Ensure you are communicating the facts such as data and proven benefits, so they have less of a reason to question what you offer.
Why is an email marketing strategy crucial to your B2B business?
When it comes to marketing, there are countless channels and strategies you can use to generate leads, build brand awareness and drive sales. While it’s nice to have options, it can also make the choice a little overwhelming.
Email marketing isn’t new by any means so it might not be your first choice. However, it’s still very popular among B2B businesses and for good reason too. First and foremost, it’s one of the most effective and direct channels for reaching your customers in a place where they spend a lot of time: their inbox. Not all of your potential customers will be on social media or consistently reading blogs from their favourite brands, but they will more than likely use their email on a regular basis.
Plus, for B2B in particular, email still stands strong as the quickest and most effective communication channel. As long as you know what you’re doing and who you’re speaking to, email marketing can be a profitable and high performing route for your B2B business. Here are our five top tips to help you get started.
5 B2B email marketing best practices
1) Understand the objective
Many businesses fall into the trap of sending emails without understanding the reason for sending the email in the first place.
Before going ahead with a campaign, we always recommend pinpointing exactly what the objective is. For example, sending a newsletter to share important information, promoting a new service or offering an incentive to boost lead generation. Knowing the objective will allow you to create the very best content that will engage the recipient and have a better chance of getting them to take the action you want them to.
2) Use drip campaigns
Drip campaigns are a series of automated emails sent to subscribers when triggered. A trigger could be as simple as subscribing to your emails, making a purchase, leaving an item in a shopping cart or asking a question about a specific product or service.
In terms of a B2B email campaign, a weekly email sharing informative and relevant industry content can help to position you as a market leading, trustworthy source. This means that even if the prospect isn’t ready to buy just yet, you’re still building a relationship and putting your brand front of mind when they are.
3) Segment and personalise 4) Authenticate your emails
Email marketing performs at its best when you can create unique experiences for your audience. This is where email list segmentation comes in.
Desires, pain points and goals can differ depending on a subscriber’s stage in your sales funnel, their interests, age, gender and more. As such, segmentation is crucial as it ensures the content recipients receive is as relevant and tailored towards their needs and challenges as possible. By splitting down your email list into multiple smaller lists based on set conditions, you can then modify email campaigns specifically for each segment.
Without email list segmentation you’re delivering one mass email that’s unlikely to perform as well whereas sending subscribers personalised content is an effective way of upping conversions.
4) Authenticate your emails
You need to make sure your emails actually land in your prospect’s inbox rather than their spam folder. A key reason this could be happening is if your emails have not been authenticated correctly.
Authenticated emails are more trustworthy to both recipients and spam filters. By authenticating your emails, you can rest assured that they’re being delivered as it will verify who you are and that your emails are genuine.
Email authentication methods include:
Domain Key Identified Mail (DKIM)
Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC)
If you want to learn more about why emails go to spam and what you can do to prevent it, take a read of our blog.
5) Humanise your messages
It’s a common consensus that people buy from people. Whether your brand is B2B or B2C, your contacts should feel like they can relate to what you stand for. This can be done by making your communications more human to show there are real people behind your business.
More often than not, we think B2B communications have to be formal and professional. Depending on the type of business you are and the industry you operate within, this may be the case. But it’s usually acceptable and appropriate to adopt a less formal approach at times.
When creating your email marketing content consider how you can balance professional communication with humanising your brand. One way of getting this right is to show empathy with your readers by demonstrating an understanding of your prospects’ challenges and needs. If you have a grasp on this, you can relate to them better as real people rather than just another sales opportunity.
Ultimately, successful B2B email marketing requires the same disciplined approach that B2C businesses also need. When you follow an iterative cycle of analyse, test, measure, optimise and repeat, you’re well on your way to creating a high performing B2B email marketing strategy.
If you want further support from the experts or are interested to try out email for your B2B business, book a demo.