Shopify Ecosystem

6 B2B Email Marketing Best Practices All Companies Should Know

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While consumer marketing trends may move from Facebook to TikTok and back to Google again, the strongest pillar of B2B marketing continues to be email. However, today’s purchasers and decision-makers are a lot more discerning when it comes to email than they were several years ago. So knowing what works, what doesn’t and how to distinguish between them is going to be the key determination in how successful your campaigns will be.

1. Automate Your B2B Email Marketing Campaigns

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of email marketing campaigns is the ability to automate your workflows. You write a series of emails, save them and then determine when they are sent to subscribers. To do this, you need to set up an account with an email marketing service that will allow you to schedule messages, automatically send follow-up emails and track open rates and click-through rates. 

Before prospects sign up to request emails from you, you should already have a series of pre scheduled emails in place, from the welcome message onward, for the first six to eight weeks. Regardless of when a subscriber starts the process, they’ll receive the same series of emails as everyone else. Of course, you can add additional emails to the mix, like new product announcements or free trials, but the majority of the messages should already be preset.

Use Drip Campaigns

Some of the most successful B2B marketing examples are known as drip campaigns —  a series of automated emails sent out to a subscriber at prescheduled intervals when they trigger an event, like subscribing for the first time, making a first purchase or asking about a specific product. When properly executed, drip campaigns can generate 80 percent more sales at a third of the cost compared to other campaigns, according to Martech

A weekly email with informative, compelling content on industry best practices, for example, can position your company as a leader in the mind of a prospect, regularly engaging them and creating trust even if they’re not in a position to buy. When they are ready for a sales conversion, they will already have a solid relationship with your company, even if your sales team hasn’t heard of them yet. 

2. Consistently Generate New Leads

One weakness of automated email systems is that some businesses tend to “set and forget,” putting it on the back burner once their initial lead-generation campaign is finished. 

A newsletter sign-up option should be on your website’s About page and FAQ page at the very least, with links to the sign-up page on your social media accounts and videos. If you go to a trade show, get prospects to sign up at your booth. 

You may want to put all new subscribers in the same list or create separate email lists for new subscribers, qualified prospects and paying clients, moving them from one to the next as they move through your sales funnel. 

3. Qualify B2B Leads

Qualifying B2B leads from others should be an integral part of your workflow. A common myth about B2B marketing is that it’s difficult to identify qualified leads from B2C prospects or curiosity seekers, but this simply isn’t true.  

A powerful filter you can use is to simply place a checkbox on your sign-up page asking subscribers whether they’re shopping for business or personal interest, or give them the option to enter a home email or a business email. Once recipients are on your initial email list, you can also qualify them by their activity.

As an example, if you sell products that cater to both consumers and businesses, you can use email campaigns, like a newsletter, that appeal to both initially. Once they’re subscribed, offer them a link to something that will appeal only to business prospects, like information on bulk discounts or corporate leasing options. Anyone who clicks on that offer should be moved to a business-only email list. 

Create a Sense of Exclusivity

If your company sells products or services with a long buying cycle or a high ticket price, you can filter out unqualified leads by asking more questions on the sign-up page. Qualifying questions include such things as: 

  • Company name
  • Business telephone number
  • Job title (drop-down menu)
  • Annual budget category (drop-down menu)
  • Purchasing decision timeline (drop-down menu)

These kinds of questions will severely decrease the number of sign-ups you get, so it’s not the best strategy for all situations or all companies. However, it will help ensure that the majority who do sign up will be super-qualified. 

4. Appeal to Your Target Audience 

Like any other marketing campaign, email marketing should be focused on your target audience. Reviewing your company’s buyer persona should be a regular practice before drafting an email, creating a sign-up page or buying ads. All B2B marketing needs to address the needs of businesses, but it should also address the interests and challenges of those who are involved in buying decisions — three-quarters of whom are likely to be millennials.

The majority of your audience is going to make purchases based on rational buying decisions, so things like ROI, quality assurance and efficiency will be prime considerations. Topics that will get their attention are often going to be educational in nature, like best practices and industry trends. 

5. Create Compelling Email Content

While most businesses use email as a primary marketing tool, it is no longer a novelty to subscribers. This means you need to be hyper-focused on ensuring that you give every recipient an excellent reason to open your emails. 

Today, only one-fifth of emails even get opened, so your subject line needs to be carefully crafted. Typing in all caps with asterisks might work occasionally, but if that’s all you can offer, you’ll soon get ignored. 

To determine what works and what doesn’t, use A/B testing for your emails, sending two variations to different portions of your recipients and then sending the best-performing version to the rest of your list. 

6. Create a Variety of Content

Creating compelling emails week after week can become a challenge if you’re not actively looking for new sources of inspiration. Fortunately, you’re always surrounded by ideas for engaging content, provided you look from your subscriber’s perspective. Here are just a few ways companies create compelling content on a regular basis:

  • Curated content: Instead of just announcing your latest blog post, gather important articles published this week in the industry and include those along with your own links. 
  • Announcements: New product announcements are just the beginning. Has your company made any changes to policies or staff this month? 
  • Exclusive content: Additional content that isn’t available on your website, including analysis of industry trends, white papers, etc., gives people something to look forward to in your emails.
  • Case studies: If you’ve finished a large, successful project, or have new ways to use your products and services, share those. 
  • Success stories: If your clients are doing well, share their stories via email. Mention how they use your products or services, but this doesn’t have to be the focus. The main message is that winning companies work with your company. 
  • Free trials or samples: This is a great way to keep subscribers engaged. You can also use this to purge inactive accounts from your list, by giving them a “No, thanks” option to click. Let them know that anyone who doesn’t select an option will be unsubscribed after one week.
  • Webinars: If you host webinars or post how-to videos, let email subscribers know when they will be screening live so they can get in on the Q&As. 
  • Behind the scenes: Introduce clients to your star employees, customer service reps and sales staff. How you present these, and how often, will depend on your company culture, but this can be a great way to put a human face beside your logo. 

The marketing consultants at Hawke Media are dedicated to helping customers just like you integrate email marketing campaigns into their other marketing endeavors, ensuring that the content you put out will not only get your subscribers’ attention but lead them on the path to becoming paying clients. To find out more, contact us for a free consultation

David Weedmark is a published author and e-commerce consultant. He is an experienced JavaScript developer and a former network security consultant.

Sources

Automizy: https://automizy.com/blog/marketing-automation-campaign-examples/

Martech: https://martech.zone/email-drip-campaign/

MailChimp: https://mailchimp.com/resources/email-marketing-benchmarks/

Hawke Media: https://hawkemedia.com/free-consultation/

Hubspot: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/b2b-marketing

Optin Monster: https://optinmonster.com/b2b-email-marketing-best-practices/

Salesforce: https://www.salesforce.com/form/sem/marketing-cloud/email-studio-demo/

Campaign Monitor: https://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/email-marketing/10-powerful-b2b-email-marketing-examples/

Special thanks to our friends at HawkeMedia for their insights on this topic.
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