7 Best Practices for B2B Email Marketing

Inbound Marketing, Strategy
How many emails do you receive in your professional inbox every day? How many of these emails end up ignored, deleted, or sent straight to spam? Even if you open them, how many are you actually reacting or responding to? 

The fact is, when it comes to email marketing, many marketers are finding themselves in a bit of a pickle. On the one hand, email seems like it would be the perfect B2B tactic, landing brands right in front of their prospects, yet, on the other, the KPIs are dwindling and email isn’t generating the quantity of MQLs it did in the past. 

The truth is email can be an incredibly successful B2B marketing channel - when done correctly. Here’s a crash course on the best practices for getting more out of your email marketing campaigns. 

Understand your persona

Craft the perfect CTA

Timing is everything 

Write appealing subject lines

Lead with a killer headline

Design responsibly (& responsively)

Analyze & adjust

1. Understand your persona

Arguably the most important part of successful B2B email marketing is a strong understanding of the person on the other end of the email. It’s all too easy to forget that the lists of hundreds or even thousands of emails are actually comprised of real people with real interests, problems, and habits. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do they skim their emails, read them thoroughly, or somewhere in between?
  • What devices are they using? A lot of B2B professionals are answering emails from a desktop - but there are some fields or occasions (like trade shows) where mobile is going to be the dominant device. 
  • What technical challenges may be in the way? Are there certain kinds of content their IT system would block like downloads or YouTube links? This can especially be the case in high-security industries like law, healthcare, education, and government. 
  • What kind of content are they looking for in their inbox? If your prospects are looking for information that helps them get ahead in their career, you probably don’t want to hit heavy on software demos right out of the box. 
  • What times are they checking their inbox each day and when will yours be least likely to get lost in an influx of junk? 
If you get to know your persona, making the right moves in the rest of your marketing strategy will be all the easier.

2. Craft the perfect CTA

The goal of any B2B marketing email campaign is ultimately click-through. But inspiring the action you want your readers to take isn’t as easy as it may seem. Often, marketers lose their way and end up confusing their contacts or watering down their calls to action.  Limiting the CTA to a single, well-defined action streamlines the recipient's focus, preventing confusion and increasing the likelihood of conversion. 

In addition to using only one CTA that is clear and easy to follow, your CTAs should be custom-tailored to the buyer’s journey - offering value to your contacts for the current stage of their journey. Make sure you’re not offering something that is too far down the funnel to appeal to your audience - they may need more nurturing first. For example, if you’re sending colder emails, you might not see as much success with a “Schedule a Demo” CTA as you would by offering a “Download Now” for a free resource. 

cta email example

3. Timing is everything

Speaking of the buyer’s journey, one reason your email campaigns are falling flat is you haven’t mastered the fine art of timing your email sends. And there’s a lot that goes into the perfect launch sequence. 

Frequency - Let’s think back to the questions we asked at the beginning of this article. How many emails do you get a day? It may seem counterintuitive, but sending too many emails can actually hurt your performance. When you send too many emails - either too many emails too close together or you’re enrolling a contact in too many workflows - you run the risk of not only turning your contacts off but pissing them off. The result? Go right to spam. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.

Time zones - These days, we all know how big of a difference 3 hours can make for coworkers on opposite coasts. The truth is the same for your customers. If you speak to contacts across time zones, make sure you’re customizing your sends for their time of day. 

Miss the mark - Do you always send emails on the top, half, or quarter of the hour? Well, so does almost every other email marketer. Simply scheduling your emails to go out at 10:17 a.m. instead of 10:30 could give yours some lift by keeping you from getting lost in the wave of other sends coming in. 

Watching the clock - So when is the best time to send an email? Think about the average workday when scheduling your sends. When are you more or less likely to engage? Maybe after the morning chaos when the junk’s been already cleared from your inbox but before the day’s meetings have started? (9:00 - 10:00 a.m. *cough cough*). Or maybe when your to-dos are mostly crossed off, meetings are done, and you’re just wrapping odds and ends? (5:00-6:00 p.m.). And what about the best days? Rule of thumb: avoid manic Mondays, half-staff Fridays, and of course weekends. 

4. Write appealing subject lines

The first step to an email that gets clicks, is to write a subject line that gets opens. Your subject lines need to cut through the clutter and grab attention. 

Here are a few tips:

  • Use personalization tokens. Let’s face it, we all love and respond to our own names. Using {first name} or {company name} personalization tokens is a great way to grab someone’s attention. 
  • Use emojis. They break up the monotony.
  • Ask questions. Thought-provoking questions could inspire email opens.
  • Don’t forget about the other details like from names, from addresses, and the preheader text. After all, did you know one of the most important factors contacts consider when choosing to open an email is whether or not they recognize the sender? So consider swapping out your info@yourcompany.com for that well-liked regional sales manager bugs.bunny@yourcompany.com
The bottom line is this: when an email appears in someone’s inbox - it has to give - not take. Whether it’s giving an experience, an offer, or a feeling, it has to stand out and be worth clicking on. 

5. Lead with a killer headline

In the world of email where, on average, recipients are only spending 10 seconds reading your email (Statista) your headline is your best chance for your message to be seen. 

High-performing headlines should be eye-catching, rich with the unique voice of your brand, and enticing. But headlines also serve as the birds-eye view of your email content, and should clearly convey your message and entice CTA clicks without the recipient having to read the paragraph text. Take the following example:

Thank you for your purchase (4)

In this email, the headline is a tad cheeky and catches the eye, but it also clearly conveys the main point of the email. Would you have clicked?

6. Design responsibly (and responsively)

Did you know a mobile-responsive email design can increase unique mobile clicks by 15%, YET 1 in 5 email campaigns is not optimized for mobile devices (HubSpot)?  With an ever-increasing number of professionals accessing their emails on mobile devices, ensuring that your emails render seamlessly across various screen sizes and orientations is non-negotiable. 

In this day and age, building emails for a desktop-only environment could damage the trust of your contacts or even prevent your content from being delivered. 


7. Analyze & adjust

The last piece of advice we’ll leave you with is the one that will help you to continue to feel confident in your B2B email marketing strategy: you need to analyze and adjust. Each audience for each campaign is incredibly unique. What you thought was a hit might miss the mark. So, after your campaign runs its course, check the essential KPIs to see how your emails are performing and tweak things for your next attempt. Need a starting point? Consider these metrics:


B2B email campaigns (without the BS)

Mastering the art of B2B email marketing communication can be a game-changer for your business. A well-crafted approach can make all the difference in nurturing leads, fostering engagement, and driving conversions. Don't let subpar email marketing hinder your progress or erode the trust you've built with your contacts. 

Take the next step towards optimizing your email strategy by letting our team analyze and improve your current strategy. By harnessing the power of expert insights and tailoring your campaigns to perfection, you're not only investing in the growth of your business but also safeguarding the invaluable relationships you've cultivated. Reach out to us today, and let's unlock the full potential of your B2B email marketing.

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