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08

Feb

12 B2B Email Marketing Best Practices & Benchmarks to Maximize Results in 2024

B2B email marketing best practices

Email has become an invaluable tool for businesses to reach their target audience and build relationships with potential customers. According to a Statista research, 46% of smartphone users prefer to receive communications from businesses via email. 

B2B email marketing is different from B2C. The emails are more professional, and the emailing frequency, email content, and objectives all differ significantly from those of B2C emails.

Hence, it’s important to understand and apply the best practices to ensure success with your email campaigns. 

This guide will provide an overview of B2B email marketing best practices that we use in our B2B SaaS marketing agency and discuss the key benefits, as well as provide some benchmarks to help you plan your marketing activities for 2023. By understanding and applying the best practices for B2B email marketing, you can ensure that your email campaigns are configured correctly to drive high open rates and deliver leads for your business.

B2B email marketing best practices

The best way to make your B2B email marketing campaign perform well is to get noticed. 72% of B2B buyers share valuable products and information via email, which makes for an incredible opportunity to tailor content that will be shared with multiple businesses and influencers, as well as company decision-makers. Before spreading brand awareness over email, make sure to create good subject lines for your emails, the ones that will attract attention early on.  

Opt-ins are also a very good way to create actionable B2B email marketing campaigns. This is an extra chance to get prospects to engage with your content and reach out to your business. Remember that in B2B marketing, it is two people talking to each other instead of automated emails, so when sending another email, make it as personal as possible. Sign off as the person who has really written the email instead of ‘customer support’ or ‘info’; this will give you a higher chance of conversion and building partnerships. Below are a few more tips for successful B2B email marketing campaigns: 

1. Focus on the right roles

Although this seems relatively straightforward, a lot of B2B email marketers tend to overlook it. This is because it is much easier to focus on the customer when doing business-to-consumer marketing. In B2B, you have to make sure to target the decision-makers, not the individuals.

Your email reaching a small-time manager of a large corporation is not enough, it must reach someone who has the power to take action and make large-scale business decisions. It’s often smart to focus on each decision maker separately rather than crafting a uniform email with minute changes, as the one-size-fits-all approach will not be appreciated by the recipient, making it seem as though you didn’t put enough effort into your B2B email marketing campaign. 

2. Mind your subject-lines

An office worker usually receives 121 emails per day, and your target decision-makers receive even more, so they will not spend a lot of time paying attention to an email with a poor subject line. Although most subject line tricks have already been seen, it does not mean that you shouldn’t try to impress your recipient with a catchy subject line. 

In 2023, the best way to create a good subject line is to make it concise yet informative, make sure to exploit the FOMO concept (Fear of Missing Out), subtly, and of course, add a touch of personalization to every subject line that you create. Keep in mind that when adding links to your newsletter, the standard practice is to add three links or fewer to avoid over-crowding/stuffing, as well as not more than 1-2 images to personalize your newsletter.

The golden rule is to remember that stuffing your newsletter with images and links will have adverse effects, and implementing the less-is-more approach will be highly beneficial and will lower the chances of your email going straight to the spam folder.

In addition, mind the DKIM, which is a technical standard that helps protect email senders and recipients from spam, and phishing. It is a type of email authentication that permits an organization to claim responsibility for an email in a way that can be legitimized by the recipient.

Remember to check the list of spam triggering words before sending out emails, although these words may seem ordinary, they may activate the spam filter and send your mail right to the junk folder.

b2b email marketing best practices trigger words

3. Accentuate lead nurturing

It so happens that B2B marketers are faced with a much longer sales cycle, which means that keeping your leads close is extremely important in the long run. Make sure to take each lead carefully through the sales cycle, answer their important questions, provide necessary content, and make the right offer at the right time, which should all improve conversion rates. 

Email marketing is incredibly useful for lead nurturing as it offers direct communication with potential customers, nurturing leads smoothly without having to push them to make a decision. Coincidentally, business decision-makers tend to trust email a lot more than they do social media channels. Forming good relationships with potential leads can one day transform into much-needed customer loyalty.

4. Work on responsive design

Some great B2B email marketing campaigns fail because of seemingly insignificant issues such as design errors. Nonetheless, the responsiveness of your email is an important factor, as the design must be fully responsive regardless of the tech your recipient is using. Most of your leads will open their email on their phones. According to recent surveys, 59% of Millennials mainly use their smartphones to check their inbox, followed by 67% of Generation Z mobile users.

It’s a B2B email marketing best practice to optimize your emails for mobile devices. This includes using a responsive design that adjusts to the screen size of the device and keeping the content concise and easy to read on a small screen.

You should also make use of clear, readable font size and style, and organize the content in a way that is easy to scan and navigate. Additionally, you should also mind the design of your CTA button if any. It may look good when you’re designing it on your computer, but not prominent or clickable on mobile screens.

If your email lacks responsive design, it will go straight to the bin so remember to pay extra attention to every image in your email and how it shows up on a phone screen.

In addition, your subject line should be around 60 characters in order for it to show up in full on a phone screen and your call-to-action should be in the center of the message so that it is easily seen by your recipient. 

b2b email marketing best practices tools5. Use appropriate tools 

To get the best out of your campaign, you need to use proper B2B email marketing tools that will help you reach your targets. To boost your email marketing productivity, consider using customer experience automation tools.

These tools are used to manage, track and analyze email campaigns in a single place. When using email marketing automation tools, you can create impressive newsletter templates, test user responses, set up sending sequences, and manage live chat communications.

 

6. Segment your email list

Segmenting your email list means dividing it into different groups based on factors such as job role, industry, and location. This can help you create more targeted and relevant content that speaks to the specific needs and interests of each group. (We will discuss targeting in the next section)

For example, if you sell software solutions to both small businesses and large enterprises, you might want to create separate email lists for each group. This way, you can send more targeted content to each group that addresses their specific needs and challenges.

To segment your email list, you can use tools such as form fields or surveys to collect information about your subscribers. You can then use this information to create segments within your email marketing platform. Segmenting your email list can help increase engagement and conversion rates, as it allows you to send more personalized and relevant content to your audience.

 

7. Personalize your emails

It’s a good practice to address and speak to the email recipients as directly as you can. This makes your emails more engaging and relevant to your audience. Consider using merge tags to add personalized elements such as the recipient’s name or company name to your emails.

For instance, instead of using a generic greeting like “Hello,” you could use a merge tag to insert the recipient’s first name, like “Hello, [First Name].” This simple change can make your emails feel more personalized and increase the chances that the recipient will open and read them. Most email marketing tools allow you to utilize such merge tags and have clear documentation for using them.

As earlier stated in the previous point, with a properly-segmented email list, you can go further with personalization and send relevant emails to specific segments.

 

8. Use a clear call-to-action

Your call-to-action (CTA) button or link prompts your audience to take a specific action. So, you should use actionable language and make it clear and prominent within the body of your email for desktop and mobile (as discussed in the previous point). Your emails may have great open rates, but they may not be of much value to your business if the recipients aren’t clicking on your links. 

It’s also crucial that your CTA stands out visually within the email. You may want to make use of a contrasting color or button style to make it stand out from the rest of your content.

 

9. Keep it professional

As we will discuss later in this article, this point is perhaps the key difference between the best practices for B2B email marketing and those for B2C in the sense that your emails should be business-like in tone and appearance. Hence, avoid using slang or overly casual language (except that is what you’re going for in the email). A few tips for maintaining a professional tone in your B2B emails include:

  • Use proper grammar and spelling
  • Use a professional email design or keep it plain
  • Use a formal tone
  • Optionally use industry jargon

 

10. Test and optimize

It’s important to regularly test and optimize your emails to ensure they are performing as well as possible. Test different subject lines, layout and design elements, and CTAs to see what works best for your audience, and use that for future emails to get better results. When testing, be sure to know the specific metric you want to improve.

For example, to test subject lines, you might send one version of an email with a subject line that says “New Product Launch” to a segment of your email list, a second version with a subject line that says “Introducing Our Latest Innovation” to another segment, and a different variation to a third segment. Next, compare the open rates for each subject line, and then it’ll be clear as day which subject line was more effective.

You can also use this method to try out different email formats, calls to action, and other elements of your email marketing strategy. By regularly testing and analyzing the results, you can continually improve the performance of your emails and get better and better results for your email marketing campaigns. Note that A/B testing is a process of continuous learning and optimization, so you have to regularly test and optimize all the time.

b2b email marketing users number

B2B email marketing benchmarks

Businesses must keep track of the performance of their emails. This includes both the overall volume of sent and received emails, as well as the key metrics, such as open and click-through rates. Benchmarking your email performance against industry averages gives you a sense of how you’re doing, and where you need to improve. 

Here are the vital metrics to consider when benchmarking your B2B email campaign performance.

Open rate

Your open rate is the number of email recipients who opened your email compared to the total number of emails you sent. This is important because your email campaigns don’t mean anything unless people are opening and reading them and this is the best way to gauge the effectiveness of your subject line and overall marketing strategy. To get your open rate, you need to divide the number of opened emails by the number of total emails delivered. 

A high open rate is generally considered a good sign because it shows that your subject line and overall email marketing strategy are effectively capturing people’s attention. 

The average open rate for B2B emails is around 21.5%.

Click-to-open rate

Click-to-open rate (CTOR) measures the percentage of email recipients who clicked on a link within your email out of the total number of people who opened the email. It’s a useful metric for understanding how well the content and call-to-actions within your emails are resonating with your audience.

This metric is usually confused with the click-through rate and open rate, but unlike the others, you can calculate the CTOR by dividing the number of clicks by the number of opens, and multiplying by 100. This can give you a more accurate sense of how well your email content and call-to-actions are performing, as it excludes the people who didn’t even open the email.

The average CTOR for B2B emails is around 10.5%.

Click-through rate 

Not to be confused with the open rate; your email CTR is the number of people who have clicked on a link or CTA inside your email. A lot of the time, getting a business to click on a link inside your email is the main goal of the campaign, making it a very important metric to measure.

The higher the click rate, the lower the high click rate is an indication that your email content and call-to-actions are resonating with your audience. The average click rate for B2B emails across all industries is around 2.3%.

Number of unsubscribes

You can track the number of businesses that unsubscribed from your newsletter or product emails. Although this can be quite discouraging, it can still be seen as a positive factor, as it means that you are fine-tuning your list of subscribers for the future. 

Unsubscribe rate

This metric measures the percentage of people who unsubscribed from your email list out of the total number of emails sent. You should keep track of this metric to understand if your emails are no longer relevant or desired by your audience.

A high unsubscribe rate can be a sign that your emails are no longer relevant or desired by your audience. The average unsubscribe rate for B2B emails is around 0.1%.

 

Why email marketing is valuable for B2B companies

B2B email marketing is the process of sending emails from one business body to another with the purpose of building awareness, offering partnerships, and selling goods or services. B2B emails are most often sent to decision-makers in target companies.

These decision-makers can be CEOs, investors, managers, or any other people who are in a position to make important business decisions. B2B email marketing is an increasingly popular way of getting products and services out to other businesses that might need them. 

B2B email marketing has the potential to produce an ROI of up to $42 for every 1$ spent, setting a very high ROI benchmark. Although it will generally be a lot lower in most niches, the overall marketing ROI is significantly more impressive when email marketing is implemented. It is one of the most successful ways to build stronger relationships with customers, create a brand voice and increase brand awareness.

 

B2C vs B2B email marketing

The chief objective of B2C marketing is to push consumers to products and purchases on a company’s website. To achieve this, the consumer must have a perfect email marketing experience. Regardless of the industry, be it toys, clothes, or even beauty products, the goal is to get the target customer to pick you over your competitor.

With B2C marketing, it is important to establish a personal connection with the customer. Figuring out which customers will be more likely to purchase the advertised product and creating a good connection with your audience is the most successful way to get customers to convert in the B2C niches. 

B2B works a little differently though. As it is a business-to-business communication, promotions are presented on occasion, but as most B2B businesses have to make educated decisions, the sales process is a lot longer.  An example can be a company trying to choose appropriate equipment for their staff, the degree of buying decisions is quite similar to B2C, but there is an additional procurement process in B2B emails.

Due to the generally larger purchases, there is also a higher level of bureaucracy that is incurred, and often the products that are ordered in bulk must pass a quality standard. B2B marketing serves as a great way to provide appropriate and useful information to potential clients about a product or a service. The following table shows some key differences between B2B and B2C email marketing:

B2B Email Marketing B2C Email Marketing
Target audience Businesses Consumers
Relationship with audience Professional Personal
Email content Focused on benefits Focused on emotions
Email frequency Infrequent Frequent
Purchase process Long and complex Short and impulse-driven
Objectives Generate leads, build trust, educate Generate sales, increase loyalty
Decision makers Multiple Individual

Benefits of B2B email marketing

benefits b2b email marketing

Some marketers have negative views on B2B email marketing due to their personal experiences with junk mail and spam, but they often forget about the overall statistics and do not follow the B2B email marketing best practices. 87% of B2B marketers state that email is one of their top distribution channels. No wonder, as currently there are  4 billion daily email users, and this number is expected to increase to 4.6 billion by 2025. That is over half of the total population of Earth. More often than not, people look forward to emails that have information about their favorite brands and products. 

Getting your product to a point where the recipient is happy to see it takes a lot of dedicated email marketing, and is a fantastic way to get your product recognized. This marketing method enables your business to build a special relationship with the client by engaging them in all the important and notable brand and product evolution events, as well as giving them a chance to follow your business journey. 

Email marketing is on the rise as  40% of marketers say that email newsletters are fundamental for their marketing accomplishments, supported by the 99% of consumers and businesses who check their emails daily. So, from a sample of 12,000 businesses, 4,800 businesses have seen an influx of leads due to the implementation of a successful email campaign, and that is a very large number! Below are the top 3 benefits of B2B email marketing: 

 

1. The ability to send targeted email campaigns

Targeted B2B marketing is important for every brand. Although email marketing techniques have changed over time, the importance of targeted marketing only grew stronger. Targeted marketing is a way of making sure that your emails make an impact on the recipient’s inbox. This can be done by using the information you already know about your customers and creating tailored messages for specific groups.

This method is considered the most cost-effective way to increase brand awareness. It allows you to connect with businesses directly, and share information about your business and services in an easy and non-intrusive way. 

Information such as industry, job role, age, and gender can help in personalizing and segmenting emails to make sure that the message is relevant and interesting for the audience. In terms of B2B marketing, make sure that the emails you are crafting fit in nicely with the values and beliefs of your target business segment.

The benefits of targeting include building better relationships with your desired market and increasing ROI through target email marketing appeal. Marketers can sometimes see ROI increases of up to 760% when they send targeted segmented campaigns.

communication with brands b2b email marketing best practices

2. Measured effectiveness

Another benefit is that your success can be easily measured. Conversely, if your campaign is not doing as well as you wanted it to, you can find out why and make changes. The essential metrics to look out for include the open rate, click-through rate, hard and soft bounces, the number of clicks, and the unsubscribe rate.

3. Simple design and launch procedures

A good email marketing campaign does not require as much effort as a lot of other marketing techniques. It is a lot easier to set up and reap significant results quickly if done correctly. It doesn’t take a long time to put together appropriate email templates for each target business segment, all that needs to be done is thorough research on the appropriate type of content that will fit each business type. 

 

Types of emails for B2B email marketing campaigns

Reach emails, batch emails, and nature emails are the three types of B2B email marketing campaigns. They are all unique and serve different purposes.

performance b2b email marketing best practices

Batch Emails

Commonly known as batch and blast emails, batch emails do not have any intelligence built in, they are simply sent to everyone on a big mailing list, similar to a company newsletter that just goes out to everyone who is on the list. 

Nurture Emails

These are targeted emails that are sent based on recipient personas, they are categorized into roles and industries. Nurture emails are generally used to target lead prospects through the sales funnels and make them loyal to the brand in the future. 

Trigger Emails

These are personalized emails that are sent based on the actions of a prospect. There is some intelligence involved in this email method, as the process includes a prospect having to visit your website, and based on that activity, receive a personalized email. The advanced intelligence involved in this emailing technique is the reason why trigger emails perform much better than nurture or batch emails.

Final takeaways

To ensure the success of your B2B email marketing campaign, construct your emails so that they are personalized to every recipient and successfully nurture leads that will turn into loyal customers. 

Focus your campaigns around people and not around enterprises, as adding a personal touch will go a long way in building long-lasting B2B relationships and having a successful B2B email marketing campaign in 2023. 

In terms of technicalities, please double-check that your emails have a responsive design so that they are well received and not sent straight to the trash folder, regardless of the quality of your content. 

Here at Rampiq Agency, our specialists pride themselves in their extensive email marketing knowledge, using up-to-date looks and analytics to be ahead of the email marketing curve. To find out more about our insights, contact us today and learn everything about starting successful campaigns, with Rampiq assisting you through every step of the way.

About the author
Nadya

Nadya combines the roles of our in-house marketing professional and a key clients' CSM with ease and perfection.

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