Are you looking for new ways to make your B2B email marketing strategy stand out from your competition? Our guide is the perfect starting place. A lot of marketers make the mistake of keeping their B2B emails too similar to B2C.

So, you’re already on the right track! We’re going to go over a few key best practices and tips. These will help you have a better grasp on how B2B and B2C differ. Overall, we’ll go over these categories:

  • The definition of B2B email marketing.
  • 8 best practices and tips.
  • A few great examples.
  • Expanding your B2B email database.
  • Focusing on existing subscribers.

By the way; if you’re looking for professional lead generation with a multichannel approach, we’re eager to help you. At X27 Marketing, we’ve already generated over $100,000,000 in B2B sales.

Now, let’s get started on how you’ll generate more B2B leads, increase conversions and your profit margin. By the way, we’ve left you 3 great B2B email marketing examples near the end of the article!

What is B2B Email Marketing?

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The Short Definition

In a nutshell, B2B email marketing is the practice of sending email campaigns to companies, instead of individual customers. Core concepts include:

  • Segmenting the audience into multiple types of qualified leads.
  • Prioritizing the informational needs of the audience.
  • Personalizing the approach for better results.
  • Combining the B2B email marketing efforts with a comprehensive LinkedIn lead generation strategy.

The Long Definition

As with all email marketing, B2B email marketing involves a planned and directed strategy. By creating specific and targeted emails, you’re looking to target companies instead of individuals. 

In a way, overlap with B2C strategies exist. After all, the end goal is the same. It’s how you reach the finish line that’s different. Each has its own unique quirks and “secrets”. 

To put it plainly: the better you understand these differences, the more success you’ll have.

Perhaps the detail you should understand from the get-go is audience segmentation. Regardless of how great one of your emails is, it should only reach its relevant audience. Otherwise, it’s simply spam. Don’t ever use a “one size fits all” approach.

Some of your leads are going to be qualified for strictly marketing emails (MQLs), in an informational sense. Others will be ready for sales newsletters (SQLs). They all fall under the b2b email marketing umbrella, but they’re looking for different things.

As such, you need to customize the content that you send their way through email. After you understand this core concept, the rest is going to come naturally. 

If you’re wondering if it’s worth investing the effort, the answer is a definitive “yes”. 50% of B2B marketers have already made it clear that email marketing is their greatest channel for substantial ROI.

Additionally, over 70% of B2B decision drivers prefer remote interaction instead of face-to-face. It saves time, it gets to the point. So, email marketing is a great tool for communicating with such leads. 

The Effectiveness of B2B Email Marketing

There’s no denying that other marketing tactics are also great for getting a constant influx of leads. Search Engine Optimization, PPC ads, content marketing — they all increase your lead database. 

However, email is the only channel where you fully control the interaction that leads have with your brand. If you do it right from the start, your target audience is already going to be defined once it reaches your b2b email marketing automation tool.

From that point onwards, it’s just a question of carefully and methodically structuring the content that you’ll push. Who will see what, when they’re going to see it, and why they’re going to see. 

If you can answer all of those questions, you’re on the road to considerable ROI. When you draw the line, it’s only a matter of understanding your audience. Knowing what they’re looking for and being able to provide it (we’ve added B2B email marketing examples further below).

Statistics are also highly in favor of email marketing. In a 2017 study, the Content Marketing Institute found that 91% of B2B content marketers found email to be crucial for their success.

Moreover, in 2018, the Data & Marketing Association pinpointed that for every $1.36 invested in email marketing, you’re getting up to $44 in return!

Email marketing for B2B just works, so there’s no reason to avoid it.

8 B2B Email Marketing Best Practices & Tips

There are few rules in marketing that are set in stone, never to change or adjust. That’s because marketing overall is an ever-changing field of work. However, there are many guidelines that you should follow.

Once you know what destination you must reach, the road taken is up to you. Of course, there are better roads, and worse roads. It’s the same principle for email marketing B2B lead generation. 

Consequently, it is very important that you understand what’s generally a good idea. If you do your work according to industry best practices, you can freely tweak it to match your specific case and audience.

In other words, don’t expect these 8 B2B email marketing best practices to be the be-all and end-all of the subject. Implement what works for you, and always be on the lookout for new ideas and trends.

1. Segment Leads Appropriately

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It’s not an overstatement to say that this step is going to make or break your strategy. If you place a new lead in the wrong audience, they’re not going to receive the quality content they’ve signed up for.

This drastically increases the chance they’ll unsubscribe, or maybe even report you for spamming. 

Focus on filtering your leads. Only then can you be sure that they’re going to receive the correctly tailored message that fits them. 

This is actually one of the most common problems if you’re not carefully planning which page your prospects are going to land on. 

For example, let’s say you’re doing some LinkedIn content marketing for one of your new niche-relevant blog posts. 

Depending on the number of followers your company page already has and what social media strategy you’re using, your engagement level will vary.

What’s certain though is that you’re going to reach prospects that have both at least heard of you before, and complete strangers. 

Note that both of these groups could be equally interested in what information you’re pushing forward through B2B email marketing.

However, they’re going to end up on the same page in the end, without having an equal relation to your business. 

When they reach your lead magnet (a form which in one way or another gathers an email address and a first name), you must make sure that it applies to their particular case. 

In fact, there’s also a real chance that you’ll invariably draw in B2C traffic too. They can’t bring revenue to your business, so you must make sure that you effectively filter them out of your lead generation process.

There’s no benefit if they receive B2B email marketing; they’re actually “polluting” your contact list with irrelevancy.

2 Filtering Methods

Method 1: As you can see in our example, we use a lead magnet that’s very to-the-point: “ready to win more clients?”. There’s no way a regular user would fill it out, as it’s clearly oriented towards businesses. 

Method 2: However, you could be using a lead magnet that provides industry-relevant information. Let’s say you’re offering a study on online buying trends for 2021. Anyone could be interested in it just for the sake of knowledge. 

So, after a user clicks on it, you make another check if they’re a real prospect for your business. It could even just be a question along the lines of:

“Hey, just 1 quick question first. Why are you interested in this study?”; they could check for personal or business reasons.

Depending on their selection, you direct them to a B2C or B2B landing page. For B2C, you could simply have a download option for the study; job done. For B2B, you’d keep it behind an email address requirement. 

That way, you qualify valuable leads easier for B2B email marketing.

Congratulations, you have a new lead! Feel free to use varying lead magnets too, taking into consideration what your business needs most right now. Marketing qualified leads, sales qualified leads, etc. But, keep them short. People get bored and annoyed fast.

2. Automate Your Contact Lists

Segmented B2B email marketing campaigns bring 760% more revenue. However, you must also automate emails for each audience. 

That’s not going to be an issue to do thankfully, as all major marketing automation platforms have one way or another to do this.

In fact, there’s a lot of similarity between email service providers. We advise having a look at these 2:

No, one isn’t better than the other. It depends on what you want to do, and how you want to do it. Both Mailchimp and Sendgrid have contact lists, importing and exporting functions, custom dynamic fields, email scheduling, etc.

Automation is a bit different though. Mailchimp gives you the option of creating lead magnets on your website which then directly send the data to a particular contact list. 

Further automation between the emails of one campaign and moving a lead to a completely different campaign then happens through each campaign’s settings and planning. For simple, fast and effective email marketing, Mailchimp is a user friendly option.

On the other hand, Sendgrid works through “segments”. You’re going to need development knowledge to manage them appropriately, but they allow for precise B2B email marketing. 

In essence, you can define in which segment a contact should end up, depending on their relationship with your brand. 

Basically, there are backend checks being done on the email address of a lead. Does that lead also have an account on your website? They belong in one audience. 

Have they already tried a product trial at the moment of signing up for email marketing? They’re placed in another audience then.

These segments do checks around every 24 hours, moving leads from one segment to another if their relationship towards your business has changed. This way, you can define a multitude of email automations.

Automation Benefits

Through automation, your B2B email marketing campaigns are ready to go at all times, and you don’t have to supervise the process itself. You only need to check the results and optimize the content as needed.

Furthermore, since leads willfully sign up for email marketing, they also expect to receive communications from you soon. Without automation, you’d have to waste a huge amount of time on manually sending campaigns.

Finally, one of the greatest features of email marketing service providers is the ability to bulk send in an instant. Tens of thousands of emails can roll out in minutes, and they’re all routed through the servers of that provider.

You’re never at risk of getting your own domain ( blacklisted, or have its email deliverability impacted negatively. However, you can connect your own domain to Mailchimp or Sendgrid (and others) through simple DNS records modifications.

This is not a mandatory step, but we highly advise it. Only if you go through this process will emails show up in the inboxes of leads as coming directly from you, without mentioning your email marketing provider.

Deliverability is a key part of B2B email marketing.

3. Create Catchy Emails

After you wrap up the technicalities, it’s time to make it all actually work. Even the greatest of automation systems will fail if the copy itself is lacking.

And the most important part of email marketing B2B lead generation is… that’s right, the subject line!

Without a catchy and strong subject, your emails won’t even be opened. All right, so what’s a great subject line? Well, it’s when you understand what your audience wants, and use the most striking language to present it.

A great subject is always going to focus on audience intent and generate curiosity. That’s why it’s important to understand who you’re trying to sell to. What’s the buyer persona? 

What are the general interests, age groups and company roles of your B2B email marketing target group?

Only then should you create a shortlist of subject lines. Feel free to focus on what works best for your business: curiosity, vanity, pain points, FOMO, ROI, etc.

Once you know what you gotta write about, you get to writing. Keep it short, keep it simple. Add an eye candy design to it and a personalized approach, and start converting more!

4. Build Authority

The bread and butter of B2B is trust. Building trust means showing you’re an expert, that you know what you’re talking about. You begin by showing Marketing Qualified Leads your amount of knowledge. 

For example, use B2B email marketing to popularize whitepapers. Not about your products or service at first, but about your industry and methodologies. You gradually move towards business-centric newsletters from there. 

The more you get associated with the idea of “quality” in a lead’s mind, the faster they’ll become a Sales Qualified Lead. That’s when you can hit them with the “This Is Why You Need Us” headlines.

5. Focus on Revenue

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The end goal of B2B email marketing is to increase sales. Your focus must always remain profit-based, ever so subtly when needed. Also remember that buying trends are different between B2B and B2C. 

You can’t try to sell in B2B like in B2C.

Regular customers are driven by emotion; they want something. They’ll buy it if marketing convinces them they’ll achieve a sense of fulfillment.

In a business environment, companies must be convinced they need something. You do that through logic, information, statistics and facts.

So in the end, why would a company want your product or service? It’s simple: to make more money themselves. Play around the goal of your lead and send them emails bespoke to their desire: increased profit-margins.

If you can show them that your advice and services serve their end goal, you’ll achieve your own. But, always remember to put leads in the spotlight. 

B2B email marketing is about showcasing your strengths, sure; but only in the context of how they’re going to empower your leads to grow their business.

Here’s an example of how to be persuasive, taken from X27 Marketing’s co-founder, Alex Berman. Notice where the call-to-action (CTA) is placed, and how a final strong argument is made after it.

6. Be Convincing

Speaking of CTAs, you must always include one. Ideally, only one. The more actions you want leads to take, the likelier they won’t do any of them. 

Repeating the same CTA twice though is fine, since it’s reinforcing the same idea. Make sure to space them out with relevant copy though.

Don’t drag on either. Storytelling marketing is for B2C. If you have a business-centric story to tell (like Alex’s example above) for B2B email marketing, that’s great; but keep it short and highlight its profitability.

Remember that the purpose of your copy is to guide the lead towards the action you want them to take. Focus on the word guide. Brute forcing CTAs is not going to work, especially since the whole process for your lead so far was organic and intentional.

Build your email so that leads will genuinely want to click your link. 

7. Be Helpful

Remember that your B2B leads signed up to receive emails on their own. They’ve shown an interest in being educated by you. So, you must provide that.

MQLs aren’t ready to be contacted for a purchase yet. Don’t waste your time trying to sell at this point. You’d actually only be pushing them away from your business, as you wouldn’t be providing what they asked for.

Instead, showcase your brand’s values and worth through free resources, guides, statistics, industry news. Insert references to your services only in relation to what the lead wants to receive from you right now.

In 2018, 71% of B2B content marketers used whitepapers to build brand trust in leads.

8. Track Your KPIs

The real test of your emails is when they actually reach your target group. Optimization during the QA phase is one thing, but real data is more helpful. 

What are your average open rates? Link click rates? Unsubscribers per email? 

By looking at such data (available in any email marketing automation tool), you will understand what works, and what doesn’t. Always change your copy, design or page layout if you’re not seeing success.

In the end, your audience is the final judge of your emails. You must tailor them to their preferences.

3 B2B Email Marketing Examples

1. DocuSign

email marketing example

About 16.7% of email marketers worry that they lack channel coordination. Notice how in this great example, DocuSign answers the core question of the email immediately. 

Only then do they offer more information and a CTA towards their website. This fulfills the informational request of their leads, while also promoting another channel (their website).

Clear, concise, to the point. That’s how B2B email marketing should be.

2. The Writers’ Co-op

email marketing newsletter

This company caters to freelance writers. Since writing is not an exact science, a variety of educational resources, guidelines and best practices are appreciated at all times. 

In essence, the co-founders have a free podcast, but membership plans give subscribers additional bonuses.

This newsletter in particular promotes different resources that are for sale on their website, but they directly link to the knowledge that freelance writers need. To make them more appealing, there’s a 50% discount offer attached.

In B2B email marketing, you need to keep your communications & offers relevant to the overarching theme.

3. SuperOffice

email marketing promotion

Notice how SuperOffice relates directly to their client’s needs. This is what B2B email marketing is all about. They offer a free resource for building a CRM business case, showing their leads that helping them is a top priority.

Now, want to guess what they’re selling? That’s right, a CRM (customer relationship management) platform.

How to Expand Your B2B Email Marketing List

As a B2B company, you must always look to grow your newsletter subscriber pool. How do you do that? By spreading awareness and building your brand image. Take a look at the B2B email marketing examples above.

You’re already subscribed since you’re getting them, but they’re still pushing new CTAs. They want to shift your customer journey into taking exactly the best decisions for their brand.

Sure, you’re already a subscriber, but you could be donating on Patreon. Or you could continue reading a blog post excerpt on their website (increasing traffic, time-on-page, and potentially reducing the bounce rate).

However, if you still don’t have anyone to send your emails to, you have other lead generation options. More precisely:

  • Sticky banners on your website: Actively show prospects that you provide regular quality content.
  • Content gating: Limited availability equals exclusivity and higher-tier quality. Ask for an email address in exchange for some of your better materials. More often than not, people will do this trade gladly if you sell it the right way.
  • Sign-up forms: A spot-on way of getting more leads which can later be given the chance to join your B2B email marketing audience. You can have prospects sign up for webinars, courses, online events, etc.
  • Subscription forms: Don’t neglect to also have a standard form in your footer. Some prospects need less convincing than others. If your website is professional and it speaks to their needs, they’ll want to hear from you without being given something in exchange out of the bat.
  • LinkedIn: LI is already part of most “bread and butter” B2B strategies. You can also generate leads on it by sharing website informational content in which you have lead magnets (which should be all content).

B2B Email Marketing for Existing Clients

It’s very important that you keep a bird’s eye view on your email marketing. Don’t focus only on getting new leads.

If your emails aren’t up to par, you’ll be stuck in a cycle of getting new leads only for them to unsubscribe after 1-2 emails. 

Make sure that your automation is set up correctly to continuously move leads to the right contact lists. You must give them the content that they’ve shown interest in. Only then will the likelihood of them transitioning into clients increase.

Treat that as your core takeaway for email marketing B2B lead generation.

It’s Time to Generate More Leads

man checking email marketing software on laptop

Lead generation services are our forte at X27 Marketing. We use a multichannel approach to bring you an influx of potential customers. 

On LinkedIn for example, we combine softer messaging, active management and proper setup with a variety of marketing strategies. We thus increase your brand authority and pave the way for your successful B2B email marketing and outreach.

Additionally, we can also handle your SEO, PPC and CRO needs. Whenever you’re ready to begin the change, just get in touch with us.

About The Author

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Alex Berman is the founder and chief content creator of X27 Marketing. He is passionate about promoting efficient B2B lead generation channels and executing on data-driven strategies for his clients.