There is so much on the internet that you and your company have to somehow break through all the noise. Some may think that B2B (business to business) is excluded from that. Nope, they are still consumers in a noisy, media-filled world - they just look a little different. When addressing a business, you have to play to the logical side of persuasion because they are looking to partner or use you to be more successful in their business - it’s a different relationship than the customer one.
We are going to look at why you should use email marketing in the first place, how to improve your emails, and how to stay organized. We will also address design considerations, inspiration, and how to measure the success you are inevitably going to see.
If you are looking for an even more in-depth email marketing guide, including B2C communication, try this.
- As much as 86% of business people prefer email over other channels when it comes to business communication.
- Email is among the most influential sources of information for B2B audiences, behind just industry-specific leaders and colleague recommendations.
From these statistics, we can see that email has been proven effective in B2B communication and persuasion. Why is email so valuable?
- Cost effective
- Analytics favorable
- Helpful in boosting ROIs on website
- A strong player in increasing ROI
How Email Marketing Differs for a B2B strategy
Logic vs Emotion
Remember learning ethos, pathos, and logos when writing essays in grade school? These are forms of persuasion, and in email marketing you sure are trying to persuade. For B2C marketing you have to pull on the consumer’s heart strings (whether with humor, joy, sadness, or empathy). You should use ethos persuasion.
In comparison, in B2B marketing you are not trying to woo the business with emotion. Business to business communications are much more straightforward, backed with logic and facts. Here, you should use logos persuasion. This means logic - specific means to how they can achieve their business goals with you - should be your guiding force when trying to snag that partnership with a prospective business.
You Don’t Have to Play Hard-To-Get
B2B takes much more time investment than B2C. With direct customers, it is like a relationship where you are trying to convince them you are the best choice - without coming on too strong - or they will get overwhelmed and break up with you. In B2B strategy, you should be sending constant emails to build a strong, memorable relationship with the potential client.
Don’t Try To Sell
In B2C you are trying to sell something to your customer. In B2B you are trying to form a relationship of credibility with them. This means that your emails should be for the purpose of educating, not selling. Try starting by changing your “Shop Now” CTAs to “Learn More” CTAs.
Improving Your B2B Emails
Hey, we all love a good ‘ol conversation.
See what I did there? Using layman terms like a simple “hi” or “hey” can make it seem like the email is coming from a person to a company rather than two robots sending bits back and forth. Another very easy way to make things conversational is to use contractions. “Can’t” instead of “cannot,” “have” instead of “have not” and “would’ve” instead of “would have” can make all of the difference. The goal is to not sound like an automated email. People get enough in their inboxes these days that sounded automated can make you seem like a scammer (buy 5 now get 5 free! - don't be that guy).
Again, personalization can make the world of a difference when trying to sound conversational.
As fun as it is to chat up your good friend on the business side with your conversational tone and wit, it’s important to have a clear message. This does not necessarily mean your content has to be short. Don’t confuse conciseness with clarity. We love and promote a long content educational piece. We actually encourage it. Just make sure your content all comes to a nice end with a bow on top (and by bow we mean a CTA).
Personalization can come in many forms. One of the easiest ways is to lead with the customer, or business’ in this case, name. See here how the subject line says “Carly, this is what makes ATAQ different.” Immediately the customer is drawn to the email because they think it is personally addressed to them. This can also work for businesses, so the reader thinks it is related to their company internally (don’t want to miss something important from the CEO!).
Some subject line examples:
- [company name], we want to be your next digital agency
- [company name], how would you like to raise ROIs?
- [company name], struggling with click-through rates?
Notice how this email goes as far to refer to the customers name twice - once in the subject line, once in the email body. This just makes it more personalized and appealing to the customer. This is easy to customize and is a user-friendly feature in a number of email marketing automation tools, like HubSpot.
Don’t send unsolicited emails. Make sure your customer wants to see the email, or it will put a bad taste in their mouth at best, and go straight to the Junk Folder at worst. The thing with customers (remember you, the reader, is a customer too - so think about what you would want in your inbox that you would actually open and read). Although in today's age it is reasonable to assume people know that companies have data on them. You still don’t want them to know that. Don’t call them by their first name if they never submitted their first name, you know?
What Are Your Goals? It is important to have specific, measurable goals when starting email marketing campaigns. You don’t want to get unorganized or find yourself asking “what should we write??” every week. Goals help you make emails with a purpose.
Here, you can borrow some of our friends’ at SVM solutions.
- Build trust and credibility for your products and/or services
- Change your customers’ perception of your business
- Establish yourself or your company as a thought leader for your industry
- Build stronger business from existing customers
- Grow your marketing database
- Increase attendance at marketing events and trade shows
- Lower communication costs through the use of online resources
- Build relationships with existing customers
- Present offers that generate leads or inquiries
- Present offers that generate direct online sales
- Increase repeat visits to your website
- Improve brand or company awareness
- Increase repeat sales
Learn more about how goals can lead to results with this case study.
Getting, Keeping, & Nurturing Subscribers
Get Those Subscribers!
- Every page of your website should have a e-newsletter sign up form
- Every form should have a subscribe to our email newsletter checkbox option
- A downloadable guide
- Discount code
- Free product sample
- Free lesson sample
- Free consultation
- A gift
- Say thanks :)
- Timing matters - stay relevant
- Be purposeful with your email signature - include a subscribe to our newsletter CTA
Targeting Your Subscribers
If you or a team member has taken any basic marketing course, you will know that customer targeting is a big piece of modern day marketing. In our data-driven world, it’s fairly easy to know a lot about customers. Your emails should be designed specifically for that business’s needs and what they should be learning. Educate on topics that matter to them.
Here is an example of how we at Electriq got information on our client’s customers so we could properly target them. It also allows for excellent personalization, which as we discussed before, is a crucial part of building relationships.
What is a lead? A lead is a potential customer or prospect. To take a lead and turn them into a sale, you have to nurture the relationship and take them on a journey to purchasing. This can be explored more in depth as The Buyer’s Journey.
How Do I Nurture a Lead?
- The Welcome Series
- Try an automated emails series once someone signs up for your newsletter in the form of a Welcome Series Workflow. This is simply introducing them to the company with concise yet engaging emails like 3 reasons to use [company product].
- Make use of effective CTAs
- Analyze and reassess
- Try google analytics or HubSpot analytics to keep your email workflow success in check.
Design Matters, Even to Businesses
Even though we discussed earlier how businesses should be persuaded in a more logical way than an emotion-based decision making customer, business still needs to be addressed with good design. In today’s world where anyone can craft professional design aesthetics using tools like HubSpot or Canva, even without Adobe InDesign (or another more traditional design-based tool) experience.
Here is some easy ways to improve your design aesthetic:
- Go with simplicity
- Use a Template, use a template, use a template
- Eye-catching subject lines
- Don’t use your name in the sender address, use your company name
Ideas for B2B Automated Emails
This all sounds great, right? You are ready to make the best B2B email marketing campaign ever - but don’t know where to start. We’ve got some inspiration for you.
Ideas for B2B Automated Emails:
- Curated email content
- E-book or downloadable content
- Campaign / donation support
- Create FOMO (event planning)
- Webinar announcement
- Case study / statistics
- Offer FREE stuff (free trials)
- Discount Codes
There are tons of other ways to make B2B content marketing work for your business. If you want to dive deeper into content marketing, go here.
We've said over and over to track, analyze, and reassess your B2B email marketing. You are probably wondering, though, what do I track? These are some of the key statistics you should be monitoring on your campaigns.
- Delivery rate (AKA did your email go through?)
- Open rate (Did they open it?)
- Click-though rate (Even a click-through rate of 10% is considered good)
- Forward rate (Was it passed on to a colleague?)
- Unsubscribe rate (We will miss you.)
- Conversion rate (Lead to a customer!)