Email marketing has been around since the early days of the internet. For B2B companies, it was one of the most effective ways to reach customers and prospects. But over the years, as inboxes became more crowded and people grew accustomed to ignoring promotional emails, much of its luster wore off.
Many B2B marketers started shifting their efforts to newer, shinier tactics like social media marketing, content marketing, and growth hacking. But even in today's highly digital, rapidly evolving landscape, email remains a vitally important channel.
With the right strategies and approach, B2B email marketing can once again become a revenue-driving powerhouse. We will explore how to revive your B2B email campaigns and make them work smarter in modern digital marketing.
The Continued Relevance of Email Marketing
Before diving into specific email marketing tactics, it's worth looking at why email remains so important for B2B success:
With over 4 billion email users worldwide, it is the most ubiquitous communication channel available today. Facebook has around 2.5 billion users, while LinkedIn has only 740 million.
This gives email an unparalleled ability to reach your target B2B audiences. Even the most social media-savvy buyer likely checks their email daily.
Modern email platforms allow for exact segmentation and targeting. You can zero in on individual buyer personas based on:
- Firmographic criteria like company size, industry, and tech stack.
- Demographic factors like seniority, location, and age.
- Engagement metrics such as past email opens, clicks, and content downloads.
- Intent data like recent site visits or searches.
This lets you deliver laser-focused messages tailored to specific subscriber needs.
Highly Measurable Results
With email, you can track detailed metrics on deliverability, open and clickthrough rates, and conversion performance. This makes it easy to calculate ROI and optimize campaigns for better results.
Compare this with channels like organic social media where ROI is much harder to measure quantitatively.
People are more likely to buy from brands they know and trust. Email, when used correctly, can help nurture relationships by delivering subscribers value over time.
This builds credibility and goodwill that pays dividends across all your marketing efforts.
With email fundamentals covered, let's explore proven strategies to revive your B2B email marketing in today's digital landscape.
Strategy no 1: Prioritize Value Over Volume
Gone are the days of spamming tangentially relevant content to every contact in your database. Modern email success requires a value-first approach with surgical precision.
Know Your Audience
Invest time upfront in getting to know your subscribers and what makes them tick. Group them into detailed buyer personas and customer segments based on the following:
- Company size
- Channel preferences
- Past engagement
The more tailored your list segments, the better. For example, group leads from Fortune 500 companies separately from leads at small businesses. Treat C-level executives differently than managers.
Deliver Genuine Value
Every single email you send should provide true value to the recipient. Think from their perspective - does this information help them meaningfully?
Value can take many forms:
- Relevant industry insights: Send research, analysis, and articles tailored specifically to their niche.
- Actionable best practices: Provide tactical tips and how-to advice they can implement right away.
- Product updates: Notify customers about new features or releases relevant to them.
- Exclusive offers: Special discounts, early access, and personalized promotions all deliver value.
- Thought leadership: Position your company as an expert guide with valuable perspectives.
Avoid self-promotional product pitches that aren't grounded in value for the reader.
Personalization shows the reader that you care about them, not just their business. Use merge tags to incorporate:
- First name
- Company name
- Industry-specific details
Tailor content to their specific pain points and goals. Use conditional logic to deliver customized messages, offers, and recommendations based on their persona or past behaviors. Advanced personalization can skyrocket open and click rates, as well as drive conversions.
Strategy no 2: Craft Irresistible Subject Lines
Your subject line is essentially the front door to your email - and most subscribers decide whether to open based solely on this. Master the art of irresistible subject lines that practically beg to be opened.
We are naturally curious creatures. Use subject lines that tickle the reader's curiosity bone without giving away too much:
- Intriguing questions - "What if you could increase conversion rates by 200%?"
- Surprising facts - "A whale's heart weighs over 1,300 pounds"
- Teasers - "The results will shock you"
A bit of mystery prompts the recipient to open the email to satisfy their curiosity.
Urgency and Scarcity
These triggers motivate quick action by tapping into our fear of missing out. Time-limited offers, scarce slots, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities get people to pay attention.
- Limited-time discounts - "48 hours left for 50% off"
- Exclusivity - "VIP Access: See the demo before launch"
- Urgency - "Time is running out!"
Be careful not to overuse urgency and scarcity though, or they will lose effectiveness.
Work their first name, company, role, location, or other personal details into the subject. This level of personalization gets someone's attention and makes them feel valued.
For example: "[First Name], here's how Company XYZ uses our product..."
Tie your subject line to major events, news, or trends currently on your audience's minds. Timely relevance grabs interest.
- "Improve lead gen during the World Cup"
- "Are you ready for the iOS 15 release?"
- "How rising inflation impacts your supply chain"
Strategy no 3: Embrace AI and Automation
Marketing automation and AI are your friends, allowing you to scale personalization and take your email strategy to the next level.
Instead of just inserting someone's first name, use AI tools to tailor multiple elements like:
- Subject lines based on persona.
- Content recommendations based on past behaviors.
- Dynamic blocks of text throughout the email body.
This makes every message hyper-relevant to each subscriber.
Traditionally, we might segment by basic attributes like industry or role. But AI can ingest data from your ESP, CRM, and website to build micro-targeted segments.
For example, an AI could group people who:
- Visited a pricing page recently.
- Opened the last 3 emails about a specific feature.
- Are execs at companies in the healthcare industry?
- Use Gmail on iPhones.
This level of precision lets you deliver uber-relevant messages tailored to minute subscriber attributes.
Marketing automation handles tedious tasks like:
- Welcome series for new contacts.
- Appointment reminder sequences.
- Re-engagement campaigns for inactive users.
- Unsubscribe request handling.
This saves time while optimizing and personalizing cross-channel journeys.
Strategy no 4: Quality Content is Still King
For all the technology now powering email, great content remains at the core. Follow essential content best practices:
Weave a compelling narrative into your emails rather than just stating dry facts. Paint a picture of how you help people and weave in emotions like humor, empathy, inspiration, and surprise.
Varied Multimedia Formats
Text alone is boring. Embed videos, GIFs, quizzes, calculators, presentations, and other interactive content. Visuals like photos, illustrations, or infographics also liven up emails.
With over 50% of emails now opened on mobile, use single-column layouts, bigger buttons, and short paragraphs of text that are easy to read on small screens.
Concise, Scannable Content
Respect the readers' time. Get to the point quickly and use bullet points, numbers, bold text, headings, and lists to enhance skimmability.
Give specific how-to's, step-by-step, and strategic frameworks - not just high-level theory. Help readers apply insights to drive real business impact.
Strategy no 5: Relentlessly Measure, Analyze, and Optimize
In the digital era, data offers unprecedented visibility into the performance of your B2B email campaigns. Leverage metrics and testing to systematically improve results.
Track Every Metric
- Deliverability metrics: Bounce rates, spam complaints - aim for inbox placement.
- Engagement metrics: Open rates, clickthrough rates, email forwards - optimize content.
- Conversion metrics: Signups, demos scheduled, purchases - quantify ROI.
Dig into your email analytics and identify weak points.
Run A/B Tests
Test different versions of components like:
- Subject lines
- Send times
- Calls to action
- Email copy
- Content formats
See which variations perform best for each audience segment. Then incorporate winning versions into future emails.
Continually Assess and Tweak
Set aside time every month to:
- Check your metrics dashboard for changes.
- Review top- and lowest-performing emails.
- Identify new optimization opportunities.
- Brainstorm creative ways to test and improve.
Don't "set and forget" your campaigns. Continual refinement is key.
The Future of B2B Email Marketing
The email has proven its staying power over decades for good reason. The strategies outlined in this guide will serve you well for years to come.
At the same time, expect email marketing to keep evolving with technology like automation, AI, and more immersive content. Focus on delivering genuine value, and you'll continue reaping the rewards from email long into the future.
Now get out there, revive those email campaigns, and start driving more B2B success.