Email marketing is one of the most powerful online marketing tools. It refers to the act of sending out commercial messages to a large group of people using, and you have guessed it, email. It comes in many types, with the most prominent one being B2C (business to consumer) email marketing.
However, our focus today is going to be on B2B (business to business) email marketing. It’s an entirely different breed from B2C when it comes to the approaches taken and such. That’s why we created this guide.
By the end of this article, you’ll hopefully have an understanding of what business to business email marketing is. We’ll explain its many benefits and its most effective strategies. Stay tuned for more.
What is B2B (business-to-business) email marketing?
At its core, the concept of B2B, or business-to-business, refers to the conversation(s) that can take place between two businesses. This is in regard to an exchange of services, products, information, and more.
Unsurprisingly, things don’t change much once you translate B2B relations into email marketing. So, instead of sending out promotional campaigns to existing or potential individual buyers (B2C), B2B marketing is a way of engaging sale prospects that happen to be other businesses. You can:
- Notify them of newly released products or services
- Educate them about them
- Convert them into marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
That’s not all
Of course, you shouldn’t stick to those exclusively. After all, companies will quickly unsubscribe if they only get ads from you. Here are other kinds of emails you can send to businesses:
- “Welcome”, “thank you” and “getting started” emails
- Company announcement emails
- Curated content emails, which include a roundup of your favourite content and news within your industry
- New article notifications
- Emails announcing new guides, webinars, live events, etc
- Discount emails
- Emails containing testimonials from current clients
- Survey emails
- Referral emails
- Free trial emails
- And many more!
According to a study done by the Content Marketing Institute, email is seen by 91% of marketers as an excellent channel for B2B marketing. According to those same people, the next best thing is, to no one’s surprise, LinkedIn, trailing behind with 71%.
Benefits of B2B email marketing
So now that we have gotten the definitions out of the way let us delve into some key points that demonstrate the effectiveness of email marketing in a B2B environment.
Generating new clients
The first and perhaps most obvious benefit of B2B marketing is the fact that you can reach out to new clients about your products and/or services. With emails, you can reach out to any business around the world in a quick and effective manner.
Easy to set-up
As we will see later, having a well-constructed B2B email marketing plan does not require much time or effort. All you have to do is to ensure that your emails contain relevant content and are thoroughly written, and the rest is history.
In comparison to other marketing channels, which mainly incorporate paid advertising (LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Print), email marketing is very much a low-cost approach for businesses to target other businesses.
Most of the popular email marketing tools out there enable marketers to closely follow the progress of their campaigns. Indeed, some if not all of these tools offer a way to get stats based on geographical location, marketing reach, and much more.
Creating an effective B2B email marketing strategy
Now that we have quickly glossed over some of the many benefits of B2B email marketing, let’s take a look at three easy and straightforward steps that any business can take to create a functional B2B email marketing strategy.
1. Choose an Email Service Provider (ESP)
The first and perhaps most important step of developing a B2B email marketing strategy is picking the right email service provider, or ESP, for you. But before we delve into that, let us first explain what an ESP is for those of you who don’t know.
ESPs are basically platforms that enable businesses to manage a single (or many) email account through a complex, functional online interface.
To put it in simpler terms, ESPs help businesses to manage their email marketing campaign by providing a plethora of services, including formatting, sending, and performance tracking.
Constant Contact is one of the most affordable options in the market. It features less automation than other advanced platforms but is still a viable option. It also comes with free coaching to help you, the customer, take better advantage of the platform as a whole.
Campaign Monitor comes with an excellent email builder featuring a wide set of unique email designs that can be set up in minutes. It also has over 100 different, ready-to-use integrations. All of that in the name of making the B2B email marketing process easier for you.
HubSpot is perhaps one of the most popular marketing platforms on the planet. They have a wide range of services, including email marketing. Their email-oriented services include personalisation and automation tools, lead generation, analytics, management, and more.
A dedicated email marketing platform, MailChimp is one of the best tools on the market. It features state of the art automation and personalisation tools (including opt-in forms). It also features one of the best analytics tools on the market.
2. Designate a person/team to handle your ESP
If you’re a successful business, chances are you can’t afford to shift your focus from your production process (whatever that might be) onto something like marketing. And for this reason alone, you should consider designating an individual or a team to exclusively handle your company’s email marketing shenanigans.
Of course, you want to pick or hire people who are very much familiar with how email service providers work. They should also be up to date with the latest trends in email marketing. Furthermore, they should know the strategies that they can effectively implement in relation to your company’s needs. If you need a team of email marketing experts to handle this for you, don’t hesitate to send us a message.
3. Have a clear-cut objective
What is the main objective of your B2B email marketing journey? Do you wish to create new relations with other businesses? Perhaps you want to educate them about the latest and greatest of your company? Or maybe your sole objective is to make more profits through the constant generation of leads and sales?
Whatever your objective might be, before you even start devising together a B2B email marketing strategy, you should clearly define the said objective.
As is the case with any method of digital marketing out there, it’s near impossible to reach your marketing goals if you don’t even know what they are.
Best B2B email marketing practices
B2B email marketing, like any other form of digital marketing, is not an exact science. In other words, the only way to know what works for your business is to try out different things, track their progress, and tweak your marketing strategy accordingly.
Still, here are some of the best B2B email marketing practices that you should follow.
Create and segment Your lists
Having a successful B2B email marketing campaign is inherently tied to your email list. You should have a mail list that is well-developed and has a clear label behind it.
Once you have built a powerful mail list, you should then segment it into smaller subsections based on parameters of your choosing. For example, you have an email list that is filled with companies, some of which operate in the financial services domain, others in the tech domain, and more.
Now, it is very much a given that every one of these companies is to be approached differently based on what industry they function within. So, segmenting your list based on this can ensure that you deliver the right content to the right people.
Some of the email marketing platforms that we mentioned above, namely MailChimp and HubSpot, allow you to collect vital information about your contacts. That can help you better segment them before sending out those precious emails.
B2B email marketing works best when there is personalisation involved. Indeed, you want each and every email you send out to have a uniquely personal approach to it. This includes the body of your email, the title, and even the call to action (CTAs). Indeed, according to none other than HubSpot themselves, personalised CTAs have proven to convert over 200% better than their default counterparts.
Most email service providers (ESPs) already come with automation features that allow marketers to properly communicate with current or potential customers.
The most straightforward example of automation is relying on an autoresponder. As the name suggests, it automatically responds to anyone who does a specific action such as filling out a form on your website. Of course, if the conversation continues, you might want to send the next emails yourself.
Have a lead nurture campaign
Lead nurture campaigns refer to sending emails to people who have shown interest in your business. Your main goal with these emails is to give these people the extra push they need to finally convert.
Lead nurture campaigns can be done on a weekly, monthly, or even yearly basis. As for the content that you can include in these emails, we recommend anything from blog posts to exciting new promotions and more.
Need help with B2B email marketing?
Marketing your services to other businesses is a helluva lot harder than dealing with normal consumers. After all, they’re businesses, which means they also use marketing tactics. If B2B email marketing proves to be a bit hard to nail for you, get in touch, and we’ll help.