Writing the Perfect B2B Email
There’s no question; B2B email marketing is your best bet for productive communication with other businesses. The challenge, however, is crafting engaging copy with a flair that feels personal to the reader while being concise and benefit-driven. No one wants to receive, least of all open, a salesy novel of an email with an all-caps subject line. So, what is B2B email marketing, and how do you create B2B email campaigns that engage prospective businesses instead of being sent straight to junk?
What is B2B Email Marketing?
B2B, which stands for business-to-business, email marketing is when you utilise email to promote products and services to other businesses for professional intent. The desired objective is to form mutually beneficial, financially rewarding relationships.
While most marketers think they know how to write a B2B email, the average open rate sits at just 20.8%. Fear not, however. By keeping up with the best practices in email marketing, you can significantly improve your odds of getting your message read.
B2B vs. B2C Email Marketing
Although B2B and B2C email marketing look similar at first glance, there are distinct differences. B2C email marketing refers to selling a product or service directly to the consumer, typically a much broader intended audience. The buying cycle of B2C marketing is nearly always far shorter and straightforward than its B2B counterpart. The consumer of B2C marketing will often hear about an item through word-of-mouth or may have already searched for it online after recognising their own need, the final step, therefore, being the completion of purchase. B2B customers, however, make buying decisions with the ultimate goal of return on investment.
Email marketing for B2C generally takes on a casual and playful tone, which depends on the brand character. Emotional triggers, such as limited-time discounts or product and company stories, also play a significant role. B2B email marketing, on the other hand, favours a more objective voice, touching on industry pain points and explaining the benefits of the product or service.
How to Write a B2B Email
B2B email marketing will only convert if done well. So, it helps to have a clearly defined strategy based on the key B2B concepts.
- Identify the business’ pain points and current needs.
- Define how your business can solve those problems.
- Establish a clear-cut plan for how you can help the company.
If your email lacks any of these elements, chances are you’ll already have lost your opportunity to build a professional relationship. The prospect needs to be able to establish the benefits of working with your company.
Sometimes it can be a challenge to craft out and convey the character of your brand to your audience. For many businesses, it’s worth working with a team of professional digital strategists who specialise in B2B email marketing services and can optimise your plan for the best possible performance.
Creating a B2B Cold Email Subject Line
The first impressions you give to your reader come from B2B cold email subject lines. You need a compelling subject line that stands out in the inbox abyss for someone to want to open your email.
Align your subject line with the content of your message. Pique the reader’s interest by including a hook, which could be in the form of a question or attention-grabbing data. Effective subject lines create a subtle sense of urgency without coming off as a hard sell. An essential technique to boost your email open rate is to personalise. For example, address your reader directly, with:
“Hi, (prospective business or contact name). Are you ready for serious ROI?”
You can also raise curiosity by including figures:
“Fancy saving 30% on annual running costs?”
Now to cover the no-nos. Whatever you do, avoid exclamation marks! You’ll also want to steer clear of excess punctuation marks – one question mark, for example, is plenty. Extra punctuation can trigger an automatic sent straight to either the junk or spam folders.
Never exaggerate your offerings. Prospective businesses get put off by vague claims or data that seems too good to be true. Always stick to the truth and have proof readily available to gain credibility. Lastly, keep it brief. It’s been evaluated that subject lines with 50 characters or less ensue in 12% higher open rates.
How to Address Your Email
Seeing as you’re yet to develop a professional relationship with your prospective client, it can be tricky to know how to address your B2B email. Don’t get caught up in the customs of yesteryear, however, by starting with an overly formal tone. Try personalising to create a friendly yet respectful introduction.
You may have sourced a client contact name online, perhaps via LinkedIn or otherwise. In which case, you may choose to address your email to the client’s first name. Starting your message with “Dear (prospective business name)” is an equally effective start if you don’t have a contact.
What Is the Best Length of a B2B Email?
B2B emails with the best response rate are surprisingly short, as research shows that the ideal length is between just 50 and 125 words. If you’re feeling talkative, your maximum length should remain around the 200-word count limit. Avoid large, off-putting chunks of text by using correct paragraph formatting.
What Tone of Voice to Use?
Historically, B2B vs. B2C email marketing presented two very different forms of communication. B2B marketing was low in personality and creativity, with a traditional tone, compared to its counterpart. However, times have changed, and marketers are becoming increasingly innovative in how they approach prospective businesses.
You want to craft an informative and authoritative email without losing sight of the fact that you’re reaching out to an actual human being who will be short of time with a limited attention span. Consider your brand’s values and how you can translate those values into producing a B2B email with character. A somewhat informal tone of voice with a bit of professional wit can work wonders.
Signing Off a B2B Email
Effective B2B marketing emails are written with purpose, meaning by the time the reader reaches the end, they know exactly why you got in touch. Make things simple and transparent by concluding with a call-to-action (CTA). Avoid using a gimmicky tone, but do convey a sense of urgency. For example, CTA clickable buttons that convert may look like:
“Claim your free 1-hour strategy session now.”
Or, you may adopt a casual and brief CTA that invites the reader in, such as:
“Join the club,” or “Discover more.”
To make sure that your email leaves a lasting impression, finish with a stellar sign-off. According to research, “thanks in advance” is an effective, safe option, with an impressive response rate of 65.7%. However, you may want to get creative and sign off with a variation of your company’s tagline. A great sign-off needs to combine appreciation; you’re assuming that your reader has made it to the end, after all, with the subtle expectation that implies you hope to hear back.
Creating a B2B Email Campaign
B2B email campaigns are strategic in that they drip content into the prospect’s inbox over some time until you can move to the closing stage.
To create successful B2B email campaigns, you’ll first need to invest in a marketing automation platform capable of creating visually impressive emails that will supercharge your growth. An industry favourite, Klaviyo, works seamlessly and comes with a selection of pre-made flows and templates ready for personalisation.
As with all B2B marketing, the initial primary goal is to get your audience engaged so that you can gain trust in time. If your campaign lasts several months, however, you may end up with inactive subscribers. There are several marketing tactics to explore to promote re-engagement.
- Send a brief reminder email: Follow up with your audience and re-acquaint them with your brand. Let them know that you’re still active.
- Include an incentive: Grant your subscribers access to an exclusive webinar, offer promo codes, or add in a CTA to download a free guide. Anything you can come up with to benefit and keep your audience interested.
- Create a sense of urgency: Offer a free or discounted product or service, but only within a specific timeframe. Try inserting a countdown timer within the body of your email for extra effect.
Improving Your B2B Email Marketing Conversion Rate
Achieving a high B2B email marketing conversion rate is no easy task. Recent studies show that the average conversion rate sits at just 1.22%. By following the advice laid out in this blog, the good news is that you stand to drastically increase your chances of getting your audience to take action.
Also, keep in mind, if you don’t hear back from a prospect following your first email, don’t be afraid to reach out again a short while later. Perhaps your email arrived at an inconvenient time, or the business needs have since changed.
Keep your B2B marketing emails succinct, benefit-driven, and personable. Lastly, include a closing statement that outlines the next step of communication. Suggest scheduling a call or perhaps offering a free or discounted trial. Make it clear exactly what the next step will be so that your prospect knows where they stand.
Hiring a B2B Email Marketing Agency
Sometimes, despite following good advice and investing a considerable amount of time, energy, and money into the task, your B2B email campaigns don’t produce the results you had hoped. At this point, you may want to look into employing the services of a professional.
The right company will be able to thoroughly assess your business and develop a bespoke strategy tailored to your brand and audience. Better still, why not invest your capital with a B2B email marketing agency that specialises in the area? You’ll be able to work with experts who know every trick in the book and have a demonstrable track record for producing high ROI.
Producing B2B marketing copy that converts doesn’t have to be complicated. And while it’s easy to look at open rate data and feel disheartened, there’s no reason for your B2B emails to add to that statistic.
By crafting concise and authoritative, yet personalised copy that understands your prospect’s needs, B2B email marketing will likely become your top relationship-building tool, enabling mutually beneficial connections into the future.