Best Practices in B2B Email Marketing

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By implementing best practices in B2B email marketing, marketers can establish trust with senior executives and increase email engagement.

What Do Senior Executives Look For in B2B Marketing Emails?

The main goal of B2B email marketing is to reach senior executives and establish credibility with them—but this is easier said than done. When it comes to email marketing, there are several different approaches marketers can take—and some approaches are better than others. Below, we will discuss the best practices in B2B email marketing.

To fully understand why some approaches are better than others, we have to first understand how senior executives read emails.

One key thing to remember about senior executives is that they have a vested interest in staying on top of trends in their given field. They need to know what their competitors are doing, what trends are emerging, and how these factors impact the status quo in a given industry. When it comes time to make important decisions, the most successful executives will draw on a wide range of sources to substantiate their decisions.

Crucially, executives report that they are willing to consider information provided by external sources, especially if it’s information that their team is not providing internally. Plus, according to a 2018 Quartz survey of executives, 78% of respondents are willing to read brand content, if it provides useful and relevant information. 

In addition, executives receive a lot of emails, and they have to stay on top of their inboxes to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. For this reason, most CEOs read every email they receive. Different executives may have different approaches to inbox management. According to Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit, his approach is to read every email and choose to either “read, act, file, or delete”. This means that a B2B marketing email is likely to reach a CEO—but it must be relevant and informative to be of any use to an executive.

In sum, B2B email marketing can be an effective way to reach senior executives—especially considering the increasing engagement with emails in the past year—but it has to be done right in order to stand out amongst the deluge of emails executives receive every day. For this reason, marketers should stay up-to-date on the best practices in B2B email marketing. 

What Are the Best Practices in B2B Email Marketing?

Having established the potential for email marketing to be highly effective in reaching executives, the next step is to implement best practices in B2B email marketing to ensure that these emails will be read and considered useful.

One of the most important practices in B2B email marketing is establishing credibility. As we discussed briefly, the business hoping to establish a relationship with C-suite executives must show that they are a knowledgeable source. One method of establishing credibility is to create and publish practical primary research. Executives and other decision-makers will return to a source if they believe it will address gaps in their knowledge and bring them fresh information.

Plus, trust has become more important than ever in B2B marketing. According to IBM’s 2018 study of 13,000 C-suite executives worldwide, there has been an “ongoing and widespread erosion of customer trust, including B2B buyers… Where data alone was once an organization’s unparalleled asset, it must now factor in trust.” The top 9% of companies identified by this IBM study are able to maintain customer trust, which demonstrates its increasing importance in the best practices in B2B email marketing.

To establish trust, B2B marketers must provide concise, engaging, and highly-relevant information in their emails to executives. Senior executives are busy people—while they want to stay informed, they simply don’t have time to wade through a lengthy newsletter, especially if it’s crowded with irrelevant information. The most effective B2B emails are specific to the executive in question and pack a lot of information into a short email, with a clean and easy-to-read layout.

Beyond content, the timing of B2B email marketing also matters. At different times of day, executives prefer to consume different types of content. The best time to send an email is in the morning: according to a Quartz survey, 50% of executives read an email newsletter upon waking up. This trend is increasing over time—in 2014, only 42% of respondents to Quartz’s executive survey named email newsletters as their primary form of morning news, while in 2018 this increased to 50%.

In addition, best practices in B2B email marketing should also include a well-thought-out approach to the way emails are sent. Marketers should regularly clean out unresponsive emails from their lists in order to avoid being blacklisted as spam. Using a permission pass email is a highly effective way to do this. By sending an email asking the user to confirm whether or not they’d like to continue receiving emails, click rate and open rate will rise and marketers can confirm they are only marketing to engaged users.

Altogether, by implementing these best practices in B2B email marketing, marketers can increase their email engagement and reach senior executives more effectively than ever before.

Next Steps

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As a next step, download this white paper that describes the most effective way for B2B companies to generate high quality leads for their sales organization.

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