In 2022 successful B2B marketing is all about going digital, no matter what your product is. With 80% of B2B interactions between supplier and customer set to take place on digital channels by 2025, having an effective email marketing strategy is absolutely necessary for success.
In order to develop an effective email marketing strategy, you have to understand your audience. This is where B2B marketing differs from B2C. When marketing to an individual your methods will look much different than when marketing to a business.
This is why we created the ultimate guide for effective B2B email marketing in 2022.
What’s on this page
What is B2B email marketing?
A great place to start is by reviewing exactly what B2B marketing is. B2B email marketing involves sending email campaigns to businesses in which you will tell them about your product and (hopefully) convert them into qualified leads and later, customers.
B2B email marketing vs B2C
Anyone working in marketing should know that understanding your audience is key. Because B2B and B2C marketing cater to different audiences, the way in which you communicate with them will be different.
With B2B email marketing, while you are still communicating with an individual, they are merely a representative of the business. They are not interested in their individual interests, but in the interests and needs of the business as a whole.
In other words, your customer is the business itself.
Some examples of B2B businesses are:
- IBM, whose products include a variety of things from IT to different systems and software.
- Berlin Packaging provides packaging and containers to different businesses.
- Monday, a cloud-based work management software for businesses.
B2C email marketing, on the other hand, focuses on individual customers making purchases for themselves. Customers’ needs in this case are different than those of a business, with the purpose of these purchases often being shorter term and entertainment based.
Examples of B2C businesses are clothing brands, yoga studios, and restaurants, to name a few.
Logic vs Emotion in email marketing
In order to appeal to an individual customer, B2C email marketing focuses more on capturing the attention of the customer by appealing to their emotions. Purchases made by individuals can also usually be done directly without them needing to clear them with anyone else.
B2B marketing should appeal to the financial incentive or logic of the buyer (the business). These purchases are informed more by education than emotion. Remember, B2B buyers are usually looking for a long-term solution and not a one-time purchase.
B2B sales require multiple people to sign off on them, meaning the process is longer than with B2C, but will hopefully result in a lasting relationship between the customer and the provider.
It is important to note that your company may be able to fill the needs of both B2B and B2C customers. In this case, you will need to learn the differences in the challenges and needs of each audience so that you can appeal to the differences and similarities of each.
Top 7 B2B email marketing examples
81% of B2B marketers use email as their main mode of content marketing, so it’s safe to say there is no shortage of marketing emails in any given employee’s work email inbox.
One thing that B2B and B2C email marketing campaigns have in common is that you want to stand out from the crowd. You not only want people to open your emails, but you want your content to be engaging enough that they will continue to do so.
Failure to do so will likely lead readers to reach for the dreaded “unsubscribe” button.
Here are 7 B2B email marketing examples that get the job done:
1. Welcome/first response email
Many companies offer a free version of their product to new leads and then later focus on turning these users into paying customers. This allows companies to learn exactly what the needs of the potential customer are so that they can best respond to them.
If a customer or business is already using the free version of your product, they are much more likely to become paying customers later. Rather than switch to a product, they are unfamiliar with, why not upgrade and have their needs met by one they already know and love?
For example, Dropbox’s welcome email invites customers to sign up for free and later follows up with these customers to convert these active leads into customers.
2. Customer retention/ongoing campaign emails
Once you have converted leads into paying customers, you will need to keep them engaged by making them see the value your product adds to their business.
In order to do this effectively, you will need to understand the challenges your customers face and offer them a solution, aside from your main product.
A great example of this is sending email campaigns that offer webinars on different subjects that are related to your brand or company.
Monday.com offers webinars in multiple languages to their customers on a variety of topics related to making the most out of their products. And they offer them in different languages!
3. Upselling/cross-selling email campaigns
Upselling and cross-selling are tried and true examples of email marketing campaigns.
The goal of these two strategies is to get existing customers to purchase a more profitable product than the one they have purchased in the past (upselling), and/or purchase additional products based on their past purchases (cross-selling).
Upselling and cross-selling email marketing campaigns can often be automated to be sent out in response to specific customer behavior.
For example, Adobe sends out this email to customers after they have made a purchase. This is a classic example of cross-selling and offers customers additional products that they might find useful.
4. Business updates email campaigns
If you offer a product that caters to both B2C and B2B customers, you can use your existing list of email subscribers to try and carry over or convert leads with business update marketing emails.
For example, Grammarly, which already offered a B2C product, informed its existing email subscribers about a business update involving the rollout of a new B2B product, Grammarly Business.
By providing existing customers with business updates, Grammarly is likely to convert new B2B leads into customers rather than starting from scratch.
5. Discount email campaigns
Everybody loves a deal, no matter if you’re an individual buyer or a business. Saving money is always an incentive, especially when a discount is only offered for a limited amount of time.
Discount email campaigns can also be a great follow-up to send to users to have signed up for a free trial or free version of your product. A little discount might just be the encouragement they need to become paying customers.
6. Personalized email campaigns
Just because B2B email marketing campaigns are speaking to businesses and not individuals, doesn’t mean you can’t get personal with your email campaigns.
In fact, emails with a personalized subject line are 26% more likely to be opened than those that don’t, so imagine what a personalized body of an email can do!
For example, Microsoft sends customers emails with personalized recommendations based on browsing and purchasing history. This strategy can be used for both individual customers and sales teams at a large company.
7. Content-sharing emails
Many companies feature blogs on their websites, but how many customers know about them?
A great way to maintain a relationship with your clients is by sending out email campaigns that share relevant content from your blog or social media accounts.
This is also a good way to position your company as an authority figure on the subjects relevant to your product. You want your customers to feel that they are getting continued value out of working with you.
Here, Trello sent an email marketing campaign featuring a post from their blog.
Top 10 B2B email marketing templates
Now that we’ve covered some email marketing strategies, let’s look at the top 10 B2B email marketing templates.
1. Webinar template
These emails should have a clear topic, time, and CTA to sign up for the webinar. Some additional information can be put at the bottom of the email but don’t get too complicated.
2. Live event email template
Live event email templates are similar to webinar email templates in that the date, time, and subject should be made clear. In addition to the CTA to sign up, you can add a CTA for customers to RSVP.
3. Survey email template
The truth is that most people don’t want to take surveys, but feedback is important to improving your business. The good news is that B2B customers may be more likely to offer feedback because it is in their best interest in the long run.
A survey email template can come in all shapes and sizes, but we suggest cutting out the friction by putting the survey directly in the body of the email. Insurify makes their survey email templates short and cute.
4. Demo request email template
80% of marketers report that live demos with a sales rep are the most effective way to generate quality leads, so not offering them is a huge mistake.
Not only should you offer demos, but you should make it clear to your leads that you offer them via demo request emails. Linkedin’s demo request is a great example.
5. Gated content email template
Not everything in life is free, which is why gated content exists. Gated content requires a user to either pay a subscription fee or subscribe to a mailing list in order to gain access to content or a product.
The Economist’s gated content email template shows the customer the value in subscribing to their product, and offers a discounted price for the first year.
6. Product promotion email template
Data speaks louder than design when it comes to B2B marketing campaigns and your product promotion email templates should reflect this.
VWO knows that its audience cares about saving time, so their emails get straight to the point, with no fluff necessary.
7. Referral email template
Word of mouth may seem like an outdated mode of marketing, but it has merely evolved into what we know as the refer-a-friend email template.
Asking existing customers to refer a friend is a way to generate new leads by engaging existing customers. Make sure to include a CTA, as Buffer does here.
8. Thank you email template
A great way to engage customers is a thank you email after they have made a purchase by showing them you care about their business.
Final’s thank you email does a brilliant job of incorporating a CTA to refer a friend by incentivizing the existing customer to receive additional perks.
9. Case study email template
B2B clients want to know exactly how your product is improving their business. What better way to do so than backing up your claims with a case study?
Eyequant’s case study email template shows the reader all of the valuable information included in the case study and why it might interest the recipient.
10. Getting started email template
Last but not least is the getting started email template. Uncomplicated, with a clear CTA to download the app or get started.
Evernote knows that until people download their app, they are unlikely to become paying customers which is why they stick to a tried and true welcome email template.
Why do B2B emails require B2B strategies?
The purpose of B2B marketing emails is to show recipients how your business can help their business. This means that you should focus on things like saving time and money or providing a specific valuable resource.
B2C marketing focuses on an entirely different set of customers. Those that respond to entertainment over education.
If you applied B2C strategies to B2B emails, you would be setting up your email marketing campaigns for failure.
6 key strategies for designing a B2B email campaign
Before diving into the design of your email campaigns, there are 6 key strategies you should make sure to complete.
1. Brand identity
Understanding how you are viewed by the customer is crucial for effective marketing. You need to determine exactly where your brand stands in terms of who you are, what you are doing, and why. take your time and invest in your brand with a unique web design, showcase your top project, design a catchy logo, and of course take advantage of email branding.
You want to be viewed as trustworthy and valuable to prospective customers and your brand identity should reflect this.
2. Find your audience
Determine who your audience is. Who is going to buy your product and how do they make their purchasing decisions?
3. Check out your competitors
Learn how you stack up against your competitors so you can understand where you need to improve and what you’re up against.
4. A/B testing
Try out different email marketing campaigns to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Best practices for B2B emails
1. Plan your campaign in stages
Sending your campaigns around the different stages of the B2B customer journey will help ensure that you are targeting their specific needs at any given time.
The different stages of the marketing funnel are Awareness, consideration, decision-making, and retention.
2. Profile your target customers
Segment your email lists to ensure that your emails feel more personal. Not every email you send will be relevant to every person on your email list.
3. Save time by automating tasks
You can automate email campaigns by using marketing platforms that will save you time and stress. Campaigns can be automatically triggered by a virtually endless number of customer behaviors.
Add a professional email signature
B2B email marketing campaigns can feel impersonal when it feels like two businesses in communication. Adding a professional email signature to your email marketing campaigns can help make things a little more friendly. There are many online websites offering a Free signature generator all you need to do is type, signature generator, or email signature generator on google, and you are all set.
An email signature shows the recipient of your emails exactly who they are coming from. It’s always nice to put a face to a name.
Email signature example – Click to add your own
It is also good when people have all of your information in one spot so they know your name, position in the company, and how to contact you.
GDPR and email marketing
There is no particular notice of B2B email advertising in the GDPR guidelines. This is mainly due to the fact that “The GDPR protects individuals, NOT businesses“. It sets out rules around the utilization of individual information. B2B marketers often use personal information such as email addresses, work addresses, etc. Therefore B2B marketers need to always keep GDPR guidelines and be aware of updates and regulations.
B2B email marketing requires a different set of skills than B2C marketing. Some might find the focus on numbers intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. It can actually be really difficult to appeal to customers’ emotions!
Once you get the hang of B2B email marketing, you’ll see that its bark is definitely worse than its bite.