10 B2B Email Marketing Best Practices For Killer Campaigns

November 1, 2023

ViB Editorial Team

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For 83% of B2B marketers, email is the most important marketing channel in their strategy current strategy.

Why? B2B email marketing isn’t just cost-effective, but also really versatile. From generating leads and moving leads through a buyer’s journey, to building a brand. All these are done with cleverly orchestrated email marketing campaigns. 

However, there is a caveat. Certain B2B email marketing “best” practices (that are becoming so popular these days) like buying lead lists from B2B data providers and overcrowding and email calendars are seeing email engagement rates drop.

In a recent B2B marketing trends study we conducted, we found that 61% of B2B marketers reported email open rates below 20% in 2022 as a whole.

Graph of Average email open rate 2022 - B2B Marketing Trends Report ViB and b2b lead generation statistics

That means the average email open rate for B2B marketing is 14%. In comparison, 34.5% is the average email open rate in 2022 across all industries. It’s a scary difference!

That’s why it’s more important than ever to make sure our email marketing game is spot on. If not, instead of helping organizations meet their intended goals, emails might have the opposite impact. 

So what can we B2B marketers do to bring email performance back up?

10 B2B email marketing best practices to follow

Emails must be done well, and they definitely have the potential to.

I’m talking about using email to build trust with your prospects trust, hurting your email domain reputation, and eating up your marketing budget.

Bring these 10 B2B email marketing best practices into your campaign planning process, and let me know how it goes!

See how Sheila drove email conversions with ViB Emails

“ViB is hands-down the most cost-efficient vendor we leverage. The MQL to SAL results we get are incomparable.”
 
Sheila MadrigalSr. Manager, Global Email Marketing, Nutanix

1—Make your subject lines clickable

Think of email subject lines as the hook that makes recipients click to open your emails — or not!

Without a good subject line, most emails never get that coveted click and land in the trash without ever being read. To avoid that outcome, follow these subject line creation b2b email marketing best practices:

  • Ask a question. For example, “Are You Still Stuck in Old-School Business Practices?”
  • Generate curiosity. For example, “Why Your Child is More Digitally Intelligent Than Most CMOs”
  • Try a teaser. For “7 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Customers—But Your Competitors Do”
  • Be provocative. For example, “How Much Business Success Can You Tolerate?”
 

Blend multiple techniques together if you’re up for it, like this one from Linkedin we find really catchy.

2—Hit the right note in your email’s opening sentence

After you’ve nailed your subject line, the next most important bit of content is the first line of your email.

Most are truly boring and uninspiring, because they are inauthentic, too general, and not original.

Instead, follow these best practice guidelines to write better opening sentences in your emails:

  • Be personal. Grab their attention right away with something personal, such as, “I noticed your company recently.”
  • Get to the point. Avoid aggravating your email recipients by beating around the bush. Get to the point quickly. For example: “I have an idea on how you can expand your market opportunity.
  • Inject humor. Lighten things up with a quick tongue in cheek opener, such as, “Hopefully you’ve already had your coffee.”

There’s an easy way to get guaranteed (and targeted) leads to your webinars, on repeat.

3—There's a 'right' body text length

You may wonder what the ideal word count for emails is. 

Think of it as a Goldilocks scenario — too few words are good and too many words are not good.

The “just right range” according to one study is 50 to 125 words, both garnering a 50% response rate

But of course, think of this range as a guideline. I’m waiting to see an updated market research report on this too!

My tip: know your audience, and keep your content valuable and simple. Ask yourself, will I bother reading this email, or clicking through? Chances are, you’ll find a clear answer.

4—Nail the call to action

Your call to action needs to generate action as quickly as possible before your recipients forget and move on to their next task.

Here are a few b2b email marketing best practices for creating perfect calls to action in your emails:

  • Make it action oriented, such as: “Reserve your spot!”
  • Be transparent: Tell your audience exactly where your CTA leads them.
  • Keep it short: Two or three words are best, but no more than five or six.
  • Inject urgency, for example: “Save today only!”
 

This example from Semrush is not only eye catching, but also tells you clearly why clicking through drives value. 

5—Buy a high-impact prospect list

Reaching out to external agencies and partners makes a lot of sense to ramp up your use of the right email marketing lead generation techniques.  But when building an email marketing list, most data providers or lead rental agencies talk about these 2 characteristics: the size of the list and the prospects on the list.

You know what? Scratch that.

Focus on the lead collection approach instead, because that will give you clues about the marketing list’s quality and potential impact.

In that process, you can also find out how targeting is done, which will give you a better idea of whether you’re reaching viable candidates for your company’s products and services. Ask yourself if these leads are pre-qualified and able to convert into opportunities

Making an informed decision when evaluating the right B2B lead agency doesn’t have to be rocket science. Get the one-page checklist of the 15 must-ask questions, to cover all your bases, easily.

Making sure you’re working with compliant lead lists is more important than ever, with GDPR and CCPA laws in place for example. Providers who respect these rights will likely fetch you better-quality leads.

With your contact list activated, it’s back to creating value through your emails, similar to the B2B email marketing best practices I just shared. 

Once they become a marketing qualified lead you can put them in nurture sequences. Formally introduce them to your products and services, and hopefully score a deal down the road.

Remember, it all starts with the right B2B contact list. If you need to stay on top of this developing topic, these reads might come in handy:

6—Offer lead magnets for opt-ins

Don’t want to buy targeted leads, and want to earn their email contacts instead? As a content person writing this blog, you have 100% of my respect! 

The best option is to have your target audience opt in as a marketing contact. Because there’s organic interest.

Here, what you’ll need are gated lead magnets or freebies. These opt-in “value-exchanges” are a great way to engage your audience while collecting their contact details for you to action on them later. 

There are several options to create an opt in: offer good content, invite for events, offer free trials, ask for subscriptions, etc.

You’ll need to ensure that your prospects consider your magnets valuableThey need to be interesting enough for your audience to exchange their personal information for access to them. Some of the best lead magnets include:

  • White papers
  • Reports
  • Infographics
  • Videos
 

Naturally, the quality of these pieces of content will play a big role in the success of your B2B email marketing campaign, as well.

Check out our blog on building effective content teams, strategies, and assets to make sure you only offer your best content. 

7—Segment your prospect list

If you have a great email list, there is a way to make it even better — segment it.

This pro tip works because experienced B2B email marketers know how much greater response they receive with a segmented versus unsegmented list. 

Your prospect list can be segmented by a wide range of criteria depending on your marketing goals. The basic formula is to group prospects together who share similar behaviors, such as:

  • The stage they’re at in the buyers’ journey
  • Where they’re located geographically
  • Their specific industry
  • Level of interest they’ve shown in the brand

With a segmented list, you can tweak your emails to create more targeted messaging for each segment, such as the introductory paragraph, the offer, and the closing text. 

And if you’re considering collaborating with a lead generation agency for list building, have them help in segmentation too. 

Targeting and segmenting can be a lot of work. That’s why with ViB Emails, our B2B email marketing solution, you simply give us your email and a snapshot of your ideal customer profile, and we handle the rest.

By tapping into the ViB Community, we’ll curate a list of prospects who fit that ICP, and help to send your email. Easy!

Watch this on-demand walk-through to get more answers👇

Discover everything you need to know about ViB Emails, including how it works, the challenges it solves, and its success stories, through our comprehensive video walkthrough.

8—Set your KPIs

Measuring the impact of your email marketing campaigns is critical for process improvement. You want to find out what worked and what didn’t so you can improve on your subsequent email marketing campaigns. 

Here are the top 10 key performance indicators (KPI) for B2B email marketing campaigns:

  • Emails opened: If you want to increase your email open rate, A/B test your subject line. Your email open rate should be between 15% and 20% of your total emails sent
  • Click-through rate: Send personalized and relevant content to increase your click through rate
  • Click-to-open rate: Improve your click to open rate by incorporating a persuasive CTA, aligning your email copy with the subject line, and personalization
  • Unsubscribe rate: This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is good to know how many of your recipients are actually interested in your business
  • Bounce rate: Checking the email addresses of the recipients through Unbounce or some other tools. If your bounce rate is very high, you should probably use a different list
  • Spam complaints: If your spam complaints are high, you should check your email list. This should be probably a good indicator to reevaluate your campaign as a whole.
  • Conversions: If your conversions are low, check your content, and landing page, or even a minor tweak to the subject line could increase your conversions
 

When it comes to KPIs and email campaign metrics, learn to never be satisfied with the status quo. Know you can always improve your results.

Effective email marketing can help you fill your funnel with qualified leads to keep your sales team busy. But not all email marketing is equal. Like most lead-generating strategies, email success requires a little finesse and a lot of expertise.

9—Ensure you're mobile ready

In the age of mobile devices, if your emails don’t work as well on mobile devices as they do on desktops, you’ll lose a lot of the intended impact.

As a result, creating mobile-optimized emails can help increase your ROI.

It may seem obvious, but some organizations don’t take this important point into consideration.

One of the most important ways to ensure that your emails are mobile ready is to use clear and concise formatting.

Following a 3-minute read time and testing across multiple devices can go a long way to optimize your email for mobile.

Also, make sure there is considerable negative space so that recipients can easily view the content against the background. 

10—Pace your emails

How often can you send B2B lead generation emails to your prospect list?

The ideal answer is frequent enough to generate the number of leads you need to fill the top of your funnel, but not so often that you create email fatigue and land in the trash more often than not.

It’s a little vague, I know. But this tip from Shay might help.

What I recommend is to become a sort of email scientist. This means determine what you think the best email cadence is and then test it. If prospects respond negatively to too many emails, send less. If you seem to lose their attention, send more emails. Keep testing until you feel that you’ve achieved an ideal pace — whether that’s every three days, once a week, or every other week.

Shay shared this tidbit during a webinar session on how to craft the perfect B2B cold email, campaign, and cadence. Or if reading is more your style, check out the blog: 5 Steps to Create a Perfect B2B Cold Email Campaign.

As for when to send them, three days rise to the top of most lists: Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. 

Alright! Now to sum it all up:

B2B Email Marketing Best Practices

Need more email marketing support?

If you need lead generation help beyond these B2B email marketing best practices, ViB offers a proven email marketing solution: ViB Emails.

ViB Emails takes a done-for-you approach that busy B2B marketers needHere’s a quick run through.

How ViB Emails works

  1. You give us any existing email. We recommend a top-of-funnel CTA, such as an email that promotes an event, content, or your brand
  2. You tell us your ICP. If it’s a niche B2B high-tech industry, don’t worry, we got that covered.
  3. We take your existing email and amplify it to targeted prospects within our active network of millions of high-tech professionals.
  4. They engage with our email and click through to your CTA for you to see results.

ViB Emails has a really unique approach to lead generation, which is why a free trial could help you assess it, no-risk. 🚀

And if you have any questions at all, reach out! We’d love to be a part of all things demand gen. 

Screenshot of ViB trial options - B2B email marketing, B2B appointment setting, B2B content syndication

Want to test our unique approach to B2B demand generation with a low cost trial?

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