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Building a Successful B2B Email Campaign [10 Things To Know]

by | Dec 12, 2019

B2B email campaigns are only as valuable as the leads they generate. No email can ever guarantee results with absolute certainty. But, by following best practices, you can drastically increase the success of any B2B email marketing campaign. 

Here are 10 must-have components for a successful B2B email campaign.

Segmented Email Lists 

Owning a segmented email list is the first step to driving a successful email campaign. A segmented email list is the result of splitting a larger email list into smaller sections in order to send more relevant emails to different types of customers. Customers interested in enterprise-level B2B solutions should be in a different email segment than customers interested in one-off or small-scale B2B solutions. In more specific niches, like healthcare, this could be the difference between orthopedic device clients and physician-owned specialty practice clients.

If you don’t have a segmented email list, you should set up a landing page or sign-up form to begin collecting email addresses right away. We can help with that

We caution against buying an email list. A purchased email list will likely be low quality and may result in your account being flagged as spam, or worse, could result in a legal fine. Currently, the US and many other countries have anti-spam legislation on the books.

Subject Lines That Beg To Be Clicked

The subject line is the most important factor for audiences when deciding to open an email or not (especially since the average office worker receives 121 emails per day). Keep headlines short, catchy, and to the point.

Be creative. It’s hard to guess what kind of content works best. For instance, research suggests headlines that feature song lyrics or movie titles do particularly well, which may be unexpected.

Keep in mind that every B2B audience is different and there is a ton of competition for clicks. Be sure to A/B test subject lines to find what methods generate the most opens and clicks from your customers or clients.

an email inbox is full of unread messages

Preheader Text That Matters

Before a user opens an email, they can see a small bit of preview text. If this text is not specifically set, the email will pull the first bit of text it sees. The problem comes when text at the top of the email isn’t representative of the entire email. This can be because of multiple unrelated sections or simply a result of how the email is visually designed. Without proper preheader text, the email program may pull text like “view this email in a browser,” repeated subject lines, or even text from an unsubscribe button!

To set preheader text without having to edit your email content, create an inline CSS style that ensures no matter what browser or email software is being used, the preheader text only shows up as a preview. Copy and save this code for your own B2B email campaign:

<td style=”display:none;
     Visibility:hidden;
     Font-size: 1px;
     Max-height: 0px;
     Max-width: 0px;
     Opacity: 0;
     Mso-hide:all;
     Overflow: hidden;”>
This is where you add the preheader text you want to display in your email preview.
</td>

Personalized Greetings and Messages

In every section of an email, there’s an opportunity to add personalization. Personalized greetings in subject lines generate 50% higher open rates. You can also add personalization in the preview text and body text, both of which have been proven to increase open rates and clicks. 

When intaking emails through forms, be sure to include boxes for users to include their first and last names separately. For online signup forms, each box has a personalization tag that allows it to be referenced again.

How to Add a Personalized Greeting with HTML

At any point in an email’s body, preheader text, or subject line, you can add code like this:

“Hi [firstname, fallback=friend], here’s a free gift for you!”

If the intake forms were properly titled and your Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM) is functioning, the user (me for example) would see, “Hi Barry, here’s a free gift for you!”. If the CRM did not have access to my [firstname] tag, or it was not required when I signed up for the email, I would see, “Hi friend, here’s a free gift for you!”

Of course, always use personalized messages that are appropriate for your audience.

Concise Body Text That Drives Your Message

If you feel like your emails need a table of contents, the lists are probably not as segmented as they could be. Keep your body text concise and to the point. If an email starts with a section on selling design software, it shouldn’t then include a section on financial software, too. Those audiences are different and should be treated as such.

When writing email body copy, be sure to:

  • Create a logical structure that’s easy to follow. 
  • Trim every bit of fat you can and make sure to keep scrolling to a minimum.
  • Speak your audience’s language and lose the marketing lingo.
  • Ensure all the content is directed at a single segmented audience.

Send From a Real Person Your Audience Knows (or Could Know)

Marketing research suggests using a specific person’s name, rather than a general email address, can increase your open rates by as much as 35%. That’s huge. Be sure to set your “send-from” or “from-name” email to be from a human and not a generic info email address.

Having a real human name in the “from” section can also help keep your B2B marketing emails out of your audiences’ spam folders.

Compelling Call-to-Action and Response Button

Your emails should each only have a single call-to-action. The button should be large, easy to identify, and utilize colors that make the text legible. Your call-to-action button should be the most prominent clickable option in the email. We suggest including plenty of white space around the button to make it stand out as much as possible.

Examples of effective Call-to-Action include short, punchy invitations:

  • Watch Now
  • Start Your Free Trial
  • Register Now
  • Reserve Your Spot
  • Claim Your Discount
  • Download

Optimize for Mobile

Every email you send should be responsive. Most email management tools will automatically handle this, but you should always send and review test emails to both mobile and desktop browsers and applications to ensure functionality on both. 

Additionally, most modern phones only display 32 characters of an email headline. Older phones, like the iPhone 4 and 5 only display 23 characters. This means you need to be extra concise when crafting email subject lines, especially if the majority of your audiences read their email on mobile devices.

Preheader text should be well under 100 characters. Many mobile devices will only display 35-50 characters in total. Be sure to include the most relevant information (or personalized greeting) at the front of your preheader text.

Emails should make sense even if none of your images load. Text on images may be easy to read on a desktop computer, but can sometimes shrink to the point of illegibility on mobile devices. Keep your important words as text and not as a part of the images and always test to make sure your images load correctly on desktop and mobile. 

Follow the Law

Your footer text appears at the bottom of your email. It should always include an unsubscribe button. This is a requirement by US law. Other laws that must be followed include:

  • You can not mislead the audience about who is sending the email. It must come from a person or the business itself.
  • Your subject line must be honest and can not make empty promises.
  • Get permission from your recipients before sending your email, especially if you are working with EU customers. This is why you should never buy lists.
  • Respect opt-out requests quickly. Good email management software can manage this for you and keep your B2B list up-to-date.

Effective Supplement to an Unsubscribe Button

Some people think more than one marketing email per week is too much. But that doesn’t mean you need to change your entire email campaign to account for one person. Instead, you have the option to empower your audience to decide how often they hear from you. Research has shown that an option to “receive fewer emails” is effective in reducing unsubscribes.

B2B email campaigns provide powerful opportunities to engage with your current and prospective clients. Make sure your emails are properly constructed, visually appealing, properly segmented, and follow our recommendations above to maximize impact.

Need help building your email campaign? We can help.Send me an email anytime at barmbruster@nichols-co.com to get the conversation started today.

Barry Armbruster - Partner | Owner | Creative

  • Resident B2B expert
  • First agency position in 1997, joined Nichols in 2002
  • Splits time between creative leadership and account service
  • Remembers every detail about clients and their businesses
  • Coffee connoisseur, music enthusiast and fair-weather runner

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