An effective inbound marketing plan has many components, and it takes all of them to create a well-rounded strategy. But there’s one form of inbound marketing that stands apart as one of the most powerful ways to reach potential buyers, generate new leads, and increase customer engagement: email marketing.
Think about it. Everybody uses email—including the members of your target audience. That means if your business-to-business (B2B) company doesn’t include email marketing as part of your overall inbound strategy, you’re missing out on a significant opportunity to grow your business.
What Is Email Marketing, and How Does It Work?
Email marketing is a type of digital marketing that involves engaging with customers via email. By constructing a list of emails from potential buyers and current customers, you can generate a dialogue, respond to queries, raise brand awareness, nurture leads, and share helpful and engaging content.
One of the best parts of email marketing is that your B2B company owns the list. While a social media platform may delete your account or a search engine algorithm may tank your website’s ranking, your company has complete control over your email list.
As the most popular communication channel in the world, email is an excellent way to communicate with your target audience. Having an effective email marketing strategy can fuel your overall inbound strategy and create new ways to reach future customers.
Benefits of B2B Email Marketing
B2B email marketing has a wide variety of benefits—all of which have the power to take your larger inbound marketing strategy to the next level.
Reach Your Targeted Audience
With email marketing, you can reach more members of your target audience than ever. A consistent, automated email marketing campaign means you’re getting your brand and content in front of your subscribers on a regular basis, so you’re always in their mind. You can also create targeted campaigns with content tailored to different segments of your audience based on data, which helps increase engagement and your overall reach.
Value Your Loyal Customers
Email marketing gives you an opportunity to cultivate a loyal customer base. Why? Because you’re adding value and providing resources to recipients even when they aren’t making a purchase. If you consistently provide value to your email audience, you will strengthen your relationship with subscribers.
A reliable way to further increase the loyalty of your customers is to personalize emails. Including the names of your recipients is a reliable way to make them feel more like an individual and less like a number, which makes them more likely to purchase from your company.
Generate High-Quality Leads
The people on your email list are interested in your brand, service, and products, which makes it more likely that email marketing will encourage B2B lead generation.
Since subscribers have already expressed interest in your company, they are high-quality leads. Your job is to nurture these leads over time and encourage them to progress through the buyer’s journey so they’re ready to click when it’s time to make a purchase.
Members of your email list signed up for a reason. It’s the perfect opportunity to nurture that relationship and convert them into qualified leads.
Increase Website Traffic
Email is an excellent way to drive traffic to your B2B company’s website. You can add links to your website as well as buttons that take readers to specific landing pages so they can learn more about your products and services. Provide multiple opportunities for email recipients to easily connect with your website.
Another benefit is that as your email list grows, so does the number of people who visit your website—and as Google and other search engines take note of the increased hits to your website, your company’s search engine results page (SERP) ranking will improve.
Improve Customer Engagement
Sending regular, informative, and engaging emails to your customers increases their trust in your company and builds the authority of your brand. With so many different types of email campaigns you can create, your readers will stay interested in your content and get excited about your brand, leading to increased engagement and more high-quality leads.
Additionally, a strong email marketing campaign can increase customer engagement on other platforms. For example, including links to your social media accounts in your emails makes it easy for interested readers to follow your company for updates. Similarly, adding a clickable thumbnail of a recent video is a great way to encourage recipients to visit your YouTube page or website.
How to Create an Effective Email Marketing Campaign
An intentional, effective inbound email marketing campaign requires careful planning. Here’s how to get started developing your own B2B email marketing strategy.
4 Stages of an Inbound Marketing Journey for B2B Email Marketing
The buyer’s journey has four stages—awareness, consideration, decision, delight—and to create a successful inbound marketing strategy, you need to tailor your marketing content to each stage of the customer’s experience. In other words, the buyer’s journey should influence the content, timing, and recipients of your emails.
The first stage of the buyer’s journey is awareness, when potential customers become aware of their problem and try to define it. At this stage, your email content should attempt to clarify their questions and introduce them to possible solutions.
Send content like guides, ebooks, white papers, research papers, and analyst reports.
During the consideration stage, potential customers are exploring solutions to their problem, so your email content needs to cover approaches or methods to solving their defined problem.
How-to guides, webinars, podcasts, videos, and live interactions are all good options at this stage.
After becoming aware of the problem and considering possible solutions, it’s time for buyers to decide what they want to do to solve the problem. Now is the time to offer compelling reasons why your product or service is the best choice.
Content to include in emails at the decision stage should be much more exclusive to your company, such as case studies, trial downloads, discount codes, live demos, and personal consultations.
The buyer’s journey doesn’t end just because customers make a purchase. Instead, they have reached the delight stage, where your goal is to turn them into repeat customers by making sure they have the most positive customer experience possible.
To increase customer retention rates, include content like exclusive webinars, personalized product recommendations, and referral/loyalty programs in your emails.
Examples of a B2B Email Drip Campaign
An email drip campaign consists of an automated series of emails that is sent out to recipients based on specific timelines or actions a lead takes. These campaigns are incredibly effective at improving your relationships with your customers and guiding potential customers through the stages of the buyer’s journey.
There are several types of emails that B2B companies create as part of drip campaigns, and the type you choose depends on your target audience and the goals of your email marketing strategy.
Welcome Email Series
A welcome email series is the first email a new subscriber receives after making a purchase or signing up to your email list. They’re a great way to introduce your brand, products, and services to new customers. These emails should encourage recipients to take the next step—whatever that is—so the best welcome emails are clear, short, and actionable.
Email is an excellent way to promote your products or services, tell customers about special offers, or announce updates. Any time you improve your services or upgrade your products, send an email describing the changes and encouraging recipients to learn more, visit your website, or make a purchase.
Newsletters are an incredibly popular type of email drip campaign. These emails are usually non-promotional and sent on a regular basis. You can use newsletters to share blog posts, industry updates, product tips and tricks, and updates with your subscribers. It’s an excellent way to build a long-term relationship with your customers and establish your B2B company as an authority in your industry.
What happens when someone on your email list stops engaging with your brand and emails? Reengagement emails target these subscribers to encourage them to start interacting with your company again. For example, you could send a discount code to trigger a new purchase or share a brief survey asking what they want to see in future emails.
When buyers spend over a certain threshold, you can trigger an automatic drip campaign to encourage a deeper relationship. Consider what incentives you can offer to these VIPs, like early access to new services or updates on soon-to-be-released products, that would make these customers feel important.
How to Improve Your Email Open & Clickthrough Rates
To take advantage of the world’s most popular communication channel, you need to write emails that recipients will open, read, and click. Follow these tips to improve the open and clickthrough rates of your inbound email marketing strategy.
Segment Your Audiences
Recipients are more likely to open emails that include content specifically tailored to them. On the other hand, if the email is irrelevant to their interests or needs, they will ignore it.
To make sure you’re sending relevant content to the right subscribers, you need to segment your leads.
Segmentation gives you the opportunity to target specific email recipients with certain content—for example, based on where they are in the buyer’s journey. You can also segment leads based on demographics, industry, location, company size, job title, and more based on buyer personas.
Focus on Your Subject Line, Preview Text, and “From” Field
The subject line, preview text, and “from” fields can significantly impact the open and clickthrough rates of your B2B emails.
Your subject line is the first thing your recipients see. These lines need to be short enough that they aren’t cut off on the screen. That means the best subject lines for B2B email marketing are less than 50 characters long. The preview text should reinforce your subject line and convince recipients to open your email. This text needs to be clear and clickable.
The “from” field informs your recipients who sent the email. People don’t open emails from senders they don’t recognize, so make sure you send the email using a familiar name, like from your B2B company or a well-known employee.
Avoid the Spam Folder
The spam folder is a death sentence for any email. If your B2B marketing emails are marked as spam, it’s unlikely your customers will ever read or even see them. Additionally, having too many emails flagged as spam may interfere with your overall deliverability rate, making it even more difficult for subscribers to find your content.
There are a few ways to avoid the spam folder:
- Authenticate your company emails
- Use a trusted email marketing service provider
- Comply with unsubscribe requests
- Use your company’s website as your email address
- Add your company’s physical address somewhere in the message (usually in the footer)
Keep these instructions in mind as you develop your inbound email marketing strategy.
Send Consistent, Relevant, and Clear Content
One of your goals should be to write emails that your recipients want to read, and that means sending consistent, relevant, and clear content.
A schedule of consistent emails helps keep your company relevant in the minds of your subscribers. And, of course, each email should include content that is engaging, relevant, and easy to understand. Start by covering only one main topic per email—when there are multiple topics or purposes to an email, it can distract your readers.
Make Mobile Optimization Your Friend
An increasing number of people use mobile devices to check their email, so to ensure your recipients open and read your emails, you need to design them with mobile users in mind.
If you want to create a template that is optimized for mobile devices, make sure to replace large image file sizes to fit the screen and make up for slower mobile download speeds and to keep links and call-to-action (CTA) buttons the right size.
However, building a responsive email template may require additional coding and design experience. Consider investing in an expert to make a template for your B2B company that you can use to send marketing emails.
How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Email Campaigns
Email marketing automation tools make it easy to measure the effectiveness of your B2B email marketing campaigns. Most of these software solutions include various data points, dashboards, and analytics to help you determine what parts of your email marketing strategy are working well and which methods need to improve.
You can track several key metrics:
- Open rate: The average number of recipients who open your email
- Clickthrough rate: The average number of times recipients clicked on a link inside your email
- Unsubscribe rate: The number of recipients who unsubscribed from your email list
- Bounce rate: The percentage of accounts on your email list that did not receive your email
- Spam complaints: The number of times your email was marked as spam
This list is not conclusive; in fact, there are dozens of other metrics you can measure to determine the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign. It all depends on the type of email marketing software you use as well as the goals of your overall inbound marketing strategy.
As a B2B company, you need to include email marketing as part of your overall inbound marketing strategy.
Are you ready to get started? We can help.
At OneIMS, we’re a leading inbound marketing agency with more than a decade of experience in email marketing strategies that are proven to generate new leads, increase your revenues, and achieve predictable growth. We’re ready to help your B2B company transform your inbound marketing strategy to take advantage of the power of email marketing.
Our team of marketing experts has the strategies, solutions, and tools you need to engage with clients and meet your inbound marketing goals—and we pride ourselves on producing measurable and sustainable results.
Interested in learning more about how we can help grow your business? View case studies from some of our happy customers, read our blog to get an idea of our training and experience, and schedule a consultation with us today.