How to Reach Your B2B Audience in a Mobile World - OneIMS
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Is your B2B company investing in email marketing campaigns but failing to see the increases in revenue? Email is a valuable tactic, with the highest Return on Investment (ROI) stats of any digital marketing approach, yet B2B companies are reportedly struggling to get the desired results. One of the primary challenges in 2016 proved to be responding to the growth of a mobile-first audience. However, what if B2B companies learned more about their mobile prospects and how to reach them effectively? What if they could take advantage of the fact that mobile audiences bring in twice the amount of revenue that desktop readers do? That’s where this article comes in. Let’s take a closer look at the shift in email consumption from desktop to mobile, how it’s impacting B2B marketing, and what strategies you can integrate into your digital marketing email campaigns—starting today.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. The number of emails opened on mobile devices is steadily growing.
  2. B2B marketers have struggled to reach the open/consumption rates of B2C marketers.
  3. Mobile optimization of emails is a key factor in increasing opens, click-throughs, and revenue.
  4. Learn mobile optimization tactics to apply to your emails and reap the rewards.

The B2B Challenges (and Rewards Available) with Email Marketing

Email has gradually shifted from being consumed at a desktop computer to being checked on a handheld device. From 2010–2015, the number of emails opened on mobile devices grew by 30%. Now in 2016, 66% of all emails are opened on phones or tablets. That clearly has an impact on marketing efforts. Once companies were concerned with how their emails would appear on different email clients, but now there is also a concern with how emails will look on the many devices in use today. According to Adestra’s Consumer Adoption & Usage Study, 72% of mobile email users will delete emails if they look ‘bad’ on their mobile device screen, so creating a good user experience is crucial if you want to appeal to the majority of your audience. Unfortunately, B2B companies haven’t been keeping up with this trend particularly well. The 2016 Email Marketing Benchmark Report found B2B companies to be one of the bottom performers when it comes to mobile email opens/consumption. However, what happens when companies do optimize for mobile? Vantage Point found that 41% of B2B companies improved their email marketing results.

Statistics on email marketing It’s clear that effective mobile optimization can have a considerable positive impact on the effectiveness of email marketing. Just consider the stats from Vantage Point’s infographic mentioned above—designing for mobile consumption drives a 15% increase in clicks, and mobile clicks drive more than double the revenue compared to desktop clicks! If that’s piqued your interest in terms of learning how to optimize your emails to boost engagement and revenue, keep reading.

How to Optimize Emails for Your Digital Marketing Campaigns (in 5 Steps)

Optimizing emails for mobile devices is key to getting prospects to open, read, click, and engage. Here are the key components of a mobile-friendly email that you should be incorporating into your digital marketing campaigns.

Step #1: Write Short and Impactful Headlines

B2B decision makers are looking at emails on their mobile devices throughout the day. They are scanning their inboxes, quickly reading what they can, and making mental checks of what they want to read more carefully later on. Keep in mind that mobile devices only allow for about five words to be seen in the subject line, and anything after that is simply cut off. As such, in order to get your recipients’ attention, your words need to be interesting, relevant, engaging, and concise—especially considering that 1 in 3 email recipients opens an email based on the subject line alone. To pique a prospect’s interest, you must make the most out of the limited space available and stand out from the other emails they are scrolling through. There are many ways to do this, such as using words that create urgency, showing your human side, creating a curiosity gap, referencing pop culture, offering expertise, using personalization, trying reverse psychology, or employing cliff hangers. Start by checking out these two resources for subject line inspiration:

  1. 23 Sales Email Subject Lines That Get Prospects to Open, Read, and Respond
  2. 12 Effective B2B Email Subject Lines (And Why They Worked On Me)

Next, brainstorm a few subject lines for your next email and run A/B tests to find out which perform best with your audience. You’ll be doing this from now on to find the subject lines that perform best in terms of increasing opens and clicks.

Step #2: Craft Accompanying Pre-header Text

The pre-header text is content that appears under the subject line of emails on the preview screen. It shows the first sentence in the email to give a preview of what the email contains. An example of subject line and pre-headers working in tandem. An example of subject line and pre-headers working in tandem.[/caption] When left unattended to, the pre-header text often reads something like “can’t read this email, click here!”, which robs you of an opportunity to engage the recipient. Be mindful of how the first sentence of your email is shown, as it represents another opportunity to further engage the prospect. Craft your subject line and pre-header to work together in gaining the interest of your prospect.

Step #3: Ensure Your Message is Compact

Take a look at this chart from the Movable Ink 2015 Device Preference Report. More than half of emails opened on mobile devices are read for less than 15 seconds. Furthermore, a significant percentage of recipients only read emails for three seconds. Email read rate chart That’s time for a quick glance, an “OK, got it”, and a click on the Back button. With this in mind, it’s important to keep your message short and sweet. By doing so, your prospects will appreciate your respect for their time and are more likely to open your emails in the future. A great tactic, also used in online content, is to make your email ‘scannable’. Provide clear headers, white space, short chunks of text, and bulleted lists. Then, your readers can instantly find the information they want.

Step #4: Optimize the Timing Of Your Emails

Next up, the time of day that you send your emails matters. Mobile devices have created an ‘always on, always tuned in’ effect, meaning that B2B buyers are likely checking their phone throughout the day, every day. They are not guaranteed to be sitting at their desk with no distractions. Instead, they’re in meetings, traveling, driving, at conferences, etc. If you send an email when the person is busy, they are more likely to skip over it. Even if they do want to revisit it later, the 2016 Consumer Adoption and Usage Study found that 59% of consumers leave an email unread if they plan to read it later, while only 33% flag it. So, it is critical to study your target audience and their behaviors. Ask yourself:

  • What time zone are they in?
  • What work schedule are they on?
  • What days do I get the most opens?
  • What time of day is best?

Maybe your audience is largely in the Pacific Standard Timezone, and they work Monday to Friday, 8–5. You may see a jump in opens if you send your email between 12pm–1pm when most of your prospects are eating lunch. Maybe you have better results on Sunday night when your audience has more time to pay attention to the emails they are receiving. There’s only one strategy to find out: conduct research, make informed hypotheses, and run tests.

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Step #5: Test Your Email Before Pressing Send

Last but not least, run tests before sending your emails out to your list. View it on a variety of different devices and browsers. Ensure that:

  • The text is readable
  • The layout appears properly
  • The buttons work
  • The subject lines/preheaders display effectively
  • Images display

Treat the above as a simple pre-scheduling checklist.


There’s no question about it—B2B marketers who optimize their email marketing campaigns for mobile benefit from an improvement in results. Don’t write off this strategy because 2016 presented new challenges. In order to take full advantage of email in your digital marketing campaign, keep these mobile optimization tips in mind:

  1. Write short impactful headlines.
  2. Craft accompanying pre-header text.
  3. Ensure your message is compact.
  4. Optimize the timing of your emails.
  5. Test your email before pressing Send.

Do you have any further questions regarding email marketing? Let us know in the comments section below!

How to Reach Your B2B Audience in a Mobile World | OneIMS

Written By Samuel Thimothy

As the Chief Growth Officer, I provide leadership, direction and resource stewardship to the organization’s sales and marketing function. I also collaborate with our digital marketing strategy team in developing and executing growth marketing campaigns for our loyal clients.

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