10 Best Practices for Your Next B2B Email Marketing Campaign

Over 89% of marketers use email as the primary channel for generating leads. B2B email marketing campaigns are consistently one of the best marketing strategies available for modern marketers. 

However, there is a caveat. It’s that the emails must be done well. If they are not, then instead of helping organizations meet their intended goals — such as generating leads, moving leads through a buyer’s journey, and building a brand — the emails will have the opposite impact.  

To avoid that scenario, bring these 10 email marketing best practices into your campaign planning process.

Learn how Sheila drove email conversions with SmartSend
ViB is hands-down the most cost-efficient vendor we leverage. The MQL to SAL results we get are incomparable.”
Sheila Madrigal
Sr. Manager, Global Email Marketing, Nutanix

10 email marketing best practices 

Table of Contents

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 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.

subject line example for email best practices

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, to 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.”

3—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 51% response rate. 

4—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 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 is 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. 

optimize email marketing call to action

5—Create a High-Impact Prospect List

The leading characteristics of a great email marketing list is the size of the list and the prospects on the list. Typically, an organization needs a large list — even up to a million people — to generate a high response. Also, you need to be sure that the prospects on the list are viable candidates for your company’s products and services. Ask yourself if these leads are pre-qualified and able to convert into opportunities

Buying lists is not a great practice with GDPR laws in place. The best option is to have your target audience opt in as a marketing contact. There are several options to create an opt in: offer good content, invite for events, offer free trials, ask for subscriptions etc. Once they become a marketing qualified lead  you can put them in nurture sequences and formally introduce them to your products and services.

6—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:

  • 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. 

7—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, align your email copy with 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 your 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, landing page or even 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.

8—Ensure You Are 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. 

9—Offer Lead Magnets for Opt-ins

If you’re creating emails outside your contact base to generate a lot of leads in a short amount of time, consider the relevance of your gated lead magnet or freebie. These lead magnets are a great way to engage your audience while collecting their contact details for you to action on them later. 

You’ll need to ensure they’ll be considered valuable by the recipients on your email marketing list. They need to be interesting enough for your email recipients 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. 

10—Pace Your Email Frequency 

How often can you send B2B lead generation emails to your prospect list? The ideal answer is frequently 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. As for when to send them, three days rise to the top of most lists: Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. 

If you need support for your B2B email marketing campaign beyond these best practices, ViB offers proven email marketing services, including a SmartSend email marketing program. We can also help amplify your message by targeting your ideal customer profile within our active network of millions of professionals. Contact us today!