The B2B Email Playbook: A Practical Guide to Winning More Clients

b2b email cover image with a business woman sending an email on a laptop

B2B email refers to using emails to engage with other businesses, organizations, or professional stakeholders. 

The average unsubscribe rate for B2B email marketing is 0.24%, which is lower than the industry average of 0.27% for marketing emails. This gives it a distinctive advantage over other forms of marketing, such as social and content marketing.

Being a B2B company gives you complete control over building strong, long-term customer relationships if you choose the right marketing approach. This means writing quality and relevant email content that complements the customer lifecycle stage. 

We understand every business has different goals and target audiences. This piece will be your general B2B email tactics handbook in 2024, packed with actionable tips and strategies.

What is a B2B Email?

B2B emailing is a digital marketing strategy that uses emails to connect with businesses and promote products or services.

B2B emails focus on reaching decision-makers and relevant authorities to generate leads and build trust. 

They can be any of the following email types:

  • Cold emails: These emails aim to introduce your business to potential customers who haven’t previously interacted with your company. 
  • Newsletter emails: Regular updates sent to subscribers about industry news, practical tips, or company updates.
  • Product launch emails: Announcing new products to existing and potential business clients.
  • Event invitation emails: Inviting businesses to webinars, trade shows, or business meet-ups.
  • Follow-up emails: Sent after an initial contact or meeting to maintain the relationship and move potential customers through the marketing funnel.

B2B emails are typically more formal and focused on solving business or industry challenges in your target market. And that’s why sending them at a prime time is crucial to getting more eyes on your email content.

When Should You Send B2B Emails?

Unlike B2C email marketing, your target audiences do not have the freedom to read emails whenever they like. Most professionals likely don’t open emails after work hours, so sending them between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. is critical.

Research suggests that B2B emails are best sent at 10 am when audiences proactively check their inboxes as they start their work day.

But if you require alternative days and times based on your goals and audience, here are the best times to send B2B emails weekly.

Day TimeReasoning
Tuesday 8 AM – 10 AM After the Monday rush, professionals are settling in to check emails
Wednesday 10 AMMid-week usually sees higher engagement because it offers a balance between early birds and later risers
Thursday 3 PMAnother good mid-week option where people are wrapping up tasks and checking emails
Best time to send B2B emails

Depending on your target audience, you can use weekends to send ultra-important emails. For example, investors and executives check their emails more frequently than employees.

Best Practices For Putting Together a Perfect B2B Email

A converting B2B email copy starts with putting your readers first: what do they want, and how can your business provide that? 

Each client may require different things from your business. Carefully study their behavior to craft accurate content. 

Use these best practices as a cheat sheet to plan your B2B email campaigns.

Aspect Meaning
Target audience Understand your ideal client profile and their specific needs
Email GoalsDefine clear objectives for your email campaigns (Generate leads, nurture relationships, or promote content)
Subject line Write intriguing subject lines to encourage an action
Opening lineHook the reader from the start – highlight a relevant key point, pose a question, or offer a valuable solution
Value propositionTell recipients how your product or services can solve their challenges
Structure and lengthKeep B2B emails concise and scannable with bullet points and white space
PersonalizationDon’t settle for just the name. Use recent challenges or refer to past interactions
Professional toneMaintain a professional and engaging tone
Unsubscribe optionInclude a clear and easy way for readers to opt out of future emails
Testing and optimizationConsider A/B testing different email elements, timing, and frequency of emails
B2B emails — Best practices

Understand Your Audience

Audience profile is a key indicator of email marketing performance, especially in the B2B space. Even while using the same marketing medium, diverse approaches might be required for different audience segments.

In most cases, audiences are already looking for your services or products, which makes it a great opportunity to showcase your value proposition. But it’s not that easy — most B2B purchases undergo consideration by several members before a decision is made.

Think bigger and take the time to identify:

  • Who do you want to reach,
  • What are their problems, 
  • What do you have to offer,
  • How can your product or service solve their challenges,
  • What are your audience’s behavioral patterns.

The key is to study your target audience and have a plan instead of merely blasting generic messages.

Define Your Goals

B2B email marketing goals can be varied depending on the stage of your customer journey. Potential MOFU (Middle-of-funnel) clients will need more nurturing through thought leadership pieces and industry insights than TOFU (Top-of-funnel) customers. 

While building brand awareness can be a goal, you need specific and measurable objectives. Here’s a breakdown of key B2B email goals and how they contribute to the bigger picture.

Category GoalHow To 
Lead GenerationIncrease qualified leadsAttract potential customers and capture their contact information for nurturing
Brand Awareness and Thought LeadershipPosition your business as an industry expert and build brand recognitionShare valuable information and industry insights in email newsletters
Customer Engagement and NurturingBuild relationships and nurture leads throughout the buyer’s journeyGenerate interest in upcoming webinars, conferences, or product launches
Customer Retention and UpsellingIncrease customer satisfaction and encourage repeat businessSend email campaigns with exclusive access, loyalty rewards, or educational resources to existing customers
Event PromotionGenerate interest for upcoming webinars, conferences, or product launchesCreate targeted email campaigns promoting the event and encourage registrations
B2B goals – examples

Remember to track key metrics for each goal to understand the progress. 

Craft Your Value Proposition

Your company’s value proposition demonstrates its uniqueness and why customers must associate with you rather than your competitors. 

The value proposition often appears on your website, but emails are a great place to include it. Define the problem and show customers how your business can make a positive impact.

Use this step-by-step approach as a guide:

  1. Define your ideal customer and understand their biggest challenge.
  2. Identify your solutions and how they impact your target audience.
  3. Focus more on the benefits instead of listing the features.
  4. Highlight the core benefit and keep your value proposition under one sentence. For example, “We help [Target customer] achieve [goals] through [unique products/services].”

Examples of Value Proposition

Use the following phrases as an outset to craft your own propositions:

  • “We help busy marketers save time by automating email marketing campaigns.” [B2B Software Company].
  • “We help small businesses attract more leads through social media advertising.” [Marketing Agency].
  • “We help homeowners achieve peace of mind with reliable and affordable home security solutions.” [Security Company].

Write Compelling Subject Lines

While every email element is important, pay close attention to the subject lines. These 30-50 characters hold immense value and determine email open and engagement rates

Brevity is your best friend, especially for B2B emails — be clear about your email’s purpose and keep the subject under 50 characters. For example, don’t say, “We would love to discuss this with you on a call,” when you can say, “Is [Pain point] holding your business back?”

Review these B2B subject line formulas for effective emails:

  1. Benefit-oriented: “Boost your ROI with [Your solution]”
  2. Curiosity-driven: “Are you struggling because of [Problem]?”
  3. Question-based: “Quick question about [industry challenge]”
  4. Time-sensitive: “Limited time offer: Free consultation for [industry]”
  5. Personalized: “[Customer name] we helped [similar company] achieve [outcome/result]”

You can include data points to showcase concrete results, but keep your subject lines professional and avoid spammy language such as “Act now”, “Urgent”, or “Free,” which can trigger spam filters. When unsure, A/B test your B2B email subject lines to identify the best performer.

Cultivate Empathy and Understanding

Empathic marketing starts with identifying your audience’s levels of awareness. This approach will help you craft resonating messages for every stage of the funnel. 

Although B2B purchases are not emotionally driven like B2C, amicable storytelling is important to foster deeper connections. If people like the brand story, 55% will likely buy the product, and 44% will share the story with others. 

So, why not start with these tips to build lasting relationships:

  1. Use polls and surveys: Understand the struggles of your target audience through polls and surveys, market research, or by asking your best customers.
  2. Mind the design: Adjust your visuals and positioning based on the audience’s pain points.
  3. Target emotions: Be aware of the audience’s emotional triggers.
  4. Highlight the good: Use benefit-driven language to instill trust.
  5. No wordiness: Don’t overwhelm readers with industry jargon.

Induce optimism and hope by providing the right solutions in your email campaigns.

Maintain a Professional Tone

Demonstrate professionalism and seriousness in your emails to build trust with your audience. 

This includes adapting emails to the following aspects:

  1. Grammatically correct sentences.
  2. Writing in Active voice.
  3. Limiting the use of industry jargon.
  4. Meticulously proofread emails.
  5. Immediately focusing on the value proposition.
  6. Maintaining a positive and upbeat tone.
  7. Being appreciative of the recipient.

Email etiquette is critical to positioning your brand as the go-to solution for common industry challenges.

Keep Messages Short and Sweet

B2B email marketing is no stranger to the 12-second rule: people spend fewer than 12 seconds reading each email. This amount may further fall if your target audience is at the C-level.

To pique the reader’s interest, you may need a combination of a strong hook and content that echoes their problems. 

Start with these best practices to write effective B2B email body copy:

  1. Indicate the gist: Start with the main purpose of the email.
  2. Mind the structure: Utilize bullet points for better scannability.
  3. Highlight the message: Focus on a single message and CTA.
  4. Avoid jargon: Use simple language and limit technical terms.
  5. Understand the audience: Be specific and relevant to the reader’s pain points.
  6. Mind the length: Aim for 2-3 sentences per paragraph and a maximum of 3 paragraphs.
  7. Steer clear of fluff: Cut unnecessary words and phrases that don’t add value.

Have a Professional Signature

Beyond better marketing and brand visibility, your email signature should show authenticity and uniqueness. It’s the single place where you can promote your products and build trust and credibility. 

Be mindful of these factors before revamping your business email signature:

  1. Maintain clarity: Include your first and last name for better clarity.
  2. Mention what you do: Briefly mention the job title to establish the relationship with your company.
  3. Give out your contact: Consider adding a phone number or email.
  4. Invite to your social: Include social icons to help readers connect outside of emails.
  5. Utilize brand elements: Use your company logo for better brand recognition.
  6. Focus on engagement: Insert a short CTA for specific campaigns to improve engagement.

More importantly, maintain consistency with brand colors, font size, and other brand elements. 

Bulletproof Your Grammar

Imagine spending hours perfecting your emails only to find a typo in them. Bad grammar can make customers reevaluate their decisions and likely decrease their trust in your business.

Run through these tips for your grammar check routine:

  • Read your emails aloud twice before hitting the send button.
  • Use grammar tools such as Grammarly and the Hemingway App to identify errors.
  • Re-check the subject-verb agreement.
  • Use commas sparingly.
  • Avoid slang and phrase sentences in a formal tone.

Write Persuasive CTAs

The CTA is as simple as stringing together a few words, right? Although true, it’s also the most challenging to write because you must convince the reader to act with the help of a few words. 

By default, readers expect a CTA in most communication channels, including emails. In psychology, this is called the “Perceptual set theory,” which refers to the mental readiness to perceive stimuli in a certain way based on previous experiences.

Since the reader’s mind already expects a CTA, you can play along, but remember the following factors:

  • Tell the reader what they should do next.
  • Answer any contradictions.
  • Ensure it’s relevant and personalized.
  • Keep it relevant to the email content.
  • Ensure it’s brief and easy to understand.

You can choose between a “Soft CTA” or a “Hard CTA.” 

Soft CTAs are less demanding and are interest-based, while hard CTAs are more direct and ask to take a specific action.

Soft CTA example: “Are you open to finding out more?”

Hard CTA example: ” I would love to schedule a demo to explain the product benefits.”

Embrace Email Marketing Compliance

Email marketing compliance is a broad term, making it difficult to follow every facet. However, with practice, you can automatically create compliant emails and safeguard your sender reputation.

Email Marketing Compliance: Best Practices

Considering these aspects will help you follow email marketing best practices:

  1. Opt-in is key: Only add contacts to your email list who have explicitly given you permission to receive your emails.
  2. Use double-opt-in: Implement a double opt-in process where subscribers confirm their email addresses after signing up. 
  3. Identify yourself: Clearly mention your sender name – company, or your name in the ‘From’ field in your emails. Avoid using misleading or irrelevant sender names.
  4. Use transparent subject lines: Use clear and concise subject lines and preheader text to retain their trust.
  5. Include an unsubscribe option: Make it easy for subscribers to opt out by placing unsubscribe buttons in the footer or other prominent places. Unsubscribe option is pre-requisite according to GDPR and CAN-SPAM Act.
  6. Include address: Mention your company’s physical address in the email footer for increased transparency and credibility.
  7. Understand the regulations: Familiarize yourself with different email marketing regulations such as GDPR (Europe) and CAN-SPAM (U.S.).
  8. Segment your email list: Divide audiences based on interests and demographics for a more targeted approach and to avoid spam complaints.
  9. Clean email lists regularly: Routinely remove unwanted and inactive email addresses from your lists. This improves deliverability rates and avoids sending emails to uninterested recipients.

Campaign Refinery’s integrated email list cleaning tool helps users remove unhealthy email contacts and leave lists with valid email addresses.

Building a successful B2B email marketing plan on your own can be difficult, and having your emails delivered to inboxes might worsen the problem.

This is where Campaign Refinery acts as your strategic email partner offering the highest email deliverability rate on the market.

How Campaign Refinery Helps You Send Better B2B Emails

No matter how good your B2B emails are, they will never be seen if they don’t reach recipients’ primary inboxes. Campaign Refinery’s prime focus is to get your emails delivered to recipient inboxes using premium tools, clean sending practices, and a high-speed sending engine.

Campaign Refinery provides a comprehensive platform for sending high-performing B2B emails, including extensive personalization, segmentation, and automation options

You can use automated email sequences, nurture leads, follow up with prospects, or offer targeted content based on subscriber actions. This saves our clients time and ensures brand consistency.

The most exciting news is that you will be part of an elite sender community that has mastered email marketing best practices and achieved exemplary results.

Ready to be a top B2B email sender with Campaign Refinery?

Apply to join as our client today!

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