4 Secrets Behind Boosting B2B Email Engagement


By Caitlin Perry

Email marketing in the B2B space is unique. Between long buying cycles, multiple decision-makers and stiff competition, the game is more geared toward consistently educating and adding value throughout each customer’s journey rather than hooking a quick sale. Those unpredictable variables can lead to inconsistent engagement if you don’t have a solid email strategy in place before clicking “send”.

The bright side of B2B email marketing? Your audience is likely required to maintain awareness of the products and services that support their marketplace. They WANT to feel like an expert on your product/service after making the purchasing decision. That gives your marketing team a chance to craft compelling communications for specific buyer groups that are looking for the exact solution or service you provide. 

Here are four secrets to ensuring those communications are prime for peak engagement:

1 | KEEP YOUR DATA CLEAN

In order to make sure your emails are reaching the right inboxes, you need to have the right data at your fingertips. Chances are you already have a CRM that stores this data (if you don’t, let’s talk), but it takes effort from both sales and marketing to make sure that data is as clean as possible while also filtering properly into your marketing automation solution. 

Clean data keeps your email campaign analytics more accurate, helps you hone in on your audience and allows for deeper targeting of different audience segments with less guess work.  Most importantly, the cleaner your data is, the better you’ll know what your audience is looking to consume. And if you’re giving readers the information they’re interested in, they’re far more likely to move down the sales funnel.

2 | CONSIDER SIMPLIFYING YOUR DESIGN

Most people think of email marketing as heavily designed and branded templates. Luckily, that’s only one of many approaches that can help get your message in front of the right audience. 

Personal touchpoints can go a long way in the B2B space, so why not make your email campaigns a bit more… well, personal? Simplifying your templates to look and feel like a one-to-one email is a great way to boost open and response rates, avoid spam filters and put your individual sales team members in direct contact with their leads and prospects. 

Re-read that last sentence. I say look and feel on purpose. It’s easy to make an email look like it’s coming from a person rather than a brand. A quick paragraph or two in black text with a simple salutation, followed by a signature and company logo, and you’re good to go. But if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ll have to prepare your sales team to walk the walk. To make this more personal approach to email marketing feel authentic and genuine, keep the following tips in mind:

Prepare your sales team.
According to Social Media Today, 82 percent of a group of surveyed marketers reported an increase in open-rate through email personalization, and 75 percent believe it yields higher click-thru rates. This means email recipients are much more likely to open, read and respond to one-to-one emails, so it’s critical that Sales is able to field those responses quickly and appropriately. Avoid sending personalized messages on behalf of your sales team members without their knowledge, and always give them a copy of the messaging and any linked content a day or so before the campaign is set to kick off. That way, they’ll be ready to answer questions and keep conversations rolling.

Pare down your list.
At least initially, stick with smaller, more targeted recipient lists for these personalized emails to ensure Sales is committed to following up with any engagement they receive. 

Keep your messaging brief and your call to action clear.
No need for fluffy marketing language here. Craft these types of emails to read quickly and easily, putting the emphasis on building relationships between your sales team and the recipients through the content you’re promoting. For example, “Hi John, We’re hosting a webinar about Salesforce tips and tricks next week that made me think of you. Here’s a link to register. Hope you’re able to join!” An email along those lines takes less than one minute for the recipient to digest, cuts right to the chase and provides a crystal clear call to action.

3 | DESIGN RESPONSIVELY

Of course, there’s a time and place for branded email templates. However, the way we consume email has changed drastically over the last few years, making it more important than ever to pay close attention to exactly what shows up in your audience’s inbox, regardless of how they view the content.  

According to information pulled together by Campaign Monitor, at least 50 percent of all email opens occur on a mobile device. And further research from the same article says that more than 70 percent of the time, emails not properly formatted for viewing on mobile devices will be deleted within three seconds. In case you hadn’t guessed it, that’s nowhere near enough time to drive your message home, no matter how relevant the content may be.

The best way to combat those stats? Design and utilize responsive email templates to ensure the formatting is easy to digest on any screen size. That may sound intimidating, but you likely won’t have to start from scratch. A solid marketing automation solution — our team uses Pardot — will have baseline responsive templates you can use as a starting point. With the heavy lifting of the responsive code out of the way, your marketing team or agency partner can focus on putting your brand front and center without compromising mobile readability.

ProTip: Pardot also has a fantastic email testing feature that shows exactly how your templates will render across commonly used devices and screen sizes, which is a huge time saver when prepping campaigns.

4 | REFINE YOUR PROCESSES

Picture this: You send some awesome content to a super targeted list and people are clicking through like crazy. High fives all around for your marketing gurus! 

Now what?

Having solid processes for what happens after an email sends is just as important as crafting an engaging email in the first place. Your goals and processes may be different depending on the type of content or campaign, but having some general processes in place can go a long way in maximizing your email marketing efforts. A good marketing automation solution will integrate with your CRM to help facilitate processes surrounding email campaigns and bridge the gap between sales and marketing responsibilities. Some ways you can use that type of integration include: 

  • Setting up an autoresponder email to quickly connect with leads who fill out a form on your website.
  • Alerting or assigning tasks to sales reps when their leads or prospects take certain actions within an email. 
  • Routing leads into specific lists or campaigns depending on their geographical region, the type of content they engage with or other measurable criteria.

Every company will operate differently in this area, but in general, being prepared and consistent with email campaign processes will promote stronger sales and marketing alignment and lasting results from your marketing efforts. According to the DMA’s 2015 National Client Email Report, the average return for email marketing is $38 for every $1 invested—that’s a 3,800 percent ROI. This means that when carried out properly, email marketing becomes a major contributor to an organization’s bottom-line agenda. 

With the volume of marketing emails hitting your audience on a daily basis, it can feel tough to stand out. Keep these four best practices top of mind when preparing your campaigns to help drastically improve email visibility and engagement, while keeping your internal stakeholders organized and happy. Need more insight on email success or marketing automation solutions? Contact our team of certified experts today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin Perry brings over 10 years of B2B communications and graphic design experience to Canpango’s marketing team. As Brand Manager, Caitlin combines her strategic and creative marketing knowledge to build consistent and compelling materials that help relay the Canpango story to the company’s global audiences.

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