Business to Business: Why you Cannot Replace Email Marketing 

28 Gennaio 2020

Written by Alessandro Mollicone


With 3.7 billion users and a traffic of 280 billion messages delivered on a daily basis, email is one of the most powerful communication channels ever. The spread of emails, which is a still growing occurrence, makes email marketing one of the most debated topics relating to digital marketing strategies.    

Worldwide marketers can now explore and test plenty of fascinating new tools, such as social networks and new communication strategies, but still email marketing has to be the core business of a smart digital communication plan. 

That is true for B2C digital marketing, as we easily guess checking our personal email inbox, but it can become a fundamental fact for what concerns B2B marketing. 

Why you need to stay focused on email marketing

If you’re among the ones thinking email as an “old tactic” for lead generation and customer nurture...well, you’d probably should know some interesting stats about email marketing: 

  • 89% of marketers consider email marketing as primary channel for lead generation. (Mailigen)
  • 86% of professionals prefer to use email for business purposes communication. (HubSpot)
  • 73% of millennials, which are a huge and growing part of consumers, prefer communications from businesses to come via email. (Adestra, 2016)
  • 83% of B2B companies use e-newsletters as part of their content marketing program. (, 2017)
  • 40 % of B2B marketers say email newsletters are most critical to their content marketing success. (Content Marketing Institute, 2017)
  • Email marketing maintains the highest ROI among all digital marketing tactics: for every dollar invested in email marketing, you’ll have a revenue of 38 $. (DMA, “Marketer email tracker 2018”)

So, email still need to be considered as the most profitable digital marketing option, as well as the easiest way to reach people on different devices in a few seconds . 

Email has indeed several features which make it almost a judgment call, in digital marketing strategies: you can customize most of the message, easily integrate the email channel into other marketing tactics and make a tight and functional segmentation for each campaign, a practice which can lift the revenue of a single campaign up to a 760% increase (Campaign Monitor).

According to a recent MailChimp survey, segmented email campaigns get 14.31% more opens and 100.95% more clicks than non-segmented ones. What does it mean? You need to stay focused on email marketing primarily because it allows you to segment every single campaign on the basis of customers personal profiles and behaviour: it may sound weird, but in B2B marketing strategies it is fundamental to follow the customer journey as much as it is in B2C campaigns.

One thing one should never forget is that Business to Business messages are read by people: the kind of widespread belief which draws companies as an impersonal organisms is a pure nonsense, which may lead your marketing strategies to complete inefficiency.

You still have a buyer persona to address, it is just a collective one made up of several people.

How to set up an effective B2B email marketing strategy

The global spread of email messages makes the challenge for visibility trickier with each passing campaign: responsiveness, proper technical readiness, captivating design and straight content are just basic requirements for an effective B2B email marketing campaign.

If you want your emails to be opened, if your actual task is about increasing CTR or conversion rate, your campaign needs to stand out among billions of others. According to the majority of worldwide marketers, the most efficient technique for lead generation is to schedule a drip campaign on the basis of the customer journey.

In B2B marketing you don’t need to build a relationship based on an emotional level of persuasion: you’ll have to deal with a DMU (Decision Making Unit), a group of people with different tasks and different points of pressure, whose purchases are guided by logic more than emotion. 

Nonetheless, a DMU follows the exact same path of a single customer, on its way towards the buying decision. So, the first thing you need to consider - while scheduling a B2B email marketing campaign - is the fact that an email campaign should be made of several different messages, spread over a quite long period.

That’s what marketers call a drip campaign, a set of triggered messages based on the proper phase the prospect’s going through, within his journey to become a customer. A perfect example of triggered email is the welcome one: 75% of users expect to receive one, after subscribing or filling a form (eMarketer), so you cannot avoid to set one, unless you want to look a bit boorish.

If the first stage of segmentation is about creating specific lists from your general contact database, based on multiple factors of personal profile and lifecycle data (such as location, age, level of fidelity to your brand, etc.), it’s getting more and more important to segment your strategy on the basis of customers journey and behavior.

Especially in B2B email marketing you need to offer the right content at the right moment, starting with the assumption that a general DMU journey develops more or less as shown below:

  1. Brand Awareness: the first phase of becoming a customer. Your point of contact is now a lead, namely a person who showed a kind of interest in your product (subscribing, asking for info, etc.). A lead wants to read information, guides, new trends, benchmarks and analysts coverage about the topics that brought his company to you. 
  2. Consideration for your brand or service: your lead is now a prospect, that’s to say he’s mostly searching for practical solutions. In this phase, you shall offer contents such as solutions comparisons, pitfall analysis and proofs that your service is suitable for the company’s needs.
  3. Buying decision: here your prospect become a proper customer to nurture, delight and retain. It’s now fundamental to give a strong support to his decision to buy from you: bench strength demos, case studies, tips about ROI and TCO is what he wants to read in your e-newsletter. 

In any case, always consider that B2B marketing works much better when you focus on content that can educate: a good practice is to avoid aggressive selling CTAs, focusing instead on information, growth and new cooperation opportunities for the whole target company.

Some tips for a stunning 2020 B2B email campaign

Digital Marketing is a fast moving animal: you won’t be surprised about finding always new trends and statistics about it. Social media influencers, chatbots and an intensive use of emojis and interactive contents is, more or less, what you can expect to read in the next few months concerning new digital marketing trends.

How to create an effective B2B email campaigns scheduling for 2020? Here’s some useful tips:

  • Focus on personalization: even if you’re talking to a company, don’t forget to please your lead; find it, find its main task and personalize everything you can of your message. This process should start from the setting of different lists of contacts from your database (new subscribers, active customers and lapsed one have to be on different lists!) and can get to a complete customization of the email. Personalized subject lines lift open rates by  29.3% (MarketingSherpa).
  • Use customer behavior data: triggered email campaigns have an open rate of 45.70% and a click-through rate of 10.75%  (GetResponse). Email such as cart-abandonment reminder and welcome emails are the most effective ones. Don’t forget to celebrate the first purchase with a coupon or a guide, and be always aware of the current phase your customer is going through within his journey.
  • Aim for interactivity: consider your email as a blank canvas; you can put almost everything you want inside your message. Landing pages, dynamic data, micro-games and a perfect graphic design are some of the features you should use for an up to date campaign. 

Adding videos and gifs can increase click-through rates by 300% (Martech Advisor). It can allow you to give more informational content, and it’s a perfect testing environment for animations, infographics, webinar ads and, if you feel like it, some kind of humor. 

  • Use up-selling and cross-selling: remember you’re addressing a company, which like the one you’re working for is probably aiming to grow or improve its business. When working on B2B marketing strategies, up-selling is a must. 

Don’t forget then to offer higher scale products or services to new customers, hopefully encouraged by discounts and special offers, and try cross-selling too, if your business provides different products.

If you are working on a renewed digital marketing strategies for B2B communication, these are some tips you should start from. Don’t look forward to going beyond email marketing launching a social influencer campaign or some revolutionary technique no one has tested before.

Experimentation is an essential nourishment for digital marketing strategies progress, but email marketing is confirmed to be the B2B marketers core business for years to come: bringing your trials and new ideas to email campaigns could be a nice, fair start for a new communication strategy.

Business to Business: Why you Cannot Replace Email Marketing 

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