When you’re in a competitive business-to-business (B2B) industry, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd. You may think sending more emails to your target audience is a good way to capture attention, but too many emails may overwhelm your subscribers and cause your marketing efforts to backfire.
But even a balanced approach won’t boost open rates and engagement if your emails are irrelevant, unhelpful or boring.
In this article, we’ll share five B2B email marketing campaigns that you can use to increase opens and click-throughs.We also look at a few B2B email marketing examples to inspire your email design.
Table of contents
Bolding entire sentences of long sales emails
Placing your CTA above and below the fold
Adding urgency to your emails
Partnering with another brand to grow your email list
Raising excitement with anticipation emails
Here are some B2B email marketing best practices that will help you improve your B2B email campaigns:
1. Bolding entire sentences of long sales emails
The jury’s out on the ideal sales email length. Some studies say keep them between 75-100 words, while others stress closer to 200 is best. AWeber analyzed 1,000 emails from 100 marketing experts and found the emails averaged 434.48 words. That said, half of the emails (or 500 emails) contained fewer than 300 words.
The takeaway? Go with what works for your situation, like Leah from Freelance to Freedom Project does. Her email sales copy comes in at a relatively bulky 506 words.
The problem with longer copy is that people’s attention can wander while reading emails. Leah decided to offset that outcome by writing really short paragraphs. To keep readers engaged and capture wandering eyes, she bolded a few entire sentences.
This design trick is a good way to spice up your copy, particularly if it’s longer. That said, be careful not to overdo it as that may come off as rude or aggressive.
2. Placing your CTA above and below the fold
When it comes to placing your call to action (CTA) above the fold, the marketing community is also of two minds. On one hand, you have experts like Brian Massey from Conversion Sciences who support above the fold, saying: “It is a best practice. So the most important parts of the page will usually do best above the fold.”
On the other hand, putting a CTA immediately above the fold may be too much too soon. Some marketers believe you should place the CTA at the end when a reader has read all the necessary information and is ready to take action.
As you can see, marketers have a foot in both camps on this one. There’s virtue in both ideas, which is why marketers like Michael Hyatt from LeaderBox aim for the best of both worlds.
As you can see from the red hyperlinked text, there are two landing page links in the email. The first one is above the fold and the second one is below the fold. Both links go to the same place,, but he gives his email subscribers two opportunities (both above and below the fold) to get there.
There’s nothing wrong with hedging your bets until your A/B tests tell you which pathway leads to more click-throughs and better email open rates.
3. Adding urgency to your emails
It’s now or never. Or is it? A sense of urgency may get people to act, but, if you overuse this tactic it can come across as inauthentic and might even lead some people to unsubscribe.
If you say a 50% discount for a webinar ends tonight, then it really should end tonight. If you continually extend discounts, sales and special offers, then your customers will catch on and future event emails like the webinar email example above may be less effective.l
Still, many marketers don’t add enough urgency to their email campaigns. So, what can you do? Consider what Matt from Autogrow did.
Look carefully at the first sentence. He says, “final reminder this is ending now”. In other words, he sent many follow-up emails touting this deadline. This email marketing strategy allows you to put urgent messages in more of your campaigns.
Of course, one of the biggest challenges with urgency and scarcity is creating it. For example, say you’re selling physical products, but you don’t want to discount them. How can you tap into scarcity? Well, some products sell out and are temporarily out of stock. Using email segmentation, you can email everybody who added that item to their cart but didn’t buy, telling the recipients they should buy the product before it runs out again.
What if you’re selling a SaaS subscription? Unlike physical products, you’re not going to run out of those, so they aren’t scarce. Admittedly, you could offer a direct discount, but that can quickly get complicated if you do it too often. In these cases, your most reliable weapon is creativity.
Here are some ideas:
Beta subscription. If you have new features, products or services, you can limit beta customers (the group you give early access to) to a certain number of seats. This helps build a sense of exclusivity and trust since it means you’ll be able to give them special attention.
Higher tier. Placing a customer in a higher tier can be more desirable than offering a discount. It’s best to do this for a limited amount of time, say one to three months after activation. Customers may like the features in the higher tier and opt-in for an upgrade after the trial is over.
4. Partnering with another brand to grow your email list
One of the biggest problems email marketers have is reaching new audiences.
One option is to run ads on Google, Bing, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other marketing platforms. PPC advertising isn’t for everybody, but it can work. According to the Google Economic Impact Report, businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 dollar they spend on Adwords.
However, that’s just the average. A bulk of that revenue goes to the companies who really understand Adwords.
A strategic alternative is partnering with another business to take advantage of their email list, and vice versa.
For example, you could co-author an ebook on a third-party site with a higher domain authority (DR) than yours. This means you get to plug into their reach potential and get your brand and expertise in front of new potential customers and new subscribers.
Or, you can work to get your product mentioned in a company's course and generate subscribers and leads through their larger email list.
This lead generation strategy hinges on building a strong brand that differentiates from the crowd and good networking and relationship building skills
5. Generating excitement with anticipation emails
Anticipation emails help you build buzz around your product, which is especially visible on social media channels and communities.
Anticipation emails help you attract potential new users and loyal customers alike. That said, it’s more likely to excite people who are already fans of your brand, as they’re familiar with your product and will likely welcome something fresh and new.
Michael Hyatt used an anticipation email to hype up a new product.
Notice that Michael doesn’t even have a CTA button in this type of email. The entire point is to get people excited for the next day’s email, so an action button isn’t necessary. If you have a major product launch coming up, sending a personalized email with an engaging email subject line is a good way to get your audience excited.
When it comes to fanning the flames, remember your fans. In other words, loyal subscribers and product aficionados are more likely to be receptive to anticipation emails ahead of your announcement email.
In a fast-paced world, the right B2B email marketing strategy for your business can help you send more effective and engaging emails..
For B2B companies looking to stand out, this means targeting decision-makers with personalized, relevant, high-quality emails that speak to their pain points.Engagement emails aren’t limited to the lead engagement stage; you can use them to build stronger relationships across all sales funnel stages.
Hopefully, sharing some of the best B2B email marketing examples will inspire you with optimization ideas for email templates and email content.
If you’re exploring email automation software or email service providers for your B2B emails, the examples of B2B email marketing we referenced in this article all likely leverage powerful email marketing tools.
To get started, research the common tools marketers use in your industry across various marketing channels. Make sure you have access to marketing tools with features and functionality that will help you effectively implement your digital marketing plan.
For more B2B sales and content marketing tips, check out our articles on CRM, cold calling and cold emails.