Does B2B email marketing work? Yes, but…

Make your catch by getting organized and being patient.

Sep 1, 2023

Email marketing is a bigger priority for Spring Marketing clients these days. In 2022, more clients launched or expanded their B2B email marketing programs than ever before. And their strategic, purposeful outreach on email is working.

We also have a few holdouts who aren’t quite ready for it yet. We respect their thoughtful approach. You definitely have to be ready to commit to an email marketing program. You can’t just send out an email here and there and hope that people respond; it’s an ongoing commitment. 

A successful email marketing program requires a level of maturity of the organization overall and the marketing and sales functions in particular. Do you have a list? Do you have a sales organization to follow up? Do you have messaging and content or tools to promote in your emails? 

Email marketing doesn’t work all by itself 

Like most other marketing programs, successful email marketing requires several best practices that together can drive results: 

  • A good list. A list of contacts who have opted in to receive your emails is your best bet. They know who you are, and they have expressed interest in your company or content. Purchased lists are always an option, but pose risks:

    • Does it qualify as an opt-in list (hint: did anyone on that list opt in to see your content?)?

    • Will it pass spam laws?

    • Will it pass spam filters?

    • Is it a targeted list?

    • What is the source of the list?

The email marketing best practice is to avoid purchased lists. Using them for mass emailing can damage your email deliverability and your reputation. See our blog on building a B2B opt-in list.

  • Compelling call to action. Do you have a strong call to action? If you’re selling software, what content do you have that features the value of the software? Do you have a demo video to offer? If you’re selling services, do you have informative or educational blog content or ebooks or infographics to offer? Perhaps a free assessment or consultation to get hot prospects to move up the sales pipeline?

  • Sales follow-up. Email marketing must be followed up by sales outreach. At a minimum, your sales team should claim a portion of your list to follow up with personal email or phone call (email gets better response rate). Perhaps they focus on a particular geography or industry or a list of strategic accounts. Do you have a marketing automation system that will tell you who clicked on your calls to action? Consider following up with those contacts personally as well.

  • Partner engagement. Do you have partners who can help amplify the reach of your content? Consider expanding your email marketing program to include partner contacts. Tailor your message and content to their needs – e.g. how can you help them sell more to their prospects? Align your messaging and content to the partner’s agenda. For example, if they are launching a new software product that you support, create content that shows how you can help drive purchase, adoption, or use of their products.

  • Keep it up. Email marketing is not a one-and-done project. It should be an ongoing effort based on an overall strategy and plan. 

Is there a “best time” to send our emails? 

This is a great question that we get all the time. And the answer is… we’re not sure until we test it. And even then, it’s not always clear.  

Research shows that the best times to send an email are: 

  • Saturday at 10 a.m., Tuesday at 8 a.m. or Tuesday at 10 a.m., depending on your goal (opens, clicks responses) (source)

  • 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. (source)

  • Thursday 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. (source)

  • Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Mondays – in that order (source)

  • Around 10 a.m. (source)

These are all credible sources of marketing data and as you can see, there is NO real consensus on the best time to send B2B emails, and many of these sources concede this point. It can depend on your industry, your list, your offer, your subject, the time of year. 

Even with time and testing, it can be hard to say what works best. 

For example, for one software client that has been doing consistent email marketing to a well-targeted list for several years, their highest click-through rates were on emails sent between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. 

But… they also achieved their lowest click-through rates at the same times on Thursdays and Fridays. This doesn’t help us narrow it down much! 

So we shift our attention to subject lines and the types of content that perform best and try to do more of that. In this case, it was customer success stories and new software features that yielded the best responses – including demo registrations and eventually sales. 

Start slow, see what works, then keep going 

The best email marketing approach for your company depends largely on your company. As you can see, there are several best practices that every company should adhere to, while testing multiple variables to see which work best for your specific organization. 

As your organization grows, you may need help expanding your marketing program and strategizing an approach to email marketing. Spring Marketing Group is here to help take you to the next level. 

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