Nov 11, 2022

How B2B Email Marketing Can Turn Leads Into Sales

by Digital Marketing Institute

Email has been around for decades, and even though it's a tried and tested branch of B2B marketing, you might be surprised to learn just how effective it is today. 

Even though it's a 50-year-old technology, businesses are still using B2B email marketing to connect with followers, turn leads into customers, and engage audiences with news, promotions, information, and special deals.

There are many ways that email marketing can help grow your business, and one of the most important things to remember is how it allows you to reach out to people who have visited your site without converting. This means you can target qualified leads—through email—to get a second chance at a conversion.

But, to nurture a lead like this, personalizing and customizing your communications is vital. To make a real impact, you must send the right types of emails at the right time and use your communications strategically to avoid overwhelming leads that aren't yet fully cultivated.

Here, we look at how you can approach B2B email marketing effectively to connect with valuable leads and convert them into sales consistently, accelerating your business growth in the process.

Writing prospecting emails that earn real engagement

Did you know? On average, spending $1 on email marketing will earn you more than $43 in return—if you get it right.

One of the most critical aspects of a successful B2B email marketing strategy is writing prospecting emails that grab attention and get results. Here are some ways you can drive real engagement through your prospecting email communications.

Understand your prospect

Prospecting emails should be personalized and targeted. A generic email sent to dozens or hundreds of B2B prospects isn’t likely to get the kind of response you are hoping for, or deserve. No matter how similar the titles of different prospects sound, they are not identical brands (or, indeed, people). As such, each B2B prospecting email requires a different approach.

Take the time to learn a little bit about who you are approaching. What does each prospect care about the most? One may be focused on driving sales, while another is trying to increase revenue and visibility.

You can gain a lot of information about what matters to a prospect by doing a search on LinkedIn. Start by looking at particular job titles and considering what that type of job entails.

From LinkedIn profiles of a particular job title, you may be able to learn more about responsibilities, goals and priorities. Drill down into individual profiles, and try to identify pain points that you can target. What solutions can you offer to someone who is trying to increase their visibility? Is it the same solution as someone who is focused on driving sales? Take the time to understand your prospect’s pain points from the offset and you will create a B2B email that is clear, valuable, and tailored to the recipients' specific needs.

Speak your prospects' language

Browsing LinkedIn profiles can give you a lot of information about a particular industry. It can also be helpful to study a company's website and online conversations to find out what topic they are most often talking about and what language they use.

Spend some time reviewing websites of job leads to get a clearer idea of what a particular job title entails, and where this type of role fits into a particular organization.

Listen to social media conversations involving a person you are planning to approach. Does your prospect address people in conversational tones or choose more formal or technical-sounding words? What keywords are likely to catch a particular prospect's attention?

The more you study prospects and how they interact with others, the more you start to grasp who different prospects are and how you can offer solutions to relieve their pain points, challenges or struggles. With this type of detailed information, there is no chance that your emails will be generic.

Have a clear call to action

Instead of trying to sell something in your email, your goal is simply to gain the prospect's trust and interest. One way to conclude your email is to direct them to a relevant blog post. Ask them if they could read the post and let you know their thoughts.

This is in no way pushy. Ideally, the post you send them will include information demonstrating your ability to get results.

Another call to action (CTA) would be to ask them if they have tried a particular marketing strategy, and suggest that they read a post which offers more information about this different approach.

Suggesting they look into more information is not likely to threaten them, especially if you have taken the time to get to know them and what they might be looking for or need.

In your warm and friendly email, you've demonstrated that you have a shared interest in their industry and have information that may be helpful to them.

Boosting your B2B email click-through rates (CTRs)

If B2B marketing emails were Tinder profiles, would yours get swiped right or left? Would people be interested in learning more, or would they simply move on to the next?

If people are willing to swipe away a potential life partner in the blink of an eye, how much time do you think they'll spend evaluating your marketing email? Not much. According to MailChimp, if you receive open rates of 25% and click-through rates of 4% you’re well above average for most industries.

To help you boost your B2B email marketing CTRs and ensure more prospects interact with your prospecting or promotional communications, here are some strategies to consider.

1. Draw your readers in with a catchy subject line

The obvious first step to an increased click through rate is to actually get subscribers to open your emails in the first place. If people never open your emails, they will certainly fail to click on the links within.

As with a great blog post, it’s completely acceptable to spend 10-25% of your writing time on the title. Craft it in a way that creates intrigue or urgency so that the reader feels utterly compelled to click on it and learn more.

Read: Our 4 tips for crafting the perfect email subject line to inspire more engagement and boost your CTRs.

2. Deliver high-quality content, consistently

Nobody likes clickbait articles or emails.

So, if you master the art of writing phenomenal email subject lines, but the email content fails to live up to their promises, it won’t take long before readers stop clicking, send your emails directly to trash, or even unsubscribe.

Most of us have a few newsletters that we open religiously. The moment they arrive in our inbox we stop what we’re doing and give them our attention. Why? Because these emails deliver value – consistently.

Make sure that the content in your newsletters consistently surprises, impresses, and adds value to your subscribers, and you’ll discover a never-ending flow of readers who are eager to read your content and pay attention to the recommendations you deliver.

Download: Our ultimate email content and copywriting writing checklist to ensure your B2B email marketing communications are compelling and nurture your leads the right way.

3. End your email with a cliffhanger

Have you noticed how many television shows end in the middle of an intense moment—leaving us all eager and anxious for the following week’s conclusion, resolution or big reveal?

Writers do this because they’ve discovered that it keeps viewers engaged and increases the likelihood of them watching regularly. If the story is resolved immediately, then viewers might come back to watch next week – but if they miss the episode, it’s less pressing.

Meanwhile, when the story fails to conclude in one episode, viewers will be compelled to wonder what will happen next. Because of this lack of closure, repeat viewing is absolutely crucial, and ultimately builds a loyal fanbase.

This same tactic can work in your emails. If you really want a reader to click through to your website, offer enough information to pique their interest and get them engaged, but don’t give everything away. Instead, finish with a “read more…” link or button that they can click on to read the rest of the story. That way, you will keep your B2B prospects warm—creating a deeper brand connection in the process.

Read: Brand storytelling in the digital age for essential tips on how to craft a compelling narrative for your B2B email marketing communications.

Bonus CTR-boosting tips:

  • Use high-quality imagery to bring your emails to life and offer your readers more context. Header images, videos, graphical banners, inspiration quotes or statistics, memes, and infographics are among the powerful forms of imagery you can add to your B2B email marketing comms
  • Create CTA buttons that stand out on the page and tell the reader what to do next. Adding your CTA to the bottom right of your emails usually yields the best results
  • Add a postscript to your emails to direct your readers to other relevant offers, content or pieces of information

Analytical B2B email marketing tips to help you convert leads and earn more sales

Here are some additional approaches you can take to make your lead nurturing B2B email marketing efforts more efficient and effective.

Use autoresponders

Autoresponders (or automatic email responses) are gold in terms of time-saving, and can be used to understand segmentation. As you break down the different groups that you are emailing, you can offer them different types of information and services at different times of the week or month.

They are great for creating a sense of urgency when you’re building a launch sequence to sell a course or other service that is time-sensitive. You can even increase the frequency and highlight discounted prices as you get closer to the date. However, ensure you don’t spam people too much if they’re not used to hearing from you often.

Autoresponders can also help with segmentation. All this means is that you are dividing your traffic into separate groups based on their preferences and behaviors. So, for instance, you can construct different sets of messages according to those who have signed up for monthly newsletters, weekly newsletters, and product updates.  

Use data

Email is a great way not only to segment your traffic but also to monitor your analytics to get a sense of customer behavior, no matter what your industry or context. Most email service providers will offer users the opportunity to gather metrics at a range of levels.

The core metrics you’ll likely be interested in are CTR, open rate, and unsubscribes. Paying attention to the number of people (and segments) that unsubscribe can give you a lot of insight into where you can improve on your campaign.

Read: Our practical guide to email marketing metrics to gain more insight from your campaigns and communications.

Split test to select the best

The beauty of email marketing is that you get to test your subject lines and content with a small section of your subscribers before you send your email campaign to your entire database. 

Any good email provider like MailChimp will allow you to enter two subject lines or versions of a specific email and conduct a user test on your behalf. Whichever subject line is clicked the most and whichever email earns the most engagement is the one you should send out to all relevant prospects. 

By split testing, you can gather intelligence (based on copy, content, imagery, design, color schemes and layout) to optimize all of your future communications for the best possible chances of lead-nurturing B2B success.

To master all of the methods included in this guide and take your B2B email marketing skills to the next level, enroll in our fully flexible and industry-recognized email marketing short course.

Level up your B2B email marketing skills with The Digital Marketing Institute


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