B2B Email Marketing Trends, Best Practices, and Tips 

Trends and best practices for drafting successful email campaigns.

Draft, schedule, send, repeat. If this describes your firm’s email marketing strategy, it’s time to step into the light and refresh your approach to email.  

In this post, we look at current B2B email marketing trends and share best practices for successful email campaigns. Before you hit schedule or send, check out our tips below:  

UX Best Practices for Email Marketing 

Companies that have lackluster results for their email campaigns often take the approach, “what do we want to communicate?” rather than, “what does our audience want?” The most effective email marketers consider the user experience (UX) when crafting email newsletters and campaigns.  

 
Accessibility Is Key  

When putting together your next email campaign, make accessibility a key consideration. Below are some suggestions for making your emails accessible:  

  • Us a contrast ratio of 4.5:1 for text. This ensures all copy is easier to read.  
  • Clearly identify the purpose of user input fields on any forms. Put labels not only on the outside of the input field, but inside the field as well to help the user figure out how to format the information they are providing. See visual below.  
  • Ensure links are identifiable not only through use of color, but also other indicators like underlining link text.  
  • Include descriptive alt text of all non-decorative images. The alt text should explain what the image shows.  
  • Only include ADA compliant images. These types of images have minimal blinking, flashing or other distracting elements.  

Concise, Well Written Emails That Break Up Text 

In an email, even a few sentences of text can seem like a wall of copy that will turn off readers and send them scrambling out of your email. Effective emails break up text into smaller, bite-size chunks that are easier to digest and read.  

Tangible Products Photography 

Stock and AI generated photos have become less popular and are being replaced by a desire for beautiful product photography or images that have a custom look and feel about them. Incorporating custom images or photos with brand treatments are not only a useful tool for breaking up content visually, but set your brand apart from your competitors. Even for service-based companies, images and illustrations can be customized or treated to create a unique look.  

Mobile-First Designs 

Many email recipients, even those in B2B industries, are reading or skimming emails on their mobile phones. When creating an email newsletter or campaign design, lean into the mobile-first design. Mobile first designs keep email text crisp, clear, and compelling. They use bullet points, not longform essays to convey information. On mobile, you’ve got 25-30 characters to make an impression in the subject line, so keep these short and to the point. Lastly, consider the layout of your design and stay away from two column designs and focus on one column layouts instead. These display better on mobile and many two column designs are pushed to one column anyway when viewed on mobile.  

Incorporate Movement or Interactivity  

Create interest in your email by including video links or small animated GIFs. In many cases, even a little bit of movement that is creative or thoughtful gets readers excited. Consider playing up product photography to catch the reader’s attention or an animated illustration to showcase an announcement. The takeaway here is to be thoughtful in any movement you incorporate into your email layout. Ask yourself if it is adding interest and engaging the recipient or  is it just distracting and taking away from the message you are trying to get across.   

Unless you subscribe to 50 different email marketing newsletters (why would you do that?), it’s near impossible to keep up on what is trending. As an art director at Bop Design, I see a good amount of email campaigns, and this is what I see as trending in email marketing.  

Gamification 

For those not familiar with this term, it’s essentially turning anything into a game for the target market. It includes things like quizzes, wheels spinning to secure a discount, and puzzles. Users are attracted to games and become more engaged as they seek to unlock more rewards. (#seratoninboost) This trend is widely used in the B2C space, but it has interesting applications for B2B companies, particularly for software or SaaS companies. While this trend has yet to be widely applied for B2B firms, it can help brands stand out, particularly if their brand persona is playful and fun.    

Personalization 

Bringing personalization to email marketing does not simply mean including “Dear NAME” at the start of your email. It’s a deeper dive into segmenting your lists to send the right content to the right audience. Many email marketing platforms have tools to allow your audience to choose what kind of content they want to see from you. It’s worth the extra time to set up various lists and allow your recipients to select what matters to them. It may surprise you what they want and do not want in their inbox.  

Our Winning B2B Email Marketing Tips 

You’ve got your best practices and a bit on current trends in email marketing, now it’s time for our winning tips. Here is what I recommend for building an email marketing strategy that will elicit “ohs” of delight rather than “ughs” of annoyance from your email subscribers:  

  • Concise, well written emails that break up long winded text. Remember – no insurmountable walls of text to deflect your readers! 
  • Invest in good photography or illustrations. Visuals are so crucial to setting the tone that your brand is different from everybody else, invest in them.  
  • Focus on Privacy to gain trust“Only 8% of consumers trust brands to keep their personal information safe.” (Source: NTT Data). Make it easy to unsubscribe or change email preferences. Don’t be sneaky, it makes your company look shady.  

Common Mistakes Made in Email Marketing  

Everyone makes mistakes, but that doesn’t have to crush your email marketing metrics. Here are common mistakes that brands make in their B2B email marketing.  

  • Too much information in a small amount of space. It’s ok to tell Todd from engineering that the full product update does not need to be in the email. You can link to a page on your website with the full details instead.  
  • Lackluster content that the audience doesn’t care about. Engage and inform, don’t yell promotions at your audience. Effective email marketing campaigns engage and inform the recipients in a brief, informative way. Include helpful information and provide quick links on more helpful information if they are interested.  
  • Sending emails too often. Treat having a person’s email as a privilege and be respectful of their time. Don’t hit send every time you post a new article or case study. Carefully consider the time between emails and the content of the emails.    
  • Email subscription lists that are not targeted or personalized. Building targeted or personalized emails lists does take time but has great returns. If your lists are properly segmented and your content is right on target for those audience members, you’ll get better engagement and interest in your email campaigns.   

Major Takeaway on B2B Email Marketing 

We know you skimmed to the bottom of this article, and you know what, that’s fine. Here is what you need to take away from this article?  

Remember that people are inundated with emails and information daily. You must make your email informative, short, easy to understand, and interesting to keep people engaged so that they open your emails and look forward to the next ones. 

Find out more about B2B email marketing and why it’s an essential element of successful B2B marketing strategies.  

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