As marketers, we’re pretty keenly aware of how valuable email can be. It’s been around for quite a while now, and it’s every bit as important to marketers today as it always has been.
For all that, there are still plenty of people who haven’t got the hang of writing B2B emails that actually get results. That’s okay – it’s certainly a moving target. B2B marketing today is very different from how it was in the past.
Let’s take a look at how to write a B2B email that hits the mark and gets the results you need.
How to Write a B2B Email that Drives Opens and Clicks
What makes you open a marketing email? We receive lots of emails every day, and generally pick and choose which ones we open.
Give it some thought, and you’ll probably come to this conclusion: you open emails that are especially relevant to you.
What’s less important is whether you’ve actually heard of the company whose email you’re looking at. If the subject line is powerful, resonates with you, and convinces you that the content will provide something you need, you’re going to click it.
Before You Begin
One of the very biggest tips for writing B2B emails that work is this: know your audience. If you don’t understand exactly who you’re reaching out to, you won’t be able to create messages that resonate with them – and you won’t get the results you’re looking for.
So before you begin email marketing campaigns, set yourself up for success by creating buyer personas, and identify your target audience.
If you’re going to pursue cold email lead generation, you can (and should) make things easier on yourself by ensuring you purchase a well-targeted contact list from a reputable data provider. Reputable providers aggregate data instead of scraping it.
This means less bad data such as outdated addresses in the list.
Either way, understanding your audience is critical every step of the way, and should be your first step before you begin writing emails.
B2B Subject Lines and Open Rate
Have you ever heard the saying “there’s no second chance at a first impression”? Your subject line is the first impression your email makes on the recipient, and it has to be top notch.
Many marketers tend to focus all their effort on their email body, and then just slap a subject line onto it afterwards as an afterthought. Don’t do that.
Your email’s content might be incredibly strong, with an offer that’s exactly what the recipient needs. With a weak subject line, that doesn’t matter – they won’t open it.
That’s why it’s absolutely critical to pay as much attention to your subject line as you do to the main content. Open rate is important for numerous reasons.
The obvious reason is that more people opening your emails means more potential leads and conversions. It’s also an important indicator that your messages aren’t spam. If you have a high open rate, that tells spam filters that your message is relevant to the recipients.
So what makes a good subject line? It needs to be relevant, powerful, and specific.
The first one is the most important. If your subject line addresses a problem that the recipient has, your odds of getting an open increase substantially.
The actual language you use needs to be impactful. If it comes across as timid, uncertain, or not confident, even if it’s relevant, odds are it’s not going to generate opens. However, you also need to stand out from all the other businesses using the same sort of language.
It’s common knowledge that personalization dramatically increases open and clickthrough rates. The most effective tokens are usually the recipient’s first name, and in the B2B world, their company name.
For example, the subject line “Increase ACME’s Shareholder Value” feels a lot more relevant and targeted than simply “Increase Shareholder Value”. Personalization tokens are common practice, but even when you know that the sender just plugged a company name token into the subject line, it still works effectively.
The more specific the problem you address in your email (and therefore your subject line), the more likely it is that you’ll get an open when it resonates with a recipient. However, if you get too specific, you might be inadvertently excluding more of your recipients who really don’t have that particular issue.
Ideally, your topic is generic enough among your target audience that most of them will identify with it, but specific enough that it doesn’t just feel like an unfocused blast email.
You can find excellent ideas for lead generation campaigns by doing the following:
- Make a list of the major issues your target audience faces
- For each point on that list, note whether your offering solves that issue, and how.
Then, you have a list of things you can craft campaigns about, and create a targeted campaign that you can be confident will interest your recipients.
Writing B2B Body Copy
Once you have a solid idea to build a campaign from, you can begin creating the body copy of your email.
A lot of the concepts for choosing subject lines apply to writing email copy as well. Here are the biggest tips:
- Every piece of content should be relevant to the recipient. Keep your copy as concise and focused as possible, and don’t pad it out with irrelevant content.
- Make your copy focused on them, not you. Don’t talk about how awesome your solution is. Talk about how much better your reader’s results will be, or how effectively the issue you’re addressing will be solved.
- Include a strong call to action. Avoid simple “Click Here” CTAs, though. Even your call to action text should be interesting, powerful, and relevant.
- Don’t forget to build a landing page as well.
How often do you actually open a marketing email? Probably not that often. When you do, odds are it’s because that email was particularly relevant for you at that moment.
When you do open an email, the last thing you want is a litany of how amazing this random product is. That’s boring and not really worth your valuable time. It’s an easy trap to fall into when writing, though.
Of course you naturally want to talk about how great your product is. You can still do that, but do it from the recipient’s perspective. Don’t talk about “My software has a great UI”. Instead, say “You’ll have no problem finding everything you need.”
Identify which of your offering’s value props you’re talking about, and look at it from their point of view. How does that feature translate into a tangible benefit for the customer?
Tell them about that.
You should also have a plan in place for collecting leads. Don’t just assume that people will hit reply if they’re interested.
Add a button with a strong call to action that encourages people to click, and ensure it leads to a dedicated landing page.
Some marketers make the mistake of just pointing their email CTAs at their home page. That’s a good way to miss out on leads.
Every email campaign should have a dedicated landing page, with content and copy that matches the email, and makes it easy for visitors to fill out a form. Whatever you talk about in your body copy should be reflected on the landing page.
Getting Your Campaigns Delivered
An email marketing campaign is only as good as its deliverability rate! Okay, that’s not the catchiest phrase ever. Let’s try again.
If your marketing is awesome but nobody sees it, is it still awesome? Not really. To be effective, your campaigns need to actually be seen.
To be seen, they need to end up in people’s inboxes, not in their spam folder. If your B2B campaigns are cold, that’s more complicated than you might think.
There are a lot of technical challenges that are entirely separate from how great your marketing copy is (although that plays into it too). Check out this article about how to send mass email successfully for a more comprehensive dive into that.
In a nutshell, though, each spam filter keeps track of a bunch of factors that tell it how trustworthy your emails are. When the spam filters are happy with your campaigns, your emails go to inboxes. When they’re suspicious that you might be spamming, more of your emails end up in spam folders and fewer go to inboxes.
This is, of course, a massive simplification of a fairly technical subject, but it’s important to know that this exists, because email marketing’s success hinges on its ability to reach inboxes.
And that’s a moving target. Spammers come up with new ways to fool spam filters, and then the spam filters incorporate defenses against those new methods. So the spammers get even more creative with it, and the filters become more advanced again to counteract it.
Here’s a good example of this sort of arms-race scenario. Spam filters have a very wide range of terms they look for as red flags – terms that spammers tend to use. To combat this, spammers started putting all their text into an image and using that as their body content, since spam filters couldn’t read the text contained within the image.
So now spam filters don’t like it if your email contains a large image and little to no text that it can read. Your deliverability will suffer if you do that, because it’s actually a spammer’s trick to try and fool the filters.
There’s a lot of that built into modern spam filters, things that spammers used to do to deceive the filters that are, today, red flags for those filters.
It can get confusing. Fortunately, if you use Clickback, the software handles most of that for you. It provides top-notch deliverability by cleaning out bad data automatically when you upload your list, protecting your sender score, auditing your content in real-time so you can be confident that your emails won’t scare spam filters.
There’s no better way to write and send cold B2B email campaigns. Request a live 1:1 demo of the software and see it in action for yourself.