Email marketing may be considered “old school” by some marketers because it’s been around for so long. Yet, the reason it has such staying power is because it remains one of the primary digital channels for smart marketers. Yes, it’s still relevant for today’s B2B buyers.
Why? Because it works. Check out these email marketing statistics:
More than 8 in 10 B2B marketers consider email newsletters their most used form of content marketing, and 3 in 10 say they’re the best way to nurture leads.
87% of B2B marketers list email as one of their top free organic distribution channels.
9 out of 10 say email engagement is the metric they track to measure content performance.
The way the world conducts business has changed drastically in the last couple years, and so have some email marketing best practices.
This year, we again participated in INBOUND 2021 where Jay Schwedelson, President and CEO of Worldata, confirmed the shifts taking place. We’ve been experimenting with various email marketing techniques ourselves and testing some of Jay’s ideas from his presentation, Email Myths Busted! What’s REALLY Working Now!
That said, every audience is different, stressing the importance of doing your own testing to see which tactics work for you. Give the following email marketing best practices a try.
👉 Use Emojis 👈
It’s easy to dismiss the use of emojis in B2B email subject lines as being unprofessional. Tell that to all the other B2B organizations that have increased their use of emojis in subject lines by 1700% in the last 18 months. Jay showed that using emojis as bookends (beginning and end) in a subject line increases open rates by a whopping 31%!
Why does it work? Often, we wrongly believe that people who respond to various content on their own time will suddenly respond differently when they’re at work. We’re not workers; we’re humans. So, let’s stop thinking about our email databases as anything but. Jay’s research reveals that emojis suggesting a sense of urgency are among the best for B2B.
Top 5 Emojis for B2B Email Marketing Subject Lines
⏰ = 24% increase in open rates
⏳ = 18% increase in open rates
✔️ = 16% increase in open rates
👀 = 14% increase in open rates
📅 = 12% increase in open rates
Don’t stop there, though. Get creative and be sure to tie the use of any emojis directly to your offer.
Remember, It’s Still About Words
Emojis can help capture someone’s attention and make your email stand out in a sea of others in someone’s inbox. But in the end, it comes down to the words we use.
It’s tempting to take a cue from mainstream media and inject seemingly clever pop culture references. However, there’s too great of a chance that your target audience will have no clue what you’re talking about. Sure, that line from Tiger King might grab someone’s attention, but there’s no guarantee that the engineer or procurement manager you’re trying to reach subscribes to Netflix, let alone watches the show. Instead of sounding clever, you might just turn out to be annoying, or worse, exclusionary.
Instead, use words that help make the recipient feel like they’re getting the inside scoop, that they won’t miss out, or that they’re getting insights into what’s ahead. After the last couple years of uncertainty, wouldn’t we all like a little glimpse into the future?
The following words in subject lines, according to Worldata, increased open rates by the following percentages.
Free — 34%
2022 — 31%
Limited — 28%
In-Stock — 28%
Outlook — 27%
Last Chance — 26%
Expires — 26%
Available — 25%
Are you surprised to see “free” at the top of the list? Some are concerned that emails containing that word in the subject line will go straight to spam. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. That’s one of the myths that Jay said needs to go by the wayside. Spam-catching algorithms have gotten smarter over the years and recognize that people want free stuff. I know I do.
Customize the Sender Address
Another tip involves altering the sender address. Use a “friendly from” or alias sender address that is tied to your offer to increase B2B open rates by as much as 34%.
For example, rather than having your “from” address come from Acme Corp., have it serve as a teaser to the content inside your email: Acme Corp. Pricing Update. Other examples might include Salesforce Events versus just Salesforce, or OSHA Covid-19 Update versus OSHA.
There’s been a trend to include the name of an individual as the sender, and there are cases where it might be appropriate. But if the recipient doesn’t recognize who the sender is, there’s a higher likelihood that the unsubscribe rate may go up.
Bonus Email Marketing Tips & Hacks
Sometimes the best email marketing tips don’t require revolutionary shifts in strategy. The simplest changes can sometimes make all the difference. Give the following email hacks a try. We’ve included some email marketing examples to help foster ideas of your own.
Lists. A list tease in the subject line can feel irresistible and is a great way to repurpose existing content. Plus, it can increase B2B open rates by as much as 34%.
5 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Supplier
Top 10 Manufacturing Trends of 2022
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Ellipsis. Using an ellipsis (those three little dots) can help create suspense and increase open rates by 31%.
For Engineers Only...
Keynote Speaker Announced…
Don’t Miss Out On Our Latest...
Oops! An email that appears like someone’s made a mistake creates curiosity and can get some of the highest open rates.
Oops! Did you miss our latest eBook?
Yikes! We’ve never offered this before
Oh no! Your subscription is about to expire
Versus. Comparison subject lines can increase open rates by 21%.
The Truth About Traditional Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing
Steel vs. Aluminum Supply Chain Issues
Symbols. Including brackets can up your open rate by nearly 30%, and asterisks can increase opens by 22%.
[CONFIRMED] Your registration is enclosed
***Latest Product Update***
(Last Chance) Sign up for our webinar
If you’re leery to try any of these techniques, use them as part of an A/B test. You might be surprised by the results.
The initial goal of any email campaign is to first get someone to open it and look at what’s inside. That starts with the subject line. However, you might be wondering why we’re talking so much about measuring open rates when Apple’s new iOS 15 operating system allows its users to opt-in to mail privacy protection. This feature automatically opens mail for those who opt-in, resulting in a grossly inflated open rate.
iOS 15 essentially disables a marketer’s ability to accurately track open rates for many of its users. This can be a cause for concern because Apple Mail has 46% market share among mobile users.
There’s a workaround, however. Segment your email database into two groups: Apple Mail users and non-Apple Mail users. By isolating each group, you can track metrics for all non-Apple recipients to get a better sense of your engagement. A helpful tool is Worldata’s subjectline.com which can help you see the real open rate after discounting iOS 15 users.
In addition, place more emphasis on click rates and click-through rates than open rates, since that’s a better indicator of engagement anyways.
Test, Test, Test!
As with most things in inbound marketing, the data helps inform what works and what doesn’t. Testing is truly the best way to determine which of these email marketing tips will be most engaging for your audience.
It’s important to test incrementally, however, rather than make big changes all at once. If you try too many of these techniques in a single email, you’ll have no idea which of them garnered better results (or worse results, for that matter).
Give these email tips and tricks a try. But don’t wait too long; email marketing trends can change quickly with the times.
Posted by Kate Eastman Kate’s 20+ years in corporate marketing lend her unique perspective on client service and a passion for building trust-based relationships. She brings attentive care and a collaborative approach to creating inbound strategies that have profound, measurable impacts on her clients' objectives.