Email Marketing

4 Tips B2B Email Marketers Should Take from B2C Brands

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As an email marketer, you’ve worked hard all year to reach subscriber inboxesbut don’t take your foot off the gas yet.

Deadlines to meet end-of-year sales and marketing goals are approaching quickly. Unfortunately, marketing teams have their work cut out for them this year. Record email sending volumes mean stiff competition in the inbox.

To attract and engage recipients in this climate, cookie-cutter email campaigns won’t cut it. That’s why some B2B email marketers are searching for inspiration in unlikely places: their B2C counterparts.

To maximize your email performance during Q4 and beyond, consider these lessons from B2C brands:

1. Tokenization ≠ personalization

“Hi there, {{NAME}}!”

According to a recent study, 77 percent of sales and marketing professionals believe personalized marketing experiences make for better customer relationships.

But many marketing teams rely on simple tokenization instead of true personalization. Adding a contact’s name or company in an email opener might have been impressive ten years ago. But today’s email recipients are increasingly wary of low-effort marketing techniques like these.

It’s time to go further with your personalization. B2C brands are pros at using consumer intent data to send relevant content, like personalized product recommendations or store-specific promotions.

To deliver equally targeted messaging, B2B marketing teams should prioritize the acquisition of zero-party data (data customers share intentionally and proactively). Go-to methods of collecting this data include monitoring social media, sending surveys, or offering valuable content in exchange for a form submission.

Your subscribers might be more willing to share than you’d think. According to a report by Accenture, 83 percent of consumers are willing to share their data to create a more personalized brand experience.

After acquiring these insights, the question is what to do with them. Start by tweaking your messaging to talk about your customers—not your product. For example, some B2B software vendors use data to send monthly roundups of each customer’s performance using their product. This gives each customer touchpoint relevance and context—two can’t-miss ingredients in any successful campaign recipe.

Obtaining these insights is critical in a post-MPP (Mail Privacy Protection) world. Apple’s latest consumer privacy feature blocks senders from using tracking pixels to measure open rates, monitor device usage, and track location. Marketers typically relied on this information to deliver personalized and relevant campaigns, which makes acquiring zero-party data that much more important.

2. Re-vAMP your templates

You’d be hard-pressed to find a leading B2C brand sending plain text emails.

No-frills emails are effective in some contexts. But competitive marketing teams will see better results from experimenting with the many new email marketing tools at their fingertips.

For example, many B2C brands now leverage Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to turn ho-hum emails into interactive experiences. Marketers can embed engagement actions directly within the email client, including onboarding workflows, customized content suggestions, updated pricing, and more. This is an untapped opportunity in the B2B world. B2B “conversions” typically require leaving the email and visiting an external site or form.

Early reviews from AMP adopters are optimistic. For example, US online loan provider LendingTree increased their email click-through rate by 86 percent after implementing AMP emails. There’s no reason why your business can’t shoot for the same results.

3. Talk like a human

Forget B2B or B2C. At the end of the day, we’re all H2H: human to human. Your email recipients are humans first—and they’re probably still feeling the effects of limited socialization due to COVID-19.

While B2C emails are known for warm, punchy messaging, B2B emails have a reputation for being more traditional. (Even, dare we say, boring?) This is partially due to the B2B tendency to “templatize” everything—including emails. Email templates are useful as businesses scale for success. But they usually include impersonal marketing speak that doesn’t exactly give readers the warm and fuzzies.

Forging interpersonal connections with your subscribers is paramount as consumer mistrust reaches an all-time high. According to a recent Salesforce study, a whopping 99 percent of consumers believe companies need to improve their trustworthiness.

Since email is often your first interaction with a customer or prospect, consider how you can humanize your tone to start building trust.

4. Don’t ignore peak sales season

At first glance, “peak sales season” seems like B2C’s turf—making it tempting for B2B teams to curb their campaigns and watch from the sidelines.

Remember: B2B marketers are still speaking to people—and most people are deeply affected by seasonality. Today’s consumers are conditioned to be receptive to tailored, seasonal emails and promotions. This means that B2B marketers have a lot to gain by giving their messaging a seasonal spin rather than regurgitating the same content throughout the year.

Remarkably, B2C brands have found ways to extend the peak sales season from early November through Valentine’s Day. In other words, what was once a tight six-week period now lasts almost four months.

Their secret?

They used the time to promote their best and most competitive offerings—and consumers began to alter their shopping habits in anticipation of peak season deals.

B2B teams should adopt the same mindset. Consider how your team can run promotions that encourage excitement and help customers celebrate the holidays. What’s the best deal you can offer right now?

Email is evolving–not dying.

For years, salacious headlines have declared email dead. But don’t be so quick to bury email alongside your landlines and Myspace password.

Email is still a top marketing channel for marketers (who love its measurability and high ROI) and email recipients (who rate it highly for trust and relevance). By implementing innovative strategies like those mentioned above, B2B email marketers can maximize their performance in any climate.

For more expert tips to optimize your email program watch our on-demand webinar: Email Is Not Dead: 3 Ways to Juice Your Email Marketing Program for Q4 and Beyond.