Article first published in June 2017, updated June 2019
At Campaign Monitor, our 200,000+ customers around the world are designing some of the world’s most engaging and successful email marketing campaigns. Email marketing has been the top performing marketing channel for businesses for decades. That said, some email marketing tactics that work well for some businesses may not work as well for others.
New data from research firm Aberdeen Group examined the different approaches used by B2B and B2C email marketers, and there are some important takeaways for B2C marketers. The overall finding affirms that email is integral for both B2B and B2C marketers. Ninety-five percent of B2B respondents cited email as an integral channel for marketing communications, and 78% of B2C marketers cited active, dedicated email operations.
While email marketing is a priority overall, the pressures driving the strategy differ slightly. Fifty-five percent of B2B email marketers cited the need to hit annual organizational revenue goals as the number one priority, while 71% of B2C email marketers noted that measuring marketing’s contribution to revenue is strongly valued as a key performance indicator. Both groups reported low favorable effectiveness levels at connecting marketing efforts to revenue (just 46% of B2C email marketers and 31% of B2B email marketers), indicating a skill gap that needs to be addressed.
While program goals may differ for B2B and B2C email marketers, there are some common best practices that top-performing email marketers use to achieve success. A few highlights:
1. Prioritize email marketing for a greater ROI.
B2C marketers who prioritize email marketing average an 89% higher contribution to revenue, vs. marketers lacking such priorities. They also reported an email open rate that’s 167% higher and a click-through rate that’s 2.3 times higher compared to organizations lacking such prioritization. Those who don’t prioritize the program are seeing a decline in performance, which means that B2C email marketers have two options: either aim to master it on your own or find a trusted partner to manage the program for you.
2. Integrate data-driven campaigns for success.
B2B email marketers will often test and optimize campaigns to distill distinct formulas for success. Fifty-nine percent say they can duplicate the results of effective campaigns with this approach. Additionally, 70% of B2B email marketers can identify the most profitable customers in their networks, which maximizes the value of outreach. With data at their fingertips, B2B email marketers are more effective in developing repeatable processes and personalized campaigns. This presents a huge opportunity for B2C marketers to learn more about customers, build behavioral profiles for them, and then deliver more relevant email marketing, such as what we’re bringing to customers with the acquisition of Tagga.
3. Personalization is key.
Most B2B (55%) and B2C email marketers (69%) are effective at maintaining consistent, relevant, personalized communications with prospects and customers. Sixty-three percent of B2B email marketers segment marketing efforts by industry, region, topic, or vertical to avoid any unsegmented email campaigns.
Source: Really Good Emails
4. Optimize for mobile.
According to research, email open rates on mobile has grown up to 68%. Therefore, your B2C emails absolutely need to be optimized for mobile use. Failure to do so can result in lower conversion rates for your email marketing campaigns.
A few ways you can optimize for mobile include (but are not limited to):
- Ensuring your subject lines are short and impactful
- Including clear CTA buttons
- Using mobile-responsive email templates
One crucial aspect you need to remember is to test how your emails look on different mobile devices. We’re living in a mobile-first generation and, as such, you need to adapt to the new rules of email marketing.
5. Give your customers control.
As much as you may like to communicate with your customers every day, it may not be feasible for all of them. Don’t be afraid of giving them the freedom to select the type of content they want to receive from you.
To do this, you have to set up a preference center from which they can easily adjust:
- The type of content they receive from you
- How often you communicate with them
Source: Campaign Monitor
Although it may seem counterintuitive to give your customers this kind of control, research shows that it’s actually beneficial for your brand. The biggest gripe consumers have with brands is that the frequency of emails they send out is too high, so giving subscribers the option reflects well on your commitment to great customer experience.
If you don’t give your customers control, your email list (and revenue) will end up dwindling with the unsubscribes.
6. Appeal to emotions, not logic.
One of the biggest differences between B2C email marketing and B2B is the fact that B2C consumers are moved more by emotions than by logic. For you to be in line with B2C email marketing best practices, you have to ensure that your emails tug at your customers’ hearts. A couple of ways of doing that include storytelling in your copy and using product images to help subscribers imagine purchasing your product or service.
7. Instill a sense of urgency.
In order to drive sales, it’s important that you entice your customers to action. The best way to do that is to instill a sense of urgency in your emails. You can achieve this by using action words in your copy (especially your subject line) or by employing the FOMO effect. The FOMO simply means letting your customers know that they’ll miss out on a good deal if they don’t take immediate action.
Source: Campaign Monitor
It’s clear that organizations prioritizing email marketing drive greater success, customer engagement, and retention. When done right, email marketers can realize massive benefits and see a significant impact on the bottom line.
Now that you’ve seen the top B2C email marketing best practices, you can utilize in your next campaign, you’re ready to go, right? Not so fast. Before you go ahead and send out your next campaign, why not increase your chances of success by studying these 12 types of emails?