Despite some experts claiming that email marketing is dead, it’s still going strong and bringing B2B businesses many benefits. And, those who use B2B email marketing plan to enjoy these benefits in the foreseeable future as well. These stats by Backlinko prove this claim:
- 40% of B2B marketers say email marketing is a critical tactic in their success.
- 59% of B2B marketers also cite emails as their top channel to generate revenue.
- 79% of B2B marketers find email marketing the most successful channel to share content.
Moreover, email marketing is more effective for B2B companies that for B2C companies in terms of generating revenue. According to the above-mentioned source, B2B marketing emails have a 23% higher click-through rate than B2C emails. Of course, these numbers are achievable in theory, but in practice, it’s all about the success of your efforts. And these efforts start with your B2B email marketing messages, with which you create the first impression of your company.
To create a good impression, you need to approach it carefully and with deliberate care. Let’s take a look at the science behind writing winning B2B email marketing messages that creates the right impression.
1. Start Your B2B Email Marketing Message with the Right Subject Line
Whether your first message is a cold email or a welcome, it needs the right subject line to get opened. There are three main factors that impact the success of the subject lines in B2B emails:
Let’s take a look at the science behind each of them separately.
What’s behind personalization?
B2B marketers know that personalization is a strong marketing tool in email marketing. However, the success of your click-through rate starts with your subject lines, so that’s where you should start personalizing your B2B email marketing messages. Reportedly, personalizing email subject lines can lead to 50% higher open rates, even if the emails are promotional.
Which subject lines personalization techniques are approved by science?
- Addressing by name. One Stanford Business School experiment found that using an addressee’s name in an email subject line increases the click-to-open rate by 20%, increases sales by 31%, and reduces the chance of unsubscribing by 17%. The study also found that this technique is effective in a wide range of email types, including cold emails and B2B sales pitches.
- Asking a question. This approach to personalizing email subject lines works because it triggers our curiosity. When asked a question, especially to which we don’t know the answer, it prompts us to find it out as soon as possible. This approach can be successfully used together with the first one in an email subject line to increase open rates.
- Introducing yourself. This approach impacts how the addresser’s name appears in the inbox and can also be considered as an email subject line technique. Why introduce yourself by name? First, it creates the sense of a real-life conversation between two people. Moreover, it addresses our innate ‘stranger danger’ fear, which often prompts us to speak to a person only when they introduce themselves.
Personalizing email subject lines also increases the chances that your first B2B message will get opened. This is true especially if it’s a cold email, in which you’re contacting a person you’ve never talked to before.
How long should the subject line be?
The goal of an email subject line is to be short and straightforward. Email messages with long subject lines will often remain unopened because there is no clarity or purpose in the subject.
What’s the optimal length of a subject line in a B2B message? According to the research by Campaign Monitor, it’s best to keep your subject lines up to 40 characters. This way, you not only optimize your subject lines for desktops, but also for mobile devices, from which, according to the source, almost 70% of people read their emails.
What are some common mistakes to avoid in subject line formatting?
Now, let’s talk about which words not to put in a subject line of your B2B email marketing messages. Because you need to make a good first impression, the wording and the punctuation in an email subject line is important. Here are a few things you need to avoid in subject lines:
- Spam triggers. The words that you put in your email subject line should not come off as manipulative or needy, so look out for the spam trigger words in your B2B emails. You’d be surprised, but even the word ‘opportunity’ is considered a spam trigger.
- Clickbait. Even though such subject lines can work to increase click-through rates, they are absolutely pointless and even harmful for conversion rates. So, don’t use words and phrases that have nothing to do with the purpose of your message.
- Awkward capitalization. You might be prompted to capitalize the first letter of every word in your email subject line to make it more visible. However, one study shows that using sentence case in a subject line is more effective for the click-through and conversion rates.
- Excessive punctuation. To make a good first impression with your first B2B message, be concise with an email subject line and don’t overstuff it with punctuation marks.
When it comes to subject line formatting in your B2B email marketing messages, make it as simple and straightforward as possible. Don’t overstuff it with symbols and other clutter that can distort the purpose of your message.
2. Influence the Addressee with a BAB Message Structure
While writing an eye-catching subject line is helpful to lure the addressee into opening your email, the body of your B2B message is what truly matters when it comes to successful conversions. To help you write compelling copy in your email, you can use the Before-After-Bridge (BAB) formula.
The BAB formula is a conversion-oriented technique in copywriting; it’s designed to make an offer to satisfy certain wants and needs of the addressee. There are three parts to this formula:
- Showing the addressee the ‘Before’ situation. You start your B2B message with a description of the addressee’s world before getting acquainted with your solution. Here, your task is to make the reader identify themselves in this situation by addressing a certain problem they are familiar with.
- Showing the addressee the ‘After’ situation. You continue your B2B message with a situation, where the problem from before has been solved. In this part, your task is to make the addressee feel the urgency to solve the ‘before’ problem as soon as possible.
- Bridging the ‘Before’ and ‘After’ situations. You close your B2B message by introducing your product or service and how they become a bridge between these two situations.
Here’s an example of the BAB formula in action:
In the example above, you can see that the email starts with the description of the ‘Before’ situation; an addressee is missing out on having a great summertime barbecue. The message continues with the ‘After’ situation; the addressee is able to enjoy a great barbecue time with the help of the solution offered to them. At the end of the message, the addresser elaborates more on the details of the solution and how it bridges the ‘Before’ and ‘After’ situations.
Why does the BAB formula work?
In human psychology, there is a notion of FOMO (fear of missing out), which is linked to behavioral psychology and Freud’s Pleasure Principle. When we are put in a situation, where we are missing out on something, it makes us feel alienated and prompts us to ‘join the crowd’ and enjoy the same benefits they do. That’s why the BAB formula is a great way to shape your B2B email messages and catch the attention of the addressee.
3. Approach Your Email Signature with Care
To end your B2B message successfully, it is important to create an informative email signature that also looks professional.
What’s the science behind a good email signature? To study this question, Escape Hatch created a small poll, inviting Reddit users to answer questions about what constitutes a good email signature. Among the participants, there were B2B professionals as well.
Here’s what this poll has found:
- The format of the email signature should be consistent in all your emails. Some participants of the poll pointed out that when employees from one company have different email signatures, it creates confusion within organizational communications with other companies.
- An email signature should contain 5 crucial details. The majority of the participants voted that an email signature should include 5 essential details: first name, last name, company name, work phone number, and email address. You can include other features, like the company logo and fax number, but they are less important.
- Optimize your email signature for mobile devices. We already touched upon the significance of optimizing your B2B email marketing messages for mobile devices; the poll by Escape Hatch reiterates that. Optimizing email signatures for smartphones and tablets is also about making all your emails look consistent.
Also, make sure your email signature doesn’t contain too much heavy content, like promotional links, social links, or any other media. It may affect the loading time of your message, so keep it simple yet informative.
Writing B2B messages can be overwhelming. Trying to make a good first impression can force you to overthink everything you write, and it may seem that you cannot come up with a good engaging and eye-catching email. However, with a bit of email writing science, you can gain confidence and write a winning email message that converts. Hopefully, our tips will guide you to success.