B2B email Marketing in the digital Era: Winning Tactics that Convert

About G2M team

We offer full stack marketing execution for Israeli tech companies going global. Our services include PR, content marketing, social, paid media and more. Learn more

I’m not going to write about the fact that e-mail is still with us, and that everybody still reads and writes e-mails. You will probably toggle between this blog post and your mailbox as you read this, so I feel this argument is behind us.

Important part of digital marketing is email newsletters from businesses to business professionals with news, updates or promos are still alive and kicking. So, as long as your strategy includes email marketing, better do it properly. mail newsletters that are well structured manage to spread the word, provoke interest, and lead the lead in the right direction.  

Plus, it’s (relatively) free.

What do I mean by “do it right”? Well, not all newsletters are created equal.

Admit it or not, today’s business world has turned us all utterly unfocused. We no longer have the time nor the will to deeply explore every newsletter, and proactively dig in for the gems. We set our minds based on a quick glimpse: Title, snapshot of the content structure and sub topics, who’s behind it, how appealing it is to the eye and that’s it. It means that your newsletter must be well planned, in advance.

From organizing the structure, through content, design, well- defined target audience and even the actual time of sending, everything must be thought through.

Well, let’s walk through some important tactics that can help you take your email marketing from blah to bling and get your customer-base engaged with your product or service.

1. Visualization

Marketing isn’t math. Conflicting tactics exist and marketers differ in their approach towards their newsletters’ look and feel. Good thing A/B testing exist.

Many marketers love sending well-designed newsletters that are loaded with visuals.

I, for instance, usually prefer a plain textual (yes, just like a regular e-mail) newsletter. I have run multiple tests along the years and I had many huge successes with plain e-mail newsletters, seeing open rates and click rates rise above industry averages.

Also, templates and visuals sometimes fail to be presented well in all e-mail software, and when they fail it looks like this:

Yuck!  

Yes, you’d be surprised, some of us are still using Outlook…

But, I do respect the fact that some brands put positioning higher in priority than performance, and insist on presenting a furnished visual language, which means working with a designed e-mail template and  lots of visuals.

So, if you are among those who prefer using a designed e-mail template accompanied by rich visuals, make sure you follow these guidelines:

1.  Do not overdo visuals nor graphic design. Keep a neat design, so your outcome will have less bugs.
2. Test your newsletter before sending – View it on several e-mail platforms and don’t forget to view how it looks on mobile, as your e-mail will more likely  be read on  mobile.
3. Research and learn about designed e-mail templates before you decide on yours. Here’s one relevant blog post by Hubspot

As for visuals, there are many online resources that you can use to find ‘free royalty-free’ stock images. You don’t have to limit yourself to photos, either– gifs, memes, or other visuals like illustrations can work as well. Specific references? I love using Pixabay to find photos or illustrations. For mems and animated GIFS I use Giphy (love them!!). I use Canva when I wish to manipulate images (like adding the title on top of the visual or alike, you wouldn’t believe how easy it really is).

Oh, and one last thing. If your company is well established by now, and you have both the resources and the budget, using branded images can be a winning tactic. I mean, differentiating in our would is tough. Your newsletter target receivers are probably buried under tons of unread e-mails, let alone newsletters and promotions.

How can you cut through the noise and make your brand easily memorable? By developing unique visuals anda coherent use of them across all your outreach channels, and of course in your e-mail marketing flow.

Check out this blog of a company called Takipi. Take a look at the featured images they present at the top of each blog article. They work according to this concept and they do it well.

2. Scanable, scanable!

Many people will scan your e-mail before deciding whether to read it through. There’re some ways to make your automatic e-mail newsletters scanable:

  • Whitespace – Make sure there is plenty of whitespace to let the eye scan content. Leaving those empty spaces (as in the image to the right) lets the mind focus on what matters.
  • Color Balance – When utilizing the color kit, you should work with colors that complement one another. Keep them subtle, though, so they don’t distract too much attention from content. Don’t overuse dominant colors.
  • Tasteful Typeface – Select a web-friendly font with high legibility and make sure it’s large enough but not too large. Stay away from over-designed or silly fonts. No one is going to take a newsletter written in Comic Sans seriously. Do not mix fonts nor sizes.
  • Bulleted Lists – Bullets help us digest the content. Just like we did here, see that?
  • Responsive Layout – You never want your layout falling apart on mobile when it looked just fine on your desktop. Make sure your layout is responsive and can work well on multiple devices. Test it both on Android and iOs devices before the actual sending.

3. Every word counts

Content may be king, but good writing is the crown that makes that king legit. Nothing will have your prospects running for the hills faster than bad or clumsy or just tedious writing.

Neat writing, on the other hand, is a sure way to pull people in and keep them engaged. Depending on your brand, you can either focus on story or focus on authority. Whichever approach you take, keep it brief– at least in the body of the newsletter itself. Remember, your prospect is not going to spend the whole morning with your newsletter as if it’s the NY Times on a Sunday. Keep it short (250 words, MAX) and provide links to your website where prospects can access more content.

Besides, less is more. I know I mentioned it before but better say it twice, and be safe than sorry. Don’t gather too much news and updates under one single newsletter, as it will overwhelm your recipients. Focus on a few relevant topics that match your e-mail marketing KPIs.

4. Think of it as a Series

Think about TV series writers. Aren’t they genius? The secrets is what pros call “open loops”. Series writers never satisfy their audience without keeping a bit of tension and keep a loop open in each episodes’ ending.

You can do the same with your e-mail marketing.

If possible, keep your readers curious and tease them about what you will share in the next newsletter.

Yes, it demands some planning ahead, and a bit of creativity, but it could highly increase your open and click through rates.

5. Consider Frequency Carefully

How often or how seldom your newsletter pops up in someone’s e-mail can make or break your newsletter. Ideally, you want your newsletter to function as a component in a well-scheduled and planned out content campaign. If your newsletter is flying solo or you have not yet decided on a content release schedule there are a few things to consider when placing your newsletter’s release:

  • Your Niche – Lifestyle brands are something people want to check in with more frequently, even on a daily basis. Tech B2B? Less so. Think about how your brand fits into your prospect’s life or social media when scheduling your newsletter release.
  • Your Value – Which approach increases your value in your prospect’s eyes? Is it more a “distance makes the heart grow fonder” relationship, or does daily or weekly contact make you more valuable to your end users?

6. Use those CTAs and Links

Engagement, engagement, engagement. CTAs and links through to landing pages are absolutely essential to any newsletter. I still get PNG-only newsletters, in the year 2017, sent by established tech companies. Seriously??

Frame a call to action, and pepper up CTAs and links throughout your content. Getting eyes on your website not only increases the chance of a conversion, it also helps you segment “avid leads” in your marketing CRM. Never leave your reader with a static block of text or.

These are core principles that can really take your newsletter to the next level and make it a converting machine. Thoughts of your own? Share them in the comments below.

7. Keep it personal

Don’t send email newsletters that aren’t personal, meaning signed by “team” or “company”.

Send your newsletters from a specific sender, and allow recipients to reply the e-mail. Proactively encourage your recipients to reply the e-mail with feedback and comments. Make sure to include a personal signature, preferably that includes your image in it.

People trust people, and the more you humanize your communication, the higher ROI you will see.

8. Title – The WIIFM concept

WIIFM- what’s in it for me. More People will open your newsletter if they will know that gems are awaiting them inside, right from the title.

Let’s say that your newsletter includes 1 content topic (educational) and a use case you wish to promote.

One title version can be: May newsletter- A fresh blog post and a use case

Another title version can be: Learn how to… & read how XXX company increased their…

Which one is more appealing? You get the idea.

Final words:

What’s written above is only a tiny bit of tips and hacks that can help you become an e-mail marketing ninja. Still, it’s a good start.

I believe that the best attitude is to keep running experiments and measure the impact. As long as you keep testing different parameters you’re on the right path. Run tests on different titles, content, visuals, time, day of publish, type of content, amount of content pieces per one newsletter, call to action and anything else that comes to mind.

Good luck!  Elli, G2MTEAM.

Einav Laviv
Einav Laviv is a tech marketing expert, a startup founder and the CEO at G2Mteam, that supports Israeli startups with full stack global marketing services. She lives, breathes and loves startups & marketing: B2B, B2C, Mobile, online and product
Einav Laviv
Einav Laviv
hello [at] g2mteam.com
About The Author

Einav Laviv

Einav Laviv is a tech marketing expert, a startup founder and the CEO at G2Mteam, that supports Israeli startups with full stack global marketing services. She lives, breathes and loves startups & marketing: B2B, B2C, Mobile, online and product