Email Marketing Best Practices

Let’s take a quick trip back in time. If you were working in the 1990s, you’ll remember how packed work mailboxes were back then as direct mail—in the form of postcards, brochures, and flyers—was a crucial part of B2B marketing. It’s a stark contrast to now, when B2B email marketing floods inboxes and direct mail is used only on rare occasions.

So, how can you get attention in a very crowded inbox? Read on to learn the best practices that will get your email noticed instead of immediately sent to the trash folder.

Five Ways to Write Eye-Catching Subject Lines

The first rule of B2B email marketing club is to keep your subject lines short but informative and eye-catching at the same time. With a short length, you won’t have to worry about your subject line getting cut off in email preview, creating an odd word or a phrase that wasn’t intended.

How else can your email subject lines stand out in the crowd?

  • Personalization: Personalize your emails when possible by putting the recipient’s first name or company name in the subject line. This will make them feel like you’re contacting THEM directly rather than lumping them in with the masses.
  • Numbers: In this age of Twitter, readers want to get their information in little chunks that are quick and easy to digest. Subject lines with numbers in them will show that there’s a list in the piece of content or a certain number of tips. This will appeal to readers who don’t have much time to read, which is pretty much all of us. Consider subject lines that start with “10 top tips on …,” “5 ways to …,” or “21 benefits of….” NOTE: Make sure that the content you’re linking to does have a bulleted list or the actual numbered content in it, and that the number in the subject line matches the number in the content.  
  • Boo!: Yes, you want to give your readers a bit of a scare. Now, this doesn’t mean you should put their home address into the subject line. That screams stalker rather than marketer and you don’t want that. But, you can scare them a bit with subject lines like “Is your computer plagued by malware? Are you sure?” or “Are competitors winning over your customers?”
  • Live webinars: Make sure that you include the actual date of the webinar AND that it’s a webinar in the subject line. This is a bit of a double-edged sword as a person might not click because they know they already have something booked for that time. However, that also disqualifies them as someone who could attend the live webinar, so you’d want them to keep moving anyway. If they’re interested in the topic, they’ll sign up for the on-demand version.
  • Urgency: Time is important to everyone, so you should incorporate a countdown or sense of time in your subject lines. For example, consider sending out a subject line of “Last chance! Join our webinar TODAY” the morning of a webinar. Or if you’re promoting a rebate that has an end date (as most do), create a subject line of “Grab a legacy hardware update rebate | Limited time offer.”

Build Your Best Email

Once you have the perfect subject line, it’s time to build the actual email. You want to give the reader just enough information to make them want to click that call-to-action (CTA) button to find out more and, hopefully, take action to become a lead or customer.

Your email flow should incorporate the following:

  • A compelling headline at the top that complements the subject line
  • An opening paragraph of two sentences or so
  • A sentence that leads into the bullet points
  • Three to four bullet points that give the reader even more of a reason to click that CTA  
  • A closing CTA sentence

Of course, you can also have an email of just two paragraphs that are two sentences each–so long as those paragraphs are informative and give enough information to make the reader want to take action.

Testing 1, 2, 3

The best email marketers know that they can’t sit on their laurels and just use what has always worked. Instead, you should continuously perform A/B split tests to see what works (and more importantly, what doesn’t!) for your specific industry and readers. You should only test one item in an A/B split test–be it the subject line, the CTA, the opening paragraph, or even where that CTA button is placed. A/B split tests really are important and can make or break your emails.

Need help creating and sending out emails? PartnerDemand can help with B2B email marketing campaigns and content that will generate leads! Contact us to get started today.