Based on the results of a collection of A/B tests here’s a list of B2B email marketing best practices (and tests you can try yourself)
In their free time, some people like to ski or walk their dog, but I get kicks out of sitting back with a cup of tea and reading through results of A/B tests. If you’re a marketer, you’re probably in the same boat, because consumer psychology is fascinating.
In a B2B email marketing A/B test I read about a few years ago, an event software company ran two A/B tests to improve their existing sales letter email. The A test tried to be more engaging. The B addressed anxiety – they felt their B2B email readers may be feeling anxious that responding to the offer would result in them getting unsolicited emails and phone calls. The email that addressed the anxiety led to a 349% increase in leads.
Another B2B email marketing A/B test started with an entirely new sales letter, one that focused on the challenges of the reader, and another that focused on the goals of the reader. The email that focused on the challenges of the reader, identifying and exploiting pain points, resulted in a 17% increase in click-throughs.
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Based on the cumulative results of tests like these, I’ve been able to deduce what seem to be fairly consistent B2B email marketing best practices, however I’d love to hear your results in the comments if you’d like to share!
- Testimonials increase email click-through and conversion rate (also for web sales letters)
- Identifying pain points and exploiting them increases click-throughs (true for all B2B copywriting, actually)
- For professional events, a video (screenshot or embedded) can increase click-through rates and conversion rates (this of course, depends on the video)
- A call to action above the fold of your email will lead to more click-throughs than below it
- More call to action buttons lead to more click-throughs (include them several times throughout your sales letter)
- There’s no right or wrong length for subject lines – the subject line itself matters most (don’t be afraid to test long subject lines)
- The same goes for length of the promotional emails, both work (longer ones work better for more expensive products, rather than subscriptions)
- Sign promotional sales letters by your CEO and use them as the From Name (but don’t over-use this strategy)
- Send during the week (this might sound obvious for the B2B crowd, but B2B emails are also more likely to get spam complaints when sent on the weekend.)
- For primarily US business consumers, send from 9am – 5pm EST (EST offers the greatest flexibility with US time zones.)
- Send more promotions, but create different variations for each. Experian says for every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment in B2B (the more you send, the more you’ll make.)
- Use “more information” on your call to action buttons (when tested against text like “try me now” or “buy now,” the “more info” text wins 90% of the time.)
According to iContact, customers who receive email newsletters spend 82% more when they buy from the company. So if you’re in B2B, and you’re a publisher, you have no excuse not to send regular editorial efforts to your subscriber list in addition to promotional emails. You have expensive products, and you have lots of content. Email marketing is a prime place to share content and promote products.
What tests have you run, and what were their results? PLEASE share with us in the comments, we’d love to know what worked best for you!