6 Email Best Practices To Get Your Messages Read

email marketing

Email marketing is still a staple in any successful B2B marketing program. If your sales and marketing emails aren’t achieving the ROI you need them to, review these email best practices to boost your response rates.

While they may prove to be great complements to your existing channels, nothing has emerged to supplant the power of email. According to Hubspot, email still generates $38 for every $1 invested, and 78% of marketers have actually seen email engagement rates increase over the past year.

At Content4Demand, we always stress the importance of buyer-focused messaging. That buyer focus needs to extend to your email messages, and that means writing emails that your customers want to read versus what you want to say. These email best practices are relevant for both your sales and your marketing teams.

Get Your Emails Opened

They won’t read what they don’t open, and that means that your subject line is the most important component of email writing. It’s the bow on top of your email, and it should communicate the gist of what they’re about to read that invites them to read more. How will they benefit by opening the email?

There’s plenty to say about what goes into an effective subject line. Digital Marketer breaks them into eight approaches: self-interest, curiosity, offer, urgency/scarcity, humanity, news, social proof and story. Here, they explain how to use each, and you can peruse a long list of great examples of subject lines in action.

Pack Email Messages with Meaning

Your email recipients should be able to understand right away why they’re getting a message and why it should matter to them. Make sure key information jumps out, and make the text easy to scan for those of us who skim rather than read our way through overflowing inboxes. Creativity is great, but never underestimate the value of brief, straightforward messaging that doesn’t waste readers’ time.

Inspire Recipients to Act

Your email does little without a clear call to action. Take the time to go beyond the generic “buy now” to create something unique to your brand that achieves the goal of your CTA.

Consider incorporating several CTAs sprinkled throughout the email—and worded differently—to give yourself multiple opportunities to capture their attention. Maybe you’re selling pillows, and you end your opener with “see what a good night’s sleep looks like.” Then, if your target audience is not likely to be offended, end with a racier version: “Sleep with us!”

No need to push the taste boundaries this way for your own CTAs. The point is to be clear, concise and unique.

Spark Conversations

You don’t want your email to be the end of the conversation. It’s the beginning, so open a dialogue and make it easy for readers to respond. Always include an easy way for them to reach you.

Some salespeople swear by the multiple-choice response approach, with numbers that correspond with their answers: 1) Schedule a meeting, 2) Hit me up this week, 3) Not now, and 4) Go away. (Maybe not quite so direct, but you get the idea.) So readers can hit reply and type a single digit in response.

Whether or not you’re inclined to take this particular tack, ensure that you’re offering fast, easy ways for recipients to respond.

Act Natural

Even in B2B, your email recipients aren’t businesses, they’re people. Nobody wants to read a string of corporate jargon or stiff messaging. If you read it aloud and it sounds completely unnatural, then it probably reads that way, too.

Try to approach your message as if you were speaking to someone in person to make an authentic connection, and that still leaves room for you to take a more casual or a more formal tone, depending on what your target audience expects from you.

Get Personal

For one-on-one emails, touch on something you know about the recipient in your message to establish a personal connection. Mention their company, something they posted on LinkedIn or a conference you both attended.

Consider incorporating appropriate personalization in automated email messages beyond just their names, like job role- or industry-specific challenges. According to Evergage, 99% of marketers say personalization helps advance customer relationships, and 78% say it has a “strong” or “extremely strong” impact.

When you segment campaigns, you open the door to creating more relevant messages for specific audiences. That at least partially explains why marketers who use segmented campaigns see as much as a 760% increase in revenue, according to Hubspot.

Fast Forward

Email marketing remains a key component of B2B marketing programs. Be thoughtful about the messages you choose to send, and how you frame those messages. If you follow these email best practices to demonstrate your relevance and invite real conversation, few (if any) channels can achieve the same powerful results.

To look at buyer-focused content in another way, read Alicia Esposito, Director of Content + New Media, make the case for Why Content Strategists Must Understand UX

Holly Celeste Fisk is an accomplished marketing pro with 20+ years of experience in B2B and B2C. She’s responsible for Content4Demand’s internal marketing efforts, managing everything from content creation and email marketing to events and sponsorships, blog publishing, website management and social media presence. When she’s not working, you’ll find her sliding into third at softball, buried in a book or practicing her Italian. 


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