B2B Email Marketing Top 10 Benchmarking Results

Posted by Hube Hopkins on March 24th, 2008

Benchmark Guide(Summarized from MarketingSherpa‘s Email Benchmarking Guide – 2008)

Powerful information in easy to understand bullet points regarding the best practices of B2B Email Marketing

“Inbox Overload” is the Number one concern on the minds of email marketers, far exceeding concern over delivery and tracking issues

  • 36% report recipient mailboxes are swamped and all email suffers
  • Another 21% report Spam is eroding trust in email

Choosing a great subject line and repeatedly having content of interest to your mailing list are the number one ways to get your Email Newsletters and Promotions read consistently

What’s the best time to deliver emails?

  • Wednesday and Thursday have the highest “click through” (click through means they took the action you offered) average at 5%
  • Monday and Friday are second at 4%
  • Tuesday is next at 3%
  • Saturday and Sunday are at 2%
  • Lunchtime is primetime to do non-work related activities online
  • 83% of responses arrive within the first 48hours, make sure you are ready

Delivery Day does matter, particularly when you are targeting the B2B market.

Best practices for what is in an email blast or newsletter

  • Email address for feedback – 53%
  • Navigation links – 48%
  • Display recipient’s email address – 44%
  • Telephone contact number – 40%
  • Subscription link – 27%
  • Forward to a friend – 25%

Make it easy for people who open your email to respond to you. The best offer several ways to contact you so you can match the customer’s preferences at the time they open your email.

Over 85% of companies tested the subject lines of their emails

  • The easiest and most effective test an emailer can run
  • You have 2 seconds to make a favorable impression
  • Well-crafted, to-the-point subject line is best

If you have not been testing your Email Newsletter “subjects”, you are missing a vital tool to improving open rates.

Investment in TESTING (subjects, layouts, calls to action, etc.) will almost always result in enough learning to easily pay for itself in email campaigning

  • 91% of retailers use offer testing
  • Of those 91%, over 95% would recommend it to others (THAT’s an Ah Ha)
  • Only 70% of B2B marketers would recommend testing to improve results (more creativity required with the less flexibility in what they can “offer” as specials

Most companies spend all their investment in growing the list when TESTING is probably a more effective way to improve Return on Investment from an email marketing campaign.

What is the “Best Business Newsletter” content? (no surprise here, customers want information of interest to them) – Scores on a 4.0 scale

  • Articles on tactics or how-to – 3.5
  • Case studies of client’s experiences – 3.1
  • List of best practices (Top Ten lists) – 3.1
  • Articles on high level strategy – 2.2
  • Interviews with customers or analysts – 1.8
  • Aggregating industry news – 1.4

The high scores for “how-to, case studies, and Top Tens” show that successful email newsletters provide valuable information for the customers, not information on your company, products, or services.

57% of B2B emailers are still collecting customer address, fax number, etc when contact data is obtained.

Unless you can connect the information you collect to a tangible benefit for your customer, you should probably not ask for it (note the emphasis on “customer” value)

For B2B marketers, the best ways to get high quality email opt-ins were:

  • Free trials/downloads
  • Sales alert/product announcement offers
  • Trade events
  • Newsletter offers (not so for the B2C companies)
  • Check boxes on registration and order forms

Two surprises were that in B2C, contests worked great to grow the list, but newsletter signups were not effective. People don’t think most B2C companies provide them value in their email marketing campaigns.

How often is “too frequently” to send emails?

  • As often as they will read it – If your customer thinks it’s too often, they WILL consider it spam
  • Should have mostly to do with the needs of your customers
  • Let it ebb and flow along with your customer’s sales cycles
  • Segmentation by sales cycles would be very powerful to be in sync with your customers
  • Don’t bother people that just purchased from you
  • If you have a hot lead for a big-ticket item, send them a different, thought provoking email every day for a week

Sending email newsletters or promotions requires “careful thought” to get the frequency right. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask whether you are sending them at the right frequency.

20% is about the average “open rate” for both sales blasts and newsletters

  • Rates vary from a high of 28% for Banking/Finance companies to a low of 9% for Wholesale/Distribution companies
  • Consulting is tough at 10.8%
  • Manufacturing average is 15.6%

This data shows that we really have to work hard on our subject lines and content to make newsletters and blasts of value to our customers.

If you still need help with your B2B Email Marketing campaign just drop us a line or give us a call (866) 732-2271, we would be happy to talk through your needs.


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