B2B Email Marketing: Strategies, Best Practices & Examples

Written by: Scott Cohen

Published on: 07-02-2024

Scott is the CEO at InboxArmy and has more than 20 years of experience in email marketing.

In B2B (business-to-business) marketing, email is usually your most important channel. It helps you nurture relationships with leads, establishes you as an authoritative voice within your niche, and can lead to increased conversions and revenue.

What Is B2B Email Marketing?

B2B email marketing is the process of promoting your business’s services or products to other businesses using targeted email campaigns.

The main goals of B2B email marketing are to:

  • Establish the authority of your brand.
  • Tell businesses how your offerings help them solve specific pain points.
  • Turn leads into paying customers.
  • Nurture long-term relationships with potential customers.
  • Introduce new products and features.
  • Onboard new customers.
  • Maintain customer engagement with your brand.
  • Cross-sell/upsell to existing customers.

As mentioned, email is often the most effective channel in an overall B2B marketing strategy. In fact, 50% of B2B marketers in the US say it’s more impactful than their social media and content marketing channels.

Clearly, it’s vital that you nail your B2B email marketing strategy to boost your conversions and build lasting relationships with your customers.

Similarities And Differences Between B2B Vs B2C Marketing

B2C (business to consumer) email marketing is what most people think of when it comes to email marketing – the messages they get from the brands they buy from to satisfy their personal needs. B2B and B2C share many similar characteristics, but they have some major differences, as you’ll see below.

The Similarities

  • Goal-driven: Both are most successful when they let company goals and objectives drive marketing decision-making using strategies and tactics.
  • Customer-focused: Both must focus on their customers’ needs, wants, and preferences, not just what the company wants to talk about in an email.
  • One channel to rule them all: Although you should use other channels like social media marketing, email should be the hub of all marketing operations for both B2B and B2C. The marketing team should also own as many customer-facing communications as possible to build brand equity.
  • Building loyalty: Retention is another shared goal, with the aim to keep more customers engaged with the brand after a sale and to bring them back to buy again.
  • Diversifying: Both are beginning to incorporate other media into the content process, especially social media, video, and chatbots – another reason why email should be the hub of your marketing program.
  • Educate and nurture: Email can do more than sell (for B2C) or qualify leads (for B2B). Once customers give permission for businesses to send emails, marketers can use it judiciously to help customers get the most from the products and services they buy.
  • Data quality: Data is the lifeblood for both sets of marketers. Successful programs need a continuous stream of fresh, relevant data for effective messaging and strategic planning.

The Differences

  • Different goals: B2B and B2C have different goals. B2C marketing aims to drive sales and build loyalty. B2B uses marketing to shorten the sales pipeline through education and nurturing before handing prospects off to the sales staff, where the sale usually occurs.
  • Education over selling: Content marketing has a higher priority in B2B marketing. It aims to educate the prospect through a buying process that’s usually more complex than a typical B2C product. Then, it needs to retain customers after the sale.
  • Longer path to purchase: B2B sales can often be far more complex, with more people involved in decision-making and more education needed to keep the company on the shortlist of potential vendors. That means B2B marketers need to develop a wider range of communications to meet a wider range of needs.
  • Smaller audience: B2C brands can have millions of email addresses in their databases. This gives B2C marketers greater latitude for everything from building personas and segments to targeting and testing. B2B marketers usually operate with smaller audiences that also have a narrower focus on priorities.

B2B Email Marketing Strategies

Strategies For B2B Emails

OK, I’ve shown you some examples of highly effective B2B marketing emails. Now, let’s take a look at some strategies you can use to build a winning B2B email campaign.

If you’d prefer to let an expert b2b agency do the hard work for you, let InboxArmy take care of your business. We’ll plan and execute a powerful strategy that’s tailored to your unique goals.

Target the buying center

When you’re trying to sell your products/services to a company, you need to market to the people who are in charge of making purchases. In B2B email marketing, this group is known as the “buying center”.

The buying center can be divided into five main categories:

  • The user: The employees who will be using your product/service on a daily basis. Although they don’t typically make purchasing decisions, they can influence those who do by giving them feedback on the benefits of your offerings.
  • The data collector: This employee researches your product/service and provides the relevant data to the people making the purchasing decisions.
  • The buyer: This is the employee who deals with all the practical aspects of purchasing your product/service. For instance, they’re in charge of negotiating discounts and working out the terms and conditions of any contracts.
  • The consultant: This employee has lots of experience and expertise within the company’s niche, and has used products/services like yours for different use cases. They provide guidance to the company on whether your product/service is a worthwhile investment.
  • The decision-maker: This is the employee who makes the ultimate purchasing decision. They’re influenced in varying degrees by all the other roles in the buying center and, of course, by your B2B email marketing efforts.

So, why is it useful for you to know about the buying center?

Well, it allows you to create buyer personas for each of the roles within it. By conducting thorough research, you can determine their goals, responsibilities, information needs, and pain points.

Then, you can craft email content that targets each persona and convinces them to choose your product/service for their company.

Segment your audience

Above, I talked about targeting individual buyer personas with tailored emails. This involves splitting up your target audience into smaller groups based on specific characteristics. As you’d imagine, doing this manually can be incredibly time-consuming.

To streamline the process, you need to make the most of email marketing segmentation tool.

Map emails to the buyer’s journey

I mentioned targeting prospects based on who they are. However, it’s also important to target them based on where they are in the buyer’s journey.

With that in mind, here are the five stages of the buyer’s journey and the different content types you can include in your emails to target users at different stages:

  • Awareness stage: The user is aware they have an issue and is starting to research how to resolve it. To target these users, create educational emails and include links to eBooks and how-to guides.
  • Consideration stage: The user is considering your product/service but is conducting further research. At this stage, your emails should contain product/service demos, customer testimonials, and case studies.
  • Decision-making stage: The user has almost decided to purchase your product/service. Now, they’re thinking about ROI and pricing. To give them the final nudge, your emails should contain free trial offers, pricing guides, and discounts.
  • Retention stage: At this stage, the user is now a customer and your aim is to retain them so that they continue to buy from you. Users in this stage need to be given valuable information like in-depth product/service tutorials to keep them engaged.
  • Advocacy stage: These users are loyal customers who advocate for your brand by telling other businesses about you. Your emails to these users should contain things like referral programs and surveys.

Automate your email campaigns

Once you’ve segmented your audience based on their buyer personas and their stage in the buyer’s journey, it’s time to automate your email marketing campaigns.

Again, all worthwhile email marketing platforms have a feature for this.

These tools allow you to set up drip campaigns that send out targeted emails triggered by certain actions like downloading content or signing up for your newsletter.

For example, your “welcome email” workflow will be automatically triggered to send when a user subscribes to your mailing list.

This means you don’t have to manually create targeted emails to send every time a user takes a particular action.

Use email templates

Of course, the most important part of your B2B email strategy is the content of the emails you send. They should have personalized email subject lines, contain dynamic content blocks, and use consistent branding.

You could do all of this manually but that’s going to use a lot of time and resources.

Instead, you should use the email templates included with your email marketing platform. These templates usually include:

  • Responsive designs that adapt to mobile and desktop
  • Pre-built layout options
  • Drag-and-drop dynamic content blocks
  • Content blocks you can customize with your branding
  • Pre-built unsubscribe links (to fulfill your legal requirements)

B2B Email Marketing Best Practices

how to make best b2b emails (best practices)

Below, I’ve highlighted the key best practices you need to follow to create a successful B2B campaign.

Lead with benefits

Everything from a product launch to company news should answer the reader’s unspoken question: “What’s in it for me?”.

Don’t send emails just because the calendar says so

Regular email contact is important to establish a recognizable presence in the receiver’s inbox and to give your customers more chances to contact you. However, it’s more important to get the news out quickly if it will help your customers. If you send a monthly newsletter but have great news to share a week after publication, don’t wait three more weeks to send it.

Watch for bouncing and inactive addresses

Either one can indicate that the email address owner no longer works for that company. Remove bouncing addresses immediately, but move inactive addresses into a segment for reactivation campaigns.

Don’t just talk about yourself

B2B subscribers are looking for tips, advice, and news. Stay on top of what’s happening in the industry and report on news that subscribers need to know to succeed in their own work.

Use data to segment, target, and track subscribers

Use progressive profiling to gather data bit by bit instead of overwhelming newcomers with requests for personal information.

Update your templates for mobile viewing

Use an email rendering service to see which platforms your subscribers use to view your emails. You might be surprised!

Clean your email lists regularly

Also, don’t buy email lists (they are potentially dangerous and could be against the law), and be careful about sending to rented lists.

Don’t be afraid to show personality

People buy from people, not companies. Share relevant company news and photos. Write as if you were chatting with your customers, not speaking from a lectern or pitching.

Don’t rely on broadcast email

Your subscriber list has everyone from newcomers to longtime customers. Use dynamic content modules to display content appropriate for customers at different points in the buying cycle to create personalized messages at scale.

5 B2B Email Marketing Examples

Now that you know exactly what email marketing for B2B is, I’m going to take you through five examples of businesses that are getting it just right.

1. What’s new email – Semrush


“What’s new” emails form an important part of your B2B email marketing strategy. They grab attention by offering fresh information and insights that help keep your brand top-of-mind for existing and potential customers.

Plus, they share new, valuable content that positions your brand as a trusted resource and an industry expert.

What I really like about this email from Semrush is the way it promotes new content that’s been published on its authoritative blog. This email is clearly targeted at marketing professionals who are relatively inexperienced and are looking for educational content.

It includes a clear CTA, encouraging users to take the desired action. In this case, Semrush wants users to “Get the Guide”.


This is a great way to drive traffic to Semrush’s site and provides users with relevant content that’s likely to keep them engaged.

When you click the CTA button, you land on the blog post. At the bottom of this page, there’s another CTA button, encouraging users to start a free trial.

Semrush example

So, this email could lead to both a boost in traffic and increased conversions.

2. Event announcement email – Siemens

Event announcement emails are an effective way to target segments of your audience based on their interests and needs. They encourage users to sign up for things like webinars and conferences that address common pain points of the particular segment.

This event announcement for “Transform 24” from Siemens, aimed at SaaS businesses, is a perfect example of how to do it.

Event announcement email

First, it clearly tells readers how the event will help them address pain points like scalability and app customization.


Then, it positions itself and its partners as thought leaders within the SaaS niche who will give users unique industry insights:


At the top and bottom of the email, there are clear CTA buttons encouraging users to convert by registering for the event.

cta button

3. Newsletter Email – ClickFunnels

Newsletter Email example

Newsletters are one of the best ways to nurture relationships with leads and build user trust. Plus, since they’re sent out regularly, they ensure users remain engaged with your brand.

You may choose to create a newsletter that broadly targets the whole of your target audience. Or, you can segment your audience and create different newsletters tailored to the specific needs of each segment.

This ClickFunnels newsletter takes a broader approach by offering plenty of valuable information that appeals to a wide audience looking to optimize their sales funnels.

They use eye-catching graphs to break down stats, making the newsletter highly readable and engaging.

how to use graphs in newsletter

They also include helpful infographics that visually demonstrate information from trusted sources.

infographic idea

I’d highly recommend taking the same approach to visuals in your B2B newsletters. They break up walls of text, simplify complex data, and give your newsletters a highly polished appearance.

4. Product upgrade email – Klaviyo

Product upgrade emails are an effective B2B email marketing tool for increasing revenue and improving customer value.

You use them to target existing customers who are already using your product/service. Then, you encourage them to purchase additional features or upgrade to higher-tier plans.

This product upgrade from Klaviyo is a really good example of this. It starts out with a compelling CTA.

Product upgrade email by Klaviyo

Next, it clearly outlines the benefits of moving to an upgraded plan.

I like how simple they’ve kept it here. The email doesn’t bombard readers with complex information. Instead, it concisely highlights the added value customers can gain from choosing an improved plan.

This type of email is also an effective way of reducing churn among existing customers. By offering relevant updates, you incentivize them to stick with your brand and product/service.

5. Cost-saving alternative email – Radar

Cost-saving alternative email – Radar

Cost-saving alternatives can be a successful B2B email marketing tactic as they address the primary concerns prospects have when they’re at the bottom of the sales funnel. Namely, value for money and return on investment (ROI).

They emphasize how your product/service can provide the same benefits as those offered by other brands but for less money.

In this email, Radar directly addresses the pain point of businesses overspending on Google Maps or Mapbox. Then, it provides real-world examples of businesses that have saved money by using Radar’s product instead.

Radar’s product

Next, it lays out the benefits businesses can gain from choosing Radar Maps over other popular options, and includes a “Learn more” CTA button.

email from radar

By highlighting the cost-effectiveness and other benefits of its product, Radar clearly demonstrates its value proposition to its prospects.

Final Thoughts

The five examples in this guide demonstrate what it takes to create highly effective B2B marketing emails. They provide valuable and relevant content, highlight the benefits of the brand’s product/services, and address the common pain points of their target audience. Plus, they all include clear and compelling CTAs that encourage users to convert.

By following the strategies and best practices I’ve laid out above, you can ensure your brand crafts B2B marketing emails that are just as successful. Additionally, you can see there are plenty of B2C best practices you can use to enhance your B2B email marketing efforts.


How often should I send B2B marketing emails?

When it comes to the frequency of B2B marketing emails, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The optimal frequency depends on factors like your industry, specific audience, and the type of emails you send.

As a general rule, you should send at least one email a month. However, it’s typically best to send weekly emails. This ensures your audience remains engaged with your brand and that you stay top-of-mind.

The best way to determine the frequency of your emails is to test out different frequencies. By monitoring metrics like click-through rates (CTR), open rates, and unsubscribe rates, you’ll get a good idea of how often your audience wants to receive emails from you.

How can I improve the deliverability of my B2B emails?

There are several ways to improve the deliverability of your B2B emails, such as:

  • Regularly clean up your mailing list by removing unengaged subscribers, inactive users, and invalid addresses.
  • Use protocols like DMARC, DKIM, and SPF to authenticate your emails.
  • Avoid using certain phrases like “Don’t Delete” and “Extra Cash”. These phrases are known as spam triggers and may result in your emails going straight to the spam folder.

How can I track the performance metrics of my B2B email marketing campaign?

The best way to track your campaign’s performance metrics is to use an email marketing platform. These platforms include analytics tools that make it easy to monitor metrics like open rates, CTR, and conversion rates.

Some of the best platforms on the market include:

  • Klaviyo
  • Omnisend
  • Mailchimp
  • Iterable
  • HubSpot

About Author

Winner of the ANA Email Experience Council’s 2021 Stefan Pollard Email Marketer of the Year Award, Scott Cohen is a proven email marketing veteran with nearly 20 years of experience as both a brand-side marketer and an email marketing agency executive. He brings to our clients a unique blend of experience building and managing larger CRM and retention teams, sending millions of emails and SMS per week, and award-winning copywriting chops. For more information, follow him on Linkedin

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