8 Reasons Your B2B Emails Are Getting Ignored - And How To Fix Them

By Rhonda Bradley / 18 September 2018

Find out why your B2B email marketing gets ignored and discover 8 changes you can make that will help better engage your subscribers.

For most B2B businesses, email marketing is an effective channel for driving revenue.

According to research by Content Marketing Institute, 93% of B2B marketers use email to distribute content, and nearly 75% list it as one of their top most-effective marketing channels.

If your B2B email marketing isn’t increasing revenue for your brand, it might be time to take a look at why that’s happening. 

Here are 8 common reasons why your emails may be getting ignored:

  1. Your B2B emails go straight to the spam folder
  2. Your subject lines aren’t compelling
  3. You’re not optimizing for mobile devices
  4. You’re not segmenting and personalizing
  5. Your emails are too serious
  6. You’re sending the wrong type of content
  7. You forgot to tell a story
  8. Your emails don't have a clear call to action

We offer solutions for improving your B2B email campaigns by addressing these 8 issues.

1. They’re Going Straight to the Spam Folder

Email providers like Google, Zoho, and Yahoo try to send spam to a special folder, so their users only see legitimate emails.

However, the process of determining which emails are from spammers isn’t a perfect one. As a result, sometimes legitimate emails get flagged as spam and are never seen by your subscribers.

The only way to ensure your emails don’t end up disappearing into the spam folder is to be sure that your subscribers whitelist your emails by adding you as a contact.

Encourage subscribers to add your email address to their contacts list by including a “how to” guide on the email signup page.

Here are a few more tips from Xverify Intelligent Email Service:

  • Never write your subject line in all-caps.
  • Be careful to use proper spelling and grammar.
  • Don’t overuse exclamation points.
  • Avoid using URL shorteners for links.

Including a message that shows people how to whitelist your email address is the best way to avoid ending up in the spam folder.

2. Your Headlines Aren’t Compelling

The B2B audience requires value and content that’s highly credible. However, that doesn’t mean that email subjects, or content, should read like an encyclopedia.

According to B2B Marketing, good B2B emails headers:

  • Are written in a clear, yet persuasive tone.
  • Are short and to-the-point – 50 characters or less, if possible.
  • Are followed by a strong first line, 80 characters or less, in the body of the email. Remember that the first line of your email often shows up as a preview. 
  • Are personalized with subjects that apply to the reader. 

According to a study by YES Lifecycle Marketing, personalized email subject lines get 50% higher open rates. 

There are many ways you can personalize subjects by including:

  • Transaction history
  • Interests
  • Location
  • First name

For example, the image below shows how Think With Google uses an effective subject line.

Think With Google email subject line

“How to drive growth by delivering the assistance people expect” tells the reader exactly what’s in the email with clear and simple language.

3. Your Emails Aren’t Compatible With Mobile Design

Not long ago, B2B’ers weren’t using their mobile phones very much during work hours. However, B2B reader behavior is changing. 63% of B2B buyers use their mobile devices more for work than they did the year before.

Now that so many people are using mobile devices to read B2B email, it’s important to optimize your design and content for mobile devices. Here are a few tips to help you:

  • Write short subject lines.
  • Include clear CTA’s.
  • Be sure your design works on both desktop and mobile. 

You can test your design by viewing it on multiple devices, or use a service like Litmus to quickly see screenshots of what your emails will look on over 90 different apps and devices.

Avoid using an image as your call-to-action, because many people view emails in text mode.

In the example below, Shopify delivers an excellent model for mobile design. The fonts are large and easy-to-read, while the content provides a compelling first-glance.

Shopify mobile design

The email includes the title, image, description, and a clear CTA on the first screen that users see.

4. You’re Not Segmenting and Personalizing Content

Have you ever received an offer for 50% off your favorite service, only to discover the promotion is just for first-time customers? This happens when companies don’t segment and personalize their emails.

Personalization goes beyond merely adding a person’s name in the greeting section of your email. 

It begins by segmenting your email list. In other words, categorizing or tagging subscribers based on many different factors such as:

  • Demographics like location, management level, or job position
  • Specific interests of the reader based on surveys or previous interactions with content
  • Types of onsite engagement they’ve had at your website
  • Past purchases and trials

Email marketing software provider Mailchimp reports that segmented email campaigns get over nearly 15% higher open rates and over 100% higher click-through rates. Cancellation rates are also lower by almost 10%.

There are many ways to segment and personalize your email marketing. Get to know your email marketing platform well enough that you’re able to segment customers and send personalized campaigns.

5. Your Content is Too Dry

Do your emails read like an encyclopedia? Many B2B marketers make the mistake of writing too seriously.

There’s a balance of enjoyment and credibility required for B2B writing. Even though your topics may include business and tech, it’s important to remember that you’re still writing for people who like reading engaging content. 

Here are a couple of tips to help you create more engaging content for B2B emails:

  • Use good design that includes large fonts and skimmable text.
  • Write about your reader, not yourself.
  • Keep your emails clear and short.
  • Avoid heavy lingo unless your audience loves it.

Writing content that’s easy to skim is helpful to B2B readers. Many of them are reading emails at work and appreciate a clear and simple writing style that gets straight to the point.

6. You’re Not Sending The Right Type Of Content

What type of content works best for emails? Unless you’re explicitly sending a certain type of email, you probably want a healthy balance of different kinds of content. This includes:

  • Announcements of reports, whitepapers, and industry-related materials
  • Unique tips that help readers do their job better
  • Sharing your recently published articles, posts, and reports
  • Proving your authority by sharing  your expertise in a short and clear manner
  • Videos
  • User-generated comments and endorsements, like positive customer reviews

Always remember to include content that’s relevant and helpful to your audience. B2B email subscribers are looking to you to provide valuable content that helps them do their jobs better.

7. You Forgot How Effective Storytelling Can Be

Storytelling does more than engage readers. It piques their interest in your company and encourages them to open more emails - because there may be more stories.

For example, the email below shows how Sumo marketing tools uses a short story to capture attention and describe a typical customer pain point.

Sumo marketing email

By framing the information in a short story about a marketer named Jake, Sumo presents an email that’s more entertaining - and more likely to engage readers.

Get to know the basics of storytelling as they apply to email marketing. You can tell a story in just one line of text, and this micro-story format is perfect for B2B email marketing.

Stories allow you to tell the reader more about your company and products without sounding self-centered. 

Try to include storytelling in your emails, so your content is better remembered, and so you build a reputation for emails worth opening.

8. You Didn’t Include A Clear Call To Action

Behind all of the design, copywriting, and storytelling, there is a purpose to your emails. Don’t get so carried away creating great content that you forget why you’re sending it in the first place.

Include clear calls to action in the upper portion of your emails, so your readers know what to do next. This will go a long way toward improving the ROI of your email campaigns.

Email click-through rates are 47% higher for B2B email campaigns than B2C.

For example, this email from Search Engine Journal offers a compelling call to action for B2B readers.

SEJToday email

The email includes a bright green CTA button that’s visible within the first few seconds of viewing.

Discover 8 examples of effective email marketing calls to action.

Deliver Valuable Content to B2B Email Subscribers

When you’re reaching out to other businesses by email, keep in mind that you’re probably reaching people during busy workdays.

To create successful B2B email campaigns, focus on delivering value in a way that helps people do their jobs better or more efficiently. Be sure to include strong headlines, appropriate content, and clean and mobile-ready designs.

These tips should help you increase your revenue and improve the ROI of your B2B email marketing campaigns.

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