B2B Email Marketing: Explanation, Best Practices & Examples

Last updated on


B2B Email Marketing: Drive More Sales With These Best Practices & Examples

Would you like to improve your B2B email marketing so you can nurture more leads into customers? Do you also want to use your B2B emails to improve customer retention and increase revenue?

Email marketing is the most important digital marketing channel for many business-to-business (B2B) companies. In fact, 50% of US B2B marketers say that email marketing has the biggest impact on their multichannel marketing strategy.

If you want to see the best possible results, you’ll need to approach your B2B emails with a clear, goal-oriented strategy. And that’s exactly what I’m going to show you how to do in this article.

Here at OptinMonster, we know all about email marketing.

As the best lead generation software on the market, we’ve spent over a decade helping businesses grow their email lists and improve their email segmentation.

Not only that, but email marketing is a huge part of our own B2B marketing strategy, and we have tested and optimized every aspect of our emails.

Because of that experience, our emails consistently perform better than email marketing benchmarks. For instance, the average email open rate across all industries is 36.8%, according to February 2024 data from Constant Contact.

By comparison, in the 1st quarter of 2024, OptinMonster’s average email open rate was a phenomenal 59%. That’s a whopping 60% higher than the average open rate.

Screenshot of OptinMonster's email analytics dashboard. Filtered by: Jan. 1, 2024 - March 25, 2024. 59% open rate.

In short, we know how to build a great email list and keep our subscribers excited to read our emails.

In this article, I’ll go over the basics of B2B email marketing and how it differs from B2C strategies. I’ll also share 8 B2B email best practices, along with 3 examples of successful B2B emails.

With this information, you’ll be prepared to create B2B email campaigns that build brand awareness, develop trust, and drive sales.

What is B2B Email Marketing?

What is B2B email marketing image

B2B Email Marketing Definition

B2B email marketing is a specific type of email marketing strategy used by companies to sell products or services to other businesses. B2B email marketing has several purposes:

  • Educating businesses about how your product or service offers a solution to their pain points
  • Establishing authority in your field
  • Fostering long-term relationships with potential customers and clients
  • Persuading leads to make their first purchase from you
  • Onboarding new customers and helping them succeed
  • Introducing new products, new features, and other product updates
  • Sending upselling and cross selling offers to existing customers
  • Keeping long-time customers engaged with your brand

In short, email marketing lets B2B companies communicate with their leads and customers to drive more sales and improve customer retention,

Differences Between B2B & B2C Email Marketing

B2C (business-to-customer) companies sell products and services to individuals, rather than to other businesses. Many of the email marketing strategies you’ll find online focus on B2C email marketing.

However, B2B companies face some key differences in formulating their email marketing strategy:

  • Audience: Of course, every email is read by an individual person. For B2B, however, the recipients are often business owners or employees who are reading your message on behalf of their company.
  • Decision-Making Process: With B2B emails, your recipient usually can’t simply decide on their own to purchase from you. Instead, they probably have to pitch your product to their boss, their team, and other decision-makers. They’ll likely have to gather data and cost comparisons as part of that process.
  • Sales-Cycle Length: An individual customer may decide to make a purchase over the course of a few days or even in just a few minutes. A B2B sale, however, can take months due to the more in-depth decision-making process.
  • Relationship-Building: B2B companies have to spend more time earning trust before winning a sale. The relationship doesn’t end at the sale, though. If you want to keep your B2B customers, you have to offer ongoing support and incentives.

But how do B2B marketing emails perform compared to B2C?

According to research from the Data & Marketing Association, B2B emails do have a slightly lower average open rate than B2C emails. However, B2B has a 3.18% click rate, which is over 50% higher than the B2C average of 2.09%.

The takeaway? It may be a bit harder to convince B2B customers to open your emails, but once they do, you’ll be able to drive more traffic to your sales pages due to the higher engagement rates.

8 B2B Email Marketing Best Practices

Next, let’s dive into our list of best practices for B2B email marketing. Follow these guidelines, and you’ll be set up to increase your revenue and grow your business through email marketing.

1. Build a Great Email List

Any email strategy begins with the same step:

You need to build an email list full of high-quality leads who want to hear from you.

Obviously, a large list is great, but you also want to have the right people on your list. People who are interested in your brand, your products, and what you have to say.

One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is to use OptinMonster.

OptinMonster is the best lead generation software on the market. It helps you collect email addresses using popups, floating bars, fullscreen mats, inline forms, and other onsite marketing campaigns.

People who are visiting your website have already shown interest in your company. With OptinMonster’s robust triggering and targeting functionality, you can display your marketing campaigns to the right people at the right time. These targeting rules include:

  • Exit-Intent® Technology: Capture your visitor’s email address before they leave your site
  • Page-Level Targeting: Show visitors special offers based on the content they’re looking at on your site
  • Timed Display and Scroll Triggers: Only show your popup when a user has spent a certain amount of time on your site or has scrolled through a specific percentage of a page’s content.

OptinMonster offers 100+ pre-made templates, which you can sort by purpose or theme.

Screenshot of the templates you can choose from in OptinMonster

Then, you can easily customize the template in our drag-and-drop builder. In fact, you can have an email signup campaign running on your website in mere minutes.

how to create a pre-sell popup

Let’s look at an example of how OptinMonster can help your B2B marketing strategy.

One of the best ways to collect email addresses from website visitors is to offer a lead magnet.

A lead magnet is a special offer that visitors receive in exchange for signing up for your email marketing list. Popular lead magnets include exclusive coupons or free downloadable content, such as ebooks or PDF guides.

Let’s say you have an ebook lead magnet. You can easily use our eBook Download template to create a popup offer.

Popup campaign that says "Enter youremail and download our 100% free ebook 'Growth HackingTactics.'" Then there are fields for Name and Email Address, and a CTA button that says "Download my ebook"

Once you’ve customized the popup to your liking, you can use Page Targeting to determine which webpages you want this offer to display on. I recommend displaying your popup on articles, product pages, and other content that are closely related to the topic of your ebook.

best spin wheel apps You can use other Display Rules to control exactly when the campaign displays. For instance, you could set it to display after the visitor has been on the page for at least 10 seconds or when they’ve scrolled 30% of the page.

These rules will let you show visitors a lead magnet that’s highly relevant to their interests, right when they’re most engaged on your site. The leads you collect from these targeted forms will be primed to learn more about your company and everything you have to offer.

2. Plan Your Email Marketing Sales Funnel & Workflow

Before you start sending emails, you need a strategy. In fact, you should have an email plan for every part of the customer journey.

Here are just a few of the types of emails you’ll want to create strategies for:

  • Welcome Email Series: All new subscribers should get a series of emails that introduce them to your company and to your email newsletter.
  • Promotional Emails: Send emails promoting your products and services and giving exclusive discounts.
  • Onboarding Email Series: Create a special educational email series for customers who have just purchased your product for the first time. This is especially important for SaaS (software as a service) companies.
  • Win-Back Emails: Has a customer canceled their service, stopped making new purchases, or just stopped engaging with your emails? Don’t give up on them! A well-crafted re-engagement email campaign can win those customers back.

You’ll use email automation to trigger many of these emails. Here’s an example of a basic onboarding workflow for an automated email series:

To learn more, see our 13 Proven Marketing Automation Workflow Examples.

3. Use Segmentation to Send Targeted Email Campaigns

You’ve built a strong email list and mapped out your email marketing funnel. Now, how do you make sure the right email campaigns go to the right people on your list?

That’s where email list segmentation comes in. Email segmentation is the technique of dividing your email list into smaller groups, called segments. You can segment your list based on data such as:

  • Which lead magnet the subscriber signed up for
  • The subscriber’s position in your sales funnel
  • The customer’s purchase history
  • Whether the subscriber has been engaging with your emails
  • The user’s geolocation
  • Demographic information such as age or gender

Email segmentation lets you send the most relevant content possible to every member of your list.

Each email service provider (ESP) has its own instructions for segmentation. For example, here is Constant Contact’s guide to creating an audience segment to send more targeted email campaigns. Often, segments are created through special tags that are attached to your contacts.

Regardless of which email marketing platform you use, the key to sending highly targeted emails is to collect as much data as you can about your leads.

If you’ve used OptinMonster to build your email list, then you’re already ahead of the game.

OptinMonster integrates with your email service provider so you can easily keep track of any data you gathered through your onsite forms.

Here’s an example: let’s say you have an OptinMonster popup that offers a downloadable lead magnet called “Ultimate Checklist for Starting a Successful YouTube Channel.”

You can automatically tag any contacts who signed up for that specific lead magnet, so you’ll always know that they showed interest in building a YouTube channel. When you have any products, services, or content related to video content marketing, you can include that segment in your audience for those emails.

The segmentation options with OptinMonster are practically endless.

For instance, another template we offer is an Exit Survey:

OptinMonster Exit Survey Popup template. It says "We're sorry to see you go. What's your reason for leaving?" Options include I didn't find what I was looking for, I didn't find the website easy to use, It was too expensive for me, and I'm looking at another solution. Then there's a "What could we do to improve?" text field, and an email entry field.

You can customize the form to suit your business’s feedback needs. For every visitor who fills out this feedback form, you’ll know exactly why they haven’t purchased yet and will know how to nurture them through your emails.

Learn More50 Email Segmentation Strategies You Need to Use

4. Craft Attention-Grabbing Subject Lines

With a segmented list and a plan in place, you’re ready to start creating your email campaigns.

The first order of business? Convincing subscribers to open your emails.

That’s where a great subject line comes in. Here are a few of our top tips for effective email subject lines:

  • Create a sense of urgency: Words like “Today Only” or “Limited Time Offer” let your users know that they should open your email right away.
  • Preview value inside your email: Your subscribers expect to get value from your emails. Use your subject line to let them know that your email includes valuable content or an exclusive offer.
  • Use strong, powerful words: Bland subject lines are easy to ignore. Check out our list of 700+ Power Words for help!
  • Pique interest with a bit of mystery: Preview the value, but don’t give it all away! Phrases like “Our biggest sale of the year” encourage subscribers to open your email to learn more
  • Use humor: If it fits with your brand voice, don’t be afraid to crack a joke in your subject line.

Here’s a recent subject line we used at OptinMonster to announce an exciting new feature to our customers:

Email subject line that started with a fire emoi and says: "G "[NEW] Supercharge Lead Generation with Zapier Field Mapping." Email sender name is "Angie at OptinMonster"

The fire emoji and the “NEW” in all caps are attention-grabbing, as is the word “Supercharge.” The subject line explains what the new feature is, but subscribers have to open the email to learn how to use it.

Want to learn more about email subject lines and open rates? Here are a few resources:

5. Be Personal

I mentioned earlier that a B2B email marketing strategy involves more relationship-building than B2C does. That’s because B2B sales generally require more time and trust.

Because you’re talking to another business, you should always be professional, but professional doesn’t have to mean impersonal.

Here’s an email that OptinMonster has sent to our subscribers:

Email from Optinmonster that says "Hi Jennifer, If you're looking for ways to get more organic traffic to your website... I'll show you exactly how you can do it with Off-Page SEO. It's not complicated, I promise. But before we jump into that, you might want to take a look at what's new on our blog:" Then there's a bulleted list of links to blog posts.

We kept this email personal in a few ways:

  • It’s addressed to the subscriber’s first name.
  • It’s written in the first person.
  • The tone is friendly and casual, just like writing to a friend or colleague.
  • All our emails use the sender name of “Angie at OptinMonster,” our general manager. Subscribers are hearing from a specific person, rather than a faceless brand.

When you send personalized emails and keep your email content friendly, you’ll gradually build trust with subscribers.

6. Offer Evidence

B2C marketers have to convince potential customers that their product will make them happy, will solve a problem, and is worth the cost. On the other hand, B2B sales are harder to win because you have to prove that your product makes financial sense for an entire company.

B2C communication focuses on emotions. B2B communication focuses on information, facts, and profit.

You need to share compelling, data-backed proof. You can offer that proof through:

  • Case studies
  • In-depth reports, studies, and white papers
  • Product comparisons
  • Customer testimonials and reviews
  • Awards and recognitions your company has received
  • Infographics and visual data
  • Any statistics that demonstrate how your product can help the customer succeed

Here’s an example from one of our own B2B emails that OptinMonster has sent to subscribers. This email invited subscribers to register for a free webinar with a live demonstration of OptinMonster. After explaining the basics of the webinar, we provided evidence of just how effective OptinMonster can be:

"We'll walk you through how to do it, step by step, and you'll be able to ask questions live The strategy you'll discover can boost conversions by 30-50%, or more. Join us for free by clicking on the link below. Spots are limited, so secure yours now: Sign up For FREE! If you take action, you'll be able to get results like these: Flywheel Increased Engagement 660% Rich Page Increased Conversions by 316% • FitSmallBusiness Increased Conversions by 1900% All of these businesses have used the exact same strategy you'll learn at the webinar."

You’ll notice that we didn’t link to the sources for these stats. That’s because we wanted any links in this email to go directly to the webinar registration page (more on that in the next section). However, all of these statistics come directly from our case studies. Make sure that all of your data is accurate, honest, and provable.

Get Started NowJoin OptinMonster risk-free today to drive more traffic, boost conversions, and get more sales.

7. Create Compelling CTAs

In email marketing, a call-to-action (CTA) is the button or text that you want your subscribers to click in order to take an action. Every marketing email should have a primary CTA that moves users toward the goal of that email campaign. B2B email CTAs often link to:

You should always make it clear exactly where your subscribers should click and why they should click.

The Litmus logo is at the top of the email. Heading says "Templates to get you started quickly." Subheading says "All Litmus approved!" Large green CTA button says "Get your today"

Mastering CTAs is its own expansive topic, and we’ve got plenty of resources to help:

For most of your emails, you should have 1 primary CTA, and you should feature that CTA at least twice throughout your email.

8. Test, Track, and Make Adjustments

The above best practices will help you develop your B2B email marketing strategy. However, every industry, business, product, and audience is different, so success may require some trial and error.

As you start sending your email campaigns, you’ll need to track important email marketing metrics, such as:

Use A/B testing to see which subject lines, sender names, and CTAs perform the best. Then, apply what you’ve learned to future campaigns. Over time, you’ll get a clear idea of what your target audience responds to the best, and you can optimize every aspect of your email marketing efforts.

3 Effective B2B Email Marketing Examples

Next, I’ll share and analyze a few real-life examples of B2B email marketing campaigns. I’ll talk about how these examples use the best practices I’ve covered above, so you can better understand how to create your own email campaigns.

1. Free Resource Email from Litmus

Let’s take a closer look at an email I provided a glimpse of earlier.

Subject Line: 

(Loudspeaker announcement emoji) Get your free email templates right here!

Email Content:

The email starts with a bold heading and CTA, all above the fold. If the subscribers know that they want to learn more about Litmus’s email templates, they can click right away.

The Litmus logo is at the top of the email. Heading says "Templates to get you started quickly." Subheading says "All Litmus approved!" Large green CTA button says "Get your today"

Subscribers who scroll through the email will see examples of some of the available templates, along with more details about what’s available. Below that paragraph text, there’s another button to view the email templates. This button has different, more specific CTA text, and it gives subscribers another chance to click after they’ve read more information.

Images of email templates. "Whether you're looking for template inspo for an upcoming newsletter refresh, launching a new product, or need a simple template for your next campaign, we have templates for all occasions. Find your ideal template by filtering for the specifications you want -such as Dark Mode-ready, interactive, multi-column, you name it-then customize it to make it your own." Green CTA button says "Head to the template hub"

The main email content ends with a “P.S.” message, a secondary CTA, and a testimonial.

"P.S. Looking for even more email template inspo? Check out our 'Email Gallery,' (linked text) which includes best-in-class examples featuring countdown timers, personalized images, and more." Dividing line. Photo of a woman with a quote: ""By relying on templates and snippets rather than building emails from scratch, we can easily cut down production time bu 50% " KATIE ZEFF, LIFECYCLE MARKETING PROGRAM MANAGER AT MINDBODY"

Why and How This Email Works: This email has 1 goal: to drive subscribers to Litmus’s email template hub. Every part of the email is dedicated to getting users to click that CTA, which is repeated twice.

The subject line is direct and expresses value, and the CTAs stand out in the email’s simple layout. To add some proof, the testimonial at the bottom states that using these templates can cut production time in half.

Users have to create a free Litmus account in order to get the code for the templates, so this email helps move leads through Litmus’s sales funnel. The email also reminds current customers of the product’s value, an important step in customer retention.

2. Onboarding Email from Grammarly Business

Next, let’s look at an onboarding email that goes out to new subscribers to Grammarly’s Business plan.

Subject Line:

You + Grammarly Business = Ready For Action

Email Content:

The email starts with an animation showing Grammarly’s tools in action:

Email with the Grammarly Business logo at the top. Still image from an animation showing Grammarly's Brand Tone detector in action.

The rest of the email is dedicated to educating new customers about all the ways they can use their Grammarly Business account:

Pro Features for Business Writing With Grammarly Business you have access to new suggestions and features. We've highlighted a few below to help you make sure you're getting the most out of your subscription. Generative Al: Use Grammarly's generative Al to quickly and easily ideate, compose, and rewrite. Knowledge Share: Access company-wide information faster by hovering over green highlights that define the term and surface related documents. Snippets: Speed up your writing process by inserting frequently used phrases, sentences, and paragraphs into your communication. A0 Brand tones: Receive real-time feedback on whether your writing aligns with your organization's brand voice. Style guides: Leverage custom rules that tailor Grammarly to your organization's unique style. Grammarly Works Where You Do Grammarly offers clear, professional, mistake-free writing across multiple devices, browsers, and apps. Here are the products you can install to access Grammarly wherever you work. The Grammarly Browser Extension Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge INSTALL Grammarly's Desktop App Windows and macOS INSTALL The Grammarly Keyboard Android and iOS INSTALL. Contact Support If you ever need help with your account, contact our friendly Support team.

Why and How This Email Works: 

The subject line is fun and encouraging. It sets the tone for an email that will help new customers get started.

While most emails should focus on a primary CTA, this onboarding email excels at giving an overview of Grammarly’s features, while also providing a few options for next steps. Customers can:

  • Click the “View Your Settings” button to start customizing various features
  • Download and install the suggested browser extensions and apps
  • Contact the Customer Support team if they need any help
  • Click any of the social media buttons to find more ways to engage

Onboarding new customers enhances the overall customer experience and paves the way for a long-term partnership. If you’re developing an onboarding email series, consider starting with an overview email like this one from Grammarly.

3. Webinar Registration Email from OptinMonster

Here’s another email that I previewed earlier but will to explore more in-depth now.

Subject Line:

Live Demonstration: How to Convert Website Visitors into Subscribers and Customers (With Examples and Case Studies)

Email Content:

The email invites the subscriber to sign up for a free webinar. It provides all the details about the live demonstration, explains the benefits of signing up, and includes 2 links to sign up.

Email with the OptinMonster logo at the top. "emonstration to show you how to convert website visitors into subscribers and customers using Page Level Targeting. When? Thursday, March 28, at 10 AM ET. You don’t need marketing, sales or tech experience to implement this strategy. All you need is a website that gets traffic. We’ll walk you through how to do it, step by step, and you’ll be able to ask questions live. The strategy you’ll discover can boost conversions by 30-50%, or more. Join us for free by clicking on the link below. Spots are limited, so secure yours here: Sign up For FREE! If you take action, you'll be able to get results like these: Flywheel Increased Engagement 660% Rich Page Increased Conversions by 316% FitSmallBusiness Increased Conversions by 1900% All of these businesses have used the exact same strategy you’ll learn at the webinar. See you there! If you have any questions, just reply to this email. Talk again soon, Angie Meeker General Manager, OptinMonster

Why and How This Email Works:

You may notice that OptinMonster’s email looks a lot different than the first 2 examples. In fact, we use a text-only format for all of our email marketing campaigns. We, and many other B2B brands, are able to create more personal and helpful emails using just text.

No flashy images, buttons, or formatting are needed. We just talk to our subscribers and tell them the information they need to know.

This email uses many of the best practices I shared above:

  • The subject line describes the value inside the email
  • The tone is friendly and personable
  • The email has a single CTA, which is repeated twice
  • We provide hard data to back up our claims about our product’s value

Subscribers who sign up for the webinar will receive a couple of reminder emails. In the webinar, they’ll learn all about how OptinMonster can turn website traffic into profit.

Drive More Sales With Your B2B Emails

That’s it! With these best practices and examples in mind, you’re ready to plan a B2B email marketing strategy to help you generate more leads, convert those leads into customers, and keep customers coming back again and again.

Want to learn more about email marketing? Here are a few resources:

And remember, the first step to success is signing up for OptinMonster!

SnackNation used OptinMonster to:

  • Add 1,200 new email subscribers each week
  • Convert 15-20 highly qualified leads each day
  • Convert 31.85% of their abandoning visitors

Just imagine what you can accomplish for your business!

Get Started With OptinMonster Today!

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.

Add a Comment

We're glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated according to our privacy policy, and all links are nofollow. Do NOT use keywords in the name field. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.

One response to “B2B Email Marketing: Explanation, Best Practices & Examples”

  1. Brooks Avatar

Popular Posts

Connect with us:

Start Getting More
Leads & Sales Today
with OptinMonster!

Popups work, and you can get started for a few bucks a month. What are you waiting for?

Create and launch smart capture forms
today in minutes. What are you waiting for?

In only 7 months, we added more than 95,654 names to our email list using OptinMonster’s Exit Intent™ technology. We strongly recommend it!

Michael Stelzner - Best Lead Generation Tool

Michael Stelzner

Founder Social Media Examiner

I hate popups, so I was hesitant to try one on my site. But the results from OptinMonster exit-intent popup speak for themselves. I doubled my subscription rate immediately without annoying my users. I haven’t had a single complaint. My only regret is that I didn’t start using OptinMonster sooner. I can only imagine how many subscribers I could have added to my email list! If you have a blog, then I highly recommend you start using OptinMonster. I’ve researched them all, and it’s the best in market.

Michael Hyatt - WordPress Lead Generation

Michael Hyatt

New York Times Bestselling Author Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World

Exit-intent popups have doubled my email opt-in rate. When done right, you can see an instant 12% lift on driving sales. I highly recommend that you use OptinMonster for growing your email list and sales.

Neil Patel - WordPress Popup Plugin

Neil Patel

Founder QuickSprout