2020 (and let’s face it, most of 2021) was the year that none of us expected. Many people’s jobs became more stressful and people’s buying habits dramatically changed in B2B as well as B2C.

Marketers, like so many others, had to change their tactics – and from looking at the Data & Marketing Association’s Email Benchmarking report for 2021, email marketing weathered the storm well, with send volumes increasing by 20%.

Despite these encouraging statistics, in a recent LinkedIn poll we ran, nearly 40% of respondents said they struggle with poor open rates or low CTR and 21% struggle with having the right B2B prospect data for their email marketing campaigns. The good news is that we can support you with both of these challenges and more.

In this blog, we’re going to examine how purchasing B2B email marketing data for campaigns can help you generate more business.

Email marketing hygiene

Compliant Data

Before you do ANYTHING, you need to make sure that your sending list is hygienic. What do we mean by that?

There are 2 key areas you must tick off your list to make sure you don’t fall foul of the law. First, ensure the data you are processing is being carried out in accordance with the UK GDPR and second, understand the legal basis under which you are processing your data so you are also complying with the Privacy and Electronics Communications Regulations (PECR).

PECR is particularly relevant to email marketing as it deals with gaining permission to send marketing via this channel. The general rule is that you need to gain prior consent to send a marketing email. However in a B2B campaign, there is an exemption for employees of corporates, and you may be able to rely on legitimate interest instead. If you are planning on licensing B2B data from a third-party provider, you need to be sure the file only includes email addresses for corporate contacts, and not partnerships or sole traders.

It can be all too easy to get caught out, so ensure you use a reputable and accredited agency when licensing B2B data to avoid a costly mistake that could result in prosecution and potentially a fine of up to £17.5m or 4% of global turnover, whichever is higher.

If you’re using your own database and you’re not sure whether your data complies with the current regulations, or you haven’t sent any email communications to them for a while, don’t just email them anyway. Using tired and out-of-date lists can do more harm than good, and have a detrimental effect on your brand’s reputation. Instead, get in touch with a data expert like Marketscan who can check this information for you and clean up your B2B email marketing data prior to your campaign.

Data segmentation

Your email campaign won’t be successful if you are spamming your entire database, so look at segmenting it to select only the most relevant targets. If your pool of targets is small, you can widen the net and increase your chances of success by licensing a dataset that meets all your specific requirements.

Online tools are incredibly helpful where additional data is needed. For example, our free tool Marketscan Online – allows you to specify job roles, location, company size and more. There are no minimum charges and downloads are instant.

Email style and substance

Email design

Design your emails thoughtfully – they will be reaching a human! When you’ve got targets to reach and you’re revved up for success, it can be easy to put pounds before people.

Don’t forget that there is a real person on the receiving end, whose day will be momentarily interrupted (albeit for a good reason) by your email.

For the most successful outcome, craft an intriguing but informative subject line and email header. Keep the body text short and to the point and make it clear what you are offering.

Yes, it’s important to talk about features and benefits, but don’t forget to include a relevant call to action that actually offers value. For more tips on email marketing, check out our blog Creating emails that convert.

Timing is everything

Your B2B email marketing efforts could all be in vain if you don’t properly plan your sending time. Give careful thought to the time of day, day of the week and seasonality. Is your target audience going to be focused on a big industry event, or is there a national event that might steal the limelight? Make sure to keep a close eye on the calendar to avoid your email being overshadowed.

Bonus tip: Sending emails on Thursdays seem to work really well for email open rates, as does choosing a sending time that is off the hour, e.g 11.25 am. If you’re not sure what works best for you, perform an A/B test with a small sample of your data to help you decide.

Email marketing isn’t a silver bullet

It’s important to recognise email marketing as a tool in your toolbox. What part is B2B email marketing playing, in your sales and marketing strategy? It shouldn’t be a standalone activity.

To work successfully it should be part of a multi-channel approach, with supporting roles being played by telephone follow-up, social media awareness campaigns, and value-filled content marketing on your website.

Optimising your email marketing

If you’re investing time in your email marketing campaigns, you need to make sure that your campaigns are also being tracked in your CRM against your prospects. Having the visibility that a prospect keeps opening your email, clicks on your CTA but then does nothing is just as important as being able to see that another prospect has taken the desired action.

All this information helps with campaign evaluation and future decision-making. Track and report on key metrics such as deliverability rate, open rate, click-through rate (CTR), % read or skimmed and how many times your email was forwarded. By tracking this data you can perform a campaign evaluation and learn from what is and isn’t working.

Using a subset of your data to test how a campaign lands is a great experiment that could pay dividends. By testing subject lines and send times you can optimise the final send based on what you discover.

If by optimising these you still see low traction on other key metrics then this indicates that the content of the email itself isn’t attractive to your audience and perhaps your email copy isn’t compelling, or your targeting and segmentation isn’t a match.

If you’re planning an email marketing campaign, take a look at Marketscan Edge which helps you to create, automate, test and send emails, all from one central place. Get in touch with us for support with your next email marketing campaign.