Email is the preferred communication channel for the majority of people working in B2B. And based on a benchmark report, the CTR of B2B emails is 52% higher than that of B2C emails.

Open rate and click-through rate are the most popular ways to measure engagement in email marketing. With CTR, you can see the percentage of recipients who clicked through to your website, whereas email open rate is more about the performance of your email subject line.

Another more recent trend is to track the percentage of recipients who clicked through to your website after opening your email. This is called click-to-open rate (CTOR). It has become the preferred engagement metric as it measures clicks from those who actually opened the email. If you want to evaluate the effectiveness of your email content, you should look at your CTOR.

When it comes to crafting effective email newsletters for B2B, keep in mind that the only way for them to bring value to your business is if the newsletter brings value to those who receive it.

Especially due to the impact of the on-going pandemic, direct sales and promotions are not so welcome at the moment. But unlike newsletters for B2C which focus on conversion-driven marketing and involve promotions and persuasive copy, B2B newsletters should be geared more towards branding and nurturing your client relationships.

So, take a moment to evaluate your newsletter objectives. Do you want to:

  • establish regular touchpoints with past and existing clients as well as new prospects;
  • activate your client base, for example, through bonuses and motivational contests;
  • build rapport with your clients and keep them updated on the latest product news; or
  • improve your brand image and authority through industry research, for example.

Once you have set your goals, you can leverage these best practices for B2B newsletters:

Use storytelling

To have the desired impact, your newsletter must resonate with your audience. This is where the power of storytelling comes into play. Captivating stories deliver your brand message more effectively because they appeal to your audience emotionally.

Most purchase decisions, even in B2B, are far from being entirely rational. According to neuroscientists, purchasing behavior and decision-making in general are driven by emotions and unconscious urges. And businesses consist of people, which makes B2B purchases subject to the same hidden emotional drivers we see on the consumer side.

Personal relationships, brand loyalty, and convincing sales pitches can sometimes override more logical factors such as price, functionality, and return on investment. To tap into this potential, use stories that make your newsletter content more convincing.

Write to individuals rather than the companies they represent. Authentic examples of your own successes and failures told in first person connect with people the most.

Forget about selling

You’re not going to win your audience over by going for the quick wins. B2B newsletter is not the right channel for sales pitches. So instead of promoting and selling, inform and educate your audience with actionable tips and tricks that give them direct benefit. Newsletters are all about impressions and opening new opportunities for the future.

For example, you could present snippets of relevant trending content from your blog.

Build authority

B2B newsletters are an ideal channel for sharing and carrying out relevant industry research. Share the most impressive findings of your recent case study. Or create a customer poll or survey so that you can both engage your audience and gather valuable data. This will help you build your authority and improve the value of your content.

Once you have collected the data, you can share the results in your next newsletter. Your B2B audience will surely appreciate relevant industry data that they can also leverage in their own marketing efforts. To make sure that you receive a statistically significant sample for your survey, you can motivate your audience with contests and special deals.

Be direct and keep it concise

Brevity is a key feature in any successful communication with B2B clients and prospects. To avoid overwhelming your audience, try to keep your content up to a few paragraphs, only. For those who are interested in reading more, you should provide relevant links.

Start your newsletter by addressing the topic directly. If you have actionable tips that can help your audience, be sure to share them right away. Don’t withhold them until the end.

Based on any newsletter performance, you can see that you lose part of your audience at every stage of the funnel. Links also follow a similar pattern. The links that you place at the top of your newsletter get the most clicks while those at the bottom receive the least.

Establish a consistent schedule

When it comes to nurturing your client relationships, it’s good to establish a consistent communication schedule. But sending a newsletter too frequently can also become overwhelming, and you will likely feel the effects in your newsletter performance.

In B2B, monthly or bi-monthly is usually the standard for newsletters. But never send a newsletter just for the sake of sending one or because it’s marked in your calendar. Instead, try to establish yourself as a thought leader and only discuss topics that are relevant to your audience, for example product updates, case studies, and webinars.

You may even repurpose your old blog content, as long as it’s evergreen and relevant.

Catch attention with your subject line and design

Finally, create a subject line that resonates with your target audience. B2B is not the place for clickbait titles or false promises. Rather, try to emphasize what you can do for them. Consider using social proof, impressive data, or current topics in your subject line.

In most cases, less is more. Anything beyond 4–7 words can potentially damage readability and the overall performance of your newsletter. All business communication is about value exchange. So, make it clear in the subject line that in exchange for your reader’s time, your newsletter will provide new information, useful skills, and fresh ideas.

If you’ve worked with website and blog content, you’re familiar with keyword research. The benefit of using keyword research for subject lines is that using the right keywords with the highest search volumes in your niche can potentially improve your open rate.

On Google Search Console, you can take a look at the search queries that bring traffic to your website.

You may also use Google Keyword Planner to analyze historical search trends in your industry and collect potential keywords with a high search volume for your subject line.

While content should be your main focus, your newsletter design matters, too. A good practice is to use the same design template for all of your newsletters. Keep the same masthead and branded footer and only update your content-related images. This way, you will speed up the process and your newsletters remain consistent with your brand.

In conclusion

In general, the value of each B2B sale is higher than in B2C and the sales cycles are longer. That’s why it’s crucial for you to invest sufficient resources in each marketing channel, including newsletters. By following these best practices, your newsletter will deliver value to your B2B audience. The newsletter strategies you prefer can vary somewhat, depending on your niche. But for every B2B marketer, the main focus should be on building good client relationships.