5 B2B Email Marketing Best Practices and Subject Lines

B2B Marketing is the practice of facilitating the sale of a product or service to other companies or organizations that in turn resell them; use them as components in products or services that they offer, or use them to support their operations (Wikipedia).

As with most marketing drives, the purpose of B2B marketing is to bring in new business and generate qualified sales leads. As in real life, your B2B email campaign needs to mirror the same behaviour as your face-to-face meetings with a potential client. Keep the tone sincere and professional and state clearly and simply what you are offering and what benefit it has to the recipient.

Examples of B2B email campaigns might include trying to coax your subscribers to sign up for a free trial, invite them to an event, participate in a conference or webinar or offer expert advice and tips on relevant marketing strategies. Even though what you are offering may genuinely be a great deal or opportunity, if your recipient ignores or deletes your message immediately, then what’s the point?

As with any email marketing campaign, a B2B subject line needs to grab your reader’s attention and encourage them to open it and take action. Once they do, it’s especially important that you follow all forwards and new opt-ins, which count towards your sales leads.

We’ve outlined 5 of the most popular B2B email marketing best practices and followed them up with 5 examples of great subject lines so that you have an idea of what works and what doesn’t.

Know who you are targeting:

You can get a lot of valuable information about a company just from viewing their website. Is it full of graphics? Then go ahead and include a few relevant images in your campaign. Is it mainly composed of text? Then follow a similar style with your message. Customizing your email according to the business you are targeting won’t go unnoticed by your recipient and you are far more likely to start seeing the results you desire if you do so.

Keep content relevant, specific and concise:

State your offer openly and without reservation right from the beginning of your email message, and certainly keep it Above the Fold. Maintain a professional tone at all times and as always, don’t forget to include a strong, clear call to action that is easily visible. By keeping the content short and ensuring that it opens and downloads quickly, you also appeal to those who are likely to view their email on a mobile device. This option is fast becoming very popular and is worth taking into consideration.

Know how to reach the level you want:

Quite obvious, but often ignored. If you want your email to get to the CEO or MD then don’t send it to the most junior employee. Here, your ‘from’ name is incredibly important, one that is recognized and relevant will correspond to an email that is relevant and therefore important. Realize that a ‘from’ name is more likely to resonate with a person in power if it’s from a person in power.

Know what your B2B customer wants:

Because your customer is a business and not a consumer, their interests are different and bombarding them with the latest offers, discounts and sale items is probably not going to get their attention. This is because the B2B audience don’t generally spend their own money so an offer for a coupon off their next purchase is wasted. You need to give them something they can use and something that adds value. Open access to a VIP event or an upgraded status on a favoured networking site are just two unique ideas you could try.

Create a follow-up campaign:

By tracking and using your analytics, you can get a much better idea of who to re-target and how to devise a more relevant strategy. Be sure to only send out one follow-up though. Be respectful of a person’s time, especially if they are a busy corporate, and don’t send countless emails telling them that they are missing out. If they are interested, they will respond. If they haven’t after the second email, then let it go.

Take a look at these 5 top-performing subject lines, as given from numerous marketers who count them as their most successful. We’ve chosen these particular lines because they are descriptive, clear and professional in tone.

5 Successful B2B subject lines:

  • July home sales increased 12 %; median home price declined 19.6 %
  • Complimentary Webinar: (insert webinar name and details)
  • Success Tip: # Ways to a Better (XXX)
  • Save Money and Look Like a Start to Your Boss
  • Event Registration Today: (name of event) (date)

5 unsuccessful B2B subject lines:

(Note that all these subject lines include ‘spam’ trigger words and are very long.)

  • Free Evaluation of ABC Encrypted Portable Drive
  • Data Company Adds Cascaded Replication to DR Infrastructure
  • EFG Company: Request for Meeting
  • Meeting Request: Introducing our new product
  • XYZ data centers: High density collocation & Managed Server / Storage Solutions

However you decide to structure your subject lines, it is important to test and optimise on an ongoing basis.


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