The amount of communication channels B2B businesses use to interact with their customers continues to grow, but there’s one that stands out: email.
It has been the most widely used channel for quite a while now, with a large share of marketers using it to nurture leads and expand customer base. For example, a study by MarketingCharts has confirmed that email is the best-performing channel in terms of driving leads and revenue for B2B marketers.
Credit: Marketing Charts
Clearly, emails outperform such popular channels as social media, display advertising, and paid search; however, simply writing emails to engage leads doesn’t equal success. To make emails work for your B2B venture, you need to know how to compose great messages that attract attention and drive action.
Since a typical email user receives up to a hundred messages per day, learning how to make your letters stand out and grab their attention is simply a must. So, let’s see what it takes to do it.
1. Set Your Mindset Right
Many people who write their first email to a potential client make a mistake by adopting a sales-focused mindset. Of course, your ultimate goal is to sell your product, but when you’re writing an email for a lead, that’s exactly the opposite of how you want to come across.
A person you’re writing to probably – okay, who am I kidding – unquestionably receives a lot of “pushy” emails every day, so sending them one more letter is definitely a bad idea. This means:
- Not making any promises you can’t keep, e.g. “A product that will bring you $1M in within a year”
- Not using overly pushy and salesy words like “Open now!” and “Great deal – hurry!”
- Not using caps lock. Definitely, you don’t want to make an impression like you’re yelling
A letter that has the maximum chance of winning the attention of your potential client meets these requirements. Like many successful marketing strategies, it must be recipient-focused, so forget about “me me me” talk and praising how great your product or company is.
But what exactly “recipient-centeredness” means in terms of B2B emailing?
- Create a list of people you want to connect with
- Write down their positions, companies, and possible pain points that you can help to solve
- Define if you’ve messaged them before.
This method is called audience segmentation, and its purpose is to make sure that the right email goes to the right person. If you work in a B2B company, chances are that you possess at least some information about your potential customers, including position and business description, so it could be easier to segment your audience.
Even if you don’t have any info about the people you’d like to connect with, getting some might not be a problem. A simple Google search for the name of the person or a position can return some LinkedIn profiles where you can find what you’ll need.
2. Start with an Attention-Grabbing Subject Line
The importance of having an enticing subject line is difficult to overstate. In most cases, it is your only chance to stand out from tens or even hundreds of emails that a recipient sees when they open their inbox. Since an average email user receives about 126 business emails per day, differentiating your message is simply critical.
There’s no universal formula on writing the perfect subject line; in fact, there are many techniques that you can use to write yours. We’ve selected some of the best, so check them out below. Each of them comes with an explanation of why it’s good so you have an idea of who might be the best target recipient.
- Appeal to problems that your potential client may be experiencing, e.g. “You’re not the only one struggling with email marketing ROI”
- Talk about the benefits of opening the letter right away, e.g. “Improve employee productivity with this reporting system”
- Ask a question that relates to the recipient’s business; for example, “Is your business prepared for smart manufacturing?”
- Use a statistic from the recipient’s industry, e.g. “50 percent of EU manufacturers will use real-time tracking by 2022.”
Important: be careful with jargon and industry terms. It can only work if you know that the recipient will know what you’re trying to say and how you may create value for them
- Write about how you know them. People working in B2B industries love to connect, so if you attended the same event as the recipient, mentioning this would be a good way to persuade them to open the message. You can try such subject lines as “Saw you at [event name]” or “Hi! We met at [event name]”
- If someone referred you, feel free to mention it. This is great for building trust (in fact, leveraging referrals is even used by freelancers for emailing potential employers), e.g. “[Name] suggested we talk” or “[Name] referred me to you.”
Now that you know how to approach writing a subject line, let’s continue to the next and the biggest part of your email: the body.
3. Continue with a Reader-Focused Text
The body of a B2B email often resembles the structure of an academic essay you wrote in college, as they have three common elements: the intro, the main part, and the conclusion. The length of these three elements shouldn’t exceed 200 words (otherwise there’s little chance that someone will want to read it fully).
Let’s talk about each of these parts in more detail.
The first critical consideration is the greeting and the first sentence. Like the subject line, they’re tremendously important for convincing the recipient to read further. Here are some of the best practices that you can put to use:
- If possible, address the recipient by name (please, no “Dear customer” and impersonal stuff like that)
- Ask a question in the first sentence of the body. The question, of course, should be reader-focused and might pertain to their business, the challenges they’re facing or the benefits that you can provide
- Explain the purpose of the email in the first sentence so the reader know why you’re writing to them
- If applicable, explain who referred you and why
- If applicable, congratulate the recipient on winning an award or achieving a special milestone in their business, e.g. “I’ve read that [name of their business] won [name of the award] for the best manufacturing tracking solution…”
Let’s consider a couple of examples. The first one comes from Ramit Sethi, a personal finance advisor. As you can see in the below image, he addressed the recipient by name and continued by asking them a question.
The next example comes from Buildfire, an app development company. The sender addresses the recipient by name and uses the first sentence to explain the potential benefits for their business, which is also a good technique to capture the attention of the reader.
While keeping the abovementioned tips in mind, also remember to never begin your letter with something salesy like
“My company offers …”
“We sell [product name] and can help you to…”
Okay, now that we have the intro part explained, let’s move to the biggest part of the email: the body.
To maximize the chance that your potential client will read it, you should follow these tips:
Keep the Text within 200 Words
As it was mentioned above, no one wants to read a novel, if it describes the best product in the world. Besides, a short text will help you to focus on the most important things in your message and be more clear, without threatening to take up a lot of the readers’ time.
As you can see in the example below (courtesy of GatherContent), the writer managed to fit everything into five sentences; moreover, two of them contain only between two and five words.
By writing such a concise message, you’re making it easy for your potential client to read the entire message, which is exactly what you want.
Write in Short Sentences
Another technique that you can use to maximize the chance that the recipient will read your message fully. By keeping the sentences short and sweet, you’re also focusing on the most important things.
What’s more, breaking up the sections into easily digestible chunks is another highly recommended content marketing writing tip for creating emails and other texts for customers.
Okay, we’ve got the writing part down, but what content? How to make the message interesting to read? Here are some ideas.
- Prove your credibility by citing concrete facts, stats, customer testimonials, and experience. Once you’ve addressed the reader and grabbed their attention, the main task is to prove that you’re the right person to talk to when it comes to the needs of their business. What makes your company better? Technology? A unique approach? An innovative solution?
A letter below, for example, uses a stat as well as a list of benefits obtained by previous clients to achieve this goal.
- Introduce your proposal. After the introductory sentence, you can get to the point and concisely explain what you have to offer to the recipient’s company. For example, you can mention one or two benefits without revealing everything and ask them to respond if they’re interested.
It’s always a good idea to turn to professionals when it comes to writing a spectacular content of your emails and editing it (which is of particular importance, of course). You should definitely take such services as Trust My Paper, Grab My Essay, Studicus, Grammarly, TheHemingwayApp, WowGrade etc. Writing services review sites like, for instance, Pick The Writer are there for you to come up with the best choice.
3. End with a Compelling CTA
As soon as you have the body of the email done, the only thing left is to make a great ending. No B2B client letter should end without a call to action (CTA), therefore, we’re going to make sure that you use it, too.
In this case, a CTA will be the last sentence of the email whose aim is to drive action and inspire the reader to do what you want from them. Writing this sentence can be a tricky business because a CTA in B2B emails must be enticing without demanding the action, which could be a bit difficult to nail.
No worries, though, because you’ll find great ideas on how to write a great CTA.
- Tell them to call you directly if they’re interested in knowing more about your offer, e.g. “If you’d like to know how to increase ROI of your email marketing, feel free to reply to this letter or call me at [number]”
- Describe a specific action you’d like them to take. For example, the email below does that, in addition to a typical invitation to connect.
- Create a sense of urgency. Both B2B and B2C marketers often apply this technique to stimulate action; for example, by telling the email recipient that your product is almost sold out, you can entice them to go check it out
- Reiterate your value proposition in the CTA, e.g. “Are you available for a call to discuss how you can improve the performance of your workforce?”
- Ask to share something that could be valuable to them to begin a conversation, e.g. “Would you be interested in checking out a case study of how your company can reduce labor costs?”
So there you have it!
The process of creating a winning B2B email begins long before you start typing the subject line. Trying to understand the problems of the recipients and what they would like to read is the best first step you can possibly take here.
Of course, it’s tempting to write a long text and say everything you’d like to say, but, believe me, sticking with a concise text is your best bet. Well, hopefully, this guide was helpful to you to understand how to write B2B sales emails and what could work for your business.