Current Pandemic Email Marketing Trends For B2B Marketers

Posted by David Terry on October 01, 2020

With more people working from home than ever before and many craving communication, not just personally but also professionally, email marketing is more important for your B2B Inbound Marketing program than ever before. 

In this blog, we’re going to summarise a presentation from HubSpot Inbound 2020, where Jay Schwedelson, CEO of data agency Worldata, took a deeper look into the current popularity of email marketing and how your B2B organization can boost the performance of its email strategy.

Let’s start with some email metrics

Our lives have changed dramatically over the past six months, and many of us are now stuck indoors and sitting in front of our computers. That’s good news for email marketers, with email seeing a significant upturn in metrics recently.

When comparing the last 30 days with January this year, Jay Schwedelson found:

  • Inbox activity is up 22 percent
  • B2B open rates are up 16 percent
  • Email newsletter open rates are up 19 percent
  • Email sign-up open rates are up 40 percent

With email metrics up significantly, this is a good time to test the buzzwords, subject lines, days and times that work best for your business. Testing now when email activity is high will help you find what works for your audience.

So, what is working right now for B2B audiences? We’ve listed some of the most effective B2B email strategies mentioned in the presentation.

Subject line words that increase open rates

The highest performing subject lines all have words that are based around offers that expire, with “free” being the word that results in the highest number of open rates out of any of the subject lines. 

Emails with offers or words directly associated with the pandemic currently have a higher overall response rate than those without. In fact, emails with offers that expire have 51 percent higher overall response rate for B2B organizations.

Here are the top performing subject line buzzwords right now:

  1. Free (38 percent)
  2. Today (31 percent)
  3. Last chance (30 percent)
  4. In stock (28 percent)
  5. *Month* (25 percent)
  6. Tomorrow (25 percent)
  7. Available (24 percent)
  8. Hours (23 percent)
  9. Hurry (22 percent)
  10. Curbside (20 percent)
  11. Expires (20 percent)
  12. Open (18 percent)
  13. Job/career (17 percent) 
  14. Deserve (17 percent)
  15. Exclusive (14 percent)

Here are the words you shouldn’t use:

  1. Meeting
  2. Chat
  3. Quick
  4. Learn
  5. Urgent
  6. Training
  7. Remember
  8. Might
  9. Featured

Be creative with your subject line length to stand out

Most email marketers create incredibly similar subject lines when it comes to length. They follow the “recommended” 65 characters, using up all the space to say as much as possible and making an active effort to not go under or over that length. 

The issue is, when everyone is doing that how are you ever going to stand out? Try to be more creative with your subject line lengths to make your emails stand out in your audience’s inbox. 

Subject lines that have less than 20 characters, for example, are only used by 9 percent of email marketers. Yet subject lines of this length have a B2B open rate increase of 27 percent - they stand out because hardly anyone is doing it!

On the flip side, many email marketers are scared of going over that 65 character limit since it will cut off your subject line when it arrives in an inbox. Yet subject lines with more than 65 characters have an open rate increase of 15 percent for B2B companies. 

B2B emails perform better when they don’t sugar-coat the pandemic

While B2C businesses are seeing positive responses by recognizing the pandemic in “subtle” ways, B2B organizations are driving big responses by discussing the topic directly in their subject lines and email content. 

Think about the topics that are directly impacting your audience right now, and address those head on in your email campaigns. By addressing them head on you will be able to drive huge engagement.

Use exaggeration in your subject lines (when appropriate) 

Emails that exaggerate spelling in subject lines have an increased open rate of 14 percent for B2B organizations. Why not try it out and seeeeeeeeeee what happens?

There’s a new trend for condensed email schedules

Before March this year the average B2B email had two touch points over a two week period, that has now risen to three touch points. Brands are now sending out multiple emails about the same deal in a smaller amount of time, and it’s working. 

Email offers sent two days in a row, compared to over four days, have a 24 percent higher response rate for B2B businesses.

Quarantine is boring, but your emails don’t have to be

Most of us today are limiting our time out of our house and spending an increased amount of time indoors. Lock down has become incredibly dull for the vast majority of people, and they are now searching for things that will provide some relief from that boredom. 

This represents a great opportunity for organizations to stand out with their emails by simply making them fun. Emails with animated GIFs, for example, have 27 percent increased click-through rates for B2B companies. 

Meanwhile, B2B brands that used emojis in their subject lines have increased open rates of 14 percent.

Are you interested in ramping your organization’s B2B email marketing campaign up but don’t know where to start? Contact The Brit Agency today, our team of Inbound Marketing experts would love to help.

Topics: Email Marketing