As long as technology evolves and marketing strategies shift over the years, there will always be naysayers that will claim that B2B email marketing is dead.
But it takes only one look at B2B email marketing statistics to see that this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Email marketing is still alive and well and it’s one of the most powerful marketing channels for B2B businesses. And, when done right, it can bring you the best ROI on your marketing efforts; as you’ll see from the statistics we’ll share below.
In this post, we’ll share some of the most compelling B2B email marketing statistics that could very well change the way you think about implementing email marketing campaigns.
Uses for email marketing among B2B companies
Let’s start off with statistics related to the purpose and goal of B2B email marketing campaigns. Companies generally use email marketing for content distribution, nurturing leads, and driving sales.
1. Content Distribution
Content distribution typically means rehashing blog posts, articles, white papers, and other content through different marketing channels than where the content was originally published. Email happens to be an extremely effective channel for content distribution.
93% of B2B marketers say they utilize email marketing to distribute content (Hubspot, 2020). Furthermore, 79% of B2B marketers find email to be the MOST successful channel for content distribution. (Optin Monster, 2021)
Typically, the purpose of using email for content distribution is to drive more visitors to your newly published company blog post or another piece of content.
2. Nurturing leads
Nurturing leads involves educating your leads on the value of your product and service, and building trust by sharing genuinely helpful content. According to Content Marketing Institute, 31% of B2B marketers say email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
By helping your leads with their pain points and building a relationship with them, you will be much more likely generate sales from your email list later on.
3. Driving Sales
Driving sales should be the end goal of your email marketing strategy. 77% of B2B email marketers leverage email marketing to drive sales and visits to their websites. (Super Office, 2021)
Suffice to say, that if you are interested in generating more business, it would make sense to join the vast majority of other B2B email marketing that use the channel precisely for this purpose.
Effectiveness of B2B email marketing
As you’ll see from the statistics below, email marketing has proven to be one of the most effective marketing channels for B2B digital marketing.
59% of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel for generating revenue. (Emma, 2020)
This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the ROI that companies make on marketing efforts.
You make $42 for every dollar spent on email marketing. That’s a whopping 4200% ROI. (Campaign Monitor, 2019)
Naturally, given the extremely high ROI of email marketing, for many B2B businesses email marketing is key to their success.
In fact, 40% of B2B marketers say email marketing is a tactic that is critical to their success. (Optin Monster, 2021)
It’s clear that email is a powerful marketing channel for businesses. But how do the recipients of B2B email marketing campaigns perceive email? The data further proves how effective email marketing truly is.
For starters, people rely on email for information. In fact, email is the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, behind only colleague recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders. (Imagine Pub, 2017)
Not only do people internalize information sent through email, but recipients readily share emails with like-minded colleagues as well. A whopping 70% of professionals use email to share content related to their company or industry. (Demand Gen Report, 2020)
On top of that, 72% of B2B buyers are most likely to share useful content via email (Earnest Agency). The fact that decision-makers at companies often share content speaks to email’s ability to drive sales.
Email marketing software and B2B companies
If you want to do your email marketing the right way, you’re going to need reliable and feature-rich email marketing software.
Approximately 85% of B2B marketers work with some form of email marketing software – making it the second most-used type of marketing tool, behind analytics software (Content Marketing Institute, 2020).
Of course, good email marketing software doesn’t come cheap. As such, it’s no surprise that 16% of B2B organizations’ top marketing spend is email marketing. (Smart Insights, 2021) Given that email marketing is highly effective and a crucial piece of marketing strategy, investing in a dedicated email marketing platform that meets your needs is a smart business investment.
B2B email marketing industry metrics
If you want to track the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts, there are a few key B2B email marketing benchmarks you need to keep in mind. They include open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, bounce rate, and unsubscribe rate.
In the screenshot below, you’ll see charts of data pulled from five email marketing software companies’ original research on open rates, CTR, bounce rates, and unsubscribe rates from their very own customer base in six B2B industry sectors.
Why include data from five different companies?
The reason why we’ve included data from multiple email marketing companies. The reason behind this is simple. Looking at just one study done by an email marketing software might not be very telling of the B2B email marketing benchmarks of the email marketing industry as a whole.
Certain email marketing companies might attract certain “types” of companies that have a certain budget and need specific features. For example, the email marketing software Klaviyo makes it very clear that it’s geared towards eCommerce businesses.
But, if you analyze data from various studies in a similar time period, you can get a clearer picture of how email performs in these industries.
Open rate refers to the percentage of people that open your email campaign. The open rate helps you evaluate how interested your subscribers are in the contents of your email. The open rate is largely contingent on subject lines. By comparing two or more campaigns, you can see what types of subject lines resonate with your subscribers the most.
Interestingly, open rates in the agency space seem to be the highest while open rates in the technology/software space are markedly lower.
The average open rate for the top 6 B2B industries ranges between 20-25%. More specifically, the technology/software industry has the lowest average open rate at 20.42%. Contrast that to the agencies which have the highest open rate at 25.49%.
Interestingly enough, the finance, manufacturing, and advertising industries sit somewhere in the middle.
Click-through rate refers to the percentage of people who clicked a link in your email out of all the people who opened the email. By tweaking email copy, adjusting your email’s design, and creating more compelling CTAs you can improve your CTR.
There is typically a correlation between CTR and sales. After all, the more people who click through your email to your website, the more sales you are likely to generate.
As you can see, the average CTR is low compared to the open rate. What’s interesting to note here is that the manufacturing industry has the highest CTR at 4.12%. The lowest click-through rate is in the technology/software and marketing and advertising industry, averaging at 2.46% and 2.24% respectively.
The bounce rate refers to the percentage of the total emails sent for a given campaign that couldn’t be delivered. There are two types of bounces: hard bounce and soft bounce.
Hard bounce happens when the inbox you’re trying to reach is invalid, closed, or belongs to a non-existent email address. Emails sent to those addresses will never reach their destination so you should get into the practice of removing them from your email list regularly.
Soft bounce happens when the inbox you’re trying to reach is temporarily unavailable. For example, the inbox might be over its capacity or the email inbox provider might be down.
When it comes to bounce rate, agencies have the lowest bounce rate at 1.95% while the real estate industry has the highest bounce rate at a whopping 5.45%.
The unsubscribe rate refers to the percentage of people who opt out of your emails because they no longer want to receive them.
It’s important to note here that the unsubscribe rate might not paint a reliable picture of how engaged your email list is. Many people who lose interest in your emails won’t actually go through the process of unsubscribing.
Instead, they’ll simply stop opening and engaging with your emails. That’s why it’s much better to focus on your open rate and clickthrough rate to judge the effectiveness of individual email campaigns.
Looking at the stats, we can see that the finance and marketing industry have the lowest unsubscribe rates at 0.16%. By contrast, the real estate and construction industry have the highest unsubscribe rate at 0.40%.
B2B email marketing vs B2C email marketing
The following statistics come from two studies on B2B and B2C companies using content marketing as a part of their marketing strategy. The studies were done by Content Marketing Institute which is one of the leading online sites publishing relevant, up-to-date advice and insights on content marketing.
This research look at benchmarks, trends, and budgets that show how B2B and B2C companies use email marketing and the results of their email marketing campaigns.
When it comes to using email as a distribution channel, both types of companies rely on email heavily.
87% of B2B marketers use email as a distribution channel. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020) On the other hand, 79% of B2C marketers rely on email to spread their new articles or blog posts. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
However, when it comes to technologies that assist with content marketing, B2B and B2C companies value different technology. This is not surprising as they target different audiences.
The top three technologies B2B organizations use to assist with content marketing are analytics tools (86%) and email marketing software (85%), and social media publishing (80%). (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
Conversely, the top three technologies B2C marketers use to assist with content marketing are social media publishing/analytics (84%), analytics tools (83%), and email marketing software (72%). (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
Given that email marketing technology is so widely used among B2B organizations, it makes sense that email is one of the most popular types of content produced by these companies. In fact, the top 3 types of content B2B marketers use are social media content (95%), blog posts/short articles (89%), and email newsletters (81%). (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
B2C marketers on other hand favor social media content and blog posts and short articles.
The top types of content B2C marketers use are social media content (94%), blog posts/short articles (80%), and then email newsletters (74%)(Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
So as you can see, both B2B and B2C marketers rely on the same types of content. Not only that but both B2B and B2C companies rely on email over other content for the specific purpose of nurturing leads.
The content type that got the most responses as the highest performing for their organization for nurturing leads among respondents for B2B is email newsletters (31 percent said it’s top-performing). (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
For B2C, 24% of respondents deem email newsletters to be their top-performing content type for nurturing leads, which makes it more cited than other types of content. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020). Email newsletter statistics like these are very telling of the effectiveness of newsletters.
Interestingly enough, Content Marketing Institute discovered interesting findings in respect to content distribution for both B2B and B2C companies.
84% of B2B marketers use paid distribution channels for content marketing purposes. Of those respondents, 32 percent use Partner Emails to promote their content (e.g., ebook, webinar). This is the fifth most popular channel among B2B marketers followed by native advertising/sponsored content. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
On the other hand, 85% of B2C marketers use paid distribution channels for content marketing purposes. Of that group 25% use Partner Emails Promoting Your Content (e.g., ebook, webinar). This is the sixth most popular channel followed by Other. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
When you take into consideration that paid promotion can often yield results faster than organic methods, it’s easy to see why these methods are popular among both B2B and B2C marketers.
You will find another interesting set of statistics when you look at which metrics B2B and B2C marketers use to track the content performance.
Of the top metrics B2B marketers track to measure content performance among respondents, email engagement is most popular. 90 percent of B2B marketers track email engagement (e.g., opens, clicks, downloads). Email subscriber numbers (growth, unsubscribes) is the sixth most popular and 64% of B2B respondents track these metrics. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
Of the top metrics B2C marketers track to measure content performance among respondents, email engagement is the fifth most popular followed by email subscriber numbers. 75 percent of B2C marketers track email engagement (e.g., opens, clicks, downloads). Email subscriber numbers (growth, unsubscribes) is the sixth most popular and 59% of B2C respondents track these metrics. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
Tips For Effective B2B Email Marketing
While understanding the B2B email marketing landscape as a whole is important, the B2B email marketing statistics that are most valuable to you may pertain to how to create effective email campaigns.
Timing B2B Emails Right
One of the easiest things you can do to improve your email marketing performance is to send your campaign at the right time.
Entrepreneur.com claims that B2B emails for people who work typical office hours are most effective mid-week around 10 AM. On the other hand, executives and entrepreneurs open email more frequently than the typical employee. In light of this, the day of the week doesn’t matter as much for these individuals but the best time to send emails to executives and entrepreneurs is Saturday at 10 AM. (Entrepreneur, 2017)
To get more specific, according to numerous studies, hands down the best day for a typical office employee is Tuesday, followed by Thursday and Wednesday. (CoSchedule, 2018)
In addition to that, many of these studies make the argument that sending emails between 8-9 AM and during lunchtime is also effective since this is typically the period where people have a minute to catch up on emails.
The main takeaway from these stats is that sending your emails at the recommended time and day is a good place to start. But, keep in mind that every audience is different. Therefore, it’s up to you to analyze the data and see what times work best for your email subscribers.
Improving Your Email Marketing Strategy
Before we dive into the statistics, remember that there are many elements that can influence the success of each individual email marketing campaign. For starters, the following techniques can significantly improve the performance of your email marketing.
- Personalization is the process of using subscribers’ personal information to make the email campaign more targeted and relevant. For example, using their first name in the subject line is one way to send more personalized campaigns. Statistics show that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened (Campaign Monitor, 2015)
- Segmentation refers to dividing email subscribers into smaller segments based on set criteria. Segmented email campaigns produce 30 percent more opens and 50 percent more click-throughs than nontargeted email campaigns (Help Scout, 2021)
- Split testing refers to sending two variations of the same campaign and changing the subject line or modifying the contents of the email. A study done by campaign monitor shows that split testing various templates against each other resulted in a 127% increase in CTR. (Campaign Monitor, 2019)
- Automation refers to the process of using automated workflows to send the right message to the right people at the right time. A welcome sequence that each new subscriber receives when they opt-in to your list is an example of email marketing automation. Statistics show that using marketing automation to nurture leads is 451% more efficient than just doing manual email blasts. (Business 2 Community, 2012)
- CTA stands for call to action and it refers to a button or link within your email marketing campaign that sends your subscribers to a specific page on your site or another website. Emails with a single call-to-action increased clicks 371% and sales 1617% (Word Stream, 2019)
In this article, we’ve shared the most important B2B email marketing statistics you need to know. They can help shape and guide your email marketing efforts but before you do anything with email marketing, it’s important to first use the right tool for the job.
You can do your best with certain email marketing tools but if they aren’t suited for the size and needs of your company, you’re going to fight an uphill battle.
For example, if you are a large organization, with a comprehensive digital marketing approach, you probably want to use an email marketing tool with advanced automation.
But if you only have a handful employees and your email marketing strategy is fairly simple, a more basic software would probably be better suited for your needs.
The good news is that most email marketing software offers a free trial or even a free plan where you can test their features and see if the software meets your needs. Happy marketing!