With the ever-growing popularity of platforms like TikTok and the short videos craze that’s taking the world of marketing by the storm, you might be inclined to think 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 its 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.
More importantly, email marketing allows you to bypass all the social media algorithms and reach your subscribers when you choose to.
In addition to that, you own your email list, unlike your social media profiles that can be disabled by the respective platform at any given moment.
In this post, we’ll share interesting and vital B2B email marketing statistics that you need to know about so you can make the most out of your email marketing efforts.
Uses For Email Marketing Usage Among B2B Companies
Let’s start off with statistics related to how B2B companies use email marketing. There are several ways that B2B companies make use of email marketing. These strategies involve building trust with existing subscribers and moving them through the purchase funnel in order to increase the sales.
More specifically, their strategies include:
1. Content Distribution
Aside from educational content that educates leads about different products and services, content distribution may include blog posts, articles, whitepapers, company news, and more.
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)
No matter what type of content they share, it has one purpose — to drive sales for the company.
2. Nurturing leads
This refers to the process of educating your subscribers about your products and services and converting those leads into customers. According to Content Marketing Institute, 31% of B2B marketers say email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
Speaking of nurturing leads, the best way to do that is by sending them useful and relevant content which brings us to the next way B2B companies use email marketing content distribution.
3. Driving Sales
This part is the most important in your email marketing strategy. 77% of B2B email marketers leverage email marketing to drive sales and visits to their websites (Super Office, 2021)
When you pair that with the fact that email marketing is one of the most successful channels for content distribution, it’s easy to see why email marketing is highly effective. This brings us to the next set of statistics….
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. That’s a whopping 4200% ROI. (Campaign Monitor, 2019)
Is it really a surprise then that email marketing is closely correlated to the success of your company?
To back this up, 40% of B2B marketers say email marketing is a tactic that is critical to their success. (Optin Monster, 2021)
What makes this even more interesting is that business people respond to email in a positive way, which only goes to show that email marketing is indeed effective.
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 is email an influential source of information but it also drives buying decisions and positions you as the authority in your industry.
A whopping 70% of professionals use email to share content related to their company or industry. (Demand Gen Report, 2020)
And if that’s not enough to convince you email marketing is highly effective, remember that emails are easy to share.
72% of B2B buyers are most likely to share useful content via email (Earnest Agency)
This means your email can easily reach more people whenever someone shares it with their network since the most important people you want to target (the actual buyers) are sharing content readily.
Email Marketing Software And B2B Companies
If you want to do your email marketing the right way, you’re going to need a 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 tool, behind analytics software (86%).
64% of B2B marketers use a dedicated email marketing platform. (Content Marketing Institute, 2017)
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 5 email marketing software companies’ original research on open rates, CTR, bounce rates, and unsubscribe rates from their very own customer base. The industries listed below are 6 dominant B2B industry sectors.
You might be wondering 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 company Drip makes it very clear that they’re geared towards eCommerce businesses.
But, if you analyze data from various studies in a similar time period, you can get a clearer picture of those metrics for B2B industries as a whole. In other words, you’ll get more reliable data which you can use to calculate the average for your industry. You can then measure your own metrics and see how they stack up.
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 a great comparative metric because most subscribers decide whether or not they’ll open your email based on the subject line. By comparing two or more campaigns, you can see what types of subject lines resonate with your subscribers.
This can also help you determine which topics your subscribers are interested in. You can also improve your open rate by A/B testing your subject lines or by following subject line best practices.
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 and manufacturing industry sit somewhere in the middle with the open rate average of 23.16% and 23.81% respectively.
Marketing and advertising industry is right above the technology/software industry with slightly higher open rates averaging at 21.07%.
Click Through Rate
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. This metric allows you to calculate the performance of each email marketing campaign.
You can track your CTR over time and see if it’s improving or going down. If you want to improve your CTR, you can do so by writing more compelling calls to action or being more descriptive in your links. This is also a great metric to optimize since it has a direct impact on the sales you’ll make from your campaigns. After all, if nobody is clicking, how can you expect them to buy from you?
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.
Too many hard bounces might make it look like you’re engaging in bad email collection practices. As a result, email services like Gmail will deem your emails as spam.
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 stop being interested 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 clickthrough rate to judge the effectiveness of individual email campaigns.
Some email marketing software companies will automatically mark subscribers as unengaged without too much effort on your part. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of checking for inactive subscribers and removing them from your list.
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%.
It’s important to keep in mind that there are a few considerations that result in discrepancies across the data for each company.
For one, each of these studies might have slightly different methods for collecting data.
Additionally, these companies might define industries slightly differently. For instance, one company might include engineering in the manufacturing category while another company might make these two industries different categories for analysis.
With that in mind, don’t get disheartened if your own metrics vary from what’s listed in the charts. Rather, use them as a rough guideline to aim for and remember to seek feedback from your subscribers.
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 organization’s mission is to advance the practice of content marketing through online education, events, and print materials.
The studies look at benchmarks, trends, and budgets that show how B2B and B2C companies use content marketing to create brand awareness, educate audiences about their offers, establish trust, generate demand for their services as well as generate leads, sales, and more.
When it comes to using email as a distribution channel, both industries rely on it heavily.
87% of B2B marketers use email as a distribution channel. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
B2C marketers aren’t far behind as the below stat shows.
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, there is one key difference between B2B and B2C companies. This is not surprising as they target different audiences.
The top 2 technologies B2B organizations use to assist with content marketing are analytics tools (86%) and email marketing software (85%). (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
On the other hand…
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)
Despite the fact that B2B companies aren’t using social media publishing tools as one of the top technologies to help with email marketing, they do use social media content.
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%) and blog posts/short articles (80%) (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
So as you can see, both B2B and B2C marketers rely on the same types of content. But not all content yields the same results.
Content type that is the highest performing for their organization for nurturing leads among respondents for b2b is email newsletters (31 percent said its top performing, making it most popular among respondents compared to other channels). (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
Similarly, content type that is highest performing for their organization for nurturing leads among the highest percentage of respondents for b2c is email newsletters (Content Marketing Institute, 2020).
Additionally, email newsletters are the most cited most effective way to secure leads (16% said so) and second most cited effective way to convert leads (21 percent after in person events).
Of course, organic marketing channels are not the only means when it comes to content marketing. We can’t forget paid distribution channels which can be just as effective.
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.
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.
Another interesting set of statistics comes 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.
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
Now that we’ve covered email marketing statistics you need to know for both the B2B and B2C industry, let’s go over a few tips that will help you make your email marketing more effective.
Timing B2B Emails Right
One of the easiest things you can do to make your email marketing more effective is to send your campaign at the right time.
HubSpot has a great and informative post on the best times to send email that cites research from Entrepreneur:
“Studies suggest that B2B emails for the average 8-5 office employee are best sent mid-week around 10 AM. However, entrepreneurs and executives open email more frequently than the average employee, so day of the week matters less. The best time for these individuals based on open and click rates is on Saturday at 10 AM.” (Entrepreneur, 2017) (Hubspot, 2021)
However, before you consider entrepreneurs and executives, you should also consider the best day to send emails as it relates to typical office employees. According to many 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 lunch time is also effective since this is typically the period.
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 non targeted 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 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!