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8 rad B2B email marketing trends to follow into 2021

Mailtastic
20 November 2020

How do you do, fellow kids?

We heard you're after the trendiest B2B email marketing tactics in the game. 

So we asked Cognism's Product Marketing Executive, Verche Karafiloska, and Global Head of Demand Generation, Liam Bartholomew, for their hot takes.

And they came up with eight things you need to adopt in 2021.

Let's rock and roll!

B2B email marketing trends

  1. Write how you talk
  2. Mobile-first
  3. Simple designs
  4. Automation 
  5. Personalisation
  6. Omni-channel 
  7. Testing
  8. Email signature marketing

Write how you talk

Using a creative and conversational tone in your B2B email marketing is very popular at the moment, and is going to be a big theme of 2021. - Liam 

B2B has long been Kieran to B2C's Macauley. 

But the past few years have seen it gradually move out of its older brother's shadow. 

First it got a speaking role in Fargo. Now, it's getting nominated for Golden Globes. In 2021, it’s ready to move into the mainstream with a starring role in a blockbuster.

And writing how you talk is set to be the next big thing in the world of B2B email marketing. 

Prepare to see more fluidity and creativity when it comes to tone and style. 

Think about replicating a face-to-face conversation with your customers via email. You want to establish a real dialogue which your audience can engage in and respond to. 

Mobile-first

It’s important to think mobile-first. Keep emails concise, clear and easy to digest on a mobile device. - Verche 

A lot has changed since email marketing first came onto the scene in 1978.

These days, smartphones are a big deal. And their influence is only going to grow in 2021. 

That's because your perfectly-crafted email will likely be viewed on a mobile phone. It might be skim-read whilst waiting for a coffee, wandering down the street or waiting for Netflix to load. 

There’s no two ways about it: 

Your emails have to be easy to read and engage with on a mobile device. 

If not, engagement will drop quicker than you can say iPhone 12 Pro. 

Don’t believe us? Research shows that more than 70% of smartphone owners are likely to delete an email that doesn’t function well on their phone. 

Simple designs 

2021 is going to see B2B marketers moving away from pretty HTML emails and back to simpler, text only emails. - Liam 

In recent years, we’ve seen plenty of elaborate designs burst onto the scene of B2B email marketing. 

But in 2021, prepare for a comeback of the simple text. 

A simple design can mean the reader focuses on what’s important: 

  • the content: what you can do for them 
  • the call-to-action: what you want them to do for you 

Simplicity never goes out of fashion. Simplicity stands the test of time. Or, to quote the queen of style herself:

Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance. - Coco Chanel 

Plus, to follow on from our previous point, a simple design is more likely to work well on all devices. Including mobiles. 

Automation

 In 2021, automate what can be automated. - Verche

Email automation can make your life a lot easier. 

It means you can create automated email workflows according to specific triggers. For example, the moment someone subscribes to your email newsletter or submits a form to your website. 

These triggers could launch a drip-feed campaign suited to that behaviour. All designed by you. 

Marketing automation is useful at all stages of the sales funnel. It can help yo build a relationship with your customer, maintain that relationship throughout the buyer journey and encourage referrals. 

There’s a ton of benefits that come with automating elements of your email marketing efforts. 

To name just a few: 

  • It streamlines the process, saving you heaps of time
  • It eliminates the chance of human error, making sure nothing is missed 
  • It keeps customer engagement ticking over throughout the buyer journey. This boosts customer retention no end. 

All of this means more conversions. Increased revenue. And more time. 

Not bad, eh?

And 50% of B2B companies are already using automation as part of their email marketing efforts. 

Plus, automation software is becoming more and more intuitive. So the scope of what you can do is just going to keep growing as we head into next year.

So if you’re not already on the automation train, hop on. 

But, a word of warning: 

Don’t go overboard. Automated emails shouldn’t feel robotic and impersonal. 

Remember you still want your customers to feel like they are being talked to as individuals

Ultimately, they’re not going to engage with your content favourably if it's not personalised. Which brings us onto our next point...

Personalisation

Personalisation and segmentation remains one of the most important elements of B2B email marketing. 

And that's not about to change. 

It’s super important for you to segment your list into personas, and then create relevant content for those specific groups. 

This will have a huge effect on the success of your B2B email marketing campaigns in 2021. 

The B2B email marketing stats speak for themselves:

Segmented email campaigns have a 50% higher CTR compared to scattergun campaigns. 

As Verche puts it:

It’s crucial that you understand who you’re talking to. Once you know this, you can create personalised, relevant content which really resonates with your target.

And if you want to hear more about how to segment and personalise effectively, check out our post on B2B email marketing best practices

Omni-channel

 It’s no longer about relying on email as your sole channel, but knowing when to use it, in conjunction with other channels. - Liam

There’s no doubt about it:

Emails are a crucial part of B2B marketing.  

But you can’t rely solely on emails if you want to launch a truly successful B2B email marketing campaign in 2021. 

You’ve got to think outside the (in)box. You’ve got to think omni-channel. 

Our inboxes are inundated with emails every day. And that’s not set to change any time soon. So going that extra mile by thinking cross-channel is the way to stand out and get real results. 

You’ve got to build up an integrated relationship with your customer. 

 

Supporting your email marketing efforts with communications across a selection of channels will create a fully-rounded customer experience. 

Think critically about what content would work best in what format. And then go from there. Don’t just chuck all of your copy into an email and hope for the best. 

Especially since GDPR came into effect, we have to be more picky about what to email and when. 

Emails are still going to be a driving force in the world of B2B marketing in the coming year.  

But expect cross-channel marketing to be a key trend to keep your eyes on throughout 2021. 

Testing

 A/B testing is going to continue to be of prime importance as we head into 2021. - Verche

As always, testing is crucial. 

It’s easy for the B2B marketer to miss this step. In fact, 53% of marketers never A/B test their emails

But, here’s the thing:

It’s the only way to work out whether what you’re doing is working or not. 

Once you know this, you’ll be able to plan your next move. You’ll know whether to keep going on the same track, tweak it slightly, or if a complete overhaul is needed. 

Without testing, you could spend loads of time curating top-notch content which doesn’t get seen. Or, heaven forbid, goes to spam. 

A/B testing remains a failsafe option. Test your subject lines, delivery time, content…test it all. The more testing you do, the more refined your email marketing efforts will become. 

Top tip

Hopefully it won’t come to this, but should they wish… 

Make sure it’s easy for your recipients to unsubscribe. 

You don’t want them to feel like you’ve trapped them and thrown away the key. Remember it’s a dialogue that they are a part of and want to have autonomy in. 

Email signature marketing

And if you're looking for a nice booster for you formal email marketing efforts, why not turn every employee email signature into a targeted ad.

Email signature marketing platforms allow you to create clickable call-to-actions (CTAs) that plug your products, offers and content. This drives traffic to them and gives you more leads to convert. 

Why not see what it could be worth to you by using our email signature marketing ROI calculator?

Next, book a demo 👈🏿

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