B2B Content Marketingemail marketing

How You’re Doing B2B Email Marketing Wrong and How to Fix it

What a negative Nancy kind of headline right? Well, the headline grading software said it was good so I’m going with it. Email marketing and marketing automation have the power to be game-changers. It’s true though, maybe not of you but many B2B companies I see out there have a pretty myopic view of email marketing. Today we are going to look at 3 ways B2B marketers are using email incorrectly and how to fix it. See, when you offer a solution it isn’t negative, it’s just being real.

Your email marketing consists only of list sends.

Many B2B companies, especially those that are still firmly rooted in traditional marketing take their first foray into digital marketing with the email list send. This is the, “Hey we have a list of email addresses and we have something to promote. Let’s send them an email about it.” Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing intrinsically wrong about doing this and I believe it is an important piece of digital communication with your customer. When it becomes the only communication with your customer is when it becomes an issue.

How many times have you bought something or gotten on a company’s list and the only time they communicate with you is when they have something to sell, something they sold broke, or they want you to know when they will be off for Christmas? There are two issues with this; 1. frequency and 2. WIIFM. When you send emails to a prospect on an infrequent and sporadic basis you don’t build a relationship and without a relationship, they don’t open your emails. Plus, if you are just telling them about you, it misses out on the What’s In It For Me aspect, or really, the only reason people open emails.

The Fix…

Yes, I am totally going to open up my secret stash of email marketing ideas here and let you peek behind the curtain. Here is what you do…

Send emails more frequently and send prospects emails that provide value to them. [drop the mic]

You don’t have a plan for every single email address you add to your database

We spend so much time talking about lead generation and funnel velocity that we forget about the plan. We want to bring people into our alluring web of email marketing. Often we do it by spending thousands of dollars on trade shows or many hours creating a really kick butt content incentive. Then it gets quiet. We might send them an autoresponder email after they give us their precious contact information but often that is the end of the line.

We don’t do it on purpose, most of the time we even know we need to do more. Heck, sometimes we even have a plan for what we are going to do next, what emails we are going to send and why. But life gets in the way, we are busy chasing the next set of leads and we don’t always execute on our follow up plan.

The Fix…

Don’t spend another penny or minute on lead generation until you have a plan in place for how you are going to foster a relationship with each lead and bring them through your marketing and sales process. I know it sounds harsh but think about it. Having email addresses gets you nothing. Having email addresses and a plan for them gives you a fighting chance. If you continue to throw your money at lead gen without a plan you are throwing your money away.

Instead, build a plan, build a schedule, create content, create copy, design a buyer’s journey, actually design the emails, schedule the emails in your automation software, then and only then, start collecting leads. It’s work, I know, but it’s our job.

Don’t know where to start? Download this free email automation planning template.

You keep email marketing and traditional marketing & sales separate

I am so guilty of this! If this was a crime I would be locked away without parole. Luckily it isn’t and luckily some of the awesomeness of digital marketing is the fact we get do overs all of the time. We call it A/B testing or testing the market. How awesome is it we get to use these cool terms for, “I messed up so I am going to try something different, which may also be a mess up.”?

The Fix…

This is our third time now so I know you are going to jump my answer here, yes, don’t keep them separated. You’re quick!

Here’s the truth. Companies that perform well with their email marketing and perform well in their sales and marketing process in total use multiple channels. Not just multiple channels for lead generation but multiple channels for the buyer’s entire journey. Email marketing is just one prong in your marketing ninja throwing star. It supports the sales process as follow up information emails after a sales call, it is a re-engagement email series when the sales team has lost contact with a prospect. It is the trigger from lead scoring that tells you a lead is at the point they should receive your direct mail piece (yes in the real mail!!)

When I do this well I use a simple process. 1. I plan, 2. I include the sales team. Knowing what information and nudges a customer need and when is an art form. One that can be supported by data once you collect it. At the beginning, all you might have is the sales team’s input. What information customers ask for, how they know a lead is worth chasing when they think the lead is close to buying. Use all of this to allow email marketing to support the buying process.


Email marketing doesn’t have to be the tip of the iceberg, it need not be deemed the foundation of your marketing house. Really well thought out email marketing can be the sweetness of those little oreo cookie chunks in cookies and cream ice cream. It can be the texture and sweetness that keeps you coming back.

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