B2B Email Marketing Benchmarks

How to Set & Hit Your B2B Email Marketing Benchmarks

Marketing technology is advancing at breakneck speed, but email is still the most effective marketing tool available, if you understand your B2B marketing email benchmarks, and if your company is hitting them.

These are important ifs.

For your marketing campaigns to be successful, it’s imperative to know whether or not you’re getting the open or click-through rates you need – and why — for your expected return on investment, or you could be using valuable resources in the wrong way.

We know that B2Bs are the hardest sells, and have the lowest email open and click-through rates in all of marketing.

Of course, there are a variety of reasons for that.

One of the main reasons is the amount of email coming into those business inboxes. Your email competes with an average of  91 emails per day. Standing out in that barrage of information is a challenge.

It could be because your marketing email titles  without getting noticed.

It could also mean that the company you’re targeting is interested in your service, but you didn’t target them at the right time.

It could also mean that your email campaign was lackluster in nature and didn’t capture the recipients’ attention (read 10 B2B Email Marketing Examples That Get Results for tricks on how to make your campaign more compelling) or that it didn’t target the company’s decision makers with the right content.

There are other factors to consider too — are you targeting the right accounts? Is your database current? All of these factors make a difference.

That doesn’t mean that the businesses you’re targeting don’t need you, or aren’t interested in the product or service you are offering. It just means you didn’t go about targeting them in the right ways.  Measuring and tracking your email benchmarks can help you zero in on the problem and fix it.

Success is all about how you define it. So what are the benchmarks to track? These are the basics:

Email Marketing Benchmark terms

Bounce  emails returned as to the server as undeliverable. Also classified as a “hard bounce” meaning the address is non-existent or a “soft bounce” indicating a temporary failure.

Click Through   when a prospect takes an action, clicking a link in the email. Click through rate is determined by dividing this number by the number of opened emails.

Delivered – number of messages accepted for delivery by a receiving mail server.

Open – emails that have been viewed in a preview pane or email client.

Open Rate – the number of emails opened divided by the number of emails delivered.

Unique Click – when a single user clicks a link. Double clicks by single users are not included in this total.

Unsubscribes: the percentage of delivered emails that result in an prospect taking an action to be removed from the list. Also “opt out”.

For most companies, ultimate success is measured by generating new business, and email marketing is still one of the best ways to do that, especially in business-to-business marketing. According to an Emfluence study, B2b email marketing emails averaged a 47% higher click-through rate than B2C.

b2b email marketing benchmarks

But there’s so much more to email marketing than sending out a mass email blitz hoping something sticks. That’s especially true when using data based marketing platforms which compile a wealth of intent data. This behavioral information, if used correctly, zeroes in on exactly what your potential clients are interested in. Linking keyword interest to verified contacts (a feature of our platform) targets campaigns more precisely than ever before.

Today’s leads are both fickle and demanding, and targeting the right people at the right time with meaningful content that matters to them is one of the most effective ways to see your response rates shoot through the roof.

Metrics makes all the difference

success metric

Source: Getresponse Email Marketing Benchmarks and Recommendations for 2016  

By both setting and measuring B2B marketing email benchmarks, you’ll be able to better determine if your email campaigns are getting the responses you want, so you can continue on the same path or make some changes to improve your success.

You will get a better sense of which businesses are looking for your product or service, based on a variety of factors including Unique Open rates; which measure the first time a recipient opens your email; Total Open Rates, which measure how many times a recipient returns to reopen your email, a sign that the campaign was effective enough to generate interest; Click-Through Rates; and Responses to a Call to Action.

Such data is invaluable, because it not only tells you all you need to know about your potential customer base, it also allows you to reach them more effectively.

Setting benchmarks allows you to not only ensure that the B2B email marketing campaigns that you’re focusing on are effective, but also helps you improve upon your best efforts once you determine what works and what doesn’t.

What are your prospects interested in?

Using gathered data to check out the performance of your past campaigns allows you to see in real numbers which of your email campaigns have generated the most interest, in the same way coupons allow restaurants to track which media outlets are getting them the most traffic.

Depending on your industry, email campaigns can be considered successful if your Open Rate lands between 15 to 25 percent. Let’s look at:

MailChimp’s September 2016 Average Stats by Industry

Those open rates can improve significantly by taking the “less in more” approach”, creating smaller, more targeted campaigns only targeting the individuals in companies showing an increased amount of search activity for your keywords. This smarter strategy can help boost Open Rates upwards of 400%. Numbers we’ve seen using the InsightBASE platform.

But wherever your number may fall, once you know the average open rate of your campaigns, that number can serve as a benchmark, and will allow you to use that data to zero in on which email campaigns met or exceeded that benchmark, and which ones didn’t.

That tells you what your intended client is interested in, based on their interaction with your email.

If you had a higher Unique Open Rate or a higher Click-Through Rate – with recipients not only opening the email but also taking advantage of your call to action – with a specific campaign, determining what about that campaign was unique will help you create future marketing campaigns that are better targeted toward your potential clients.

That data gives you important information that allows you to call on your marketing department to design campaigns that mirror those that were the most successful, since these are the campaigns that are most likely to help you not only meet your benchmark, but exceed it, setting new standards for your idea of success.

What makes your prospects engage with you?

Metrics also play a role in determining which of the email campaigns you send are the ones that your recipients engage with, which allows you to set benchmarks for improvement.

By measuring Unique Open Rates, you know how many recipients were interested enough in either you  or your subject line to open your email. Taking stock of Click-Through Rates, which typically drop to 2 to 3 percent from your Open Rates for most industries, allows you to determine which of your B2B marketing campaigns not only inspired your recipients to open your email, but also to click on a call-to-action to link with your website, which reflects a more successful campaign.

Setting a benchmark for both of those based on current averages gives you a complete picture of what’s working and what’s not, and should allow you to determine what content was of interest to your potential clients and what content was a waste of both time and money.

When emails fail

There are several reasons why your emails aren’t reaching your potential clients.

Measuring your Hard Bounce Rates will let you know if your database is outdated and needs to be refreshed or cleansed because your emails are being sent to outdated or erroneous email addresses.

Unsubscribe rates, which generally tend to average about 2 percent, let you know that your intended targets have either lost interest or have become exhausted by your campaigns because you are sending them too much information for them to maintain lasting interest.

You interact with potential clients in a variety of different ways, not only through email but also at trade shows, via phone calls and through catalogs and flyers sent through the mail.

Just as Goldilocks found when she was trying out the beds and dinners of the Three Bears, there’s a fine line between just right and too much, analysts say, and database fatigue – which happens when email recipients are overwhelmed by the contact and have grown tired of seeing your company name or letterhead – can be a real deterrent, even when you’re sending your smartest email marketing campaigns.

According to experts, companies that send daily email campaigns tend to see lower open and click rates over time, no matter how specifically targeted the campaign is.

Even if your product or service is one that your target wants and needs, coming off as too eager or pushy is a turnoff, and can send your potential client running straight into the arms of a competitor.

Interacting too little is also a problem, because your potential clients want to feel as though they matter to you, and they don’t want to be forgotten. If recipients of your marketing campaigns, especially so the ones personalized toward them, feel connected to your company, they will buy your product or service with more confidence, knowing that they are entering into a business relationship that will be mutually beneficial.

According to data compiled by Hubspot.com, companies that send an average of 16 to 30 emails per month tend to have a click rate of approximately 6 percent, which is twice as high as those that send just two campaigns per month or less.

Setting benchmarks based on data analysis helps you find the number that best works for your company.

Of course, you still will have emails that generate little if any buzz, and benchmarks will help you track that as well.

If your unresponsive rate is going up, several factors could be contributing to the lack of interest in your campaign.

If your emails are going unnoticed – data helps track rates so you know what’s working and what’s not – you may not be targeting the right people at the right time, or you could be using lackluster content to attract attention.

Developing a stand-out campaign – personalized to match your target audience – can help turn those numbers around.

How do your prospects behave?

New data based marketing platforms gather intent signal data about your potential clients to determine the exact moment when that client is searching for information about the product or service you offer.

According to research, there’s a 24-hour window from that time to take advantage of that interest, so having time-based account interest information helps you meet or exceed your B2B marketing email benchmarks considerably, because it allows you to send personalized campaigns that capture attention, well within that requisite window of interest.

According to a recent study, more companies are taking advantage of vertical advertising to successfully target those who view advertising on smartphones, and don’t want to be bothered having to adjust the content in order to properly view the ad.

Check out our recent article, What is a good email open rate? Know the Number You Should be Striving for and How to Hit it, to get a better idea about the success rate of your current email marketing campaigns, and discover more ways to improve on them.

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