Five emails a B2B marketer should never send

As businesses find it increasingly difficult to catch and hold another business' attention, Guy Hanson shares five emails B2B marketers should never send

Information overload is a fact of life, and nowhere is this more evident than in the inbox. No Email Day took place recently, which aims to combat the problem of information overload by encouraging businesses to avoid their inboxes for 24 hours. While this is undoubtedly unrealistic, it does highlight the serious challenge businesses face when trying to catch (and hold) another business’ attention. Indeed, as inboxes grow and individuals find themselves with less time on their hands, many emails are left unopened or disregarded as spam, making it harder and harder for businesses to engage with and get noticed. 

With this in mind, here are five types of emails that I believe businesses should never send:

1. Emails that don’t deliver value 

Today’s user doesn’t have patience for emails that don’t deliver value, particularly if they’re giving your company a lot of business. For example, if you buy a Jaguar, you don't want or need a welcome email – instead, you want a 20 percent discount on car accessories.

Business professionals want to read helpful or entertaining content, and be informed about new products or services that could help optimise their business processes. However, if your company is trying to up- or cross-sell a better service, they increasingly want to be offered some form of discount. Nowadays, no one wants to buy before they try, therefore offering a free trial can be the most effective way of convincing the customer to increase their investment. It’s often become the case that if a company sends details about a new service without some form of incentive to switch, the recipient will delete it.

2. Emails that do break the law

Most countries have legislation that specifically governs the conduct of email senders. Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) is a well-known example.

This legislation currently includes minimum requirements for consent, identification of the sender, and how to opt-out of receiving future emails. Senders who do not comply with these requirements will not only upset their users but will also be liable for prosecution by enforcement bodies such as the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). However, it’s worth noting that confirmation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) now means the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) and ICO are looking for input into new e-privacy regulations which will ultimately result in PECR being updated or replaced.

3. Emails that don’t honour the subscriber’s preferences  

The most successful email programs are those that have established trust between the sender and recipient. Trust in email starts with getting permission to correspond with users. Best-in-class email marketers go further by obtaining subscribers’ explicit consent to send emails, setting and meeting expectations about what they will receive and how often, and providing users with the ability to easily change their marketing preferences. 
If a company does not establish this foundation of trust at the beginning of each and every subscriber lifecycle, the recipient will likely become overwhelmed and frustrated by the lack of control over their growing inbox.

4. Phishy emails

Spear phishing emails are one of the biggest threats and subscribers are becoming increasingly aware of what to look out for. So marketers need to make sure their emails don’t appear questionable. Should a subscriber mistake a genuine marketing email for one that’s aimed to trick them, it will result in them deleting the mail or leaving it unread, which in turn leads to higher levels of filtering as mailbox providers pick up on the declining levels of engagement. 

In addition to choosing their words carefully, businesses should also be putting systems in place that reassures recipients only legitimate marketing emails go directly to their inbox. Phishing attacks are often successful because they leverage the trust that commonly exists between consumers and brands. To this end, companies would be wise to implement the Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) standard which prevents spoofed emails reaching the recipient’s mailbox. Acting as a virtual handshake between the sender and mailbox provider, DMARC maintains the level of trust that is critical to email marketing ROI.

5. Poorly timed emails

Poorly timed emails can result in a lack of engagement. For example, if your company sends an email promoting offers in the lead up to the end of the financial year once the new financial year has begun, it will have less relevance and the email will be deleted. If this continues, in turn this will result in more filtering as mailbox providers recognise this.

A combination of good sending practices and strong authentication is the best way to preserve the performance of your email marketing programme.

Email marketing is nothing new, but it's very hard to use well, particularly as the digital landscape continues to change so rapidly. Used in the right way, though, it can be an incredibly powerful tool. So how do you get it right? This guide discusses everything you need to know to use email effectively throughout the customer journey.

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