Rethinking b2b email marketing as a customer relationship tool

Many companies use email marketing to ‘update’ their customers and prospects on their own news, contract wins, completed projects or to position offers.

This is all well and good but you’re using the permission you’ve built up over time to only talk about yourself. How interesting is that really going to be for companies that have their own concerns and problems that need solutions?

It might be worth rethinking email marketing as a valuable customer relationship management tool – instead seeking to use email marketing to improve the effectiveness of your content marketing.

Recent data indicates that email is still critical to UK SME marketing campaigns with open rates of around 22.87% and click-through rates of 3.26%. This indicates that a good proportion of email is opened but seldom clicked through – there is a problem with the content being relevant.

Using email to inform and be relevant is a powerful tool and the best brands not only do this, but it allows them to do it often as it is purposefully less promotional.

Here are five tips to make your email marketing more customer centric and to help improve deliverability, open, click through and engagement.

1. Draw content from FAQs

All companies take and make calls. Your sales people field lots of questions before closing a sale. If there are regular questions, these are the sorts of things you should address in email (and on your website). Answering questions is not only a great ‘unblocker’ but it also positions you as an expert and is likely to move a conversation forward.

2. Make content and email topical

Can you use industry or business news to create engaging content by discussing the implications for your customers? Finance professionals do this well around annual Budget time.

3. Lead with a single proposition

Many companies send out a monthly email newsletter containing information about themselves. If you are writing engaging customer focused pieces, switch this on it’s head by using email more and send out new articles as you publish them. Statistically, if you email less, the emails stand out, and you are more likely to be unsubscribed from if your content isn’t relevant.

4. Start and finish with questions

Asking questions is a great technique for stimulating conversation. Support this with social media links so it gives readers the opportunity to engage on their terms. Again, you’re looking for engagement – however it comes.

5. Ask for feedback

Asking for feedback is a powerful way to develop engagement and encourage readers to voice their opinion. It has to be authentic though, and you should you acknowledge and follow-up on suggestions received.


Email marketing is getting ever more sophisticated but remember it is the most direct way to talk to customers and done well, with two-way conversation in mind, it can transform relationships.

What can do to make your email marketing give more value to customers?

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