I’ve always felt my groaning inbox bore testament to the popularity of email marketing.  Now my suspicions are confirmed.

The latest report in B2B Marketing’s Benchmark series reveals that a whopping nine in ten (88%) business-to-business marketers make use of the technique.  Remarkably, amongst those doing so almost one half (44%) broadcast emails once a week or more often.

Click for enlarged infographic

This popularity means that message overload is a real problem.  A business buyer often receives several hundred marketing emails a month.  Inevitably these merge into one indistinct mass.

Email marketing performance statistics reflect this fact – B2B marketers now achieve an average open rate of 24% and a click through rate of just 13%.  A bit depressing when one considers that email marketing consumes one quarter (24%) of the typical marketing department’s time.

Despair not though; it is possible to stand apart.

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First, create quality content.  Ask B2B marketers which style of marketing email gets them the best results and first by far is anything which shares thought leadership.  Likewise, the single most effective route to boosting email performance is felt to be compelling subject matter.  And as a bonus, not only will good content optimise email success, but it can feed other activity such as social media, events and PR.

Second, hook them in.  Behind subject matter, the next most effective route to boosting email performance is felt to be a carefully crafted subject line.  A subject line which is short, intriguing and quickly conveys the value of opening the message.

Third, focus on data.  A relevant and accurate database is a pre-requisite to email success.  Yet even though most (78%) refresh their database at least 2 – 3 times a year, B2B marketers tell us that data accuracy is still the most significant email challenge they face.

Finally, remember the simple touches.  You have top quality content, a carefully crafted subject line and a sparklingly clean database; now be sure to strike when the time is just right.  The Benchmark Report reveals that the best time to broadcast emails to a B2B audience is Tuesday between 10am and 1pm.  The worst is Monday between 8am and 10am.

Read more about our approach to business-to-business (B2B) marcoms and advertising research.

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7 thoughts on “Email marketing: Overcoming message overload

  1. Hi Andrew,

    I should be on your email updates list via Feedburner, did I qualify for the full report article? nice infographic.

    re: “Benchmark Report reveals that the best time to broadcast emails to a B2B audience is Tuesday between 10am and 1pm”

    I wrote an article, When will they Open, Read and Act On my Email? I also concluded Tuesday, 10-11am.

    Imagine if we all started sending them at this time xD


    1. mm Andrew Dalglish says:

      Thanks for the feedback – copy of the report should be with you but give me a shout if it gets lost in transit.

      Between us we could crash the web…billions of emails all being sent at 10am Tuesday :o)

      Gets me thinking though, perhaps there’s an opportunity to cut through the noise by taking a contrarian approach. Maybe emails sent at what is perceived to be the least effective time (Monday 8 – 10am: 37% of those surveyed named this as the least effective in their experience) would stand out as there’s less competition for the reader’s attention?

      Cheers, Andrew

  2. Karen Misick says:

    Hi Andrew,
    I notice in your post you say the avg. click through rate is 2% but in the info graph you post it says the avg. click through rate is 13%. Can you clarify please?



    1. mm Andrew Dalglish says:

      My boo-boo – thanks for spotting Karen!

      Click through rate is 13%. I’ve updated the post.



      1. Karen Misick says:

        Thanks Andrew,

        Your article was very helpfuf.


  3. Shrimoyee Chakraborty says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I found your post really useful but can you may be post some sample email marketing campaigns or may be give an example of the successful email marketing campaigns for B2B!



    1. mm Andrew Dalglish says:

      Thanks Shrim – glad you found it useful.

      Some great B2B email campaign case studies here – http://www.b2bmarketing.net/knowledgebank/email-marketing/case-studies



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Andrew has specialised in B2B research for over a decade and co-founded Circle Research in 2006. He is a columnist for B2B Marketing Magazine, a regular contributor to Research Live and frequent speaker at leading events such as the B2B Leaders Forum, Customer Experience Live and the Social Media World Forum. Andrew is a Chartered Member of the MRS, teaches the MRS B2B research course and holds an MA in Psychology from Aberdeen University alongside an MSc in Marketing from Strathclyde University.

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