Did you hear the rumors that social is killing email marketing? Pure nonsense I tell you. Email marketing remains a critical part of your B2B marketing mix. In fact, b2b email is not dead, just taken for granted and assumed. In fact, in the time it took to read that sentence, 20 million emails were sent.

SOCIAL MEDIA & EMAIL: MOVING MOBILE

And as for social media killing b2b emails, the reality is quite the opposite. Email drives 6x the volume of views compared to social traffic even with social referral traffic growing 331 percent YOY.

And perhaps more importantly, email boasts higher conversion rates than social traffic. Now, isn’t that what it is about … driving revenue attribution?

Of course how you read emails is changing. I probably don’t have to tell you that email is moving to mobile at a ridiculous pace.

Today 82 percent of smartphone users send and receive email on their mobile device, and the number of commercial emails opened on mobile will pass desktop opens by the end of the year.

So now that your emails are becoming mobile first, what are the copy implications? It’s simple really, delivering clear, relevant messages that follow 2013 email best practices.

THE ANATOMY OF B2B EMAIL

Let’s break it down by the anatomy of an effective b2b email – subject line, body copy and call to action (CTA).

B2B EMAIL SUBJECT LINE

Email subject lines are similar to headlines. They need to compete for your recipient’s attention in the inbox to warrant a chance of being read.

The mandate here is to deploy the 4 U’s – useful, ultra-specific, unique and urgent – to create an action-oriented, personalized message in 70 characters or less. And mobile is even more constrained, with just 40 characters for email subject line display. So, work it!

How do you know if your subject line is working? Your open rates are a direct reflection of how well you write subject lines, so test and learn to optimize them.

B2B EMAIL BODY COPY

This is where the rubber meets the road. You have to deliver on the promise of your subject line. Trickery isn’t cute – or effective in the long term.

So how do you optimize your email body copy?

It’s another exercise in efficiency where you must clearly deliver value through being relevant to your reader (through segmentation) while also being brief.

Easier said than done perhaps, but here’s where to start.

Today, email personalization best practices far exceed any <> tactics of the past. Use audience intelligence to personalize your message and add value to your reader based on their specific pains and relationship with you, the sender.

Here it can be helpful to remind your reader why they opted-in to your email before you dive into any offer. By creating a positive reference to past email value, you can drive higher conversion in this email message.

And most importantly, always remember – it’s not about you!

How client-centric is your brand? Show it in your body copy by writing copy in the second person. To check yourself, count the number of you/your references in comparison to the I/we/we’re references in your copy. If there are more of the latter – rewrite it.

B2B EMAIL CTAS

Every email has a purpose, a desired conversion action you want the reader to take. It’s the job of your email copy to articulate and accelerate that singular action.

I know you caught the reference to singular CTA. More is not better in the case of calls-to-action. In this day of email overload, more CTAs mean less for your email success. And less conversion means fewer revenue attribution. So, just say no to multiple CTAs – or better yet, build them into a drip email campaign to be effective.

Is your desired email conversion a blog read, a social mention, a download or an event registration? Know it, repeat it and reinforce it. And let your design work to reinforce the CTA, even without images loading.

That’s a wrap on business-to-business email copy best practices here. Now, go out there and define your own best practices, the ones that uniquely matter to your readers and blow the top off all 2013 email benchmarks.

Photo credit: DM Confidential via flickr cc

Download Introduction to B2B Email Marketing