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Email is still an invaluable asset to marketers; however, only 30% of B2B marketers are using email marketing as their primary lead generation tactic, according to a study by Pardot.

Rather, in today's marketing environment, email appears to be more effective for nurturing prospects than lead generation, the study reports.

In addition, most (65%) B2B companies are devoting less than 25% of their marketing budgets to email marketing, 27% are allocating 26-50% of their budgets to email, and only 9% are allocating more than 50% of their budgets to email efforts:

Below, other findings from Pardot.

Campaign Testing Practices

Successful email campaigns often require trial and error, and many B2B marketers rely on various testing techniques to improve their campaigns:

  • 58% test to see what type of content results in the best click-through-rates.
  • 57% test for a correlation between subject lines and open rates.
  • 46% test to see how the time of day effects open rates.

Best-Practices

Regarding which days of the week and times of the day perform best, marketers report the following trends:

  • 44% say sending emails on Tuesday results in better open rates.
  • 53% say Friday is the worst day for email open rates.
  • 53% have had the most success sending emails between 8 am and 12 pm.

Relevant offers are crucial to successful campaigns. Among B2B marketers, the most effective offer is an invitation to a webinar, followed by whitepapers and case studies.

Content types such as freebies, discounted services, limited time offers, and personal, text-based emails are less popular among those surveyed.

Feature Usage Trends

Among B2B marketers, email is being used primarily for drip nurturing:

  • 61% are using email for drip nurturing and among them 65% are using targeted messaging (changing which emails are sent based on how a prospect responds). 
  • 51% are using behavioral segmentation.
  • 43% use cross-platform testing.

Though testing to improve response rates is popular, fewer marketers are conducting deliverability testing: Only 33% are doing SPAM analysis prior to email deployment, and only 25% of marketers test emails for accurate mobile rendering.

The Future of Email

B2B marketers are mixed on the future of email. Among those surveyed, 50% say email marketing will be less relevant in five years; however, nearly the same proportion (47%) say email will still be relevant.

About the data: Findings are based on a survey of 100 B2B marketers in the US, conducted in June 2012 by Pardot, a cloud marketing automation software provider.

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