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B2B Email Marketing Best-Practices and Trends


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.


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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  • by Nick Stamoulis Wed Jul 25, 2012 via web

    I think the best date/time to send your emails is relative to your audience and niche, and that is why testing is so important. You want to find what works best for your company and your subscribers.

  • by Lindsay Wed Jul 25, 2012 via web

    I am curious how all of you are using email marketing with all of the increasing anti-spam regulations. As a growing business, we're facing issues trying to email prospective customers because they never "joined our mailing list" or "opted in" to receive communication from us.
    We're not spammers. We're not buying lists. We're not sending multiple emails. We're just trying to reach out to people we met at trade shows and meetings who are likely to be interested in our company. If someone unsubscribes, we honor their request and remove them from our database.

    So how are all of you doing it? How are you building huge lists of people who you have explicit permission to contact? How is it lead generation if you can't email them without already having secured that permission?

  • by Bhaskar Wed Jul 25, 2012 via web

    Lindsay, you can't have email marketing without useful content. Email marketing is a part of the bigger content marketing strategy and you need something that will make people want to sign up and receive your emails.

    Ordinarily, most people start prospecting by offering something like a whitepaper or an industry report in exchange for name and email. Have you tried that route?

  • by Jay Rosenberg Wed Jul 25, 2012 via web

    Good information.
    I think this is also good: The best time to send email is at the time you first heard from the person you are sending it to. From Columbia University Business School report. Open rates, etc. are significantly higher.
    In email sending useful, relevant content is crucial BUT how you deliver it is more important. You must know your customer very well and put it in language that captures/appeals to their personal interests.
    Easy to say, maybe not so easy to do, however we I D customer personality types and send very targetted email that we know appeals to their interests. Personality types naturally seek/are attracted to types like themselves. Responses show us this works and believe me we test everything!

  • by Billy Qadir Thu Jul 26, 2012 via web

    Great information.

    Hey Jay, great info.

    Could you provide me with some more info on how you guys test and with who. Hope you will ignore my naivity.

  • by Jay Rosenberg Thu Jul 26, 2012 via web

    Hi, Billy,
    Thanks for your kind words and question.
    Please send your email address and I'll explain.

  • by Prozen Consulting Sun Sep 9, 2012 via web

    As long as you provide useful information segmented by users, the customer engagement shall remain high. As a general rule, your marketing or sales content should be no more than 10-20% of your newsletter.


  • by Lilia Maccannell Mon Mar 31, 2014 via web

    Great points on email marketing! As a founder of startup I think that some part of work in sales and marketing should be outsourced. You can make a smaller investment to building your marketing plan until your growth provides the cash flow needed to hire more permanent staffing. Also, you often need the expertise of more knowledgeable professionals providing strategic growth plans and your budget doesn't not allow for that level of investment for the long term.

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