January 13

Professionalism Killed the Email Star


I’m on dozens of email lists for B2B tech companies. Maybe even hundreds.

I have to use filters to divert them into special folders, or I’d have a panic attack every time I opened my inbox.

And after reading thousands of B2B emails over the last few years, I’ve noticed something. (Honestly, it was hard to miss).

Out of all the emails I receive, at least 99 percent of them are boring.

They use boring subject lines. They have boring leads. And a huge proportion are little more than daily or weekly blog recaps. Even when they’re promoting something specific, they come across as bland corporate fodder. The sort of thing IBM would have been proud of in the 1980s. Nothing to be embarrassed about, certainly, but very, very easy to ignore.

And look, I get it. We’re all busy people. Writing emails isn’t at the top of anybody’s priority list. There are blog posts to write, content plans to create, case studies, white papers, webinars, events… the list goes on.

But we’re talking about the medium that quite literally blows every other marketing comms channel out of the water in terms of ROI. And I’m not talking about fluffy metrics like ‘engagement’, I’m talking about getting people to take action.

Maybe it’s signing up for a webinar. Maybe it’s downloading your latest content piece. Maybe it’s buying something.

And I know. Everybody on this list is in B2B. For many of you, a new customer could mean tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. None of you are selling the types of products and services that can be bought on impulse.

But that doesn’t mean email can’t play a huge role in building the trust and confidence needed to create a sale.

We all like to pretend that things like emotion and personal preference don’t play a role in B2B. But that just isn’t true. The fact is that if a C-level exec wants to buy something, no procurement process on earth will stop them. They control the purse strings, and if they think a product or service is right for their organization, they’ll darn well BUY it.

But I’ll say this. Nobody who can make a purchasing decision has time to read an email titled ‘Weekly Blog Roundup’.

So here’s my proposal.

Right now, email is dead last on the priority list for most marketing teams. I understand why, but I think it’s a huge mistake.

So as we stare down the barrel of 2020, standing on the cusp of new budgets and new priorities, remember that email is more than a distribution channel for other content. It’s an opportunity to speak directly to a prospect and build a relationship.

Companies in B2C have been much faster to recognize this. And since I firmly believe B2B is superior to B2C (in every possible way — I refuse to work in B2C) it must be our responsibility to start using email properly.

My email newsletter will be among my top priorities in 2020. If you’d like to talk about revamping YOUR email marketing in the new year, just let me know.


Email Marketing

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