What are the challenges of email marketing and how can B2B brands extend their reach sooner?

How fast is email marketing and how can B2B brands use it to improve engagement? The answer to the first part of this question is simple: there’s no one-size-fits-all metric that demonstrates the speed of email marketing.

That’s because…

  • Some B2B sectors are cautious about making purchasing decisions
  • Speed is relative to action – some products are harder to sell

Perhaps the better question is ‘how many emails does it take to get a client?’ In which case the answer is a little clearer. Response rates increase 300% when 4-7 mails are sent per cold campaign compared to 4 or less.

One thing’s for certain. 4.6 billion people worldwide use email so it’s a viable mechanism for reaching people.

What are the challenges of email marketing?

There are three primary challenges:

  • Time – identifying the right audience, writing the copy, testing, then analysing data requires hard graft and commitment.
  • Resources – not all B2B brands have enough employees to perform the required tasks – which can be frustrating.
  • Expertise – even if you have the manpower you won’t necessarily have the expertise needed to create great campaigns

Fortunately these obstacles aren’t insurmountable. For example, time to create campaigns can be increased using all-in-one marketing tools like Mailchimp

Resource gaps can be filled by hiring an experienced digital marketing agency – also solving the skill gap issue holding so many B2B organisations back.


So, what is email marketing?

Email marketing is a form of outreach that involves targeting customers with the intention of selling your product or service – or to increase brand awareness. Recipients are split into demographics according to age, industry, how engaged they are, and other key factors. 

To overcome the challenges of email marketing different types of messages can be sent including, but not limited to:

  • Company newsletters that discuss topics like investment, new hires, or success stories
  • Sales emails aimed at new customers that advertise special offers or new product launches
  • Behavioural emails adjusted to target people who:
    • Abandon their purchase at checkout
    • Rarely or never engage
    • Open emails but never buy

Does email marketing work?

Aside from the challenges of email marketing you need reassurance the process works. Rest assured, it’s the third most popular content distribution channel and is used by 69% of marketers worldwide to engage with new audiences and retain existing customers.

Overcoming the challenges of email marketing: strategies your B2B brand can can put into play today

What types of emails should you use? Here are a few examples.

Welcome emails

Welcome emails are the most successful of all. Perhaps that’s due to a softer approach that focuses more on deepening understanding – and less about trying to convert the recipient into a die-hard brand advocate from the get-go.

Personalised emails

If you really want to overcome the challenges of email marketing though, focus on personalising your messages by using the customer’s name and tailoring your message according to their interactions with your brand.

Interactive emails

Interactive email marketing shakes users out their reveries by encouraging participation – in turn deepening engagement.

Examples of interactive emails include:

  • Being able to add items to a shopping cart
  • The ability to rate a product or service
  • Embedded surveys 

email marketing tips

Offer emails

Who doesn’t love a bargain! So it should come as no surprise that offer emails – which include a discount or some other form of incentive – are highly effective (especially for ecommerce businesses).

How often should I email my customers?

Over promote and you risk alienating your audience. Under engage and they’ll forget you – choosing to buy from rival brands instead. It’s all about finding the right balance.

If one of the main challenges of email marketing is frequency then it’s time to split your target audience into groups based on engagement levels and as follows:

Little to no engagement – email once a month

These are recipients who’ve never opened an email – or haven’t done so for a long time. Keeping a low profile and adopting a slow-burn approach will prevent these users from feeling harassed and subsequently unsubscribing.

Moderate engagement email once a week

If users are opening most emails but not biting stepping up your email contact to weekly is fine. But content should focus on building awareness and answering any questions preventing customers from buying.

Super engagers – twice a week plus

Not all customers need convincing. So target these super engagers frequently – focussing their attention on offers and upsells emails to drive up open and click through rates (and don’t be afraid to ask them for a review – these are your brand champions after all).

digital marketing outreach

How should I target my audience?

As touched upon, segmenting customers into groups based on age, job role, engagement and other factors is important. That is unless you’re mass marketing because your product or service has universal appeal.

In what order should you build your email database?

  • Start by targeting your entire list then monitor behaviour to see who is and isn’t engaging. 
  • From there you can subdivide your contacts by gender, sector, spend power, and location. 

What email segments should you create?

  1. Offers – where you target happy customers with appealing deals 
  2. Newbies – where you drip-feed knowledge to recent subscribers 
  3. Inactive – where you target disengaged users by experimenting
  4. Absent-minded – where you gently remind people who’ve shown interest but not purchased


The challenges of email marketing are various and particular to each sector and its corresponding niches. Regardless, the same steps should be followed – with each being tailored accordingly.

  • Identifying your demographic and splitting it into targeted lists is essential.
  • Monitoring customer behaviour and adapting campaigns accordingly is a must.
  • In almost all cases messages should be personalised to forge a long-term connection.
  • Likewise, body copy within the email should feel one-on-one and be suitably tailored.

And if the challenges of email marketing are too great for your business, book a free consultation and talk to one of our digital marketing experts.

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