The biggest thing B2B businesses get wrong in their marketing is relying too heavily on emotion-driven sales tactics. And that’s a major problem when it comes to choosing an email marketing service (EMS).
B2B sales should be built on logic and reason. Sure, emotion can hook in a potential customer, but you’ll still need to show the people holding the purse-strings that your product or service can provide a stellar return on investment.
That’s where choosing the right EMS comes in. EMS features like timing optimization, automation, and landing page builders aren’t just nice-to-haves – they’re vital.
Unfortunately, many EMS don’t offer these features and, in some cases, these features are present in name only. I’ve tested the most popular email marketing providers on the market to see just how useful they are for B2B marketing.
So, grab a coffee and join me as I dive into each EMS, the B2B marketing features they offer, and whether they’re worth a chunk of money from your marketing budget.
Short on Time? These Are the Best Email Marketing Services for B2B in 2022
- ActiveCampaign – Powerful automation builder with pre-built workflows to save you time.
- GetResponse – Near-limitless list segmentation options to make sure your B2B campaigns always reach the right people.
- Benchmark – Flexible pricing with fantastic scalability for small B2B businesses and a generous free plan.
What We Look For in the Best Email Marketing Services for B2B
In B2B marketing, it’s important to have a ton of data-driven features that help you fully optimize your campaigns. When I was testing EMS providers for this article, I focused only on those that offer these vital features:
- Complex automation builders. Timing and frequency are everything in B2B marketing. Complex automation builders will take the stress out of your campaigns.
- Timing optimization. B2B marketing emails sent outside of working hours are more likely to be ignored. This feature makes sure your emails arrive at the exact time your customers are in the office and ready to listen. The services I have chosen offer optimization tools like this.
- Landing page builders. Landing pages are great for capturing new leads, and you can easily build them around lead magnets like white papers, eBooks, or event sign ups.
- Integrations. Being able to link your EMS to other tools like Microsoft Office, PayPal, Calendly, or Trello means you won’t have to waste time transferring information between different platforms.
When it comes to email marketing for B2B, you can’t go too far wrong with ActiveCampaign. The best B2B feature by far is the drag-and-drop automation builder. I have to admit, this was my favorite feature to play with when I was testing EMS providers for this article. It’s also one of the features my colleague loved in our ActiveCampaign review and the reason it scored 4.8 out of 5 overall.
ActiveCampaign also offers over 850 integrations, including popular B2B tools like Salesforce, Asana, and GetAccept. If it doesn’t offer a native integration that’s vital to your business, you can also connect your account to Zapier, which opens up thousands more integrations.
ActiveCampaign’s biggest letdown is that you have to set up your timing optimization manually. Although you can see on which days and at what times your emails perform best, you have to manually schedule your emails.
If you need automated timing optimization, I recommend checking out GetResponse instead. Its Perfect Timing feature sends emails based on how contacts have previously interacted with your campaigns.
- Onboarding for Enterprise customers. If you’re a bigger business, ActiveCampaign offers dedicated support from an Onboarding Specialist to help you set up your B2B email strategy.
- 40+ landing page templates. All of ActiveCampaign’s templates are modern and mobile friendly. There’s also no limit on how many landing pages you can run at once.
- Conditional content display. By displaying content in your emails based on contact tags and attributes, you can save a ton of time designing multiple different emails to say the same thing.
- In-built CRM. Save money on separate software to handle your customer accounts by handling all of your clients in ActiveCampaign. Plus, this automatically integrates with your campaign workflows, so your sales reps will never miss a thing.
Emailing the right person at the right time is everything in B2B marketing. But for that to happen, you have to be able to target those specific people. This high level of personalization is where GetResponse excels.
As you can see in the screenshot above, it took me just a few minutes to create a segment that targeted “verified_VIP” sales leads in London from Fancy Business Ltd who had clicked on social media links in a newsletter email, or anyone from a company with a “.org” URL. You can easily get more specific if you want to, and you’re not limited by how many segments you can have.
You have to bear in mind, however, that every time a contact appears in a segmented list, it counts as one contact. So, if you’ve got [email protected] in segments for VIP customers, event attendees, and Facebook group members, she’ll count as three contacts.
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- In-built sales funnel builder. You can save money on a dedicated sales funnel by using GetResponse’s builder.
- Dozens of in-email personalization options. Easily add your contact’s name, address, or even information from a custom field into your emails using a drag-and-drop editor.
- Modern landing page builder. New sign-ups can automatically be added to a list of your choice, and you can easily set up Google Ads tracking or add your landing pages to a remarketing campaign.
- 24/7 customer service. As a GetResponse customer, you get 24/7 live chat, email support in 8 different languages, plus a knowledge base. This EMS got a near-perfect score for its customer support when we put it to the test in our GetResponse review.
If you’re a small B2B business, budget is likely to be a big concern. Benchmark is one of the few EMS to offer add-on features that allow you to only pay for the features you need as you grow your business. Not to mention, it also offers a pretty decent free plan to get you started.
The thing I love most about Benchmark is that the most useful features aren’t hidden in higher-tier plans, like with some other EMS. So, there’s no rush to upgrade to an expensive Enterprise plan to unlock more powerful marketing features – you’ve got a ton of scaling potential with the Pro plan. This is one of the many reasons why my colleague rated it 4.4 out of 5 in their recent review.
Sure, there are other EMS that offer more advanced features, like ActiveCampaign’s more complex automation builder, but Benchmark offers (almost) everything you need to get started with B2B email marketing for a reasonable price.
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- Right-to-left (RTL) language support. Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor supports all RTL languages, making it a fantastic choice for businesses that have clients around the world.
- 1,500+ integrations. Easily fit Benchmark into your workflow alongside other platforms like LinkedIn, Contactually, PayPal, and Zapier.
- Easy list segmentation. Filter your lists by attributes like name, email address, or contact rating to find which customers to target next. Or use Targeted Lists, which build custom lists by analyzing how contacts interact with your content.
- List cleanup tool. Easily get rid of any contacts who haven’t opened your emails in a while or whose emails consistently bounce.
Sendinblue’s brilliant free plan allows you to send up to 300 emails a day with no upper contact list limit. This is huge, particularly when you consider that Benchmark only offers 250 a month. It’s only rivaled by AWeber’s free plan, which offers unlimited emails with a cap of 500 contacts – but it means sacrificing the automations you get with Sendinblue.
My colleague put these automation tools to the test recently – see how they got on in our Sendinblue review.
The biggest downside to Sendinblue is that the free plan doesn’t include landing pages. For that, you’ll need the Premium plan, and even then you’re limited to 5 pages at a time. You can pay for more, but even then, you’re limited to 20 landing pages. If you’ve got a limited budget, then Mailchimp includes landing pages in its free plan.
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- RTL language support. All of Sendinblue’s templates support RTL languages like Hebrew, Purdu, and Arabic, which is fantastic for multilingual businesses.
- 40+ email templates. Sendinblue offers a decent range of modern, mobile-friendly email templates. They’re all super easy to customize with the recently revamped drag-and-drop editor, too, as we found in our recent Sendinblue review.
- SMS campaign add-on. If your customers don’t mind getting texts from your business, you can easily set up SMS campaigns through Sendinblue. Plus, you only pay for SMS credits when you need them.
- Detailed reporting. Even on the free plan, you can see statistics for each email campaign at a glance. On the Premium plan and above, you can unlock more detailed analytics.
AWeber’s been around for almost as long as the World Wide Web itself, and it’s one of the few Internet veterans that’s kept up with the times. Specifically, its split testing tool is one of the best on the market. You can read more about just how well this works in our in-depth AWeber review.
AWeber is also one of the few EMS that allows you to split test every part of your B2B campaign. Most other providers only cover subject lines, so being able to test other variables like designs, content, and even images is a game-changer for B2B marketing.
Just be aware that split testing is only available on the Pro plan. It’s not super expensive, but there’s no free trial. If you want to see where A/B testing fits into your B2B marketing plan before you leap into a paid plan, I recommend checking out GetResponse’s 30-day free trial.
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- Limited free forever plan. AWeber’s free plan allows you to send unlimited emails to up to 500 contacts, which is super helpful for getting to grips with B2B email marketing on a limited budget.
- Stock image library. Instead of spending hours searching for free stock images, AWeber has a built-in library of over 6,000 images that you can add to your emails with a single click.
- Full RTL language support. Use any RTL language you need in the landing page or email editor – AWeber supports any language you have a keyboard for.
- Smart template designer. AWeber can automatically design a series of email templates based on your business’s website, saving you a ton of time trying to set up your brand style in the email editor.
Constant Contact’s interface is clear and easy to navigate (see how easy it is to use in our ConstantContact review), and all of the features are intuitive to use. It offers over 200 templates, which is plenty to get you started, and the drag-and-drop editor makes customizing these templates a breeze.
To help you get started with B2B marketing, Constant Contact also offers a knowledge base packed with written and video tutorials. There’s advice on how to build successful campaigns or design your own branded email templates, and free, daily webinars run by marketing professionals.
The biggest downside of Constant Contact is that some of the advanced features aren’t quite complete. For example, A/B testing is limited to subject lines only.
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- In-built website and store builder. A website builder, store builder, and event manager help you kick-start your marketing without spending a fortune on adjacent services.
- E-commerce segmentation. If you sell products or services online, the Email Plus plan allows you to segment your contacts based on when, what, and how often they’ve purchased from you in the past.
- Marketing calendar. Plan your B2B campaigns using a calendar view, helping you to get the right message to your customers exactly when they need it.
- Marketing advisor support. If you need the extra help, marketing advice is available as a paid add-on. This is fantastic if you need some expert insight into how to make your B2B campaigns more effective.
Sure, there are EMS out there that offer a ton more than Mailchimp (as my colleague discusses in their Mailchimp review), but it’s still one of the best platforms for sheer speed and simplicity. It offers decent automation, and you can get an email campaign up and running in less than ten minutes with the Creative Assistant.
All you need to do is input your business website URL, tell Mailchimp a little bit about your brand, and it’ll automatically build a series of designs you can use.
On the flip side, I can’t recommend signing up for a paid plan. It’s far more expensive than paying for ActiveCampaign, for example, yet the automation is nowhere near as complex. Still, if you just need basic autoresponders to keep things running, Mailchimp’s free plan is worth a look.
- Decent free plan. If you’ve got a limited budget, Mailchimp is free for up to 2,000 contacts or 10,000 emails a month. You only really get an email and landing page builder with this, but it’s not bad for getting your B2B marketing off the ground.
- 300+ integrations. Connect Mailchimp with Squarespace, Stripe, ZenDesk, LinkedIn, and more to automatically share data across your whole workflow.
- Send time optimization. Using data from previous campaigns, Mailchimp will automatically pinpoint the perfect time to send out your campaign. Available on the Mailchimp Standard plan and above.
- Mailchimp mobile app. Create email drafts, add contacts, and check your B2B campaign performance wherever you are.
|Free trial/plan?||Free limited plan|
|Best feature||An AI-driven Creative Assistant that’ll generate tons of designs based on your business website and brand|
|Customer support channels||Knowledge base, email (only for 30 days on Free plan), live chat, phone (Premium only)|
How to Create an Effective B2B Marketing Strategy
B2B email marketing isn’t as easy as sending the occasional email blast or newsletter to your customers. Here’s how to build an effective email marketing strategy for B2B.
Use a B2B Email Marketing Service
From automation features to tools that send out emails at optimal times, an EMS is the best way to boost your B2B marketing strategy. But take your time choosing an EMS. You don’t want to sign up for a service only to realize it doesn’t have timing optimization, enough templates, or even a landing page builder.
For B2B, I strongly recommend ActiveCampaign. It offers the best complex automation on the market, more than 850 integrations, and hundreds of email templates.
If you’re working with a limited budget, then check out Sendinblue’s free plan. You’ll be able to send 300 emails a day, use a decent selection of automations, and access multiple customer service options without having to pay a nickel.
To check out the rest of my B2B email marketing recommendations, jump back up to see the other EMS providers I recommend or read our round-up of the best all-round email marketing services in 2022.
Nurture Your B2B Leads
Because B2B sales are driven by logic more than emotion, you need to show your leads that purchasing from you isn’t just a safe decision, but the logical one.
So, you need to spend plenty of time nurturing your leads by sending them white papers, inviting them to webinars, or even adding them to specific newsletter lists to provide them with tons of valuable information.
Split Test Your Subject Lines
The best subject lines for B2B email marketing grab the receiver’s attention with a hook that highlights the value within your email.
With that in mind, we recommend split testing your subject lines to see how different variations perform with your audience. No two businesses or customers are the same, so testing your emails can help you understand what your audience is looking for.
Optimize Your Email Timing
In B2B marketing, you need to be mindful of when your leads are available to read your marketing emails. By scheduling your emails to arrive at certain times during the working day, you’re making sure they’re not pushed to the bottom of your contact’s inbox. This is a vital part of increasing engagement and improving your ROI.
Be Mindful of Deliverability Factors
Having your emails end up in the dreaded spam folder isn’t just a waste of your time and money, but it’s often a huge red flag for your customers. To avoid this, make sure you’ve authenticated your domain with your EMS and you’ve obtained consent to be sending emails to your contact list.
You also need to be up to date with anti-spam laws like GDPR and the CAN-SPAM act. This prevents you from risking huge fines and having your domain blacklisted by email providers.
Which B2B Email Marketing Service Is Best for Your Business?
Active Campaign is my top recommendation for B2B email marketing. With this EMS, you can build custom, multi-step email automations, perfect for helping leads down your sales funnel.
If you have tons of different types of customers, then GetResponse is a fantastic EMS. Its segmentation tool allows you to get as specific as you need with your contact lists and campaigns, so you can make sure your marketing is optimized for every single contact.
Finally, if you’re working with a limited budget, take a look at Benchmark. This EMS has a brilliant range of features at a great price point, and you can even add on premium features like dedicated IP addresses or white labeling without needing to pay for an expensive Enterprise plan.
The comparison table below highlights the most important features of each EMS so you can quickly see which is right for you.
|Free Plan||Best Feature||Best For|
|Active Campaign||✘||Drag-and-drop complex automation builder with 200+ free automation templates||Busy business owners looking for a “set it and forget it” email marketing solution|
|GetResponse||✔||Near-limitless segmentation for highly personalized B2B campaigns||B2B businesses that serve customers across different industries or niches|
|Benchmark||✔||Flexible pricing structure that allows you to pay for advanced features only when you need them||Small businesses that need premium features but can’t afford to pay for an expensive Enterprise plan|
|Sendinblue||✔||Free email marketing plan with advanced features, giving you plenty of room to scale your business on a budget||New businesses with little or no marketing budget that want to get started with B2B email marketing|
|AWeber||✔||Comprehensive split testing tool, allowing you to test every aspect of your email in up to three variations||Data-driven businesses looking to fully optimize their email marketing|
|Constant Contact||✘||Intuitive and beginner-friendly drag-and-drop editors||New and small businesses looking to get to grips with email marketing|
|Mailchimp||✔||An AI-driven Creative Assistant that’ll generate tons of designs based on your business website and brand||Businesses that don’t have the time or budget for building custom email designs|
Which email marketing service is best for B2B?This depends on what you’re looking to get out of an EMS. ActiveCampaign is brilliant if you want to automate your email marketing, while GetResponse will help you fully optimize your email marketing for B2B. If cost is an issue, you can save yourself some money by checking our coupons page.Is email marketing good for B2B?Email marketing is fantastic for B2B because it’ll help you to nurture leads and increase engagement across your other marketing channels. By using email marketing and a powerful EMS, you can build better relationships with your customers that lead to increased conversions, sales, and, of course, revenue.How can I boost my B2B email marketing efforts?Using an EMS is a great way to boost your B2B marketing campaigns as they’ll come with features like automation, segmentation, and timing optimization to help you to send the right message at the right time. Take a look at our top email marketing services for 2022 to see which services we recommend for your business.