Business to Business Email Marketing Rules for Social Media Agencies

March 22, 2022

When you’re starting your own social media agency or you’re working internally for one, it’s not just your own clients’ marketing that you need to be conscious of; you need to be marketing your own business, too.

And while your professional services may focus exclusively on a variety of different social media services that you offer, you’ll need to branch out into other forms of marketing for your agency. This includes email marketing, which can be like a lifeline of relationship building between your agency and both leads and clients.

B2B email marketing can be a different world compared to B2C email marketing, especially as a service-based business. 

Want to send emails that engage your clients so they’re not tempted to hit that “unsubscribe” button? Let’s take a look at business to business email marketing rules for social media agencies.

Why Business To Business Email Marketing Rules Are Different From B2C Campaigns 

When you opt-in to email communications from a brand, you expect to hear from them. That’s true for both B2B brands and B2C brands.

In many ways, though, the differences end there.

After opting-in to an email list for 10% off from a brand that sells beach towels, you know you’ll get emails potentially several times a week sharing new products, deals, and triggered campaigns like abandoned cart emails. This is what you expect from B2C email marketing.

Just look at how many emails I’ve received from ILIA Beauty in the past week:

10 emails from a B2C brand in a fifteen day time period

If your social media agency was sending email campaigns to your client list several times a week, they might get over it a little quickly. 

Campaigns continually encouraging the upselling or cross selling off different packages won’t really work either, and can annoy your customers. They chose the package they did for a reason, and outside of occasional reminders, they don’t want to be pushed to change that.

You’ll want to focus more on offering value in email campaigns. This is what will keep your audience engaged.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the business to business email marketing rules social media agencies need to remember.

The 7 Business To Business Email Marketing Rules For Social Media Agencies 

We’re going to go through seven different B2B email marketing considerations you should always take into account. 

Some are really best practices that you should want to follow, but some are actual guidelines that your business needs to follow depending on where you practice. 

Here in Australia, for example, the Spam Act of 2003 is something you’ll want to keep in mind. We’ll discuss this a little more further down.  

1. Offer Value 

Want your clients to open and engage with your email marketing campaigns? Those campaigns need to be valuable to them.

Examples of value in email campaigns from social media agencies could be:

This is all information that your target audience can benefit from, and it’s directly relevant to both leads and existing clients. Even if they aren’t involved with their social media marketing, they may appreciate learning about what’s new in the industry, for example, and this gives you a chance to build their trust by proving you’re on top of it.

A great example of how to implement a strategy like this comes from Lodging Interactive, which serves businesses in the hospitality industry as clients. They release a biweekly newsletter that shares all new social media changes that are directly relevant to their clients.

Business to Business email marketing newsletter from Lodging Interactive

Every email that you send should be focused on adding value to your clients’ day. If they do, you’ll watch your open rates continue to climb.

2. Have A Welcome Series In Place 

Social media agencies who want to impress new clients should always have a welcome email series campaign in place. This is a series of several emails that can help clients get acclimated to working with you. 

This email progression may include the following:

  • A “thank you for becoming clients” and “we’re excited to have you” email immediately after the contract is signed or services are booked 
  • An email a day or so later reminding your clients of how the process of working together will go
  • An email with step-by-step instructions about how to grant the agency access to their accounts

These should not come in place of direct interaction between the account manager and the client, but they’re a good way to show that your agency is on top of things while you keep things moving. 

You can use email marketing software like MailChimp or Constant Contact to set up these email workflows based on the trigger of signing that contract or being added to your client list.

3.  Never Add Users To Your Email List Unsolicited 

This is one of those “actual rules” that we mentioned above.

The reality is that some agencies will purchase lists of leads from third-parties, and just slap them right onto their email list instead of using that information to do cold outreach. 

According to Australia’s Spam Act of 2003, it is illegal to send unsolicited emails. 

New Zealand has a similar law passed in 2007; if businesses include any hyperlinks that make it a commercial email (even if in their signature), they cannot send unsolicited emails. Violating this even once can result in a fine of up to $500,00U AUD. 

You need to make sure, therefore, you’re doing the following things:

  • You have clear opt-in options on your site that allow clients to subscribe to your email list
  • You do not automatically add anyone who contacts you to your email newsletter/campaign list, even if they become a client  
  • It must be easy to unsubscribe from the actual emails themselves

4. Honour Opt-Out Requests Right Away 

Has someone hit that “unsubscribe button” on an email or through your site? Or have they emailed you directly to be asked to get taken off your email campaign list?

Honour those opt-out requests immediately. Make sure that you’re removing them from your email newsletter list as quickly as possible; there are rules and regulations about this in different countries, too. 

If they’re an existing client, let them know that they’ll still get what I like to call “mission critical” emails from their account manager, which would include invoices, updates about their specific project, and other pertinent info.

5. Don’t Spam Your Clients 

Obviously, you shouldn’t spam anyone; it’s illegal in a large number of countries.

This is more of a metaphorical use of the word spamming. While B2C brands can get away with shooting coupon codes and new product announcements once every other day, most of your leads and clients are not going to want email marketing campaigns that frequently. 

According to one study, you should send at least one marketing email per month to B2B clients, but no more than five marketing emails total. (Again: These do not include direct social media practitioner-to-client messages.)

Each agency is different, and your specific audience niche is unique. As a result, we recommend testing different types of email marketing campaigns and frequencies to see what your audience loves. It can also fluctuate month-to-month if needed.

When you launch new services, for example, that gets a “previously unscheduled” campaign that might not typically be in the monthly lineup

6. Use Segmented Lists 

Unless you’re working with an unbelievably hyper-niche audience segment (like exclusively working with Australian realtors who use Facebook as their primary lead generation platform who all have similar budgets), you’re going to have multiple different audience segments. 

Here are a few examples:

  • A hospitality-centered agency might realise they have distinct market segments divided into restaurant owners, franchise owners, and hotel managers 
  • A general social media agency might have audience segments based on packages chosen by their clients, with base-plan clients getting organic marketing and gold-plan clients receiving ad services 
  • A boutique agency might have some clients who pay extra for add-on services like custom graphic design or engagement management 
  • An international agency could have clients in different locations (meaning they’re bound by different advertising laws) or that speak different languages 

While it’s more work to write two or three or four email marketing campaigns for each audience segment, it may also be more effective if deeper levels of personalisation can make an impact.

Sometimes this is subtle. If I’m writing an email marketing campaign meant to appeal to B2C clients, I’d say “To help your customers discover your products…” but use the phrase “to help your guests discover your amenities” when addressing hospitality clients. 

In some cases, it may be more substantial. If a new law is released that only impacts your clients in the UK, you can write email campaigns exclusively for them. 

market segmentation for b2b email in MailChimp

This is what audience segmentation is all about. You only want each client to get emails that are directly relevant to them; segmentation is an important part of that, and most email marketing tools have list features available.

7. Send Direct Subject Lines 

As a social media marketing agency, we know you’re creative. Many of your team members— including you— likely have some killer copywriting skills you love to flex.

Sometimes, depending on your clients and your agency, it’s best to leave some of that creativity to your clients’ content. At least when it comes to the subject line.

While your subject lines can be fun and interesting, they should always be direct and explain why users should open the email. You want to say exactly what the email will be about, and then you can throw in a few emoji if you so please.

Skip out on the following:

  • Subject lines that act like clickbait to try to trick the reader into opening
  • Anything that says “URGENT!” when it’s not; you don’t need to give your client a heart attack thinking that they’re about to find themselves in some sort of PR crisis 
  • Using cheap strategies like “Re: About Your Package” that make people think this was a previous communication; this annoys users and starts the email off with a sour taste  

Great examples of subject lines may include:

  • Social newsletter June 2020: Instagram algorithm changes 
  • Expected changes to account performance with ATT release 
  • How to monitor social for customer questions 

Like we said, you can make them a little more colorful, but you always want to be clear and direct about what the email is going to be about. This increases open rates from interested readers.

Final Thoughts 

Social media marketing agencies have a lot on their hands, and marketing their own business sometimes doesn’t get the attention it deserves in favour of marketing their clients’ business. 

There has to be a happy medium where your business is focused on relationship-building and lead-nurturing too, however, or your churn rate may increase while acquisition rates fall.

These business to business email marketing rules for social media agencies can help you stay on target, building positive relationships without any accidental faux-paus or broken laws in the process.

Want to learn more about how you can run your own successful social media marketing agency? Looking to advance your career as a social media practitioner, with all the latest knowledge, tools, and strategies? Take our quiz to find out which of our courses is right for you.  

About the author 

Ana Gotter

Ana is a strategic content marketer specialising in business, finance, and marketing writing, though she's worked across a range of industries. She works from her home in Orlando with her three dogs.

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