Get bigger bangs for your email marketing buck!

Published 7th of June 2017

Opt for in-depth, precision-targeted B2B email campaigns to turbo charge your response rates and sales pipeline!

Billions of business-related emails are dispatched every day with the average recipient on the receiving end of 100. This is much more than the number dispatched to consumers who can be targeted in other ways.

In B2B, it seems that everyone is sending ever-larger numbers of emails to try and make-up for diminishing response levels!

No wonder that business audiences are suffering from email overload and fatigue, with marketing and sales teams complaining about dwindling returns on investment and spiralling costs per lead.

This B2B email issue came up at a brainstorming session earlier this year with the business development director of a £40m turnover IT business – client A - who was looking for inspiration about ways to stimulate growth.

One of the things we discussed was how to increase the volume and value of business leads from email marketing when everyone and their dog seem to be deploying the same strategy on a large scale. Could we possibly do something different without abandoning this important communication channel?


Lots of thoughts were exchanged but one in particular idea stood out which developed into a strategy we ultimately named Departmental Drill-Down.

Essentially, it works around the recognition that while most groups of employees working in the same business area or department have a leader, there will be other key people close by - deputies, project managers, specialists, admin, finance and procurement people - who all have the potential to get involved in any decisions and probably have the ear of the head person.

Departmental Drill-Down gets them all talking about you at the same time. An email to just one of them is, in all probability, likely to end up in the delete bin, but if they all get the same email message at the same time, you just need one or two to take an interest and your message could spread to the others like wild fire.

Though we are talking about numbers, it’s not the untargeted spraying of a typical e-mail campaign, but about hitting all the right people at the right time – hard.

We’re testing this strategy out with Client A and believe me – it’s working.

Client A designed an email campaign made up of five emails to be distributed over three months at regular intervals, moving initially from content richness through to a strong call to action at the end. The first two emails have been sent, with a noticeable rise in engagement in the second compared to the first. I will update you as the strategy progresses.

Here are some tips on how it’s done:

1. Gather key contacts data for a group of between 20 - 50 carefully selected target organisations, of special importance because of their size, location, prestige, strategic placing, competitor activity, or unique needs. If you haven’t got fresh, verified data of the right job title spread, find a reputable outside provider. Incidentally, there are over 30,000 job titles in common use in business today. Fifty years ago it was just 1,000!

2. Break the contacts into a few sub groups according to job titles and responsibilities so that you can tweak the subject lines and message content to match them and their potential needs.

3. Focus the B2B email campaign towards everyone simultaneously. This does two things:

A. It helps overcome the loss of the whole opportunity when the arrival of an email to only one person coincides with them being heavily distracted, away on leave, dealing with special projects, in a meeting, etc. A multi-pronged approach to a dozen people increases the chance of a response from one of them – and then you are on your way!

B. You get the benefits of a multiplier effect. If one person mentions your name or product to a colleague who has also been targeted, your street credibility/brand awareness can bound ahead far more quickly than if your message is sent in alone to one recipient!

4. Target people most likely to open your email. While competitors are all targeting the departmental head, someone else in the team might be more approachable.


This strategy is not a replacement for your current sales and marketing strategies, which might or might not be doing OK.

It’s about a low volume, precision-targeted, tailored approach.

Though this blog is about an Information Tech IT services scenario, it could work equally well for any of these 10 major job areas or sub groups of them.

  • Accounting and Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Procurement
  • Information Technology
  • Operations and Facilities
  • Sales and Business Development
  • Marketing
  • Legal
  • Technical/Research and Development

Good luck, and tell me how you get on – if you’re not too busy dealing with all the increased business that is!

You can read more about Departmental Drill-down at