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A newsletter can be an invaluable asset for B2B companies. Unlike social platforms that may restrict your reach or require payment to connect with your audience, a newsletter offers a direct line of communication that you control. It can also serve as a stepping stone towards building a community of engaged target audience members who have opted in to hear from you regularly. A newsletter can help drive attention to other content you’ve produced (e.g., your podcast or blog), promote new products or services, and, over time, potentially generate signups or sales.
However, like any channel, a newsletter demands time, effort, and the right strategy to be effective. There is a significant difference between top-performing and bottom-performing companies.
In this article, we aim to uncover the strategies employed by top-performing companies to grow their subscriber base. As competition for exceptional newsletters intensifies, understanding how to effectively increase your audience over time is crucial.
Let’s dig in!
To better understand the newsletter landscape for B2B companies, we turned to Mailchimp, a leading email marketing platform. Mailchimp Benchmarks provide valuable insights into the performance of B2B newsletters, giving us a clearer picture of subscriber growth and overall audience size.
According to Mailchimp Benchmarks for B2B Companies, the median number of new subscribers B2B organizations gained in the previous month was one (from 83 contributors). In contrast, the top quartile secured a median of 69 new subscribers within the same period. This data highlights the significant difference in subscriber growth rates between average and top-performing B2B companies.
If you want to compare your email marketing performance in Mailchimp against other B2B companies, you can join this group for free.
When it comes to total subscribers, B2B companies have a median of 7.12k subscribers (from 28 contributors), while the top quartile boasts a median of 16.91k subscribers. The bottom quartile has only 2.75k subscribers. This disparity in audience size underscores the importance of understanding and implementing effective strategies to grow your newsletter subscriber base.
By examining these benchmarks, we can gain valuable insights into the tactics employed by top-performing companies to grow their subscriber base and create more effective newsletters. Armed with this information, we can optimize our own newsletter strategies and increase our chances of success.
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Understanding the goals and strategies of other B2B companies can provide valuable insights when shaping your own newsletter approach. We surveyed 67 respondents, out of which 58 identified themselves as either B2B businesses or agencies/consultants working for B2B clients.
These 58 respondents were analyzed to better understand their newsletter goals and practices. The majority of them (60.34%) are B2B services or products companies, while the remainder (39.66%) are agencies or consultants working for B2B companies.
Our survey revealed that respondents had various primary goals for their newsletters. Over 15% focused on educating or entertaining their audience, while almost a quarter aimed to drive sales or signups. Increasing website traffic was a priority for almost a fifth of respondents, and over 10% used their newsletters primarily to announce news or promote their products and services.
Interestingly, almost a third indicated that they pursue all these goals simultaneously, showcasing the versatility of newsletters in B2B marketing. Only one respondent stated that their B2B doesn’t have a newsletter.
Related: The 22 Email Marketing KPIs Every Campaign Should Be Measured On
Determining the right frequency for sending your B2B newsletter can significantly impact subscriber engagement and overall performance. We analyzed the responses of our surveyed B2B companies and agencies to understand the most common practices when it comes to newsletter frequency.
The survey results revealed that the majority of respondents send their newsletters either weekly or monthly. Weekly newsletters are the most popular choice, allowing businesses to maintain regular communication with subscribers and stay top-of-mind while providing consistent value. Monthly newsletters are also a common choice, especially for businesses with limited resources or those delivering more in-depth content.
Some respondents send their newsletters more frequently, while others opt for less frequent schedules or are even irregular. It’s essential to closely monitor engagement rates and consider your audience’s preferences when deciding the ideal newsletter frequency for your business, ensuring that you effectively engage with your subscribers and make the most of this valuable marketing channel.
Understanding the typical subscriber count for B2B newsletters can help you benchmark your progress and set realistic growth targets. We analyzed the responses from our surveyed B2B companies and agencies to gain insights into the number of subscribers they have for their newsletters.
The survey results reveal that the majority of respondents have less than 5,000 subscribers. Between 1,000 and 5,000 seems to be a common benchmark for many B2B newsletters, while those with 1,000 subscribers or less may represent businesses in the early stages of growth or those operating in niche markets.
On the higher end, around a quarter of respondents have 5,001-10,000 subscribers, while almost 20% have even more, showcasing more established newsletters with a larger reach.
Viewing benchmark data can be enlightening, but seeing where your company’s efforts rank against those benchmarks can be game-changing.
Browse Databox’s open Benchmark Groups and join ones relevant to your business to get free and instant performance benchmarks.
To give you the best advice on growing your B2B newsletter, we conducted research on two fronts: interviewing market leaders and conducting research via survey.
Here is the full list to the best practices we identified:
We’ve had the privilege of interviewing accomplished industry leaders, each with their own unique approach and proven track record, to provide you with actionable advice for growing and maintaining a successful B2B newsletter
Amanda Natividad, VP of Marketing at SparkToro, has managed to garner a dedicated following of 10,000 subscribers for her monthly newsletter, which combines marketing and creative advice with a personal touch. By featuring a short essay on marketing or creativity, four carefully curated links to valuable content, and an original recipe without any backstory, Amanda’s newsletter strikes a perfect balance between professional insights and slice-of-life appeal.
Despite not actively promoting her newsletter as much as she used to, Amanda still sees around 200 new subscribers per month, with a peak of 100 subscribers per day at its height. She attributes her success in engaging her target audience to her keen ability to identify topics that hold her attention for more than a few days. By paying close attention to public social media trends and themes, she ensures her newsletter remains relevant and valuable to her readers.
Amanda has found Substack to be an incredibly effective platform for growing her subscriber base, benefiting from its built-in distribution channel and the ability to connect with other Substack recommendations. Additionally, she promotes her newsletter through her social media channels, often teasing upcoming essays or adding a plug for her newsletter in high-engagement social media posts. Another effective tactic Amanda employs is partnering with other newsletters in her niche for promotional swaps, further expanding her reach and growing her audience.
PRO TIP: Want more pro tips from this expert? Listen to our podcast episode to learn how SparkToro doubled their sales with an improved onboarding experience, email nurturing and office hours.
With over 21k subscribers, Tara Robertson’s newsletter The Sauce, has become a valuable resource for B2B marketers. Sent monthly, The Sauce aims to stay at the forefront of its target audience’s mind without overwhelming them with unwanted emails. Instead, it serves as a distribution channel for content and events hosted by Tara and her team at Chili Piper.
The primary focus of The Sauce is not on driving direct sales, but rather on providing a mix of content from their marketing team, partners, and customers. This mix also includes interesting and timely posts that Tara discovers on social media, as well as upcoming events that might interest fellow marketers. Although sales aren’t the main goal, Tara is planning to experiment with driving sign-ups through the newsletter in the near future.
To grow her subscriber base, Tara has placed newsletter sign-up links prominently on blog posts and other resources. One unexpected source of new sign-ups has been her personal LinkedIn profile, which has attracted nearly 100 new subscribers despite her modest following.
In terms of content, Tara relies on her gut feeling as a fellow B2B marketer, combined with insights from each newsletter send, to determine what her audience finds interesting and relevant. For instance, she discovered that webinars weren’t particularly popular among her subscribers.
Some of the most effective channels for growing The Sauce’s subscriber base have been paid placements in similar marketing newsletters and lead form campaigns on LinkedIn and Facebook, targeting website visitors with ads for the newsletter.
PRO TIP: Want more pro tips from this expert? Learn, directly from Tara, how a B2B company can grow its newsletter subscribers, and tackle issues like send frequency, list maintenance, what content you write about, and much more.
With a background in journalism, Anne Miller, former managing editor at Clari, used her expertise to build a subscriber base of over 20,000 for Clari’s newsletter between June 2020 and August 2022, achieving open rates of 16-18% and sometimes reaching 33%.
Understanding your audience and their interests is the foundation for a compelling newsletter. Anne stressed the need to prioritize what readers find intriguing over pure brand promotion. She suggested attaching a person’s name and crafting a narrative outline to make the newsletter more relatable and story-driven.
Subject lines play a key role in achieving high open rates. Anne advised focusing on the first three words for maximum impact and brainstorming multiple options to find the perfect fit. A/B testing can provide valuable insight into what resonates with readers.
Involving company executives in the newsletter lends credibility and depth. Anne recommended highlighting their names and thoughts when relevant. If a topic is important to executives, it’s likely of interest to the audience as well. Repurposing content from various channels, like blog posts or interviews, saves time and maintains consistent messaging while keeping readers engaged. For example, a fireside chat with the CEO of Zoom was turned into a blog post.
Aligning newsletter strategies with overall content plans is vital for success. And collaborating with growth teams makes the job much easier and frees up some mental bandwidth for the marketing teams, allowing them to focus on what they do best. Anne emphasized the benefits of archiving past newsletter issues on a separate webpage and incorporating feedback from customers and other B2B marketers to refine the newsletter.
Related: 16 Tips to Increase Email Engagement
We conducted broader research to examine what B2B marketers are currently doing to grow their newsletters.
Our survey included participants with varying experience levels in the industry, but the largest share falls in the 1-3 years range, with more experienced marketers being more common than those with less experience.
The largest percentage of our respondents (over 35%) indicated that landing pages have proven to be the most successful method for collecting subscribers. Subscription bars are second, with just under a fifth of the surveyed marketers citing them as the main source of their newsletter subscriptions.
To grow their B2B newsletters, our respondents primarily (around 70%) focus on optimizing websites with clear calls to action. Almost half offer incentives to entice new subscribers, and around 40% adjust content based on audience preferences.
Other popular methods include promoting newsletters on social media to help reach a wider audience while leveraging email signatures and using paid advertising further bolsters subscriber growth.
To measure the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy, you may rely on Google Analytics 4 to learn how your email campaigns are performing, which content is most popular with recipients, and how you can improve your strategy to bring in more qualified leads. Now you can quickly assess the performance of your email marketing campaigns in a single dashboard that monitors fundamental metrics, such as:
Now you can benefit from the experience of our email marketing experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template showing the most important KPIs for tracking the overall performance and success of your email marketing strategy. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in marketing reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your Google Analytics 4 account with Databox.
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Dan Thomas from AIQuoter explains that his organization creates a social media announcement post two weeks before releasing their newsletter. This post contains an enticing description and a link for followers to opt-in directly to the newsletter email subscription. Leveraging their significant social media following, they encourage followers to share the announcement, thus extending their reach.
Lana Beciragic from DesignRush reveals that they use multiple channels and create diverse campaigns to cater to different B2B needs. They feature DesignRush’s Agency Directory, Spotlight news, interviews, industry trends, Design Awards, etc., to maximize their reach and attract a wider audience. They also use a combination of manual and automated methods to test and optimize their content, ensuring new website visitors are aware of their newsletter and offering signup forms across the site.
Shaun Connell from Writing Tips Institute recommends using referral programs to increase the number of newsletter subscribers. By incentivizing current subscribers to promote the newsletter within their networks, they attract new subscribers while retaining existing ones. Jeremy Cai from Italic suggests offering exclusive content and insights that are only available to newsletter subscribers. By developing content and promotional strategies that align with subscriber preferences and needs, they attract new subscribers and retain existing ones.
Related: 9 Effective Email Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
B2B companies are increasingly relying on data and feedback from subscribers to adjust their newsletter strategies.
A key aspect of a successful B2B newsletter strategy involves regularly evaluating and refining subscriber acquisition methods. According to our survey, over a quarter of surveyed companies evaluate their strategy monthly, while 40% do so quarterly. Less than a fifth evaluate them once in six months, while very few do so annually, irregularly, or never.
Kate Wojewoda-Celinska of Spacelift emphasizes the importance of monitoring engagement metrics such as open and click-through rates to understand which topics and formats resonate with the audience.
Similarly, Matt Janaway from Marketing Labs underscores the importance of keeping track of unsubscribe rates to identify trends or patterns: “If we notice a sudden increase in unsubscribes, it could be a sign that our content or frequency is not meeting our audience’s expectations.”
Recycle Away’s Eleanor Bennet agrees with this sentiment: “I regularly review our open and click-through rates to understand how our subscribers are engaging with our content. If I notice that certain types of content are receiving higher engagement, I may adjust our content strategy to focus more on those topics.”
Related: 15 Ways to Get Maximum ROI From Your Newsletter
Another strategy involves testing different variations of the newsletter and collecting subscriber feedback to make informed adjustments. Jonathan Aufray from Growth Hackers explains that experimenting with landing pages, exit-intent popup forms, CTAs, and messaging can help identify the best visitor-to-email subscriber conversion rate.
Yash Tiwari from Tattvam Media adds that sending surveys and feedback forms to subscribers can provide valuable insights into their opinions on content, frequency, and formatting.
While data and feedback are crucial for optimizing newsletter strategies, it’s also essential to stay true to your vision. Alex Birkett, an accomplished content marketer, highlights the importance of maintaining your unique voice.
“I don’t [use data and feedback]. I write according to my own capricious artistic vision, and my subscribers love it.”
Related: The Best Email Newsletter Examples by Brand, Category, & Industry
A successful B2B newsletter relies on engaging content and a data-driven strategy to connect with your target audience and drive growth. However, managing and interpreting the data from your newsletter can be a daunting task, taking up valuable time that could be better spent crafting compelling content and expanding your business.
Databox provides a solution to this challenge, streamlining your B2B newsletter growth process and allowing you to focus on what matters most. Our user-friendly platform empowers you to monitor your newsletter’s performance effortlessly, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your strategy.
By harnessing the power of metrics, you can transform your newsletter growth efforts from a time-consuming burden to an efficient and effective process. Choose from our wide range of pre-built dashboard templates or customize your own to monitor the KPIs that matter most to your business.
Experience the difference a powerful analytics tool can make in your B2B newsletter growth journey. Sign up for a free account today and unlock your newsletter’s full potential with Databox.
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