The Impact Of B2B Email Marketing On Brand Loyalty

The Impact of B2B Email Marketing on Brand Loyalty business data list

Coronavirus pandemic 2020 has only accelerated the trend of online sales in the entire consumer market to the point where it’s irreversible. The email marketing industry followed the recent exponential growth, enhancing customer experience and retaining brand loyalty. 

Organizational selling (B2B) has not been slow to identify the changes needed to adapt to the accelerated trend. End customers don’t see the relationship-building efforts needed between organizations to provide a smooth transition to the market of online sales. 

B2B email marketing has made a positive contribution to brand relationships, and the increasing understanding of acceptable practices has made the tool more specialized to help businesses achieve growth. This article will explore the results we have seen with B2B email marketing that corporate companies have studied and used to make this tool a staple ingredient in creating and maintaining brand loyalty.

Email marketing data from real-life companies are presented in this article to demonstrate what you may expect from email-led campaigns. We explore what type of campaigns customers appreciate, refer and eventually lead to loyal returning customers. Looking at a spectrum of companies, this article will focus mainly on companies in the middle of the bell curve, meaning companies with common retail traits. 

From a financial perspective, it is no surprise that email marketing is rapidly expanding to every business intent on promotion. Many post-pandemic traditions have disappeared and are not expected to come back, such as the humble printed business folder accompanied by brochures and business cards. It was no surprise to be given one of these at your business meeting. Start with a handshake, a business card, and when you sit down, a business folder. 

Now Google has introduced a digital business card (being trialed) found whenever someone searches an individual. The meeting printed brochure has been replaced with wonderful HTML emails or links to the landing page found in your inbox before a zoom meeting. Business financiers welcome the change as it’s far more cost-effective to have digital versions of the post-pandemic relics.

Email marketing has been gaining traction, and studies have shown a recent increase in the speed of growth during the pandemic. With the help of the “permission bases” law applied to electronic communication, the consumer is far more comfortable with email marketing than traditional “interruption marketing.” Godin’s 1999 paper explains from direct observations that once the consumer receives an email when the company follows three marketing strategies, the result will be more likely successful. 

  • Anticipated – Consumers will expect communication from the company.
  • Personal – The promotional content directly relates to the customer.
  • Relevant – The information will be interesting to the customer.

However, the luxury of receiving permission first is not there for startup businesses, and they have to resort to cold email marketing. The law allows hard B2B email marketing as long as the content of the email has “legitimate interest” to the recipient. To build a relationship from a cold email can be extremely difficult but not impossible. Companies have adopted various tactics to win customers with cold email using a blend of information, entertainment, and promotion.

Defining and measuring brand loyalty 

Once you define brand loyalty as “repeat purchasing customer behavior,” you can measure this directly from the results of your marketing efforts. This becomes even more apparent when the same type of product labeled as separate brands are presented together, and the repeat purchase behavior is mainly done on one brand.

For customers to have a pattern of repeated purchasing behavior, we can assert that a positive impression of the brand must also accompany it. It is widely believed that before operational use of the data, first, you need to capture and measure both attitude and behavior. However, it’s not exactly easy and, in many cases, impossible to capture both elements for research. Researchers have suggested that it is vitally important to capture both to understand long-term maintenance and the impact of email marketing on brand loyalty. 

Let us take an overview look at a study recorded by Odin et al., 2001.

The attitude of loyal customers: a study conducted using email marketing.

Name: Company X

Industry: High Street clothes retailer brand

Participants: Customers who purchased more than once

Email Content sent: Brief description of the survey and a link to the website questionnaire.

Email List: 2,200

Total Respondents: 890 

Company X results from survey

To measure email marketing on customer loyalty, multiple-choice questions were emailed to customers recorded to have purchased the same brand more than once. Each question was requested to answer an attribution scale from 1 to 5, five being the most positive. Ten questions with three rankings the highest “trusted brand,” “modern brand,” and “quality customer service.” 

The impact of B2B email marketing on brand loyalty Chart 1

The result suggested that regular email contact had a positive impact on customer loyalty. Customers appreciated being kept up-to-date on brand promotions, offers, and relevant information. 

Customers who had regularly received promotional emails reported:

75% of customers purchase less than six months.

74% said having recommended another.

64% had reported having visited retail stores that stock brand X

Interesting to note: Emails without offers and promotions drove more traffic to online stores. Customers appreciate helpful information on emails and respond with a click-through. Companies engaged in email marketing should focus the majority of their content on useful, up-to-date, and exciting news to increase traffic and brand loyalty. 

Customer repeat purchase cycle

The repeat purchase cycle applies to retail customers and organizational (B2B) customers the same way. Once you have identified the critical stages in your customer’s repeat purchase cycle, you need to accompany it with correct email content to keep the process from breaking. Email marketing can play a crucial role in maintaining the cycle.

  1. Customer becomes aware of the product
  2. Customer makes the first purchase
  3. Product is evaluated by customer
  4. Reasons defined to repurchase
  5. Product is repurchased

Your email content can be widely varied depending on your industry and the type of products or services you provide. However, observing previous successful campaigns, it can be concluded that two factors primarily shape customers’ attachment to your brand.

  • Customers perceived product uniqueness (USP)
  • The level of personal preference 

Use your brand email marketing to indirectly target these two elements with limited offers and promotions to initiate interest and encourage better customer attachment.

Attachment is highest when customers’ preference is based more on the product’s unique aspects than the product’s competitors. 

Customers that find little perceived product uniqueness but have a strong preference is more likely to lead to multi-product loyalty.

Finally, weak preferences and no perceived uniqueness will lead to the lowest brand loyalty. You may get a repeat purchase, but it won’t last on many occasions, and any buying pattern will be unpredictable. Therefore, looking at your data finding certain predictability in the data shows high rates of customer preferences and product uniqueness. 

Email marketing to Millennials and Gen Zer’s 

To understand brand loyalty using email marketing, it is best to conduct surveys among your valued returning customers. It can be said that returning customers are more likely to participate in surveys. However, researchers are finding reasons for concern among younger customers. 

The largest demographic of digital buyers is simply not participating in surveys enough and is highly misrepresenting the data of results. Millennials and Gen Zer’s are also not participating in loyalty programs compared to other demographics, even the age group directly above them (see chart below).

Loyalty program members by demographic

The impact of B2B email marketing on brand loyalty Chart 2
Female 68%
Male 59%
The impact of B2B email marketing on brand loyalty Chart 3
18-24 43%
25-34 57%
35-44 66%
45-54 69%
55-64 71%
65+ 65%

Source YouGov “What Americans think of loyalty programs” April 02, 2019

It becomes clear when we look at the data of loyalty program participation among the top three most popular store categories. Even though Millennials and Gen Zer’s are among the age groups that participate most in retail loyalty memberships programs, they are still less likely to join in supermarkets and pharmacies memberships. 

The impact of B2B email marketing on brand loyalty Chart 4
Retail 18-24 58% | 25-34 55% | 35-44 55% | 45-54 50% | 55+ 44%
Supermarkets 18-24 43% | 25-34 53% | 35-44 67% | 45-54 70% | 55+ 71%
Pharmacies 18-24 42% | 25-34 49% | 35-44 56% | 45-54 58% | 55+ 60%

This gives us a great insight into their consumer habits and interests that drive the market in their demographic. When structuring your email marketing campaign to businesses that cater to this age demographic generation, keep in mind that they respond better to retail products than the supermarket and pharmacy-related products. 

Increasing brand loyalty with email marketing

The role of email marketing has recently become far more prevalent in many areas of business marketing. Companies have been forced to cut costs during this pandemic and invest in more cost-saving methods, i.e., email marketing. Large corporations have always seen value in email marketing and have only adapted to any changes required for the new climate. Looking at the data, we can see how they use this humble tool to sustain and increase brand loyalty. 

Becoming loyal through email marketing stages

Stage One: Buying cold leads and separating them into different groups depending on their information, i.e., industry.

Stage Two: Identifying prospect groups (prospects have the potential to buy). This is done by removing groups that will not find any legitimate interest in your products and services. 

Stage Three: Removing “opt-out” prospects. Individuals who have replied with an “opt-out” response need to be removed before the following burst email.

Stage Four: Identify first-time prospects. The individuals who have purchased for the first time need to be placed on a separate mailing list instead of new opportunities.

Stage Five: Repeat customers are those who have purchased more than once. Best to email them precisely tailored emails related to their interests and varied to identify other interests. 

Stage Six: This customer buys anything you have to sell and purchases regularly. Your brand has a strong relationship with the individual and developed competitor marketing immunity. 

Stage Seven: The customer becomes your brand ambassador and actively encourages others to buy from you. He talks about your brand and products and does helpful marketing for you. Once you reach this stage, your job will be to keep the person buying and referring.

Lost or dormant customers can also be brought back into the loyalty stages. Identify customers who have not purchased from you for over six months and start a specifically designed email campaign to get them back into the fold.  When they are active again with a new purchase, they have been regained. However, the risk is a higher probability of defects. 

How to master email marketing 2021:

Profit generating email marketing system

Your objective is to identify prospects from cold leads as quickly as possible. Use email marketing to qualify customers with buying potential and disqualify any unrelatable cold leads. The sooner you filter out your email list, the better for your business. Avoid wasting time and money on unqualified leads. Ultimately your goal is to turn first-time customers into repeat customers who then eventually become brand ambassadors. 

Apply two key criteria when qualifying a cold lead:

  1. They have a need for your products and services
  2. They have the ability to buy

“The sale is not the objective; it’s the beginning of a lifetime customer relationship.”

First time customers

For new startups, your initial primary focus will be on first-time customers. You will be engaged heavily in trying to convert cold leads into first-time buyers. This task is essential, and you will need to continue this throughout your business life. If the first purchase is not satisfactory for the customer, probably, there will not be another. The initial perception is essential for the customer, and to get it right means there will be a good chance of a repurchase. 

Actions to take to encourage customer return

  1. Say “thank you” for the purchase.
  2. Seek feedback early.
  3. Capture customer information and use it.
  4. Nurture and protect communication with decision makers.
  5. Paint a picture of future purchases.

Repeat customers

When communicating with repeat customers, you aim to add value to every communication. Work to deepen the relationship on a personal level. Please get to know the customer, find out about their interests and dislikes. Know what they are positively responding to and not engaging with. Market yourself as a company made of human beings and not as a corporation. 

Brand ambassadors 

To this individual, you have proven yourself to be dependable and accountable. You have earned the trust and confidence for the customer to believe they will increase their credibility by referring others to the value you offer. The customer will no longer see you as a salesperson. Instead, they will see you as an ally and partner. Competitors have no chance faced with a relationship such as this. 

Lost customers

Winning back customers can easily be overlooked when you’re too busy and content serving existing customers. Don’t become a victim of the monotonous routine of serving customers without worrying about customers never returning. 

Three reasons buyers do not return

  1. Early problems with products or services that ruin the relationship. 
  2. Lack of communication and forgotten.
  3. Easy return to competitors. 

Three benefits to contacting disconnected customers

  1. Excellent opportunity to renew the business relationship.
  2. Reduce negative publicity. Customers are reminded that you care.
  3. Feedback will help you fix problems customers have found issues with.

A study by Marketing Metrics tells us that purchasing probability of prospects is about 5-20%. However, the probability is much higher, 60-70% selling to existing customers who have purchased before. 

B2B customer engagement that works

  1. Send intro package
  2. Initial sales call
  3. Telephone follow up
  4. Tour customer facility
  5. Tour your facility
  6. Send follow up thank you note

{ A study on lost customers found }

“68% No special reason, means a benign neglect.”


Based on the finding from the results presented, it appears B2B email marketing can positively affect brand loyalty. Constant communication campaigns using emails can be a positive, personalized brand awareness that customers appreciate. 

Emails can initial a follow-up purchase, retail store visits, and visit brand websites via links to increase traffic. The data shows customers with higher brand loyalty appreciate regular communication from brands more than less loyal. Therefore, email campaigns need to be adjusted accordingly. 

Loyal customers appreciate different variations of content regarding the brand, including; product information, contests, news, event, and trends. However, less loyal customers usually only prefer and respond to sales offers. 

Overall, it can be confidently asserted that regular ongoing email marketing will create brand engagement and deepen customer-brand relationships. Strategic marketing will eventually create brand ambassadors of loyal customers, and email marketing will give the ambassadors the ammunition to refer in the right direction of companies’ objectives. 

Marketers who use the “opt-out” option in emails find it easier to identify prospects from cold leads. Email data cleansing is crucial to brand reputation and increasing opportunities. Wasting time and money on individuals who don’t have the potential to buy can affect negatively. 

Email marketing can also help to gather valuable data from customers. Combine and compare actual sales data to the attitude of customers found from surveys. It is highly advantageous to send surveys to repeat loyal customers who have the highest response rate. 

Although there is evidence of positive effects with traditional email marketing on brand loyalty, it is still advisable to use less generalization on the content. Best to group different types of customers and prospects and offer more specialized content to their needs. 


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Wasim Jabbar

Hi, I'm Wasim - a startup founder and proud dad of two sons. With 15 years of experience building startups, I'd like to share my secret to achieving business success - quality marketing leads. Signup today to gain access to over 52 million leads worldwide.

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