Email marketing is a highly effective tool for B2B in the food & beverage industry, offering significant advantages for both producers and distributors. The secret to success is balancing informative content with enticing promotions. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of this strategy and provide a practical guide on how to implement it effectively.

Before presenting the general framework and examples, let's start by identifying the B2B target audience for food producers and distributors.

Target customers

The B2B target customers in the food & beverage industry include the following categories and businesses, which will receive our specialized email campaigns:

  • Distributors, wholesalers, and importers
  • Retailers and retail chains
  • Restaurants and hospitality establishments (Ho.Re.Ca. sector)
  • Other businesses (depending on the products offered): wineries, bars and clubs, bakeries, pastry shops, ice cream parlors, pizzerias, pubs, and more.

General framework

The general framework for a successful email marketing campaign involves combining informative content with offers from your product catalog in the same email, directed at your B2B target customers.

In the layout below, you'll see an informative section first, followed by a promotional section:

Food sector: informative B2B email marketing framework

What is meant by "informative content"?

Valuable informative content consists of information and materials that provide knowledge and usefulness to recipients, helping them make better-informed decisions and improve their business operations.

This content is not directly promotional but is designed to educate, inform, and support the target audience.

As we will see, informative content can also be used to boost sales and acquire or retain customers. The links in the email will lead potential customers to our website, where they will be encouraged to explore the product catalog and send specific inquiries.

Promotional Content

Promotional content, typically grouped in a separate section of the email, includes the product catalog, special offers, promotions, and new product launched by the company. These links should direct potential customers to specific pages for products or promotions, making it easy for them to request quotes or information.

If the producer has an e-commerce section aimed at businesses (retailers, wholesalers, restaurateurs, etc.), it will also be possible to place orders online, in addition to receiving requests and messages from new business contacts interested in the products.

Example of an informative email with promotional content

Once the difference between the "informative section" and the "promotional section" is clear, let's examine an example in the figure below. The benefits of this well-tested approach will be discussed in the next paragraph.

Example of B2B email marketing with informative content

[in the figure: example of a B2B marketing email using the "informative + promotional" approach]

In the example email's title, the label "[target audience]" will be replaced with the specific target (wholesalers, retailers, restaurants, bars, etc.), ensuring that communications are tailored to the category of businesses receiving them.

Both informative and promotional content can be tailored to be useful and engaging for the specific target category. Therefore, it's beneficial to segment our B2B audience and send separate communications to each category of potential clients. For importers, distributors, and international retailers, it's best to communicate in the relevant language, further segmenting the audience by language or country.

The benefits of informative email marketing

In this section, we will outline the benefits and advantages for those who adopt a mixed "informative + promotional" approach. We will also discuss the guiding principles for creating informative content that is genuinely useful and engaging for potential business clients.

1. Increased engagement and open rates


  • Capture attention: providing market insights, industry trends, and relevant news captures readers' interest, demonstrating expertise and building trust.
  • Sustained interest: a mix of informative and promotional content keeps recipients engaged and encourages them to open future emails.

2. Enhanced relationships and trust


  • Expert positioning: sharing in-depth knowledge and industry updates helps position your company as a market leader and a key supplier of specific food products.
  • Building trust: delivering useful and relevant information shows that your company cares about customers' needs and success.

3. Increase in sales and conversions


  • Targeted offers: including special promotions and new arrivals within informative content can stimulate product interest.
  • Compelling calls to action: after capturing attention with valuable content, promotions become more relevant and calls to action more persuasive.

4. Improved segmentation and personalization


  • Customized content: understanding your audience allows for better segmentation of campaigns, sending personalized and relevant content to each recipient group.
  • Greater relevance: personalized and segmented emails increase engagement and conversion likelihood, as the content is more specific and targeted.

5. Enhanced campaign analysis and optimization


  • Feedback and insights: combining informative and promotional content provides a comprehensive view of customer preferences (e.g., tracking open rates, click rates, and website traffic based on landing pages), aiding in optimizing future campaigns.
  • Performance metrics: analyzing which content types drive the most interaction enables continuous improvement of your email marketing strategy.

6. Reduced unsubscribe rates


  • Balanced content: a mix of valuable information and promotional offers reduces the likelihood of recipients unsubscribing due to overly promotional emails.
  • Consistent Value: regularly providing valuable content makes subscribers more likely to remain on your mailing list.

How to include informative content

The website of a producer or distributor already contains promotional content: the catalog, specific articles, promotions, and new product launches.

For informative content, however, the focus should be on understanding the target audience's needs and identifying useful information (related to both your products and the potential customer's daily operations). It's also beneficial to have a dedicated section on your website for informative content, which could be labeled "news", "guides" or something specific like "news for food retailers" or "news for restaurants".

To create effective informative content, consider identifying topics that are particularly relevant to companies in the food industry. If it seems natural and not forced, try linking the information you provide to aspects of the food and beverages your company supplies, maximizing the synergy between the informative and promotional elements.

Here is a list of informative content topics for B2B email marketing campaigns:

  • Market trends: analysis and reports on the latest trends in the food & beverage sector, such as changes in consumer preferences, product innovations, and market forecasts.
  • Insights and data analysis: detailed information based on data regarding product performance, sales trends, and industry benchmarks to help distributors, restaurateurs and retailers improve their strategies.
  • Case studies and best practices: concrete examples and success stories from other companies in the sector (within the target audience), highlighting strategies and practices that have led to positive results.
  • Guides and tutorials: practical guides on optimizing management operations, effective marketing techniques, and other critical business aspects.
  • Updates on new regulations: information on new laws, regulations, and industry standards that can affect the activities of food companies (such as those concerning the trade and service of food and beverages), keeping them updated on obligations and opportunities.
  • Innovations and emerging technologies: articles on new technologies, tools, and innovations in the food & beverage sector that can offer competitive advantages, improve operational efficiency, or open new market opportunities.
  • Events and networking opportunities: information on trade shows, conferences, webinars, and other industry events that can offer learning and networking opportunities for professionals.
  • Product reviews and tests: detailed reviews and analyses of products, helping distributors, retailers, and foodservice operators make informed decisions about purchases and collaborations.

Additionally, it is possible to further divide the type of information into two categories: timely content and evergreen content. Specifically:

  • Timely content deals with the latest news, trends, and industry updates. This type of content is particularly interesting for its "novelty" effect and is often related to events, regulatory changes, new technologies, or shifts in market dynamics.
  • Evergreen content, unlike timely content, is always relevant, no matter when it is read. It provides useful and practical information that remains valuable over time.

This combined strategy ensures that emails are perceived as relevant and welcomed by recipients, enhancing the overall effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

In addition to B2B email marketing on targeted lists, the same content can be also used to enrich communication on other online channels, creating a synergistic effect.

Other advantages: multichannel content marketing

Investing in the production of informative, promotional, and mixed content (with both characteristics) and distributing it across various channels optimizes resource use. An effective multichannel marketing strategy maximizes the outcome of content creation to achieve the greatest benefit. This way, each piece of informative content can reach a broader and more diverse audience, enhancing the overall impact of marketing initiatives.

Content marketing is now a well-known term and a widely used technique across many sectors (both B2B and B2C). Content, typically hosted on the company's website, can be distributed mainly through social channels (both as posts on company pages and as sponsored Ads campaigns, with targeting options that ensure visibility to a specific audience).

Furthermore, because this content is present on the company website, it can be indexed and ranked by search engines (primarily Google and Bing), especially if it is specific and targeted to a particular business audience, since the information might be difficult to find elsewhere or not specific enough compared to other sources.

Considering B2B email marketing and other channels, investing in high-quality content is undoubtedly a successful choice. This enables more consistent, direct communication, aligning with the company's objectives, which include branding, marketing, and product sales.

To explore further...

Besides content, there are other elements to consider for creating effective email marketing campaigns: collecting contacts and profiling lists, privacy aspects, as well as the techniques that enhance the effectiveness of calls to action (crucial for acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones).

For an overview of these strategic aspects of B2B campaigns, also read: "B2B Email Marketing in the Food Sector: Key Strategies for Achieving Success".

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