Recognizing the difference between B2B and B2C email marketing is monumental to choosing a strategy and improving your plan for email campaigns and marketing goals in general.
Most importantly, in this discussion, you’ll see how to better determine your target audience, and to whom you will be spreading your message. Email marketing is a form of conversation and having a well-formed idea about who is on the other side of the screen can be extremely helpful when creating a message for them.
While some companies are interested only in one of these segments (business or consumers), there are some brands in that lie in the middle, offering services and products for both audiences.
Let’s take a look at few important points to consider when planning your campaigns:
B2C Email Marketing
- Product driven
- Broader audiences
- Shorter sales cycles
- Decision making process is individual and faster
- Emotional decisions
B2B Email Marketing
- Moved by relationship with the company
- Uniform audience, with specific interests
- Longer sales cycles, that take into account the time and budget of each company
- Collective/multilayered decision process
- Objective decisions, based on value for the company
- Relationship between buyer and seller in the sales funnel. Strong content marketing opportunities such as tutorials, guides, etc.
When sending messages for customers, the decision is made by one person most of the time. The appeal must be more direct and clear.
On the other hand, when targeting companies, even small and medium businesses, it is necessary to go through more than or person or department to conclude a sale or to have a commitment. If your business is centered around sales, it is crucial to not only design messages but also to measure metrics.
Let’s face it: B2B sales are less impulsive. Or do you know someone who has bought a Boeing 747 after opening an email? Probably not, right? This, however, does not make your email program less important and definitely does not mean you shouldn’t have consistent email sendings. B2B email marketing is mostly about generating and nurturing leads. You can use emails to keep your contacts updated with useful content while building your brand image. Remember, your contact may not be at the right place on the sales funnel, and a B2B sale might inevitably need to go through an approval from different company members.
This is a process that’s quite different from B2C email marketing, where it is all about impulse and faster results.
Finding the right tone
There’s this idea regarding B2B campaigns, labeling them as formal and cold, since they’re meant to be sent for more people and in a business environment. This is not necessarily true: even in a business context, people are more attracted to a more personal, engaging approach.
It is not so much about being formal or cold in B2B and friendly and approachable in B2C, but recognizing that B2C marketing is more about the emotional, subjective appeal, and B2B is about objective decisions. If you are planning a B2B campaign, you should highlight the advantages in your offer, and the facts that back it up: talk about what you are offering, how much it will cost and what will they gain as a company by purchasing it.
In short: take your time thinking about creative outcomes for your B2C marketing while being careful with facts and results in B2B campaigns.
It takes longer to close the deal when selling to other business, that’s a fact. Since you have this kind of negotiation timeframe, it is good to encourage commercial interactions using content marketing. Whitepapers, blog posts and case studies are all important tools to put your leads and prospects on the path of a purchase. Besides that, be prepared to work through several channels: talking on the phone, or face to face meetings might be a part of this process.
In B2C marketing, there are mainly two types of content that end up being your key sales argument: the value offered and a right call-to-action. Every time you reach out to your consumer audience, remember that your offer must be direct and provide a clear and positive value to these people’s lives.
The right moment
B2B: Business messages get more attention during working hours, but since people tend to be very busy during this period, it might be a good idea to send messages between 11 AM and 1 PM, which is usually the lunch break. It is also worth trying the 9 AM period so that your email is the first thing people see when they check their inbox.
B2C: Consumer messages, on the other hand, usually are ignored during the working hours, so maybe it is best to schedule them for late afternoon and early evening, when people have already finished work, but may not be at home yet.
These suggestions are not set in stone, so you should always test your messages to see what works best for your audience. Try sending at different times of a day to see what works best.
In the end, we’re always talking to people
Don’t forget that the two main differences between these two audiences are:
- For one of them (B2B), the individual is representing a larger group of people, while in the other (B2C) he/she is acting on his/her own interest; and
- One (B2B) has a much bigger scale than the other (B2C).
However, remember that no matter what, there will always be another person on the other side of the screen.
So keep this in mind: you’re communicating with people. There is no need to be cold or impersonal. People need products and services and doesn’t matter whether they use it at home or in a business context, you should always try to engage with the person reading your message.
In the end, if we can leave you with just one tip about B2B and B2C email marketing, it’s this: get to know your audience’s needs and provide your best offer as per the context. Your success depends directly on how well you do this.