B2B vs B2C Email Marketing: How Do They Differ?
Email marketing is a very effective way to reach prospective customers and make sales. It’s also effective for retaining existing customers and getting them to spend more money on your products. However, it’s not one-size-fits-all. You have to follow different approaches with different types of customers.
The way you create email campaigns for business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing differs from business-to-business (B2B) marketing. This article will explain the difference between both approaches.
Differences between B2C and B2B Marketing
The right approaches for B2C and B2B marketing differ in many ways. For example, you must use different tones; B2C marketing can involve casual language and slang, but B2B marketing should be formal and eloquent. Let’s examine the differences in several important aspects.
B2C target audiences are broad and diverse, while B2B audiences are specialized and focused. In the former, you're selling to people with broad interests. In the latter, you’re selling to decision-makers within organizations, such as chief executives, procurement officers, general managers, etc.
In B2C marketing, you’re appealing to the end user of the product or service. In B2B marketing, you appeal to the decision-maker but not necessarily the product’s end user. B2C customers are looking for quick solutions to immediate problems, while B2B customers seek long-term solutions to long-term problems.
Buying Cycle and Decision-Making Process
B2B and B2C audiences have different buying cycles, so they think differently. The latter makes quick decisions based on what they see, while the former takes a long time to make a final decision.
Expect to take longer to close a sale when marketing to B2B customers. Businesses may have multiple decision makers that need to sign off on a purchase, unlike B2C customers who don’t need anyone’s approval before making a decision.
In B2B email marketing, you’ll likely need to send many emails before closing a sale. It’s not enough to send a couple of emails and call it a day. You’ll need to send follow-up emails and keep a conversation thread with your target customers until all things are settled.
In summary, B2B marketing emails require patience to bear good results, while B2C marketing emails can bear fruit in a relatively short period.
The main goal of B2B buyers is increasing revenue and getting a good return of investment. Businesses buy products and services that can help improve their bottom line and make their operations more productive. Hence, the target customer is more conscious about analyzing the potential benefits of a product before making their decision.
B2B marketing strategy should inform the email recipient about the benefits of your product. How can your product improve the company’s profit margins? How can it make employees more productive? What problems does it solve? Etc.
B2C buyers often make decisions based on impulse and emotions, so you can use creative language to lure them into buying your product. This strategy won’t work as good with B2B audiences because they’re more analytical.
We have outlined the buying cycle and behavior differences between B2B and B2C customers. The body of your email campaigns must align with these differences.
The content of B2C marketing emails should create a sense of urgency. Add content that excites the customer and urges them to respond immediately. For example, you can include discounts, freebies, and other promotional offers. You need to understand your customers’ problems and provide immediate solutions.
In contrast, B2B emails should focus on presenting solutions to a problem the customer is experiencing. Avoid urgent language because B2B purchases aren’t made on a whim. Talk about the challenges of the target customer's industry and how your product resolves these challenges. The email should educate them about the value your product brings.
B2C audiences place a higher value on the visual appeal of a marketing campaign. B2B audiences, however, don’t care much about how attractive a marketing email looks; they focus more on the problems the product solves. There’s even an unwritten rule that B2B emails should be bland.
Pay special attention to the visual aspects of your email when marketing to B2C audiences. Your email should contain high-quality images and graphics that will excite the viewer. You can use animations and other graphic effects to pass your message across.
In contrast, you don’t need to pay much attention to the visual aspects of B2B emails. Your focus should be on providing detailed information about your product and how it may be used in the recipient’s industry.
The frequency of emails plays a critical role in the success of your marketing campaigns. B2C customers often make spontaneous decisions, so you can send them emails more frequently than to B2B customers. If the first email doesn’t elicit a response, feel free to send several more emails to increase your chances.
You can send at least one email weekly to B2C customers. This cohort expects to receive different types of emails, like specials, weekly tips, product highlights, etc.
For B2B customers, you should aim at one or two emails monthly. Weekly emails might irritate this audience because they take decisions slowly. They have little interest in discounts, weekly tips, or other promotional emails. Their focus is more on what value your product could add to their organization.
B2C follows the quick approach, while B2B follows the slow and steady pace. You should send B2B emails at specific intervals, but you can send B2C emails at random intervals.
Spam Traps and Filters
Spam is the biggest problem on the web when dealing with emails. Email service providers have built robust filters to detect and block spam emails, which is good. However, even legit promotional emails may occasionally land in spam traps or blocked by filters.
B2B emails are more likely to encounter problems with spam filters than B2C emails. The reason is that businesses usually employ extra protections to safeguard their staff from harmful emails.
The good news is that you can reduce the chances of your emails getting caught up in spam filters by telling subscribers to add your email address to their whitelists and improving your sender reputation.
Tone of Message
The tone of your marketing campaign is very important. B2B email marketing requires a formal and serious tone. Go straight to the point and give detailed information about what your product offers. Avoid using creative language because you’re speaking to decision-makers, not end consumers. B2B email recipients are work-oriented, and your tone should reflect that.
You can use casual and creative language for B2C emails where you’re speaking directly to the end consumers. The email is personal rather than corporate, so recipients don’t mind an informal tone to pass your message across.
Timing is another critical factor in email marketing. Some periods are more optimal than others to get the highest chances of a response. It's generally acknowledged that Tuesday and Wednesday are the best days for sending emails. You should also send emails within working hours, especially B2B ones.
Working hours are when people are more likely to read emails, especially work-related emails for B2B customers. You can also run your personal tests to see when most customers react to your messages.
Email marketing can yield great results for your business; it works well for both business-to-consumer and business-to-business communications. Yet, there are important differences to note between B2B and B2C email marketing. We have explained their core features, which will help you understand how to send effective email campaigns.
Choosing a good email service provider (ESP) is critical for your marketing success. Without a reputable ESP, your emails won’t get to the intended recipients in the first place. UniOne is a good email service provider that you can adopt, offering excellent speed and reliability.