Within the scope of email marketing, there are two major categories, differentiating how marketers craft their content: B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer.)
When alternating between B2B and B2C, here are the core differences to pay special attention to.
1. The Sales Cycle
By nature, the B2B sales cycle is significantly longer than B2C. For example, a consumer could easily decide to purchase a new sweater after opening just one email, whereas a business will take their time, weigh their options and negotiate the terms before working with another firm to lease their technology equipment.
The stakes are higher, and the commitment is larger. B2B email marketing is defined more by logic and solutions than emotion.
As such, B2B campaigns should utilize a nurture emailing strategy that can last anywhere from weeks to months. What’s more, B2B campaigns are specifically catered towards the decision makers of an organization.
A B2C campaign has a much wider audience and taps into a more broadly relatable need, such as HVAC maintenance, home inspections or a new lawnmower.
A B2C email campaign has one huge advantage over B2B: in B2C the sales cycle is short — as in, anywhere from a matter of seconds to one day.
The sales funnel usually consists of opening the email, clicking a link, visiting a site then making a purchase. B2C sales cycles rely on impulse buying, quick decision-making and emotion.
Timing isn’t a one size fits all game, either. While your best bet is to test out different timing schedules, there are a few rules of thumb marketers can consider:
- Consumers are more apt to check their personal emails in the evening, after work or dinner; the 8 PM window is a good time to test your timing.
- B2B recipients are busy, receiving dozens (if not more) of emails throughout the workday; try emailing during lunch time (11AM-1PM), where there is a brief window of downtime.
- Consumer purchases are heavily influenced by a feeling of urgency; offers such as, “Limited Time Offer,” “One Week Only,” are attractive for impulse buyers.
3. Value Offering
As we said, B2C emails have to speak to consumer emotion. They must be visually appealing, entertaining and thought-provoking; a healthy dose of all these will entice the consumer into action.
A B2C email must contain product displays and compelling calls to action, guiding the consumer through the sales funnel, nudging them along to the landing page where they can make a purchase.
On the B2B side, entertainment and emotion is less (if at all) prevalent. In fact, speaking to pathos in a B2B campaign can lessen the credibility of a business and dampen the message.
Businesses look for value through information — they want a brand to be a resource for value that understands their pain points and comes ready with solutions. In other words, a B2B email campaign should cut through the noise and get straight to the offer.
B2B email content requires more planning and thought than B2C. That’s not to say you can write anything in a B2C email, but the stakes are certainly lower.
B2B recipients expect value upfront before making a purchase decision. B2B marketers need to deliver on non-promotional, educational content, such as blog posts, eBooks, case studies, etc.
A B2B email campaign is the build-up to an in-person or over the phone exchange — it’s not enough to just click a link and be done with it.
On the other hand, in B2C, marketers have an extremely short window to catch the consumer’s attention, so the content must be quick, compelling and informative, all in a matter of a few words. Value proposition and flashy calls to action are the way to go.
In B2B, marketers can use more technical wording or industry jargon. As the market is narrower than B2C, the content can have a narrower focus and speak to a certain level of expertise. B2B recipients not only identify with but will also appreciate a more detailed, formal voice.
In B2C, marketers should be wary of using too many buzzwords and overcomplicating their message. When in doubt, keep it simple. B2C recipients are less likely to build a deep relationship with your brand, as the sales cycle is so short — an informal, casual voice is more appropriate for B2C.
Key lessons for B2B emails:
- Err on the side of informative.
- Expect a longer sales cycle.
- Position your brand as a resource.
- Less focus on aesthetic design and more on value of content.
- Focus on nurture marketing.
- Targeted towards decision-makers.
- Casual voice; keep your message simple.
Key lessons for B2C emails:
- Emotion is king.
- Entertainment is welcomed.
- Short sales cycle.
- Quickly accessible route to purchase.
- Create a feeling of urgency.
- Target a broader audience.
- More formal voice; technical jargon is okay.
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In the meantime, check out more of our posts on Email Marketing.