5 Key Differences in B2B vs B2C Email Marketing
If your online business sells both B2B and B2C, it’s important that your email campaigns are fine-tuned to these two audiences. To help you deliver efficient email marketing campaigns we highlight 5 key differences between marketing products to customers versus to other businesses.
1. Decisions, Decisions: Different Purchasing Behavior
Let’s start with the basics. Firstly, it is important to understand the purchasing behavior differences between an individual customer and a buyer in a business.
B2B customers make purchasing decisions with the ultimate goal of improving return on investment. They are going to carefully consider what are the benefits of the product or service they are offered. A purchase is going to be based mainly on logic and less on emotion. Therefore, B2B emails need to educate the recipient and pre-sell the product or service that will meet the customer’s needs and pain points. The aim is to build a relationship rather than quick-sell a product.
In contrast, B2C emails should be the trigger for emotion-based purchases. When creating the content, you should know that the emotion is a key driver of sales. You should have an excellent understanding of customer’s behavior, preferences and what emotional triggers will drive a purchase.
2. Different Length of Buying Cycles
Business clients usually take longer to make purchasing decisions as they do more in-depth research and vendor evaluation. Therefore, B2B email marketing campaigns usually require multiple workflows. The aim of the workflows is to nurture clients with strategic drip campaigns over weeks or months, and build trust. To understand the key email flows every e-commerce entrepreneur should be aware of, listen to our latest podcast.
Individual customers usually make much faster decisions, which indicates a different type of billing cycle. Purchasing decisions are essentially emotional and faster as the individual does not answer to anyone else. Emails should generate brand awareness, engagement and loyalty, and should highlight the satisfaction of a customer’s personal preferences.
Scheduling your email campaign at the perfect time can have a great impact on your open and click rates. However, in spite of the numerous studies done, there is no best email send time that applies to all customers. To understand what is the best send time for your clients, we recommend learning from your own A/B tests.
Nevertheless, we will share a few tips so that you don’t start from scratch.
Most reports show that emails sent on weekdays always outperform emails sent on weekends, and the best day to send an email that will result in a sale is Tuesday. However, note that according to MailChimp Send Time Optimization algorithm, this does depend on the type of goods you are selling. As presented in this graph, weekends can be a good email send time depending on the product you are selling.
And when is the best time to send your emails? In the latest Email Marketing Benchmarks report by GetResponse, Michal Leszczynski says:
“In general, though, you’re more likely better off if you send your emails in two time slots, from 10 to 11 AM and from 2 to 4 PM. That’s when most marketers see the highest opens and clicks, and when almost one third of all email marketing campaigns are sent.”
HubSpot’s Best Time to Send Email report findings, based on 20 million emails sent, confirms 11 AM is the best time to send your email and get it opened.
It is equally important that your email marketing program is consistent in every aspect, starting from send times during the day to the actual days of the week.
B2B emails do require a bit more discipline as you want to carefully build the trust between you and your customer. Discipline requires living up to the expectations of your subscribers. If you promised weekly tips and discounts in your pop-up window, and this is the reason why someone subscribed, it is crucial that your business sends weekly tips and occasional discounts. In this case, you don’t want to send them daily emails, as this is not something your pop-up communicated.
In B2C emails, customers are more likely going to chase promotions and new releases that are usually timed by different events. A few tips for your B2C campaigns:
- Mark the Holidays
If you are a business, you would want to be mindful of when to market your products along with the dedicated holiday. For example, if you are selling healthy products, you would not want to skip the Earth Day as a holiday, in order to reach out to your target audience.
- More Frequent Emails
A more aggressive approach in terms of frequency is also recommended. The aggressiveness of the approach will depend on your product and your audience.
- Find the Customers’ Sweet Spot
When you start engaging with your customers, it is crucial to find the email frequency sweet spot. The sweet spot could be 2 emails per week, or even up to 3 or 4. This is something that you should test out yourself. If you want to be more specific, segmentation can help you define the group of customers that open up every single email you send. Since you’ll know that these customers are eager to hear from your company, you can target them more frequently with the campaigns.
After understanding key differences between the logic of purchasing behavior of businesses and customers, let’s talk about what should be inside an email.
B2B messages need to convey how the product or service your business offers can save time and money. You want to make sure to communicate real data, logic, and benefits in order to answer customers’ needs and motivations. Facts, facts, and facts only will build a long-lasting relationship you want to achieve.
You will want to include content that will educate recipients and turn them into customers. This can be a free e-book, industry benchmarks, how-to guidelines or whatever your business uses to bring more leads on board. Rember that the right content will sell better than any other promotion.
As we already concluded, emotion is the key driver of B2C sales and therefore B2C emails should be able to quickly capture the attention of recipients. The upcoming trend in emails is going towards shorter copy and more animated graphics. This applies particularly to special events you will want to promote to your customers. If there is a coupon to be used, no need for a long elaboration on why your business is offering it.
Tone of Voice
As for the tone, you want to make sure it is crafted to the customers’ sensibility, so the better you know your audience, the better suited your tone will be.
Subscribers will expect that you will follow the tone that is set up in your ‘Welcoming sequence’ where they will form a certain picture of your brand. If your wording is strictly business, you would want to keep it this way. If you are slightly informal, you will want to maintain a semi-professional relationship throughout all your campaigns.
A B2B email will want to find the best balance between being professional and informal. This will lead and form the relationship that you have with your clients.
A B2C email will highly depend on a product that is being sold and what your brand stands for.
At the end of the day, whether you are selling B2C or B2B, you are selling to people. Find out what matters to them and stick to it when crafting your emails.
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Milica Paligoric graduated from Iona College, in New Rochelle, NY. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in finance, and over 3 years of experience in client-managing roles. She joined Essence of Email in 2018, after being a lead of a back office team for an e-commerce platform.