The last century has witnessed a series of innovations that have dramatically changed the way we communicate with each other. From postal system and telegraphs to telephones and the internet, we have come a long way in a relatively short span of time. Especially in the past few decades during which the world has witnessed the internet revolution. During this transition, the dawn of emails holds a very special place. It made exchange of information highly efficient, real-time and cheap. It started off as a mode of communication that was aimed mostly at businesses but slowly seeped into the day to day lives of almost everyone.
While all of this was happening, there was one aspect of modern business that really took it to the next level-marketing. It is now hard to imagine a business that does not use emails in its marketing efforts. However, not all businesses are good at utilizing its true potential. There are still a lot of businesses that just bombard their target audience with relentless email communications. In this article, we’re going to discuss how different types of businesses should use it as a marketing medium. We will see how B2B and B2C email marketing are different from each other.
1. The sales cycles are totally different
B2C customers usually become aware about a product or a service through word of mouth or emails/social media or through their own online research. They then head to the brand’s website, place the order or sign up for the service and make the payment. The process is quite simple and in most cases, the sales cycle is usually just a day or two.
Relevant emails: Promotional emails (Ex: Offers and discounts), Awareness emails (Ex: Email explaining the uses of a product/service) and transactional emails (Ex: Order confirmation)
However, B2B customers are quite different. They become aware of a product or service, head to the brand’s website and do some research. In most cases, they do not have the decision making power. They need to push the information towards their management or their teams and wait for the go ahead to purchase the product or sign up for the service. This might take just a couple of days or weeks or even months altogether! And all this while, you would need to constantly send them communications that would build awareness about your product/service. The communications should include a variety of information like case studies, tutorials and other supporting collateral like ebooks and reports.
Relevant emails: Nurturing emails (series of emails explaining the different features and their uses, case studies, ebooks etc)
Relevant read: The Art of Customer Onboarding using Email Nurturing
2. The look and feel of the templates
Whether it is for a B2B or a B2C brand, the success of an email marketing campaign depends a lot on the look and feel of the email. Even if the email is sent to a relevant person with a catchy subject line and at the right time of the day (when the recipient is most likely to open it), if the content within the email template is not enticing enough, it will not work. That’s why it is imperative that you choose the right email template based on its look and feel.
A B2B email recipient will be looking for information that is relevant and presented in a neat format. Visuals take a back seat here and relevance and actionability take precedence. A B2C email template on the other hand can have enticing visuals, clear CTAs and other fun elements like gifs.
3. Language and the tone of content
B2B customers would usually open your emails in the office and on their desktops while they’re working. B2C customers on the other hand would mostly open it on their mobiles and wouldn’t mind opening it anywhere! So essentially, B2C emails are more private and intimate than B2B emails. That’s why, the language used in them can be fun, quirky and exciting. You can include gifs, smileys and even sound bytes without irritating the user.
However, B2B emails require a more serious approach. The language should be professional and the tone relatively somber. (This is debatable however since many brands today like to wear their attitude on their sleeves)
4. Timing and frequency
What’s the best time to send emails to your B2B and B2C customers? There is no easy answer to this. However, a good rule of thumb to follow is to not send emails to your B2B customers over the weekend. You can however go the A/B testing route to figure out the best time for your recipients or even go for solutions like Boomtrain that can help you figure this out through machine learning.
Check out this article to know how Boomtrain calculates optimum time to send emails to your recipients.
Frequency: B2C customers won’t mind you sending them emails everyday provided the content is different (Ex: an offer one day and an announcement on another) However, you’ll seriously piss off your B2B customers if you send them emails everyday while they’re busy handling their workload.
What other differences can you think of? If you have read about it somewhere or have personally experienced it, please share it with us in the comments below and we’ll add it to the post.