Communicating with customers, promoting products, and effectively guiding prospects through the sales cycle—these goals are the same for both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) email campaigns. But here are 4 key differences between B2B and B2C campaigns that marketers need to keep in mind to help maximize their email-marketing return on investment (ROI):
Length of Buying Cycle—In a B2B sales cycle, it typically takes longer to turn prospects into leads, and eventually into customers, than in a B2C sales cycle. That’s because there usually are more people involved in the B2B decision-making process, including buyers who are solution driven, as well as financially focused buyers. And to make a sale, you may have to get approval from each stakeholder in the process. In addition, the price point is typically higher in B2B. As a result, B2B email-marketing campaigns often involve multiple workflows that are designed to nurture clients by strategically dripping content over several weeks.
However, B2C email-marketing campaigns are directed at a broader target audience, taking aim at consumers’ more impulsive natures. For example, a B2C sales funnel may simply involve a consumer: 1) opening an email, 2) clicking a call to action in that email, 3) being taken to a landing page, and 4) making a purchase.
Tone/Voice—B2C emails tend to have a more casual, personal tone, and the wording is simple and relatable. In addition, there’s often an urgency created in B2C emails that targets the emotional triggers of recipients.
It’s important to keep in mind that your B2B customers are people, too. In other words, avoid sounding robotic, and try to strike a balance between making an emotional connection and providing all of the pertinent information needed to get the conversion. B2B emails can be entertaining, too! That being said, B2B email-marketing campaigns tend to have a more professional, objective tone that is results oriented and factual compared to B2C emails. In B2B emails, the financial benefits of the product or service are emphasized, letting clients know exactly what they’re going to get for the price. In addition, the use of technical, industry-specific jargon is more often appropriate in B2B email-marketing campaigns than in B2C campaigns.
Email Content—Because a consumer’s response to B2C email-marketing campaigns is often immediate and based on emotions, it’s important to quickly communicate the value in the offer and spend time on optimizing the call to action. Discounts offered for a limited time can help create a sense of urgency and prompt immediate responses. In addition, be sure that you have a deep understanding of your target audience’s needs and what motivates them, while focusing your email content and calls to action on that information.
As we pointed out above, the buying cycle is longer for B2B. So, in addition to creating non-promotional content that educates, B2B email-marketing campaigns should talk to the industry pain points and position the sender as the go-to company for solutions. This information can be delivered over time in the form of white papers, case studies, and webinars.
In a report by The Economist Group and peppercomm, 500 global marketers were surveyed about how they build content strategy, and 500 global business executives were surveyed about what they look for in content. Here are some key findings in the report:
- Whereas 93% of marketers’ primary purpose was to directly promote their products and services, 75% of business executives were looking for business ideas.
- Although 85% of marketers surveyed said that B2B content is intended to help build their brands, 70% of the respondents actually measure success based on the number of leads generated.
- 71% of business executives said that they didn’t like content that sounded more like a sales pitch rather than something that provided valuable information. On the other hand, 67% of business executives said that content that offered timely or unique information had a positive impact on their perceptions of a brand.
- 85% of business executives preferred text over video and audio content when making business decisions.
Best Time to Send Emails—If your B2B target audience is made up of the typical 9-to-5 workers who likely don’t check their work emails regularly during the weekend, then mid-week (e.g., Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday) has been shown to be the best days to send emails. However, if you know that your B2B target audience is made up mostly of entrepreneurs and “workaholics”—who tend to check their emails all day, every day—the weekend may be the best time to send your emails. For B2C emails, Saturdays, followed closely by Tuesdays, are the days that see the highest open rates. These findings were summarized in an infographic by Propeller—“2017 Email Marketing Field Guide The Best Times and Days to Send Your Message and Get It Read”—that looked at the findings of a number of studies.
Here are some other highlights from this infographic:
- For B2B, email-marketing campaigns sent on Saturday at 10 am got the highest opens rates. This day and time also got the most clicks and responses from the entrepreneur/workaholic group of B2B recipients. However, for the regular B2B segment of workers (i.e., those who don’t always respond to their work emails on the weekends), Tuesdays at 10 am got the most clicks, whereas emails sent on Tuesdays at 8 am got the most responses.
- For B2C campaigns, emails sent on Saturday at 12 am got the highest opens and clicks, whereas emails sent at 6 am got the most responses. Studies indicated that emails sent at midnight or scheduled to arrive overnight were mostly opened in the mornings and got the highest click rates.
Although this information on the best day and time to send emails is a useful place to start, testing is the most effective way to determine the optimum send times for your target audience.
Whether your target market is B2B or B2C, FulcrumTech can help you develop, design, test, and implement email-marketing campaigns that convert and drive more sales. Our email-marketing experts have deep experience in getting great results for both B2B and B2C clients. Contact FulcrumTech today to learn more about how we can help you get the most out of your email-marketing efforts.
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