Important Distinctions Between B2C and B2B Email Marketing

As marketers and humans we always look at others for inspiration.

To innovate we take what others have done and build on those ideas to improve and make more interesting.

That’s the goal anyway.

When it comes to email marketing, though, there is one tricky part of the equation.

There are B2C emails and there are B2B emails.

In this post we’ll look at the differences between B2C email marketing and B2B email marketing. You’ll want to pay attention because while some of the methodologies are the same the differences are important because a strategy for one might not work for the other.

Overview of B2C Email Marketing

B2C email marketing promo example.

Woolrich uses a little urgency with this email. It’s a common element of B2C email marketing.

B2C emails are pretty common for most Internet users. You probably received about 5 to 10 B2C emails just today if you’re an average email user.

B2C companies tend to be more aggressive with the frequency in which they send messages so the footprint is higher than in the B2B world.

Another aspect of B2C email marketing is the fact that nearly all emails are sales-focused. This means that each email is about getting to a sale quickly. Purchase price tends to be on the small side for B2C products so the sales process is more impulsive and quick.

You might see an email that introduces a new product. The expectation is that you immediately become interested in the item and make the purchase.

Another common scenario is to see an email that puts the pressure on your to purchase. Urgency is a common tool in B2C email marketing. You’ll see a sale that is ending soon and you have to act now otherwise you’ll miss the promotion.

Urgency is actually one of the areas where B2C and B2B are similar. B2B salespeople do try to get urgency attached to a quote or an offer trying to get a person to commit to a deal.

Finally, B2C emails tend to not follow a welcome series. There are instances when it does happen, but the welcome series is usually not longer than one or two emails. This is in contrast to some advanced B2B email marketing campaigns.

Overview of B2B Email Marketing

B2B upsell example

This email from FreshBooks doesn’t focus on sales, exclusively. It’s also about building trust in the B2B world.

B2B sales tend to be large purchases. There are exceptions on both sides of the equation. There are small purchases in B2B and large purchases in B2C, but in general the large purchases lean toward the B2B world.

Because the purchases are larger there is more marketing in B2B email marketing than sales.

What does this mean?

B2B companies know that email marketing mirrors the sales process. The first introduction happens when a new prospect signs up for the marketing newsletter or marketing program. From there the emails work like a salesperson.

Messages are directed at educating the subscriber. The first email might include some recent news happening in the industry along with a point of view from the company perspective.

Subsequent emails often provide additional insight into the industry and eventually the products and services offered by the company.

The entire process is about presenting the state of the industry and the problems that exist and take the subscriber down the path of solving that issue with the solution provided by the company.

By now you probably recognize that B2B email marketing lends itself well to welcome series. It’s true that many B2B companies setup email series to move new subscribers through the sales process until they become a customer.

Final Thoughts

These differences in B2C and B2B email marketing are important. If you understand the differences you can really focus in on what will work best for your company.

On some occasions you can use inspiration from one for the other. It might be a way to get a little edge on the competition.

Now it’s your turn.

What do you think the differences are in B2C and B2B email marketing?

About the Author: Scott Hardigree is Founder of Indiemark and Co-founder of BrightSpeed. You can connect with him everywhere, here.

4 comments

  1. Understanding the difference between B2B and B2C is the key of success for an organization, it can either make or break any organization.

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