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Creating email campaigns for B2C (Business to Consumer) shares some similarities to B2B (Business to Business). For example, both connect with customers and prospects in an effort to build profitable relationships.
Aside from that, real distinctions exist. Here are five that come to mind.
1. Length of Sales Cycle
Because more than one person is typically involved the buying process, B2B sales cycles tend to be a lot longer than B2C, where you are usually addressing individual. Also, rather than immediate sales, B2B email campaigns focus on customer retention or prospecting via lead generation.
In the latter case, email campaigns need to be combined with other forms of communication such as phone calls and individual emails from sales staff, direct mail offers, webinars and face-to-face meetings. It’s a more complicated mix that requires strategic thinking.
2. Logic vs. Emotion
B2C emails tend to play on emotion whereas B2B utilizes a logical, reason-based, “just the facts ma’am” approach. That does not mean the content shouldn’t be engaging, just that it may lack the entertainment value of B2C communications.
3. Thought Leadership vs. Entertainment Value
Creating B2C email campaigns, which is something retail businesses do, can be more enjoyable to the marketer giving them an opportunity to promote cool deals, seasonal promotions and special offers. Campaigns can be kitschy, fun and creative.
B2B, on the other hand, can equate to “Business-2-Boring.”
B2B companies may lack the same pizazz as, say, a trendy retailer. (I mean, you have to admit that getting an email featuring the latest consumer tech gadget is more exciting than an email about a new pipe-fitting solution.)
According to copywriting resource site Contently, B2B companies should focus on thought leadership. “A good B2B content strategy often boils down to simply being the most insightful source of information on the work you do. B2C content marketing is often focused on the topics consumers care about…good B2C content marketing aims to entertain,” said Contently.
4. Tone of Voice
Typically, when writing for B2B, your tone with be more formal. B2C, on the other hand, can be more casual, informal and “chatty.” However, your writing should reflect your company’s persona and fit the audience you are targeting.
Speaking of audience, the better you know who will be reading your messages, the more targeted and relevant they can be. If you serve different audiences, you can adapt your message to address each group’s main concerns. To save time, you can keep the main body of the message the same, but change the introduction and call-to-action to fit different audiences.
It’s also helpful to consider the perspective of your mailing. Are you writing in first person in order to share your thoughts and opinions; second person to engage your readers in conversation; or third person to share news and information? Just as with the audience you are addressing, your perspective makes a difference in the tone you use.
5. Timing of Email Broadcasts
B2B recipients tend to have their emails open during the work day while B2C customers may only check personal email during evenings and weekends. As such, the timing of email campaign broadcasts is critical.
As a general rule, mailings to B2B customers and prospects should go out during the day. Reserve B2C for later in the evening or weekends. However, there is no is perfect day and time to send email broadcasts so experiment with mailings on different days and day-parts and see which produces the best response.
Regardless of the differences, B2B companies can take advantage of some of the same techniques as B2C such as including calls to action in emails that incorporate the use of landing pages and special offers which, in their case, could take the form of a whitepaper or ebook download.
Also, as one person put it, “B2B buyers are people too.” Perhaps the copywriting has to be more formal, and the audience being addressed consists of a group rather than an individual, but you are still talking to people. Find out what makes them tick and focus your messages around that.