B2C vs B2B Email Marketing: Differences Every Marketer Needs to Know

The feel of marketing for business to consumer (B2C) relationships and business to business (B2B) relationships have notable differences, but have you ever looked into why that’s the case?

Ideally, all connections should be mutually beneficial for both your business and anyone you’re doing business with. As the person designing the messaging aimed at either group, there are key differences you need to have at the top of your mind when making content.

So, what B2B and B2C email marketing best practices should you know to drive the most value out of your email marketing campaigns? Let’s start with defining the key differences when it comes to B2B vs. B2C email marketing.

B2B vs. B2C Email Marketing: The Basics

The base of both B2B and B2C relationships is to interact with and grow your business. So, it’s essential to understand how the same key components differ from one to the next.

Content is King

Content is King

You know the message you would write to a client is different to that of a message to a business partner. So, why would your email campaigns look the same?

B2C is best known as consumer email marketing. It stems from the back-end of the business and aims at boosting sales. B2C emails often highlight new products, introduce business initiatives, and showcase promotions. These types of emails provide your business with different ways to encourage consumers to go from inbox to checkout by making the process as simple as possible.

A successful B2C email marketing strategy is all about setting yourself apart. There is something special about your business and letting people know is the easy part. 

Diversifying your email marketing is an essential step to translate clicks into sales. An easily recognizable brand is the goal, and for good reason (think Elon Musk and his lightning bolt tequila), because it creates a concrete connection between imagery, its symbolism, and the product inside. 

When writing for B2B opportunities, consider the impact of being viewed as a leader in industry resources and knowledge. Information is a resource that’s easily sent via email and can double-dip in terms of boosting your reputation as a brand while showcasing your industry knowledge. 

For B2B, you won’t be sending any flashy ads. This is a key difference in B2B vs B2C email marketing. 

The equivalent to this would be closer to continuous exposure of your brand. Effective B2B email campaigns highlight opportunities and allow for thriving business. Intensity of interest by other business professionals is usually based on their monetary goals which will fluctuate from month-to-month.

Relationship-Driven Versus Goal-Driven

Relationship-Driven Versus Goal-Driven

Relationships play an important role in any email marketing campaign. And whether you’re engaging in B2B or B2C, there are a few things to keep in mind.

B2C relationships are all about how you make them feel. It’s not them, it’s you. It’s important to promote your products and services, but almost as important to showcase what your brand is for new customers—beyond products and services.

Imagine if every small business had a customer base as chock-full of cheerleading energy as the small business owner’s own personal friends and family. When you share more of who—not just what—makes up your business, you are establishing deeper connections with the people who purchase from you.

And it’s these meaningful connections that drive your business forward, turning one-time customers into loyal brand ambassadors.

In contrast, B2B interactions are primarily goal-driven. Saying that B2B relationships are goal-driven seems obvious but there is some nuance in how this is accomplished. 

One of the most common ways to ensure mutual success is to seek out clients in the same industry who are saving something by choosing you over the guy next door: time, money, consistency of product, reliability, or the ability to communicate well.

All you have to offer isn’t just your partnership but also how you outshine the competition. If you’re struggling to get the click-through rate you’d like, you’re not alone, these B2B email subject lines can help. 

Perceived Value

Perceived Value

Demonstrating value in every move you make is always the best way to go, but how you frame it is just as important.

B2C communications focus on the curated relationships between a customer and the business, as well as the product itself and its social and ethical implications.

While being inundated with emails is never fun, that email listing a once-in-a-lifetime blow-out sale from the furniture store that never has sales isn’t just any old email. However, for a lot of customers, your perceived value goes beyond just products and services.

And there’s a lot of truth to this. The younger millennial demographic is heavily influenced by a brand’s ethical and social responsibility. People are seeking out brands that feel a duty to social responsibility and social justice now more than ever before. 

Partnerships between businesses and non-profits affect real change, and they can also go a long way in fostering brand loyalty on the consumer side. 

What about B2B audiences? How can the partnership between the two of you lead to increased sales, decreased turnover, and overall benefit to the bottom line?

The ability to demonstrate value goes beyond what products and services you offer for B2B relationships as well. 

Being recognized by business partners as a valuable source of industry knowledge can be a great way to supplement email marketing for B2B connections. Not every email driving a partnership opportunity has to be “salesy.” 

A great way to strike this balance effectively is to release a B2B newsletter. Or, you may focus on highlighting customer success. The goal is to show potential customers what they stand to gain by partnering or working with you.

The Aesthetics (Email Design)

Email Design

If you check all the marketing emails in your inbox right now, what would you see? A wide range of designs, messages, and themes.

When it comes to B2C emails, the focus should be on making them visually appealing. Regardless of your go-to color scheme or font choice, all email messaging should be easy to read, simple to navigate, and look good on a cellphone screen. 

In the work from home world, people flip between screens all day long and when they need a break, they grab their phone and thumb through Instagram or their inbox. Take the time to create emails that look engaging on both desktop and mobile devices.

B2B emails are a little different. B2B clients and entrepreneurs should be thoughtfully curated with an emphasis on the informative content. Businesses are looking for value, and with so much competition for the inbox, the value you offer needs to be front and center.

B2C vs B2B Email Marketing: The Similarities

We’ve established some of the key differences when it comes to B2C and B2B email marketing. So, what similarities exist? Here are a few of the biggest ones:

  • FInding the right frequency and timing: How to stay interesting is like a mystical power in the marketing world. Really, timing can be like fairy dust. If you sprinkle content across the calendar year in just the right spots it will increase engagement and sales as well.
  • Consistency (without overdoing it) seems to be the sweet-spot for consumers: There is a reason salespeople truly never give up trying to acquire new business. Consistent effort pays off and having a schedule of email campaigns is a great way to stay on track without adding too much to your plate.
  • Long-lasting relationships are important to good business: The nature of marketing to each group differs but what should never waiver is the commitment to serving both of their needs. Pouring time and energy into these opportunities provides a larger network of opportunities now and in the future. 
  • Cut through the noise: Directly addressing how you can mutually benefit in a B2B connection is what those relationships boil down to; and it’s okay to acknowledge that from the jump. Similarly, B2C relationships can thrive when you satisfy an outstanding need and are the best one to do it.

Integrating some of these ideas into your email marketing campaigns is sure to help your business gain exposure. It also sets you up to follow B2B and B2C email marketing best practices.

Writing new ideas all day can be taxing. Are you looking to simplify your email marketing campaigns with the right email marketing automation platform? Book a discovery call today and see why ActiveTrail is the go-to platform for email marketing automation.


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