B2B and B2C email marketing

Email marketing often proves to be a very powerful tool, but it can only reach its full potential when used in the right way for the target audience. Taking the same approach to a business-to-business campaign as you would to a business-to-customer strategy won’t work. Instead, you need to recognise the differences and act upon them, ensuring you’re delivering the most relevant content for each demographic. So, what are the differences between B2B and B2C email marketing?

It would appear that the addition of a percentage can immediately furnish content with something official and authoritarian, so it’s unsurprising that so many businesses want to share their findings. A statistic or two can really assist at this early and subtle stage of the buying cycle. Additionally, adding data is a great reputation enhancer, enabling businesses to be perceived as knowledgeable, trustworthy and a leader in their field. B2B & B2C email marketing : what’s the difference

The buying cycle

The business buying cycle is often long and arduous. Marketers must impress a diverse range of people – from the financially-driven decision makers to the solution-focused buyers. This means B2B email marketing usually has to offer different types of content throughout the buying process. For consumers, the process can be fairly quick; typically based on emotion, with price sometimes coming second. They need persuasive content, fast.

The tone

Speaking of emotion, your consumers will likely respond best to content that tugs at their heart strings; solving their long-standing issues or problems they didn’t even know they had! Keep your tone soft and nurturing, with a hint of urgency – after all, they’re likely going to make a fairly quick decision. A more objective tone should be used for B2B email content. Keep it based on the facts – tell businesses exactly what they’re going to get, for what price and how it’s going to benefit them. In a word, your B2B content should be efficient.

The actual content

This brings us on to the actual content types you should offer both audiences. The longer buying cycle means that B2B targets would benefit firstly from educational, non-promotional content (like white papers) then matter-of-fact content – like case studies and testimonials. Be there every step of the way and don’t forget that the relationship will eventually change into a face-to-face or telephone-based one, so your email content should lead up to that.

For consumers, the speed with which they’ll make a decision means you need to keep your focus on two key things: value and calls-to-action. If your content doesn’t hit recipients in the face with its overwhelming value, then they won’t respond to your call-to-action. You need the call-to-action because it will prompt them to complete the sale, so the pair have to work together in harmony. Think about including discounts, offers and coupons, too, as this can encourage a response.


Whilst B2B recipients may have their emails open all day (perhaps checking them every few minutes), B2C customers will likely be at work during the day. Their personal emails may be checked in the evening, or at the weekends – so ensure the timing of your campaigns is relevant to this. For example, B2B recipients may be extremely busy at the beginning and end of the day, so why not target them between 11am and 1pm? B2C recipients could well get home, cook dinner and sit down before checking their emails at 8pm or 9pm; so consider sending their mail-shots in the evening.

Taking all of the above into account, there is one thing B2B and B2C marketing campaigns do share in common – success is greatly improved by understanding exactly what your audience needs. Taking the time to figure this out, as well as tailoring your approach with the guidelines above, should give you a great shot at achieving maximum value from email marketing campaigns.

Download the Pure360 Email Maturity Model Benchmarking report

Becky Hesilrige
Becky Hesilrige
Becky is the Content Marketing Manager at Pure360. She studied Sociology and conducted her dissertation on online communication and relationships. Follow Becky on Twitter @beckyhesilrige
Recent Posts
Sign up to our newsletter

Start typing and press Enter to search