This lack of understanding stems from the fact that we are both consumers at home and work, and businesses at the same time. The fine line between work and home computing is getting blurred as we do office email at home, and look for phone or other gadget bargains at work.
It is no secret that traditional marketing in the business-to-business environment requires very different strategies from those campaigns directed towards the consumer market. The key is to have a clear objective for each campaign.
The sales cycle is often much longer and more complex in the B2B world, while consumer competition can be a lot fiercer, with customer loyalty a constant battle.
The objective for a B2B email marketing campaign is to generate interest in your products and services, to try to pre-sell or at least prop up the lead into a “prospect” first. Generate interest by offering free downloads, white papers, specifications, special reports about your products or services.
Converting your contact from a prospect to a lead to a customer is an involved process. B2B sales cycles can typically be several months, and in some cases even a year or more.
Building relationships is key in B2B sales. Because of the longer sales cycle, forming a relationship with the prospective buyer is important. Use email marketing to continuously add value to the relationship. Businesses can use email to provide a continuous stream of educational content which can ultimately influence the final purchasing decision.
Remember, B2B email primarily informs, and builds interest, not sells directly. The key use of B2B email marketing is to generate suspects into prospects into sales.
In your emails, provide content that the recipient can use to influence group decisions. Provide customer testimonials, some case studies, and some relevant trends from the industry. Make it easy to have your marketing materials reviewed by groups of people.
Use email as a way to promote all the benefits of your product or service so that buyers are well informed and comfortable with everything you have to offer.
In B2B content is king, B2C campaigns need to deliver a message that encourages the customer to be quick to click.
B2C campaigns are much shorter in duration and need to capture the customer’s interests very quickly. The path to purchase must be short and simple, no more than a couple of clicks from email receipt to order confirmation. The call to action must therefore be obvious and the offer enticing.
B2C email campaigns often highlight special deals, offer discounts or vouchers to be used online or in store. They can however also be informative, especially if the goal is to build the brand and enhance customer loyalty.
In a nutshell, the B2B buyer will make a decision based on how the service or product can increase profits and enhance productivity. Your marketing should involve activities that will help them realize the value of your products and services and how they will benefit their company.
A B2C buyer will make a decision based more on emotion, status, quality and comfort. Your marketing should focus on pricing, providing a fast, comfortable purchasing experience and building awareness about your products and services via repetition and consistency.
Of course, writing copy for either kind of email is hard work. Crafting a message suitable for your campaign is essential and half your work is done when you’re clear about the objectives.
Marketing Coordinator, WhatCounts