77% of B2C customers prefer email to any other marketing channel. Moreover, B2C marketers that take advantage of marketing automation witness conversion rates as high as 50%. Ah, and 80% of B2C marketers use email to nurture their audiences.
B2C email marketing is an indispensable strategy every email marketer must have in their marketing arsenal. It helps nurture leads from prospects to paying customers. However, achieving high results and a better ROI requires an effective B2C email marketing strategy.
“Whether it’s B2B or B2C email marketing, we passionately believe that good email marketing fundamentals are the same. We are all emotional beings looking for relevance, context and connection.” – EmailOut
Email drives results. The proof: email marketing has an impressive ROI of 42:1. However, do you know what email campaign to send to whom and when? The answer to this question is essential to achieve a successful B2C email marketing strategy. If you deliver highly personalised email campaigns (ones that educate, give something of value and convert) to your subscribers, you’ll make them feel like they matter to you and you know who they are, what they want and when they want it. In return, they will not only convert into paying customers but also, recommend your products/services to others consequently increasing your revenue.
In this article, we’ll cover the following topics on B2C email marketing:
- What is B2C email marketing?
- Key differences between B2C and B2B email marketing
- B2C email marketing best practice
- B2C email marketing examples
Ready to dive in?
To deliver efficient B2C email marketing campaigns, you need to understand what B2C email marketing is all about, how it is different from B2B email marketing, what best practice to use and the perfect B2C email marketing examples.
The Nature of B2C Email Marketing
Business-to-consumer or B2C marketing refers to any marketing concept, tactic or strategy where a company promotes its products/services directly to individual consumers. While B2C email marketing focuses on the emotion-driven purchase decision process, B2B email marketing focuses on logical process-driven purchase decisions.
B2C email marketing targets the needs, interests and requirements of people whose purchase decisions are directly made by the consumers themselves. Unlike B2B email marketing where the purchase is made on behalf of or for a business.
B2C email marketing is considerably different from B2B as the products/services promoted, and consequently the email content, vastly differ depending on the targeted audience. Yet, both email marketing strategies have similar conversion-focused goals.
Here’s what the B2C email marketing stats are saying –
a) 59% of consumers state marketing emails influence their purchase decision-making;
b) 80% of B2C customers utilise email marketing campaigns to nurture their audiences;
c) B2C marketers adopting marketing automation witness conversion rates as high as 50%;
d) 39% of B2C businesses distribute personalised product/service recommendations to their subscribers via email;
e) consumers check personal emails for an average of 5 hours each weekday;
f) the most commonly used type of automated marketing emails is the ‘welcome’ email, used by 58% of B2C marketers;
g) the other types of marketing emails used by B2C marketers are event emails (55%), promotional emails (52%) and newsletters (48%);
h) the perfect days of the week to send B2C emails are Tuesday and Thursday;
i) Saturdays have the highest conversion rate for B2C emails;
j) Fridays have the highest open rate than any other weekday, including the weekend; and
k) email has an ROI of 42:1.
The Difference Between B2C and B2B Email Marketing
B2C and B2B email marketing may have the same goals – communicating with customers, promoting products/services and effectively guiding prospects through the buying cycle. However, there are a few key differences between B2C and B2B email campaigns email marketers must keep in mind to maximise their email marketing ROI.
B2C email marketing presents both different opportunities and challenges than its counterpart B2B email marketing. Hence, a B2C email marketing strategy must be approached in a completely different way in all areas – from email design and content through target audience to delivery.
B2C email marketing’s main goal is to convince people to purchase products/services for their personal use. However, when purchasing goods/services for themselves rather than a business, the purchasing decision process is based on different criteria such as –
a) perceived value and evoked emotion – rather than considering the price, B2C consumers focus on how valuable a purchase would be and how it makes them feel;
b) brand loyalty – with B2C consumers brand loyalty plays a major role, unlike B2B where brands matter less. After all, certain brands offer values such as comfort, exclusivity, success, etc. all of which are feelings B2C consumers want to identify with; and
c) emotions instead of features – contradictory to B2B clients, B2C ones do not base their purchase motivations on logic, financial incentives or calculated decisions. They base it on emotions – how a purchase will make the buyer feel (or look) instead of the features of the product/service.
Maximising your email marketing ROI is often a time-consuming and Herculean job. However, if you know the four key differences between B2B and B2C email marketing, achieving your strategic goals will feel like a walk in the park.
1) The Buying Cycle
B2B: the buying cycle usually takes longer to convert prospects into leads and consequently into customers since you have to impress and convince a diverse range of people before a purchase decision is reached. Such a lengthy buying cycle where the result – a purchase – is accomplished can only be achieved by strategically dripping content over an extended time period.
B2C: the buying cycle is shorter since your B2C email marketing campaigns are directly addressing a targeted audience and focusing on the consumers’ more emotional and impulsive nature. The B2C decision-making process does not involve outside opinions as the consumer is making the purchase decision himself/herself. The B2C sales funnel targets a specific audience and involve only four steps –
1) opening the email,
2) clicking on the call-to-action (CTA),
3) being redirected to a landing page, and
4) completing a purchase.
2) The Tone
B2B: with B2B email campaigns the tone of voice tends to be more professional, objective, results-oriented and factual. In these email campaigns, marketers emphasise on the financial benefits of a product/service and letting the recipients know precisely what value they are getting for their money. The use of a more technical, industry-specific wording is often more appropriate rather than the casual, friendly tone in B2C emails.
B2C: with B2C email campaigns the tone of voice is more personal, casual even, and the wording is relatable and easy to comprehend. Often, B2C emails create urgency which targets the recipients’ emotional triggers.
3) The Content
B2B: the consumers’ response rate to B2B email marketing campaigns isn’t quite as quick and immediate as with B2C emails since the buying cycle with B2B is longer. In addition to designing a campaign with a non-promotional, educational content (like whitepapers or case studies), email marketers should also focus their email’s content on the industry’s pain points and place the sender (you) as the go-to source for solutions.
B2C: consumers’ responses to B2C email marketing campaigns are usually immediate and based on emotions. Thus, it’s imperative for your B2C email to communicate the value of your product/service quickly and definitively, as well as, to ensure your call-to-action (CTA) is optimised efficiently. Make sure your B2C email content creates a sense of urgency that prompts an immediate response. However, to do that, you first need to know your audience – what are their needs and interests, what motivates them, how can your content help them improve their skills, etc. If your B2C email content is not hitting all the right spots with its amazing value to the recipients, they will not come even close to responding to the call-to-action.
4) The Timing
B2B: Normal people, a.k.a 9-to-5 office workers, usually don’t check B2B emails at home. Thus, if your targeted audience is made up of such recipients, then the optimal time to send would be within business hours and advisably mid-week. Though, if your email list consists primarily of entrepreneurs and ‘workaholics’ (both tend to check their emails all day, every day), the weekend might also be an option to reach them.
B2C: Consumers, a.k.a people who don’t compulsively check their emails and sit in front of Gmail all day Monday through Friday, typically check B2C emails post-work. According to research, over 25% of marketing emails are opened in the post-work peak (from 5 to 7 p.m.) time, with other stats pointing out that consumers check personal emails for an average of 2.5 hours each weekday. Furthermore, various studies point out that the best days of the week for sending B2C email blasts are Tuesday and Thursday. However, people receive the most amount of emails mid-week. Therefore, if you want to have less competition in the consumers’ inbox, consider sending your B2C email campaign on other days of the week.
Even though these sending times and days are quite a useful starting point, testing is the most effective method of determining the optimal email sending times for your particular business and industry sector. Also, reports and analytics from a professional email marketing platform will be particularly useful for identifying the perfect time and the most optimal day to send your B2C email campaigns. Why? Because a sophisticated reporting system will give you a time and date stamp making sending your B2C email marketing blast at the right time on the right day extremely easy in future.
B2C Email Marketing Best Practice
Do you know how to provide value to your subscribers? As email marketers, you already have a B2C email marketing strategy in place. However, with some tweaks and the use of top B2C email marketing best practice, you can ensure your B2C email campaign delivers value to your subscribers. Hence, before revealing the top B2C email marketing examples, here are the top five best practices for you to implement.
1) Data and Segmentation
By regularly monitoring the ongoing behaviour of your recipients, you will gain the market intelligence to make decisions and changes to your strategy based on the recipients’ likes, dislikes, engagement and, most importantly, buyer behaviour. This process will help you build highly-targeted B2C email marketing campaigns which are based on your subscribers’ activity.
Secondly, since your consumers are at different stages of the buying cycle, email list segmentation is essential. Your B2C email campaigns should approach them with different targeted messages depending on the stage they are at.
Last, but certainly not least, if you cannot collect the above data from the get-go, make sure to gather at least the basic info such as email address and first name for the minimum of personalisation. Landing page data is also useful for future segmentation as it would help you get a better idea of your subscribers’ interests and needs so you have an indication of the product or service they are interested in.
For example, if a client clicked on product X on landing page X then you can use that data to tailor a B2C email based on that specific buyer behaviour. For instance, Jane was looking for anniversary gifts and visited that specific gift section on your website resulting in her making a purchase.
Once you have the basics, you can plan a strategy about collecting additional data that will help your specific business in its goals – competitions and surveys are good ways for gathering further data with the promise of a time-limited percentage discount coupon encouraging subscribers to participate. This will also give you trigger points to communicate with subscribers about their specific requirements in future.
Personalising your emails is an essential part of any (and all) email marketing campaigns. It is also the best way to ensure conversions. Personalised emails get 6 times higher transaction rates, boost open rates by 26% and revenue is almost 18 times higher. Once you’ve segmented your email lists, you will be able to create and deliver even more highly-personalised B2C email campaigns based on your subscribers’ interests, preferences, location, age, gender, buying cycle stage, occupation, etc.
The three main elements of a highly-personalised B2C email campaign are –
a) relevant content – creating buyer personas will help you nail this one,
b) perfect timing – should you send daily, weekly or monthly, and
c) personalisation – are you going to buy a Prada bag from John Doe or from Prada Italy which you recently signed up for? B2C clients’ expectation (at minimum) is for brands to address them by their name. However, a successful B2C email campaign goes beyond the subscribers’ first name. You need to ensure the content you deliver is specifically tailored to the subscribers’ interest, likes, needs and preferences. Take Amazon for example. Their product recommendations based on consumers “shopping trends and browsing history” are commonplace. Netflix is yet another example of offering highly-personalised content to customers with their “top picks for [Customer Name]” or “because you watched [movie name]”. Remember, B2C clients buy from brands.
Ah, and don’t forget, your content must – without a doubt – appeal to the consumers’ emotion. After all, their purchase decision is motivated by what they feel.
3) Design and Mobile optimisation
While B2B customers are accustomed to text-heavy, minimalistic designed email campaigns, B2C consumers are completely different. The latter, prefer simplistic, easy to navigate, text-light emails with one clear call-to-action. Thus, use design to your advantage. From relevant imagery and educational videos to bold text and font colour, make sure your B2C email campaign is eye-catching, creates a sense of urgency, delivers value, appeals to the consumers’ emotions and, most of all, that it is easy to navigate (I know I said it already but it bears repeating).
Lastly, don’t forget to optimise your B2C email campaigns for the small screen. All of the stats I’ve come across show that B2C emails get 47.8% more opens on mobile than B2B emails. Hence, your B2C emails must be optimised for the small screen. If they are not, you risk lower conversion rates and consequently, a substantial decrease in revenue.
4) Subject lines and call-to-action (CTA)
The few words in your subject line are the first thing recipients see. It’s the make-it or break-it moment for your B2C email campaign. According to stats, 47% of recipients open emails based on the subject line alone. Therefore, make sure you’ve crafted the perfect short, compelling and personalised subject line that’ll leave the recipients with no other option but to open your B2C email since they are dying with curiosity to find out what the email content will reveal. Also, remember that the optimal length for a subject line is 43 characters; with a maximum length of 60 characters.
Now, let’s turn our attention to the call-to-action (CTA). I know you want to make sure the recipients take action when interacting with your email. However, remember that overwhelming them with tons of different CTAs will do more harm than good. In the end, they’ll probably ignore the entire email and do absolutely nothing at all. Instead, focus on crafting one clear, prominent and perfectly placed CTA allowing your targeted audience to focus on your email’s content and consequently on one action.
76% of brands send B2C emails according to a frequency determined by the business itself. Yet, only 24% of consumers state they agree, and prefer, for a business to predetermine how often the brand communicates with them. However, 49% of consumers strongly prefer to sign up for brands’ email lists where they can choose what emails to receive and when.
As much as a business’s ego can be bruised by a consumer unsubscribing, it does happen. Don’t keep your subscribers hostage if they want to leave. Instead, include both an unsubscribe link (which is a legal requirement) and a preference centre link in your B2C emails. Give consumers the option to make a choice be it unsubscribing, changing the frequency of your brand’s emails or the type of email they receive from you (i.e. special offers, newsletter, events, webinars, blog updates, etc.).
B2C Email Marketing Examples
If you’re wondering what sort of B2C emails to send, here are seven B2C email marketing examples that, if implemented correctly, will help you engage, convert and provide value for your consumers.
1) Welcome emails
These introductory messages are email marketers’ first chance to make a great impression on new subscribers by introducing their company and how their products/services can deliver value. You’ve heard the phrase ‘love at first sight’, right? Well, by crafting an effective onboarding email series, you’ll ensure that “the love” will happen even at second sight; and why not at third sight, too.
2) Purchase confirmation emails
Transactional emails such as these present email marketers with an opportunity to seize the momentum of a recent purchase. Thus, give the consumer information about their purchase/order; and, use the opportunity to engage them further by either offering similar products/services or asking for their feedback on related products/services. Utilising this type of email is proven to generate 8 times more opens and click-throughs and 6 times more revenue.
3) Shipping/order confirmation emails
How often do you ‘track’ a purchase once you’ve received the confirmation email? With these emails, brands can keep consumers in the loop regarding their order’s delivery and any other related updates. By including a couple of key elements and adding a bit of creativity, these transactional emails will help you build customer loyalty, improve on your brand’s post-purchase customer experience and make your brand easily distinguishable.
4) Cart abandonment emails
Email marketers utilise this type of email to ‘inspire’ consumers who didn’t complete their buying process to do so. Why not encourage them by offering a one-time discount on their first-time purchase? According to stats, 81% of purchases made online are the result of targeted B2C email campaigns. Considering 75% of online shoppers leave websites without completing a purchase, these emails are a perfect opportunity to tip the scales in your favour.
5) Reminder emails
Businesses use these emails to reconnect with consumers at meaningful times of the buying cycle and remind them of the value their products/services can bring.
6) Birthdays and Anniversary emails
With these milestone emails, brands can leverage personalisation and ensure each consumer feels special by awarding them a tailor-made offer.
7) Re-engagement emails (or win-back emails)
If the subscribers on your email lists aren’t as active and engaged as they should or could be, don’t just dismiss them. Instead, try to re-engage inactive subscribers by giving them an email-exclusive offer, providing valuable advice or asking for their feedback/opinion. Moreover, stats point out that 45% of recipients who receive re-engagement emails will read subsequent emails from that brand.
Businesses that prioritise email marketing not only achieve more success but also, better customer engagement and retention; as well as, brand awareness. B2C email marketing is not only the perfect way to communicate with your consumers. It is also a powerful approach to drive more revenue.
There are numerous differences between B2B and B2C email marketing. But the main one is your targeted audience. For a successful B2C email marketing strategy, you need to know your consumers – what they like, what they are interested in and what they’re looking for in their buyer journey. Make sure you are carefully evaluating what resonates with your audience; and, design your B2C email campaigns so that they cater to your consumers’ needs. Show that you respect them and provide them with email preference options. Utilise the data you’ve gathered to design highly-personalised B2C email campaigns that convert.
The three essential things to keep in mind before you even start crafting your B2C email campaigns is to have a strategy to collect the right data from them, design your B2C email campaign so it plays on the recipients’ emotions and not their logical side, and always optimise your email campaigns for the small screen.
Now that you know the difference between B2B and B2C email marketing, what B2C email marketing best practice is and has seen powerful B2C email marketing examples, you can implement all you’ve learnt into your next B2C email campaign. Are you ready to begin?
Highly recommended further reading –
1) Email Marketing Automation
2) Email Marketing and Content Marketing
3) Email Personalisation
4) Email Design Best Practices
5) Optimise Your Email For The Small Screen
6) Email Marketing Automation