B2C versus B2B? What are the differences and best practices?

B2C versus B2B? What are the differences and best practices?

By Anna Benzaquen
Published: 11/16/22

Marketers must employ a variety of ways in order to maximize the success of their marketing efforts. B2B marketing emphasizes human interactions, whereas B2C email marketing is more transactional. Understanding these distinctions is critical for establishing a high-performing corporate marketing plan.

Business-to-consumer (B2C) email marketing is a vastly different enterprise from business-to-business (B2B) email marketing. But why? Aren’t they both email marketing?

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is the most profitable and cost-effective direct digital marketing channel that uses emals to promote products and services to customers present, past, and future. It generates, on average, a return on investment of over $40 for every $1 spent. 

Email marketing campaigns have high personalization possibilities and significantly lower costs than other marketing channels. Both of these benefits lead to wider reach and higher conversion rates than other marketing strategies. When you have direct access to your audience’s inboxes, you can leverage that access into a powerful and lucrative tool. There are many different types of marketing emails, including:

  • Promotional emails
  • Informational emails
  • Re-engagement emails

Promotional emails

Promotional emails (surprise, surprise) promote special offers, new products, and your brand as a whole. These types of emails have clearly defined calls-to-action (CTAs) that you want your customer to follow, such as “buy now!” Your sales and marketing cycles will determine how often you send promotional emails.

Informational emails

Informational emails maintain strong communication with your subscribers and include things like newsletters and announcements. Newsletters (also surprisingly) share news about your business, like milestones, advancements, or studies. These are typically sent at regular intervals to keep consistent touch points with your readers.

Announcements share large, important changes in your business, like new product releases or changes to your service. Announcements can also keep your readers in the know when you’re having problems like your website going down temporarily or shipping delays.

Re-engagement emails

Re-engagement emails help you reconnect with subscribers and customers who aren’t as active as they used to be. These emails can offer them incentives to return or check in about their preferences to make sure they are receiving the type of content they prefer at a frequency that works for them.

Why do B2B marketers need email marketing

Just like B2C marketers, B2B marketers use email marketing to educate readers about their brand, generate new leads, nurture existing ones, and convert readers into customers. Since businesses must conduct extensive research before purchasing products or services where individuals can buy to fill immediate needs, email marketing lets you and your brand build a long-term relationship with businesses both before and after they purchase your product or service.

Difference between B2C and B2B email marketing

Other differences between B2C and B2B email marketing include:

  • Target audience
  • Buying cycle
  • Email content
  • Tone
  • Timing
  • Frequency

Target audience

This is a fairly obvious difference. Business-to- Business (B2B) campaigns are targeting other businesses as consumers while Business-to-Consumer (B2C) campaigns target individual customers. Segmentation and personalization are important for both markets but B2B email marketing campaigns may focus more on demographics and company news, where B2C can also use purchasing and browsing history and focus on individual needs.

Buying cycle

Businesses tend to purchase in larger volumes and with more precision, so the research and consideration time before the purchase is necessarily longer. Businesses have more people involved in the decision-making process and multiple levels of approval required while individuals tend to make decisions alone or with one other person, making their purchases much quicker.

These different buying cycles require different marketing cycles to match. A slow drip of information and solutions over weeks or months can help build trust with businesses. On the other hand, individual readers convert to consumers more readily with time pressure applied – flash sales and short promotions often work to convince them to buy.

Email content

B2B email marketing content should be playing the long game, focusing on how your product or service offers financial benefits to the potential customer. Show that you are the solution to their problems with real data, facts, and logic. This will build the trust you need for a long-lasting B2B relationship.

B2C sales generally rely more on emotions, however, so animated graphics and quick, dopamine-infused copy is your best bet.


B2C emails tend to be very casual and personalized in tone. The campaigns use simple, relatable, and actionable wording to build a report faster. They also tend to play more on emotional triggers than B2B emails would.

B2B emails are generally more formal, but there are still people on the receiving end, so it’s important not to swing the pendulum so far as to sound stiff or robotic. The professional, objective tone that lends itself towards facts and results makes the most impact. Technical and industry-related jargon also finds a more appropriate home in B2B emails. Emotional connections are still important but the emotional triggers are generally avoided in deference to pertinent information.


The best time of day to send B2B marketing campaign emails is (unsurprisingly) during business hours, but not necessarily right away in the morning, when they are busy cleaning out all the emails received after the end of yesterday’s business. The best timing for B2C marketing campaign emails, however, seems to be in the early evening, just after working hours.


Frequency for both B2B and B2C email marketing relies partially on what you have already promised. If you have promised your customers weekly newsletters or daily discounts, the importance now falls on consistency. The readers may begin to expect your emails and missing a scheduled send may show that you aren’t as detail-oriented and trustworthy as a B2B customer would prefer.

This is, however, less of a problem on the B2C side, as they tend to chase promotions. Find the sweet spot for individuals by allowing them to set frequency preferences and then adhering to them. The exception to this being the holiday season, when you will likely need to increase your frequency to keep up with the demand and competition.

6 email marketing best practices

There are a plethora of methods you can use to ensure the success of your email marketing campaign. These are 6 of the best practices we’ve deemed the most important:

  • Optimize your content
  • Segment your customers
  • Automate
  • CTA button
  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Optimize mobile formatting

Optimize your content

Your content is the meat of your email marketing campaign. If you haven’t optimized your content to capture your readers’ attention, you will lose out on click-throughs and conversions. Subject lines, visual aspects like graphics and images, as well as the actual copy all affect your readers’ engagement. Figure out what your customers want and need, then tool your content around that.

Segment your customers

Segmenting your audience lets you organize your subscribers and decide how to act with each type. Since not everyone is interested in the same type of content, sending relevant emails to each type of subscriber will boost engagement and recognition of your company. You can segment your readers by demographics, interests, buying history, browsing history, and more. This data can be collected through reader surveys, preference settings, and other means of data collection linked to your website.


If you attempted to send individual emails to all of your current and potential subscribers, you would never have any time to devote to your actual product or service. There are many types of email automation companies or Email Service Providers (ESPs) so you can compare the services they offer and choose the ESP that corresponds the best to your needs.

CTA button

A call to action (CTA) leads your reader to the next step. You want them to click through and convert to customers which makes your CTA incredibly important. You need to choose the most urgent action you want your reader to take. Whether that’s sign-up, share, or purchase, make sure your button or link is distinctive and prominent. You can test out different active languages like “shop now,” “sign-up today,” or “get your free download” to see what works best for your campaign.

You need it to catch the reader’s attention. You may even want to include multiple buttons throughout the email that lead to the same landing page – one at the top, in the middle, and at the bottom so it’s as easy as possible for your reader to convert.

Create a sense of urgency

Sometimes it takes a little push to get readers to take up that call to action and convert to customers. That push can come in the form of a reminder that time is ticking. You can create a sense of urgency around certain types of campaigns like promotions or sign-up bonuses by including a countdown clock. The countdown urges them to take the leap sooner rather than later so they can benefit from your offer.

Optimize mobile formatting

People don’t only check their emails on their desktop or laptop computers. Readers are often using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets that need a different type of formatting to remain easily legible. You don’t want to miss a chance to convert a customer simply because your call to action got lost below the scroll or didn’t link properly on one type of device.

You can use mobile-optimized templates to design your emails and optimize them for the best mobile experience. These are adaptable to several different applications and make sure that all the pertinent information remains accessible regardless of the point of access.

In conclusion

When done effectively, email marketers may gain big profits and have a significant impact on the bottom line. B2C email marketing entails sending the correct message to the right person at the right time. If you haven't begun using email marketing yet, now is the time to investigate what the medium has to offer.

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