The Key Differences Between B2B and B2C Email Marketing

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Difference Between B2B and B2C Email Marketing | Emailcenter

Email marketing is used by all marketers, but rules differ depending on the nature of your audience. One key area to focus on is separating your business and consumer campaigns, and understanding the difference between the two in order to send relevant content at the right time.

So, what do you need to look out for when planning your business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) email marketing campaigns?

Spam Filters

Getting your email into the inbox isn’t a challenge like it used to be. For B2B marketers content filters still have prominence. These look at the keywords in your email before deciding whether to inbox or junk your email. B2C marketers have to focus on building a sending reputation and ensure complaints are low, which shows you are a good sender.

The difference between a B2B and B2C mailbox is becoming blurred with the advent of Gmail being used to power many corporate email addresses and mobile devices being used equally for business people and consumers alike.

Optimal Send Time

The oldest question in email marketing – when is the best time to send an email? Our response would normally be it isn’t that important, however it does differ even if the principles remain the same.

The best time to send any B2B email is during office hours. Although you don’t want the email to land in the recipients inbox first thing in the morning – it’s likely to be included in their cleansing regime. Even for B2C marketers, we believe it’s best to deliver the email before 5pm on a weekday if you can to catch people at their desk.

With the increase of mobile use people can read email anywhere, but not all views are equal. A rule of thumb is to get them when they are sat down for an extended amount of time.

How Customers Respond

Business purchases tend to be more about people buying from people than consumers buying from a brand. The reply is therefore really important, so make sure you send from a person and don’t include a ‘no-reply@’ style email address. This is also true of consumer emails, but here there is less expectation to reply and greater need to focus on pushing customers down the online funnel.

In terms of content, the most important things to include in a B2B email are the phone number and personal details of who the email is from. Add personality by including links to their LinkedIn profile with a photo. Same for a B2C email, be transparent with who the email is from and make it easy for them to contact and make an enquiry.

Personalisation and Segmentation

This is important for all email marketing campaigns, but it may differ in it’s implementation. A B2C email campaign will benefit from personalised products down to the individuals taste. For B2B it can be far more subtle, such as news stories for their industry or case studies which match similar buying personas and needs.


Automated emails for B2C marketers tend to be to help drive someone back on site. For B2B marketers the trigger is more likely not to be an email but a phone call from the sales team as someone is on the site, and the role of the triggers is to nurture and drip feed relevant communications and stories over the lengthy purchase cycles.

About Rupert Adam

Marketing Manager at Emailcenter, the UK's largest independent ESP.