As consumers we are exposed to an ever-increasing number of businesses trying their hardest to get our attention. It is estimated that the average person is exposed to up to 5,000 adverts a day. This is not even taking into consideration the number of promotional emails that land in their inbox, this number is believed to be well in excess of 100 every day.
There are also additional considerations when we consider B2B communication as you are not only competing with other brands, but also internal emails that mean that your attempts to contact the recipient can end up buried deep within their inbox.
If you are a small to medium sized business owner, then you will be aware of the importance of planning, developing and executing a clear and concise communications strategy to grow your business. This is especially important as you will also need to ensure that the resources you have available are being used effectively to generate a strong return on investment.
As the way in which users receive information and interact with brands evolve over time, it is important to ensure that you are connecting with your audience across multiple channels and devices for your campaign to be as effective as possible.
What is an Effective Business Communication Strategy?
Developing an effective communications strategy depends on the type of audience that you are targeting; there are key differences and considerations depending on whether you are focusing on Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Consumer (B2C) communication.
So, what are the differences between B2B & B2C Communication?
B2B and B2C communication vary as both are tying to capture the attention of two different types of audiences. Although there are some levels of similarities between the two, the way in which the audiences engage and interact is quite different.
B2B Marketing Communication Strategies
Firstly, we will examine the key considerations for B2B and what you should be focusing on to deliver a successful communication strategy.
Focus on Growth & ROI
If you are communicating with a B2B audience, then you need to be conveying a sense of authority within your niche and sharing your expertise. Focus on detailing the value or benefit that the recipient will gain from your brand and how their business will grow and be in a better position.
Essentially, think about how you will help their business make more money.
Educate your Audience
As B2B transactions tend to be on a longer-term basis and for considerably more money compared to B2C transactions, audiences need to be educated to make sure that they have in-depth knowledge of your industry, business and your offerings to the market and be at an advantage thanks to your services.
Consider the Hierarchy
When planning a B2B communication strategy you need to consider that there is a chain of command involved in the purchasing procedure. Therefore you need to devise a strategy that addresses each member of the hierarchy and the different considerations that each of these will have. This is where it is important to understand your audience in detail so you can tailor your overall content strategy to their needs.
Longer Conversion Time
One key difference between a B2B and B2C communications strategy is that the time to convert time is considerably longer for B2B. Therefore, you need to be carefully nurturing these leads over a longer time period, considering the way in which your company is presented and the overall experience of the user in relation to your company. As part of planning your strategy, map out the entire buying cycle and ensure that you are serving content that covers each of these stages.
Keep in Touch Post Purchase
Unlike B2C relationships, B2B relations tend to continue post-purchase, therefore you need to be planning your strategy following the moment of sale. Keep in mind the long-term ways in which your customers can use your services and how you can help them get the most out of the product over time.
This also means that if there is a renewal period or opportunity to up-sell, you will be in a strong position to take advantage of this after building a strong relationship with your customers.
B2C Marketing Communication Strategies
More Emotionally Driven
Unlike B2B purchases that are based upon logic and specific needs, B2C communication is driven much more by the audience’s emotion. Therefore, you need to focus on your brand’s messaging and try to resonate with your target audience as much as possible. Even something as simple as telling a story in which you detail a feel-good factor around your product can go a long way in persuading people to purchase a product.
Shorter Transaction Window
Unlike B2B communication strategies, B2C has a much shorter period in which the audience is in the consideration phase. Therefore, you need to be refining your content to ensure that you are compelling your audience to take immediate or short-term action to complete the purchase, this is especially the case when we consider the eCommerce sector.
Make It Fun
B2C communications should use informal and colloquial language that it used in everyday language by your audience. This helps them to feel closer to your brand and the products that you are offering and encourages them to commit to purchasing.
The approach you take post purchase with your customers is different if you are working in B2C compared to B2B. This type of communication requires less frequency, but it doesn’t mean you should completely ignore your audience! Send automated content based upon previous purchase history or if the user has not purchased for a set period time, send them a bespoke offer for a certain percentage off related products based on their previous purchase history.
Choose the Right Channels
Ensuring that you are delivering your content via the appropriate channels is also a factor in achieving a successful communication strategy.
It is also important to consider that as consumers will be engaging with your campaign on a variety of devices and operating systems it is imperative that your chosen method of delivery is fully responsive and optimised across a range of devices.
The first consideration, and arguably the most important, is that you need to take a multichannel approach to ensure that you are fully engaging your audience and reaching them on their device of preference to achieve your desired results.
Why is a Multichannel Approach Better?
When you are planning a successful marketing communication strategy, it is important to consider that complementary channels are always going to increase your levels of success. The integration of email and SMS Marketing for both B2c and B2B purposes is going to lead to higher levels of success across the following metrics:
While most recipients are going to have access to an email, not all of them are going to be smart devices, meaning that they will not receive your emails on their devices.
This is where SMS is a real asset as you can follow up your email with an SMS to notify your recipients that there is an email waiting for them in their inbox. SMS has some of the most impressive metrics compared to other digital marketing channels, including:
- 98% open rate
- 90% of SMS are read within 3 minutes
- SMS boats a 209% higher response rate compared to other channels
This is particularly advantageous if you have an offer within your email and want to be sure that your recipients will be aware. This means that you can be sure that when you send SMS your open and conversion rates will inevitably soar.
It should therefore be no surprise that the SMS is continuing to enjoy a renaissance with brands and marketers across a variety of sectors.
Response Rates & Time
When we consider that email marketing enables you to reach and get your message in front of a global audience, it needs to be considered a core channel of your communication strategy. Its ability to cost-effectively reach thousands of your customers around the world with detailed content and messaging means that it stands apart from other messaging channels.
It also provides you with the possibility to gain insights into your audience and send tailored content to a refined audience based upon their interests and previous interaction with your campaigns. While many companies have clearly mastered the art of creating compelling emails that enjoy high open rates and drive conversions, as mentioned previously, not everyone ends up reading them, meaning all that hard work was for nothing.
If you’re sending your recipients an email that requires a response, maybe to book a demo of your product or to schedule an important follow up call, then relying on email for them to schedule could mean that you are missing out on warm leads that will have a strong conversion rate.
When we consider that SMS enjoys a high response rate, this makes it the perfect channel to complement your email messaging and enjoy higher levels of engagement and the number of leads generated. This is exemplified by the fact that typical response times to email marketing tends to be around 90 minutes, while on the other hand SMS tends to be a mere 90 seconds!
Email is one of the most powerful ways in which to engage your audience with your messaging, especially when we consider the power of segmenting users.
While the humble SMS does not allow senders to deliver this high-level of engaging content, it is possible to utilise specially tailored mobile landing pages to properly showcase your products and services via the power of video and interactive images.
Bringing your content to life in this way enables you to engage your audience, collect data and generate leads.