Is SMS marketing better for B2B or B2C?
SMS can be used for both, however, the approach needs to be adjusted. Typically, with B2C (selling inexpensive items) you can use SMS by itself to drive conversions e.g. “50% off sale today!” Typically, In B2B, with longer sales cycles and more complex solutions SMS is used as part of a multi-channel approach, for example, you would start with SMS e.g. “Download our lead generation method for fintech’s” but will have to hand it off to a human to progress the sale.
How to use SMS for B2B
Generally speaking, when using SMS in business you will be using it at the earlier stages of the buying process (top funnel).
This will mean using some form of information to get them onto your SMS list.
But chances are that you want to continue to message them like you would with B2C SMS campaigns instead you would hand that lead off to a salesperson to follow up.
Before creating a B2B text messaging campaign there is some groundwork that needs to be covered.
The first step is to figure out how you’re going to get them on the SMS list.
In the majority of cases you will be looking to build a list in exchange for information whether that is:
- Guide or whitepaper
- A strategy call
- Some kind of Analysis
Once you know the way in which you are going to get them onto a list you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- WHO you are targeting specifically.
- You need to understand that person’s single biggest pain point or challenge.
- How will you communicate using SMS?
Who are you targeting?
When running B2B SMS campaigns it is important to target a specific individual, are you targeting the CMO, CCO, project manager, sales manager or the business owner etc.?
What is the single biggest pain point or challenge for that person?
Business people are usually quite busy so to cut through the noise you need to speak directly to their existing pain point.
How will you communicate using SMS?
Are you going to send them a specific drip-fed sequence of information or are you going to do send one SMS and then hand it over to your salesperson to call and set up an appointment?
Once you’ve got the above complete it’s now time to get as many eyeballs on this offer as you can.
You need to know where your target prospect spends most of their time.
Channels you may use to promote the campaign:
- LinkedIn – get all of your employees to post the campaign on their feed.
- Company Newsletter – if you have prospects that are in your newsletter then post in on there.
- Websites – do they congregate on specific websites? Buy ad space and promote your offer there.
- Social media channels – schedule the promotion to run on your social media channels. Pin it to the top of your feed.
- Your website – most of your traffic won’t convert but will take a small step towards solving their problem
- PPC – if you’re currently using paid ads then set aside a budget to promote the campaign.
Whatever marketing channels you are currently using your SMS promotion should have some kind of presence.
Can you use SMS to sell the product like you can with B2C?
Generally speaking, no.
But there are 2 scenarios where it may make sense.
If you’re selling recurring services that require confirmation from a client (monthly, quarterly, annually) then you may be able to send them a quick SMS with details and they can reply back with the SMS confirmation to continue.
This is useful if you have a large portfolio of clients and SMS can help you cut your workload down.
Even then this would be for smaller dollar value clients, bigger clients should always be called.
If the prospect has read the information, sat down with your salesperson, gone through every meaningful feature and benefit and come to the conclusion that the product fit is right but maybe they want a 10% discount to proceed and you have good rapport it could work.
As long as the price point is less than $10,000 I don’t really see why not.
Sending them a quick SMS asking if they’re still interested is fine.
I’ve closed $2,500 packages with an SMS on a few occasions but again everything had been lined up correctly before I was able to do that.
How to use SMS for B2C
B2C SMS marketing is typically used at the end of the buying process.
If the product is relatively cheap under $100 then SMS offers work fantastically well.
If you’re selling solutions that run into the $1,000’s of dollars then it may require an extended SMS campaign or involves a sales consultant.
B2C SMS process
At its most basic level all you need to do is build a list and send ongoing SMS messages.
Create an offer
Create different offers that are attractive to specific buyers in your market.
Segment your lists
Sending out offers and information to everyone on your list is not a good idea and is referred to as spam.
The goal with SMS is to separate buyers into different groups so that we’re only sending specific offers to specific buyers.
SMS segmenting helps you do this which helps reduce unsubscribes and increase sales.
Builds a list
To build a list we need to get eyeballs on to our promotion.
Just like in the B2B example get your promotion onto every channel you can to give it maximum exposure.
Once your list starts to build, send our occasional offers and information to the various list segments.
Summary: B2B vs B2C SMS Marketing
There are more commonalities than differences between the business and consumer markets with the main differences being:
- Consumers are generally fine with ongoing text messaging as long as it’s relevant to their needs.
- Businesses will not want to hear from you consistently on SMS.
- Consumers can be converted via SMS depending on the price point, for example, you can’t sell a home via SMS.
- While you can begin a relationship with a business professional using SMS (i.e. downloading information) you will need to hand this off to a human to complete the sale.
Generally speaking, regardless of whether you’re in the B2C or B2B market, the more pressing factors are:
- Is what you are selling expensive? SMS is more suitable for lower commitment transactions, selling expensive items will require the human component.
- Is what you are selling complex in nature? Since SMS has limited characters a complex solution will require more education and a dynamic conversation i.e. get a human involved.
As I said at the beginning of this article SMS can be used for both markets but the answers to these questions will determine how it is used.