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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2016-04-06

B2B marketers who work at larger, more established Fortune 1000 or 2000 companies often target their campaigns on small or medium sized businesses (SMBs). When doing so, they sometimes frame their communications strategies in terms of how their own companies operate, perhaps assuming that smaller companies do

business in much the same way. In our experience, this is a mistake. But it’s a common one that can be easily addressed.

When targeting SMBs, it is critical to understand your target’s daily business life, and put yourself in their shoes so that your marketing messages will resonate. Here are four important factors B2B email marketers need to keep in mind when targeting SMBs:


  1. SMBs likely don’t have a corporate domain: First off, your email has to be delivered, and it won’t make it into a majority of your targeted SMBs’ inboxes if you assume they all have a straightforward corporate domain (i.e. “”). In fact, our data shows that less than a quarter (only 22%) of them actually do. The vast majority simply use common, “public domain” email service platforms such as Yahoo, AOL, Gmail or Hotmail. As a result, to reach these prospects, you’ll need to make sure your email data provider is able to provide you with access to these address domains. So do your homework here, as most data providers cannot reach the elusive SMB, and you don’t want to discover this when it’s too late – or you’ll be missing most of your SMB targets right off the bat.


  1. SMB org structure may be very different from your company’s: How job duties are dispersed and organizational reporting is structured can be very different in SMBs than in larger companies. Sometimes the owner (or a family member) might be in charge of sales and marketing, while the “CIO” might oversee finance, IT and HR. Such alternative organizational structures can make it difficult to determine who the user, purchaser and supporter of your product actually is. And when you’re dealing with an SMB, the same person may handle all of these responsibilities. That’s why it’s important for B2B marketers to invest the time to understand these roles within their target accounts.


  1. SMBs respond best to relationship building: SMBs often desire to purchase from local or long-term vendors who they believe have their best interests at heart and for whom they are an important customer. Strong relationships are important to SMBs. These trusted relationships are often their secret weapon in competing against their larger competitors, and it’s what they’re looking for from their own suppliers. For this reason, B2B email marketers targeting SMBs should ditch the generic “shotgun approach,” and focus on building long-lasting relationships through quality email lists and personal touch campaigns. Also, use a helpful approach with your email marketing content. Selling isn’t what sells anymore, and time-pressed SMBs, in particular, won’t read your content unless it delivers value.



  1. SMBs need you to add value quickly: In wearing many hats, SMBs will inevitably have wider but less focused business knowledge, and will rely on their vendors more to educate them on overall technology or business trends, best practices and potential solutions. So take a consultative approach, and be clear on how your solutions help expand their business and deliver ROI quickly, such as by increasing sales, reducing costs or improving their own customers’ experiences.


SMBs likely will not have the formalities, approval chain or bureaucracies of larger companies. This creates an advantage for B2B email marketers who understand the roles and daily lives of their targets, and can deliver clear, immediate value that SMBs can trust and rely on for years to come. Taking a larger role in the education and solution process puts more power – and the opportunity for success – into the hands of B2B email marketers.



Find and win new customers with targeted, high-quality email marketing data from OMI. Click here for more information and download our new e-book, “The Executive’s 15-Minute Guide to Building a Successful Email Marketing Database,” today.



Image credit: Copyright: bato1995 / 123RF Stock Photo

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