If you’re looking to attract more visitors to your website, generate more leads and increase overall revenue, you need a fool-proof content marketing strategy. The approach will vary, however, depending on whether you’re targeting Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Consumer (B2C).
In this guide, we’re going to delve into the main differences between B2B and B2C content marketing, while offering you some valuable insights on how to inject more power into your current strategy. Let’s get into it!
B2B vs. B2C: what are they?
Before we dive into the differences between B2B and B2C content marketing, we’ve first got to establish what they are:
- B2B, or Business-to-Business, is a term that refers to marketing products/services to other businesses, e.g., a telemarketing company supplying phones to a company’s line of offices.
- B2C, or Business-to-Consumer, is a term that refers to marketing products/services towards individual consumers, e.g., an ecommerce website supplying clothes to a consumer.
Though there’s certainly overlap between the two when it comes to content marketing, there are several key differences that you’ll want to take note of to ensure your strategies are as effective as possible.
B2B vs. B2C content marketing: what are the differences?
When it comes to B2B content marketing, you’re usually targeting a single employee of an organisation who is responsible for purchasing products or services that will help the business grow in some way. In other words, these employees are attempting to figure out how you will help maximise their business’s ROI.
Unlike general consumers, there’s much more on the line with B2B customers. Why? If they purchase your product/service and it doesn’t work out, it could lead to their business losing money and potentially ruin their reputation. This means that they’ll need more evidence to push them into biting the bullet.
Eventually, as the employee begins to buy into the advantages of a potential relationship with your business, more people will become involved. Generally speaking, these people will be the key decision-makers within the business. The closer you come to sealing the deal, the higher up the employee ladder you’ll get.
With B2C, you’re marketing to a single consumer who is looking to purchase something that will fulfil an emotional or personal need. This target market tends to be far wider than B2B, simply because you’re not sticking to a specific industry or key decision-makers. As a result, you’ll likely need to create a wider range of buyer personas.
B2C customers don’t have as much to worry about as B2B customers. Though they run the risk of wasting their hard-earned money if your product/service doesn’t pan out, the bad decision won’t affect them any further (unless they’ve recommended it to someone). This means that they’re more likely to make emotional or impulsive purchases.
With B2B content marketing, you’re focusing on establishing a strong relationship with potential buyers. To do this, you’ll not only need to build brand awareness, but also demonstrate that you’re a leader in your industry and, consequently, a business worth investing in.
The beauty of forging these relationships, other than successfully converting your audience to actual buyers, is that it increases the chances of them coming back to you for future purchases.
With B2C content marketing, you’re focusing your efforts on trying to engage your consumers. You want them to feel something the moment they see or think about your brand in order to generate an immediate need for your product/service.
You’re trying to establish a relationship which will lead to an immediate sale, but with the hope that it will potentially convert them to a loyal customer who will make repeat purchases further down the road.
The decision-making window for B2B customers is extremely long. It’s not as simple as heading to your website, deciding that you’re the right fit and making the purchase. With multiple parties being involved, the deliberation process can be pretty laborious. The bigger the business is, the longer it will take due to the back and forth between departments.
These key decision-makers are then weighing up every factor involved—like price, features, durability—and looking at your competitors to determine whether or not you’re a worthy investment.
What this means is that you need to provide as much compelling evidence as possible to help make these decisions as easy as possible.
As you’d expect, the decision-making window for B2C customers is extremely short. With the process involving only a single person, they can make the purchase instantly without having to consult anyone else.
Though it depends on the individual and the amount of money involved, B2C customers tend to rely mostly on their emotions and/or a need they want to fulfil (see copywriting and heuristics for more information) when making a purchase.
To ensure you’re their first port of call, you need to work on increasing brand awareness and generating an actual desire for your product/service amongst your target audience.
Logic vs. emotion
B2B customers are always thinking logically when they weigh up the decision to purchase a product/service. After all, their company’s money and their own reputation is on the line!
This means that they’re going to carefully wade through all of your information, analyse your data/statistics and check your online presence thoroughly to decide whether or not you’re the right fit for them. Remember, it’s not a simple one-off purchase here. They’re looking for someone they can start a business relationship with, so they need to be 100% sure.
To help them come to the logical conclusion that you’re the right fit, you need to show them how your product/service can solve their problems, or help to elevate their business in some way. This could be with whitepapers, case studies and other technical documentation.
Though there can be underlying logic behind every B2C customer’s purchase, they’re generally fuelled more by emotions, or a desire for something.
This means that you need to make them feel something when they see your brand name, or look at your products—whether that’s through celebrity endorsements, fun ads or social media promotions.
You’ve also got to home in on what pain point(s) you’re targeting with your product/service. If you’re able to give your B2C customers a solution to one of their major problems, they’ll be more likely to make an immediate purchase.
In order to win the hearts and minds of your B2B customers, you need to be specific and detailed about who you are and what it is that you’re selling. You can’t afford to be vague here. If they visit your website and come away with more questions than answers, they’re likely to head to your competitors rather than ask you for elaboration.
So, you need organised information that delves into product/service descriptions, exact benefits and accompanying data. You’ll also want to provide more detail about your business model and what makes you so different from your competitors.
There’s no such thing as too much detail here. These key decision-makers will weigh up every facet of your business before taking the next step.
With B2C customers, you’re focusing on a different type of specificity. Rather than giving detailed descriptions of your products/services, you want to keep hammering home the exact pain point(s) that you’re targeting. Again, the aim is to grab your B2C customers’ attention or influence their emotions in some way.
Though you’ll want to provide some information about who you are, you don’t need to use as much detail. As long as they’re able to verify that you are a legitimate business with an online presence, the only thing on their mind is how much they want or need your product/service.
When it comes to B2B content marketing, using industry-specific jargon and terminology is a must. Using their language tells them that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re familiar with their industry. Remember, it’s vital that you present yourself as an authority figure.
That being said, you’ll want to avoid falling for the same assumption as other B2B content marketers—that B2B content should be professional and dry. Just because you’re targeting businesses doesn’t mean that you should write boring content. You can easily use jargon while injecting more personality and energy into the mix.
Rather than confuse your B2C customers with complex jargon, you need to stick to using more straightforward language in your content. This will make your brand seem more approachable and will ensure that your message isn’t lost in transmission.
But what if your buyer research tells you that your target market is familiar with this type of jargon? Opt for the less is more approach! Though you’ll want to display your knowledge of this terminology, you also want to avoid alienating any potential buyers who aren’t in the know.
Your B2B content strategy needs to focus on how your product/service fulfils a key business need. This is usually how you can save them time/money, or increase their profit/productivity in some way.
The best way to do this is through informative content that delves into what your product/service does, why it’s so great and how it can take a business to the next level. This applies to blog posts, lengthy whitepapers, webinars and even infographics. Add in some statistics, graphs and industry-related information and it will go a long way towards appealing to B2B customers’ logic-based decision-making.
The social media platform you pick will vary depending on the businesses you’re targeting, but you’re generally looking at business-oriented platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. This will give you a chance to increase brand awareness and build yourself up as an authority figure in your industry.
Your B2C content strategy needs to focus on how your product/service helps a customer fulfil a desire, or solve a specific pain point.
Your content needs to be entertaining and engaging in order to appeal to your customers’ emotional and impulsive decision-making tendencies. You can do this with a range of fun content types, including short-form blog posts, videos, emails and user-generated content.
The beauty of B2C customers is that you can take advantage of a wider range of social media platforms. Whether it’s Instagram, TikTok or Facebook, you can carefully craft enticing promotions and exciting product release announcements to generate leads and increase brand awareness.
If you’re looking to give B2B customers a reason to trust you, look no further than case studies and testimonials from authority figures. If you can get big company names to endorse your business, you’ve already got one foot in the door. This will go a long way in cementing you as an authority figure, not to mention highlighting your expertise and great reputation.
Additional forms of social proof that work well with B2B customers are industry awards and statistics. Why? Your customers want hard proof that you’re actually good at what you do because it gives them a reason to trust you.
With B2C customers, you’ve got a lot more variety to take advantage of in terms of social proof. If you’ve got the budget for it, celebrity/influencer/expert endorsements can go a long way towards building brand awareness and influencing your customers’ emotions.
Otherwise, forms of social proof like reviews and user-generated content can be just as effective. Real evidence that you have helped solve people’s pain points, or have made someone happy, can encourage people to take the plunge and make a purchase.
Now you know what the difference is between B2B and B2C content marketing you can create a strategy that will better suit your target market and undoubtedly lead to an increase in conversions. For more handy tips and advice, head on over to the Supersede Blog.