This blog was updated in June 2019. It was originally published in January 2017.
If most of your background in content marketing has been focused on business-to-consumer efforts (B2C), then you’re comfortable talking to your product’s end user and creating content that offers education, information, or entertainment. So, if you find yourself having to switch gears and focus on business-to-business (B2B) content marketing, it may feel like you’re speaking a whole new language.
It’s important to understand the ways that B2C marketing content and B2B marketing content differ. While B2C content is meant to build brand awareness, entertain, or educate your audience, B2B content is meant to showcase your unique differences, quality, and value.
B2C vs. B2B Purchasing Funnels
The B2B vs B2C purchasing funnel is a simple visual for understanding the different way that content is created for these different types of businesses. These funnels take you through the thought processes of the customers and how you should speak to them throughout their buying journey. This is a great example B2B vs B2C buying funnel from Track Maven.
Are B2B and B2C Content Really So Different?
It’s true that you need to approach B2B and B2C content differently, however, when it comes down to the fundamentals of content marketing, they are more alike than they seem. Your core approach to either type of marketing content should really be the same.
Know Your Audience
It all starts with knowing your audience, whether they are a young couple applying for a mortgage at your financial institution or a contractor who has been tasked with building a new school using modular construction, which you provide. Creating a persona for each target customer your product or service reaches is the foundation for all the decisions you make going forward. Through Google Analytics or social media analytics, you can gather information on the sex, age, and location of your website users. Expand that persona even further by digging a little deeper:
- What is her job? What does that position look like in her company? Is she the final decision maker or the information gatherer?
- What does his family look like? Is he single? Married? Have kids?
- How and where does he gather his information? What social media sites does he use? What websites does he visit frequently?
- Who are the other influence’s in her business decisions or personal buying habits?
Finally, make it a point to know your audience as a whole, not just the small part of their lives that your company touches. For a B2C audience, try to understand what their professional lives look like. At the same time, for a B2B audience, get a glimpse of what they do in their free time.
Understand Their Search Habits
All good content, no matter if it’s B2C or B2B, starts with keyword research. Using keyword research you can get a picture of what words, phrases, or long-tail questions users are typing into the search bar when they want to know about your industry, products, or services. As a result, you can get an idea of the concepts and topics your content marketing should be focused on. Another great resource for understanding what questions your customers are asking is right inside your organization already.
Tap into your sales team or customer service team, the people that are talking to your customers every day! Ask them to compile a list of the top questions or misunderstandings customers have about your products and service and address them in pieces of new content. And, if you’re worried that your B2B brand is too boring to create quality content, don’t be. We’ve already covered the fact that no brand is too boring for content!
Talk the Talk
For both B2B and B2C content, it’s important to establish a role of authority. But for different audiences, an authority may not look the same.
B2B audiences want to know that you’re a leader in the industry and respond to messages of service, value, and trust. A B2C audience has a high potential for brand loyalty. They are looking for emotional satisfaction and want to feel like they are in-the-know.
As an organic produce supplier, you want to show the buyers you sell to that you’re current with the latest organic growing methods and regulations. They want to know that they’re buying from a quality supplier who is doing everything on the up-and-up. As a shoe designer, you want your customers to see that you’re up-to-date with all the latest trends by showing them the best ways to style your products. This will instill confidence in your audience that they are cool and in fashion.
You can make your target audience aware of your industry knowledge and insight through the marketing content you produce. Whether you’re creating B2C or B2B marketing content, you want your audience to see you as an authority in your field, a brand they can feel good about buying from. The more expert content that you can create and share with your audience, the more they will see you as a trusted resource to whom they can turn to meet their personal or business needs.
Focus on the Formats They Prefer
There is no sense creating keyword-optimized, authoritative B2C or B2B content marketing perfectly suited for your target persona if you’re using a format they may never view. In general, B2C content can be a little more cutting edge, utilizing trending formats and platforms, while B2B content tends to be more traditional.
PointVisible created a thought-provoking infographic that breaks down how B2B and B2C marketers operated in 2018. It included information on the types of content the developed, which is quite telling.
- 74% of B2B content marketers created long-form content, while only 57% of B2C marketers utilized this format.
- 68% of B2C content marketers produced social media stories, whole only 37& of B2B content marketers used this platform.
The transition from B2C marketing content to B2B marketing content or vice versa may seem like comparing apple to oranges, but if you focus on your content marketing basics, you’ll see that they have more in common than you think.