B2B vs B2C Content Marketing – What’s The Difference?
Learn the difference between B2B and B2C content marketing and discover the different strategies for targeting your prospects with content that converts.
Marketing god Seth Godin said that content marketing is the only type of marketing that’s left. But whether you’re in the B2B or B2C space, it’s super important that you understand the distinctions between B2B and B2C content marketing. Knowing the difference will help you create a stronger campaign that targets your prospects with content that converts.
Not just that, but your ROI will improve.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the difference between B2B and B2C content marketing, and we’ll also offer strategies to help you improve your campaigns.
B2B Vs. B2C Content Marketing – The Major Differences
The Prospect's Motivation
In the B2C space, the customer is looking to build a relationship with you via your content. They want to be entertained and emotionalized. In other words, they want to feel something.
That is why storytelling is so important in B2C content marketing. It triggers certain emotions and – over the long term – drives the customer to take action and stay loyal to you.
Take branded content, for example. Branded content isn’t even about the product. Instead, it’s about eliciting certain emotions within the target audience so that they feel a certain way.
At the same time, B2C content has to tap into another factor that motivates the buyer, and this is that the buyer has a problem that needs to be solved. As such, they’ll turn to content to either do some research or discover an actual answer to their query (and this query can be anything, from ‘how do I solve this?’ to ‘which brand is the best one for me?’
In the B2B space, the client is on the lookout for value. They want you to be an efficient expert who’s got content filled with stats and case studies that are presented in such a compelling way that the only thing they can do now is to take action.
Trust is important to B2B customers, too, but it’s especially important to B2B clients. There’s often big money involved and they need to see that you’re the authority here who’s got what they need. As a result, B2B content needs to be focused on positioning the brand as a thought leader in their sector.
A B2C content strategy is typically all-encompassing. It includes blog posts, videos, web copy, emails, and even miniature, funny tweets.
It also includes fan-made content, such as this from Starbucks fans:
With the strategy that Starbucks employs, the coffee giants are able to build relationships with their audience by resonating with them more than their competitors.
Brands will often create content that shares the same values as their customers, or which promote a cause that their audience cares about. Customers also care about image, too.
The aim, then, of B2C content strategy is to push emotional buttons and be relatable with your audience. At the same time, that doesn’t mean you can’t mix things up with solid data, too. Use your content to build relationships but don’t forget that you need to be the expert here. Remember, you need to make money through sales and to do that, people need to trust that you know what you’re doing.
Most importantly, don’t forget to create content that makes people feel a certain way.
Look at it like this. People who choose Coca Cola over Pepsi don’t do so because Coca Cola knows more than Pepsi. A case study or a statistic is hardly likely to sway someone over to one side. Instead, folk who choose Coca Cola over Pepsi (or vice versa) often do so because they associate themselves with a particular brand more.
And the way brands get people to associate and identify themselves with their brand in 2021 and beyond is via content.
Unlike B2C, B2B content marketing is laser-focused on ROI. In this sphere, it’s all about crunching the numbers and using solid data. Clients want to know what, why and how. They don’t want you to push their emotional buttons. Instead, they want to see what you can do for them, and why they should choose you. Their decisions are guided by logic and a need to complete certain tasks.
Thus, B2B content is informative, educational and straight to the point.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use stories in your content. But stories need to be complemented by graphs, figures, and cold facts. Therefore, you can use infographics, blog posts, articles, and website copy to speak to your target audience.
Creating a B2C buyer persona can be a bit tricky because there are often various types. This is why segmentation, for example, is so important in the B2C sphere.
Take bodybuilding. A bodybuilding blog that’s ultimately promoting protein supplements will have to consider a variety of personas, from males to females, pros to beginners. Consequently, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ rule. Instead, you need to create different content for different needs. This is especially true of your email campaigns, where segmentation will prove useful.
B2B is different in that the target audience is more focused and specific. They are simply the buyers who have the responsibility for making purchase decisions for their organization.
And this is key: You’re aiming your services – and thus content – at a specific type of organization. Consequently, your audience is smaller and more defined.
Contrast that with Coca-Cola, whose audience is huge, and which includes all different types of personalities and professionals.
In some ways, the fact that a B2B audience is more specific makes it easier to create and tailor content. You can also use channels like LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates to make your life even easier. And while B2C content is more at home on the other social media channels, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, this doesn’t mean that a B2B content strategy should ignore them.
That said, the way you create your buyer personas for either B2B or B2C prospects is more or less the same.
Visuals are super important when it comes to B2C content marketing, with 11% more B2C than B2B marketers (according to SocialMediaExaminer) saying that visual content is number one in terms of priority.
Indeed, customers respond very well to visuals. Especially on their mobile devices, where videos are watched 10 million more times each day than they were in 2017.
Instagram is naturally the most visual of platforms, but B2C content formats are wide-ranging. They include web articles, blogs, infographics, branded content, mobile apps, and webinars.
Infographics are especially useful, as they’re a great way to distill lots of key information in a visually pleasing way.
But it’s video content that works best at connecting businesses with their customers. YouTube has risen to be the world’s second-biggest search engine, and perhaps no other type of content pushes as many emotional buttons as videos. Video allows a brand to tell their stories in an engaging (and even interactive way when you consider virtual reality technology) way, and they also look pretty smart.
While B2B content can still include visuals, it’s less likely to include as many as B2C content. According to a report, 85% of businesses prefer text content to video or audio when making a business decision.
There might be a variety of reasons for this. For one thing, the client might be inclined to read a blog post during office hours, but of course, might not be able to listen to the audio.
Moreover, they might divide their time between a blog post and their own work, something which is harder to do with a video as a well-formatted blog post lets the reader scan the content quickly.
As a result, B2B content includes case studies, blogs, and white papers. But it also extends to online presentations, webinars and social media marketing.
How To Create B2C and B2B Content
When it comes to content creation, you need to understand why your audience would want to buy from you.Click to Tweet
Companies buy from B2B companies because they have a specific need.
Consumers sometimes buy from B2C brands because they have a specific need (for example, they need a new washing machine to do their laundry).
Sometimes, however, consumers buy for frivolous reasons. For example, does that hip 21-year-old student living in San Francisco really need an expensive iced mocha this morning? Probably not, but they go ahead and buy it anyway.
As consumers, then, a lot of our purchases are driven by our emotions. In fact, most of our purchase decisions are decided by our subconscious.
Businesses are different. They buy purely based on logic and a need to get a task done as efficiently as possible. Their buying decisions are cool and calculated.
Thus, the subject matter of your content will be different according to whether you’re in the B2B or B2C space.
As a general rule of thumb, B2B content should always educate and inform, while B2C content should excite and inspire.
That doesn’t mean to say B2C content can’t educate and inform, too. It can and, a lot of the time, it does. But the main focus needs to be on building a buzz around a product, a brand, and generating lots of excitement.
Find out more about B2B and B2C content marketing from Brafton, who have some great ideas for your content creation and strategy. They make a good point that your content strategy should be informed by data and analysis, for example, by using content research tools like Google trends and keyword tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs. It's also worth highlighting the need to analyze your stats and access what's working and what's not.
Take a look at MailChimp’s resource section below.
MailChimp is a B2B organization that creates content aimed at educating and informing other businesses on the subject of email marketing as much as possible.
And they do a pretty good job of it.
They have to. Otherwise, clients would turn to their rivals instead.
See, clients in the B2B sphere have to be 100% sure about a business before they make a buying decision. They need to be 100% sure that this business is going to make their business more efficient.
By creating a resource section bursting with helpful content, MailChimp is showcasing their knowledge and positioning themselves as the go-to experts in their niche.
Not just that, but they create content that shows businesses how to get the most out of their service and its features. It’s this kind of content that nudges organizations in the direction of a sale because not being able to understand how a service works is one of the reasons churn rate can be so high for SaaS businesses.
This, of course, is truer in specific niches than it is in others.
Take, for example, Madewell Musings, a fashion blog for the fashion brand Madewell. Their content isn’t just focused on helping people choose the right outfits. Instead, their content strategy includes inspiring articles about culture, cuisine, holidays and even music.
Why? Because they understand that their buyers share these interests. By creating inspiring content about these topics, Madewell is making a strong connection with their audience and making them excited about their brand.
They’re not just going in for the sale all the time. Instead, they’re focused on building actual long-term relationships.
After all, research has shown that it takes 2 – 8 touch points before a company makes a sale. Don’t forget that a customer goes on a journey before they buy from you, and it’s your content that can guide them through the journey from initial contact to conversion.
The friendlier, more personable and inspiring your content is, the more likely it is that the customer will stay in touch.
Content That Answers Questions
Whether you’re in the B2B or B2C sector, you should be creating content that answers questions.
Think about it, what do B2B and B2C prospects have in common? If there’s one thing they have in common, it’s that they have a problem.
Then, you should carry out long-tail keyword research so that you rank in the SERPs and drive qualified traffic (leads) to your website.
Of course, there’s more to it. Your content needs to have as much value as possible, and it needs to answer questions with as much depth and insight as possible. In other words, it needs to be better than the competition. To this end, it’s a good idea to create long-form content (content that is at least 1,000 words).
And if you’re really struggling, you could implement the skyscraper technique. This is when you take an existing piece of well-performing content (you can use BuzzSumo to help you find content), identify weaknesses – and then make it bigger and better using your own words. This means adding more advice, more information, more stats, more research and so on.
4 Ways To Create a Successful Content Marketing Strategy
For B2B and B2C content marketing to be successful, the right strategy needs to be put in place. Here are some tips:
Understand Your Sales Funnel
Whether you’re in the B2B or B2C sphere, your prospects will enter a sales funnel.
A sales funnel begins with the awareness stage, before moving onto the evaluation stage and ending with the purchase stage.
At the top of the funnel (the awareness stage) is your brand awareness content. This is where you use content to grab people’s attention, build trust and engage them.
That said, it’s really important that you learn how to create content for every part of your funnel.
Use Analytics To Guide Your Content Marketing Decisions
A good content marketing campaign is about quality over quantity. A steady output matters, but it matters a lot less if the output isn’t hitting the spot with your audience.
It’s always a good idea to use your analytics (such as Google Analytics) to find out what’s working and what isn’t. Admittedly, analytics tools can be confusing. Here's a Google Analytics guide for beginners that shows you how to set up everything correctly and track conversions via goals.
Once everything is correctly set up, you can refine and improve your strategy.
It’s also a smart idea to perform a content audit, as well as an SEO audit every few months so that you stay on track.
Create and publish content, and then analyze, tweak and rinse and repeat.
Repurpose Your Content
Earlier we mentioned the various content formats for both B2B and B2C businesses.
The good news is that you can repurpose your content across different channels so that you’re not always having to come up with fresh ideas.
For example, you could turn a webinar into an online course, or you could create a series of short Tweets based around an infographic.
You could also turn videos into written blog posts (and vice versa) or cut down long-form videos into a series of bite-size short form ones that you post to social media.
Launch a Blogger Outreach Campaign
The beauty of a blogger outreach campaign is that you get to reach lots more people.
Well, it works like this: You find a few high traffic, high domain rating (DR) websites in your niche who accept guest posts and then pitch them a few topic ideas. If they accept, you write the article and include a link back to your own website.
By publishing awesome content on other websites, you’re putting yourself in front of more eyeballs and establishing yourself as an authority in your niche.
To help you out, take a look at the best blogger outreach tools. Using such software, you can automatically schedule follow-up emails if you don't get a response to your first email (which unfortunately is pretty common these days). Here are a few tips for effective follow-up messages.
Hopefully, you understand the differences between B2B and B2C content marketing now. Whichever content type you create, and for whichever audience, make sure to promote it across social media so that you reach more people.
21 Sept 2021 – Updated ‘How To Create B2C and B2B Content' section