B2B vs. B2C Copywriting: What You Need to Know
Businesses are not humans.
Yes, businesses are made up of humans, but at its core, a business has different values, goals, and interests. A business does not respond to the same stimuli that a human consumer does and vice versa.
So, when it comes to marketing, you are going to have to shift gears because B2B copywriting is not the same as B2C copywriting.
First, just so we’re on the same page, let’s clarify B2B and B2C:
- B2B means Business to Business
- B2C means Business to Consumer
If it helps, you can also say B2B is a business that sells to other organizations or professional entities, while B2C is a business that sells to human individuals or families.
When it comes to copywriting, it can make a world of difference whether you are talking to people or entities in your content marketing.
Let’s take a look at the differences to better understand how you should approach B2B marketing vs. B2C marketing.
Differences Between B2C and B2B Copywriting
There are several areas where the copywriter will have to make adjustments in order to effectively speak to their audience based on whether this audience is made up of consumers or other businesses. These are the places where B2B writing and B2C writing are the most divergent. Keep the following in mind when developing a B2C or B2B content strategy:
Tone sets the stage for how the topic will be approached. When encountering content for the first time, the customer will often experience the tone first. And that will determine for them whether they proceed and consume the content or turn and walk away. This means that it must be spot on and have the appropriate tone for the customer.
B2B: When it comes to B2B sales, the purchasing decision usually takes a lot longer for a B2B audience. They typically prefer to research something before making a purchase so their decisions will be slower and more methodical. The tone is usually more formal or professional while the content is very detailed and heavy on information.
B2C: The B2C audience often makes decisions rather quickly although sometimes they do research and consider their options. Because you are marketing directly to humans for human values, needs, and goals, this calls for a more lighthearted approach. Articles may be shorter, and the tone may be more conversational. Engagement is the goal here so shorter, livelier articles are often preferred.
Number of Buyers
This does not refer to the number of individual buyers, rather the number of individuals involved in the buying decision.
B2B: The B2B audience typically has several people in the decision-making chain, so you aren’t marketing to a single person for one sale, but rather to several people who are involved in the purchase decision. This means that the copy must appeal to each of these people, regardless of their position or personal needs.
B2C: Reaching a B2C audience means marketing to an individual consumer. Yes, there may be hundreds or thousands of “single people” out there but you will speak to each of them on a more personal level. You want to get their attention and hold it, guiding them to make their decision.
Pathos vs Logos
There is always an emotional element in copywriting, even if it means the absence of emotion. When writing copy, it is essential to take into account the emotion, or lack thereof, that the customer will resonate with best.
B2B: This audience responds better to logos. Therefore, the content should be more logical and straightforward with evidence or proof to back up any claims. B2B customers usually aren’t interested in humor or warm fuzzies. Just the facts, please!
B2C: This audience loves its pathos! Emotional appeal within the copy is more attractive to them. B2C companies that entertain their audience and make them laugh or at least feel something are the most successful at capturing the attention of their audience.
It is also important to remember that within these two audience types there are endless sub audiences. For instance, B2C audiences may include moms, retirees, or people with a specific health problem. On the other hand, B2C audiences may include specific industries, certain areas within an organization, or different education or professional levels.
All this is not to say that businesses don’t have a human element because they most definitely do. And you have to appeal to that human, just frame it in a less emotional, more professional way. Still, there are some things that will be the same because under it all you are still dealing with human beings.
What Consumers are Looking for in Marketing Content
Consumers are looking for something different in the content they consume than a business owner, executive, or other professional would.
Content That Builds Trust
Consumers are looking for something to believe in. They want to trust your brand, and they want something that they can put their loyalty behind. At the same time, they are wary of people trying to sell them something.
Give your B2C audience someone to believe in, to strive to be like. Give them a cause to champion. Give them values and a mission they can get behind.
Content That Fosters Relationship-Building
B2C customers want a relationship. Once they know that they can trust you and that you will deliver on what you promised, they will keep coming back, time after time.
Your content needs to foster that relationship building if you want to encourage trust and gain their loyalty. You can do this by creating content that is personal and evokes emotion.
Content They Can Come Back To
Now, when it comes to making the purchase, there usually isn’t a very clear cut path for many consumers. The buyer’s journey often involves going from one piece of content to another, checking out the competition then coming back to you.
B2C customers will meander, backtrack, and surge forward before deciding to make the purchase. Because of this, they need to be able to return to the content. They may come back several times before making a purchase.
That’s why it’s important that your tone, voice, and style is consistent across your brand. When customers come back to your content, they should already feel familiar with these things. Coming back to a piece of content that’s wildly different than what they saw before can be disorienting.
Content That Speaks to Their Needs
Your B2C content needs to speak to the values and needs of your audience. It’s worth noting that each generation has its own set of values and needs, which will require you to use different tactics to reach them.
With millennials coming into their own in the marketplace right now, it is important to keep in mind what speaks to them. This generation is tech-savvy and attracted to causes. They want to see how the things they buy impact the environment and their world. Inclusiveness and emotion are also important elements that speak to them directly.
Content That’s Social
When your customers are able to share, comment, and like your content, they are in their element. Keep in mind though that each platform has its own unique demographic, and you’ll want to speak to that demographic in your social media marketing campaigns.
Know the social media demographic for your chosen platform so you aren’t wasting your marketing dollars dumping content into say Facebook when the bulk of your audience is on Instagram. There is value in taking some time to research and find which social media platform your audience is most likely to frequent so you have your best chance of reaching as many potential customers as possible and expanding your reach.
What Businesses Need to See in Marketing Content
While B2B audiences are looking for some of the same things that B2C audiences are, they need different things from marketing copy in order to help them make the right purchasing decision.
Content Backed by Research
The B2B audience wants to find the product that is the best fit for their business. Given that B2B buying cycles are longer and B2B products are typically more expensive than B2C products, you need to pack your content with research and evidence that shows them why your solution works best.
With B2B customers, it’s up to you to give them what they need to confidently make the decision to choose you.
Here’s a hint: Content that is backed by heavy, solid research is always a winner.
Content That’s Educational
As for copywriting strategies, the more information you provide in your content, the better. A business that is looking to buy is concerned about two things: cost and ROI.
B2B copywriting needs should address how your product or service affects your customers’ bottom line.
Content That Provides Proof
Product reviews, case studies, and in-depth, well-researched articles work well to guide B2B buyers down the sales funnel. Testimonials and reviews show leads how real customers feel about your products. And case studies help your leads better understand how real customers use your products.
Comparing the positive aspects of your organization to your competitors gives your buyer a clearer picture of why they should choose you. Comparison charts that line you up against your competitors and show that you have more features, better service, or more amenities give your B2B buyers a visual that is quite powerful.
Content Focused on the Facts
Keep in mind that the B2B audience tends to be somewhat narrower than B2C, meaning that your audience is more focused or closely targeted. With the B2C audience, you can romance them a little, but the B2B audience is more focused and less likely to respond to romance copy or clever ploys that touch on emotion. Facts, statistics, research with citations, and real-world solutions are all highly valued by this audience. In fact, anything that shows them how your product will affect their bottom line is a boon.
Content That Speaks Their Language
Take the time to learn about your target B2B customers’ culture, processes, policies, and lingo. If you can create content using their own language, this can definitely be a win for your B2B brand.
Take the time to learn your target audience’s lingo and terminology, what they do, and how they do it. Learn about buying decisions that they’ve made in the past and other products they’ve used. Find out what decisions they have to make at various points of the buying process and speak to that. Learn their problems and solve them with your products.
Content You Can Read in a Hurry
B2B buyers are also looking for content that’s easy to skim, especially buyers who are at the executive level. They may not have much time to read or they are squeezing some product or service research into their lunch break.
What does this mean for B2B copywriting? You need to trim the fat or get rid of the fluff in your B2B content. This audience just wants the main points.
How Tailoring Your Copywriting Based on B2B vs. B2C Makes a Difference for Your Business
Once your copy is up and doing its thing, you need to make sure that it is tailored to the right audience.
Is it reaching who you want it to reach?
This is where monitoring is absolutely essential. You can’t just throw some content up and hope for the best. You have to monitor it by analyzing your traffic to see how many conversions, relevant leads, and traffic you are getting.
As you collect data from your copy’s performance, you can analyze it, then tweak it as needed. The process is the same for B2B and B2C copy, but the tweaks you make will definitely differ. Look at the different elements to see what is working and what isn’t. Maybe headlines need to be changed or perhaps you need more graphics.
Take it one step at a time, making small changes so that you can see what is working and what isn’t. Once you make adjustments you will start to see differences in your traffic and how that traffic interacts with your content. You should see increased traffic and more relevant traffic. Conversions should increase as well.
You can adjust your tone or change the visual media to find something that resonates more with your readers. People tend to be very visually driven and when you have content that is accompanied by video, infographics, or photos, it can increase the power of the piece exponentially.
Hiring a B2B Copywriter or B2C Copywriter
All this information is great and useful, but now you need to find a way to execute it. To be perfectly honest, a garden variety writer is not likely to have the skills and expertise necessary to craft the specialized content that is required for this type of copywriting. It takes highly specialized skills to find that delicate balance between logic and human – for either audience – and creating content that works.
Your best bet is to hire a freelancer who specializes in B2B copywriting or B2C copywriting. These freelance specialist copywriters will have the knowledge, skills, and abilities, to create content that speaks to your audience, builds trusting relationships, and convinces them to convert. A freelancer who specializes in B2B writing will know just what voice and tone to use when speaking to a business audience. While a freelance copywriter who specializes in B2C writing will know just how to write compelling content that captures a consumer audience.
At WriterAccess, we have some amazing B2B and B2C copywriters. The WriterAccess team has done all the vetting and testing, so you don’t have to. Just search for writers who specialize in your industry topics, and choose the one whose voice fits best with your brand. Regardless of the type of audience you want to reach, we have the writers who can get the job done.
Your new freelance writer is waiting on WriterAccess. Schedule a demo today to learn more about how the process works.
Stephanie M. is a writer living in southern Louisiana. She provides a customer-centric approach to her work, crafting each piece with the care and attention that results in professional, polished, SEO rich content that engages readers and does its job.