Smooth, effective copywriting is more than just a key marketing technique for improving your bottom line. It’s also the beginning of a conversation between your brand and a potential customer. How that conversation ultimately goes depends on how you approach key factors like values, pain points, and solutions.
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
In B2C marketing (business to customer), you’re addressing the needs of a single individual, family, or household. These are everyday consumers making personal decisions solely for themselves or their loved ones.
But with B2B marketing (business to business), you’re speaking directly to another business owner or someone otherwise in charge of making a buying decision on behalf of a larger team. Consumer decisions are less personal in this context and more technical or professional.
Mastering the ins and outs of B2B vs. B2C copywriting is all about shifting your copywriting approach effectively. Here’s a closer look at everything you need to know.
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.
A target audience is a broad group of people that fit into general categories or demographics. Individual habits, interests, and similar details rarely factor into the mix. However, a buyer persona is a much more personal concept.
A persona is a semi-fictional individual designed to represent a hypothetical member of your target audience and better help a copywriter connect with the human being reading their writing.
B2B: A B2B representative will make decisions on behalf of an entire team or company. They’ll also have long-term goals in mind when considering options, so focus on their professional role when considering buyer personas.
B2C: B2C consumers, on the other hand, should be approached as individuals – people with emotions who are often looking for immediate solutions to make life better or easier for their household.
Sales cycle length
Business products and corporate solutions aren’t typically “one-and-done” purchases. They’re complex, slower to implement, and often represent a bigger investment, so the typical sales cycle is a lot longer and more complicated.
B2B: Lengthier sales cycles mean more different steps. That said, a specific piece of B2B copywriting really only needs to convince the person on the receiving end to take the next step (e.g., begin a free trial).
B2C: When speaking directly to an individual consumer about a personal decision, you want to sell them on a purchase now, if possible. Appeal to their emotions and create a sense of urgency to help things along.
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.
Similarities Between B2C and B2B Copywriting
Of course, understanding B2B vs. B2C copywriting is also about grasping the similarities. Here are a few to keep in mind when crafting winning sale copy.
Although a business owner, team leader, or corporate decision-maker will naturally have different goals than a single consumer or homemaker shopping for a small family, marketing authenticity is always important.
All buyers want to buy from credible brands invested in what they’re doing or stand for something greater than themselves. B2B and B2C copywriting techniques successfully leverage authenticity to make a genuine connection with the human on the receiving end.
Ultimately, all marketing targets (B2B or B2C) are looking to solve problems and implement sustainable solutions, whether they realize it right away or not. Successful copywriting connects with an audience by naming a pain point or issue before presenting a specific service or product as the solution.
A business owner may be more aware of the problem and more likely to actively seek a solution, but businesses and individuals ultimately respond to this dynamic.
Positive customer experience
Customer service and customer experience are everything when it comes to both B2B and B2C marketing. That said, great copywriting is always people-focused and crafted with a positive customer experience in mind.
In other words, it should use appropriate but dynamic language, be formatted for readability, deliver any promised information, and include clear calls to action.
In 2023 and beyond, a strong digital presence isn’t just a good idea for brands. It’s a must that legitimizes a business in the eyes of a target audience.
Solid B2B and B2C copywriting approaches go hand in hand with a frequently updated company website, active social media feeds on platforms the target audience uses, and multiple choices for getting in touch with the brand behind the content.
Both B2B and B2C copywriting require a willingness to invest in their quality if you want to guarantee effectiveness. Instead of trying to handle the job alone, assemble a team of experienced copywriters who understand the ins and outs of writing effective copy for brands like yours.
Use a trusted elite platform like WriterAccess that carefully vets its writers and has a proven method to ensure good client-writer matches. Try it free when you sign up for your 14-day WriterAccess trial!
What Consumers Are Looking For In 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 makes them think
Today’s consumers love content that makes an emotional connection and leaves them with something to think about long after they’ve walked away. Great copywriting does this so well that it actually makes the reader forget it’s marketing content in the first place.
A good copywriter understands how to go beyond the topic at hand and get to the root of why it should matter to a consumer in the first place. Give a reader something new or interesting to consider that challenges them to shift their perspective.
Content that is 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 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 they can easily skim
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.
Benefits of Tailoring Your Copywriting Based on B2B vs. B2C Audiences
Successful digital marketers never simply put their copy out there and hope for the best, especially when it comes to ultra-precise B2B digital marketing. Here are a few key benefits of consistently fine-tuning your efforts to suit your B2B or B2C audience.
- You’ll drastically increase engagement.
- Your conversion rates will improve.
- You’ll be more likely to forge meaningful connections with your audience.
- Your audience will be better motivated to take the next step.
- Your audience will truly feel you understand them and can meet their needs.
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.
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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.