5 Things to Know About B2B and B2C Content Marketing
Although content marketing strategies for business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) have a lot of similarities, there are unique challenges when selling a product to a business as opposed to selling a product to a consumer. Whether you’re on the B2B side or B2C, each type of business must fine-tune their strategies to best meet the needs of their audience.
Here are the top 5 things to know about content marketing for B2B and B2C:
1. Content Marketing Can (and will) Work for Both
In today’s online world, content marketing has become one of the most effective strategies for marketers. In fact, 88% of B2B marketers use content marketing for their marketing efforts, as do 76% of B2C marketers, according to research from MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute.
Because the approach, goals, and intentions of B2B audiences often differ from those of B2C audiences, we get these questions a lot:
“I know content marketing works for B2C, but can it work for my B2B company?”
Or vice versa.
“I know content marketing works for B2B, but can it work for my B2C company?”
The answer is, of course, a resounding YES! And here’s why:
2. B2C and B2B Content Marketing Strategies Require Unique Goals
Yes, content marketing works for both B2B and B2C, but to be successful, each company must set obtainable goals that are unique to their business. To start tracking the success of content (and guide future efforts), content marketing strategies need specific objectives.
By implementing these objectives or goals, businesses can determine what “great content” means to audiences within their industry. From there, they can make necessary adjustments along the way to create an effective formula.
According to Content Marketing Institute’s report, 80% of B2B content marketers are focused on generating leads.
For B2C content marketers, brand awareness is the top goal at 74%.
For both B2B and B2C companies, their 2nd goal is focused on website traffic. Everyone wants more traffic to their site, but traffic alone is not a great indicator of content marketing success. If it’s coupled with other metrics, however, it can be particularly insightful.
Every company wants their content (or brand) to show up in the search results. But all too often, they limit their objectives by focusing on traffic alone. Getting a lot of traffic doesn’t mean obtaining leads or loyal customers. Yes, you want users to visit your site, but there is much more to be measured that can improve your content marketing strategy.
Here are some broad content goals that should be used as a starting point for any business. Successful content should:
- Improve your brand awareness
- Attract more traffic to your site
- Build your audience
- Generate new customer leads and/or sales
- Develop your online reputation
- Boost audience engagement
- Encourage natural links and optimize search engine ranking
- Benefit your competitive advantage
With any single content piece, it should accomplish one or more of these goals, and an entire content portfolio should accomplish all of them.
3. B2B and B2C Strategies Define Their Target Audience Differently
Whether it’s B2B or B2C, small business or enterprise, each one of us has an audience. For some, it’s very clearly defined and narrowly focused. For others, there’s a broad range of demographics. The key is to define that audience, so there’s a clear understanding of who they are, their habits and activities and how they can be reached.
These insights will inform a content marketing strategy, content formats, and amplification efforts. Put as much detail as you can into defining a target audience or personas; age, gender, where they work, what their leisure habits are; really anything that will shape and outline audience segments.
With B2C, the audience is often inspired by personal needs or questions. With B2B, the audience is often a part of a purchasing process with several stakeholders. Nevertheless, there’s typically one key decision-maker who will make the final decision to purchase a product or service.
Every audience segment should be specific enough that your messaging will change accordingly. Imagine the difference between them. How will you approach each segment with your content?
4. The Focus of B2C and B2B Content Differs
After defining target audiences or personas, we know that businesses and consumers buy for many different reasons. Businesses buy a product or service because it will fulfil a specific business need. And this need can typically be narrowed down to:
- Saving money
- Saving time
- Boosting revenue
Consumers buy out of necessity, too. But it’s a little different than businesses. For example, if your water heater breaks, you’ll buy a replacement – but it’s not because you thoroughly enjoy purchasing the latest model of water heater – you just don’t want cold showers in the morning.
However, a lot of changes as consumers buy “luxuries” or items that aren’t based on a direct need. For me, that includes video games I pretend to buy for my son (but really, it’s for me), musical instruments that I can’t actually play, streaming services, gifts for the wife – you get the point.
The way content is ideated and developed depends on the audience’s needs. And the type of content companies create is contingent on if they’re B2B or B2C.
5. Content That Answers Your Audience’s Questions Works for Both B2C and B2B
I’ve written about this before, but it should be repeated: It doesn’t matter if you’re B2B or B2C, content should answer the questions your audience is actively asking in search engines. No other content will generate the organic results the same way. If someone in your audience is asking a question, your company needs to be in front of them providing helpful answers.
Remember the questions I highlighted from #1 on this list? Our VMX video and this blog post is trying to accomplish that exact goal: help our audience answer their question, or solve their challenges by directing them to other content on our site.
When ideating and creating content that solves a problem, you’ll naturally target specific long-tail search queries. There are plenty of (FREE) places you can use to find out what questions your audience are asking. Try:
- Answer The Public
- Yahoo Answers
- Google Suggest
- Blog comments
- On-site search bar (if applicable)
- Competitor FAQs
- And maybe most importantly, ask your staff what they get asked all the time
Build out an editorial content calendar with these questions and prioritize those answers by search volume and competition. Ask yourself: Can we create content that is better than what already exists? Is this topic something we want to compete with?
Depending on these answers, you will need to either tweak the topic to be more applicable to your audience, or begin creating some of that sweet, sweet content.
- Content marketing goals will vary depending on if your company is B2B or B2C
- Both B2B and B2C companies must define their audiences and answer their questions
- The content focus will differ depending on your audiences needs and purchasing habits
- Content marketing will work for B2B and B2C!
Whether you’re starting a new content marketing campaign or need to revamp your current strategy, remember that although Content is King in making meaningful customer connections, search results get your content seen.
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About Brad Kuenn
Brad Kuenn is the co-author of Content Marketing Works: 8 Steps to Transform Your Business. As the Marketing Manager at Vertical Measures, Brad manages internal inbound marketing and acts as senior editor for the website. Brad’s responsible for ensuring that content efficiently reaches established goals, delivers optimum results, and aligns with Vertical Measures values. Follow him @BKuenn +Brad Kuenn