Differing Objectives & Audiences
B2B and B2C businesses have inherently different objectives, so it only makes sense that their marketing strategies differ in critical areas. Whereas B2B marketing strategies are often focused on building lasting client relationships that will lead to long-term business, B2C marketing often aims to drive short-term value at an efficient rate by establishing transactional relationships.
The emphasis on “brand” differs significantly between B2B and B2C approaches to marketing. While effective branding is becoming increasingly important in B2B business, the primary focus of their marketing efforts has historically been on lead generation and relationship building. In contrast, branding has remained critical to B2C companies throughout history, as brand recognition and loyalty are primary drivers of repeat customers.
Similar to branding, B2B and B2C companies take different approaches to “voice” in their marketing strategies. B2B businesses typically utilize industry terminology in their marketing copy to establish authority and make connections with potential business partners. Conversely, B2C companies seek to channel the voice of their potential customers, which usually consists of simple, relatable language crafted to evoke an emotional response.
Intended audience is another critical area of differentiation. B2B marketers typically target groups that consist of multiple decision-makers and managers who make planned, logical decisions based on the needs of their business. In contrast, B2C companies market directly to their product’s potential end-user, who are emotionally-driven and make purchasing decisions based on personal desires.
of Commercial Buyers Beginning Their Research with Google
Search Marketing – Driving Business Through Visibility
While the overall marketing approach of B2B and B2C businesses vary significantly, both utilize many of the same digital marketing tactics. Further, regardless of the type of business, marketers have similar desired outcomes and needs from their digital marketing programs.
Search marketing and SEO have had a massive impact on digital marketing as a whole, and the B2B marketing landscape has been profoundly affected in recent years. With up to 71% of commercial buyers beginning their research with Google searches, search ranking and authority have become critical to generating leads and driving sales. A search marketing mix of well-designed webpages, informative blogs, and strategic landing pages has effectively replaced the print collateral and cold-calling B2B businesses have relied on in the past.
Search marketing is a natural fit for B2C marketing’s primary objectives of brand recognition and awareness. By strategically creating high-quality web content to establish search ranking and authority on relevant topics, search marketing increases your brand’s visibility in your potential customers’ searches. If your brand appears at the top of your customers’ searches, it will likely remain top-of-mind when they are making a purchasing decision.
B2B vs. B2C Search Marketing Practices
While both B2B and B2C businesses will benefit from search marketing best practices, their audiences are quite different. As such, B2B and B2C content and messaging will be unique to each particular business type.
B2B Search Marketing Practices
On a high level, B2B business content should focus on generating demand for their product and leads for their sales team. For demand generation, use blog posts offering a detailed explanation of the need for your product, the types of products and services available to your customers, and other information. Your objective is not necessarily to generate leads right away. Instead, this type of content will demonstrate to your potential customers (and, equally importantly, Google) that your organization is an authority in your field, worthy of further consideration and better search rankings.
For lead generation, landing pages with a clearly defined call-to-action will help you turn web traffic into viable sales leads. These pages should feature less copy than blog posts, explicitly aimed at converting targeted audiences that are ready to move to the next stage of their buying process.
B2C Search Marketing Practices
Similarly to B2B, B2C search marketing is designed to generate brand awareness and drive sales. Blogs can assert your organization as experts on your product/industry (in the eyes of your customer and Google), and establish emotional connections with your audience. B2C buyers make emotionally-motivated decisions; even if they aren’t ready to buy today, they are likely to turn to a brand that resonates with them on some level. As a marketer, you can achieve this connection through copy written in plain language that your audience will easily relate to and understand.
Landing pages should aim to drive sales from targeted customers ready to make a purchasing decision. Keep it simple; short copy detailing what your product is, how it will benefit the end-user, and a clear call-to-action to purchase will be sufficient.
Consistency is Key
While the types of content and messaging will differ between B2B and B2C search marketing, the need for consistent search marketing results extends to both. Gaining results from search marketing takes time, and often requires a steady stream of content over weeks, months, and sometimes years.
Before investing in search marketing, ensure that your content creation and publishing strategy is sustainable and capable of delivering consistent results over time. Rather than focusing on one-off campaigns or short-term targets, creating or investing in a reliable marketing system delivering consistent performance will allow you to invest in your business or future marketing efforts confidently.
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