Marketing Writing 101: B2B vs. B2C copywriting

Luke Gorski on Content Marketing

B2B vs B2C CopywritingNow that you’ve read our introduction to content writing, let’s compare how content writing changes between B2B and B2C organizations.

Both B2B and B2C organizations can benefit from incorporating written content into their marketing strategy.

Written content directly impacts your search rankings, makes your company easier to find, and creates opportunities to connect with new customers. But to make the most of these opportunities, your content must be valuable and relevant to your audience.

At the end of this lesson, you will:

  • Know the subtle differences between B2B and B2C writing (presentation and distribution channels)

  • View examples of B2B and B2C writing samples

Understanding B2B buyers

Most of your B2B buyers will be motivated first by return on investment. A positive ROI will typically be:

  • Increasing revenues by increasing leads

  • Increasing revenues by decreasing costs

  • Increasing revenues by increasing productivity

These buyers have a much longer sales cycle than an end consumer might have. B2B marketing typically involves a committee or group of individuals coming together to agree on a purchase decision.

Keep their objectives in mind when creating your B2B written content. When creating topics, ask yourself what articles someone interested in increasing revenues would find compelling.

Understanding B2C buyers

B2C buyers are motivated by a positive return on investment, but have many additional motivators. There are many reasons why a person decides to make a purchase. These might include:

  • Increasing personal productivity

  • Increasing entertainment value

  • Increasing quality of life

  • Increasing savings

Unlike B2B buyers, B2C buyers make emotional and impulse decisions. Often times, just “liking” something is enough to result in a purchase. This phenomenon often times annoys spouses everywhere, but makes your job of writing content fun and potentially rewarding.

Your company may not yet have an audience, but a compelling-enough piece of written content can put your company on the map.

Key Differences between B2B and B2C buyers

B2C buyers typically respond to fads and trends; B2B buyers typically don’t.

Take, for example, the recent fidget spinner craze. Many consumer buyers bought fidget spinners on impulse because they weren’t expensive and everybody seemed to have one. The purchase was emotional, perhaps irrational, but nonetheless meaningful for companies selling fidget spinners.

B2B buyers take longer to make a purchase decision; B2C buyers can be impulsive.

Consider how many B2B organizations lagged in investing time and resources into Facebook marketing. Many still do.

But those who did found success. The reason most didn’t was because they couldn’t justify a positive ROI simply because there was no historical data to use as proof for a purchase decision.

B2C buyers are more open to adopting new channels; B2B buyers typically aren’t.

Consumer buyers are much more open to trying new platforms and sales channels, especially when everyone around them is raving about the next big thing. Business buyers are typically the last to catch on.

B2B vs. B2C copywriting

Whether you are writing for B2B or B2C buyers, your first job is always to deliver helpful and relevant written content. Begin your content writing by considering your audience.

Knowing your audience helps answer two critical writing questions:

  1. What type of written content do I create?

  2. Where do I share the written content I create?

Ok, what kind of written content should I create?

There are many forms of written content you can create for your buyers. Your written content can take the form of a:

  • White paper (B2B)

  • Free ebook (B2C)

  • Daily blog (B2B & B2C)

  • Email newsletter (B2B & B2C)

  • Facebook post (B2C)

  • Linkedin Article (B2B)

Some forms of written content cater better to one market than the other. White papers, for example, are widely used in B2B marketing, while free ebooks are more appropriate for B2C buyers who have time to dedicate to an ebook.

B2B organizations like Salesforce create information-packed white papers their B2B buyers and prospects can download in exchange for their name, email, phone number, and company name.

B2B buyers download Salesforce’s white paper in exchange for an email, phone, and company information.

Where do I share the written content I create?

Knowing your audience also helps you determine where to share the content you write. Some popular places for distributing your written content include:

  • Website blog

  • Linkedin articles

  • SlideShare presentations

  • Facebook and Instagram posts

  • Social blogging sites like Medium

To get a more complete understanding of the differences between B2B and B2C written content, let’s look at an example.

B2B Writing Sample: Dropbox

Dropbox, a leading cloud sharing and storage company, offers storage plans for both personal and business use.

In order to successfully communicate with each market, they create different written content for each market. Let’s consider how Dropbox communicates with its B2C buyer.

B2C content writing for Dropbox

Since Dropbox is a tech product built for the masses, it needs to simplify how it presents itself to the common consumer, and not just appeal to tech-savvy consumers.

Before continuing, take a moment to do a quick mental exercise. Consider how you might communicate with Dropbox’s B2C buyer. You can start by answering the two critical writing questions introduced above: what type of written content do I create and where do I put it?

Dropbox created a virtual illustrated book, entitled The Dropbox Tour. This interactive experience allowed consumer buyers to flip through pages that answered common questions about their product. The written content was accompanied by fun illustrations that communicated ease. In fact, it communicates Dropbox is so easy, a children’s book can explain how it works.

Comparing B2C vs B2B writing: Dropbox

This virtual book was embedded on their website, where visitors curious to learn about their personal plans could flip through the pages.

Reminder about written content

You might be asking yourself whether this qualifies as written content.  Remember, “written content” describes any written material that educates and adds some kind of value to the lives of your prospective buyers.

In fact, all of the following are considered part of a content writing strategy:

·       Social media posts

·       Email marketing copy

·       Ebooks and white papers

·       Articles and blog posts

·       SlideShare presentations

·       YouTube titles and descriptions

·       Podcast titles and descriptions

B2B content writing for Dropbox

Dropbox Business’ page has a different focus. Its business tour page is filled with short bits of information for various decision makers.

The B2B buyers tasked with the purchase decision can quickly confirm Dropbox offers features they need to increase productivity and thus increase revenues.

The writing is not designed to drive an impulse decision but rather explain how Dropbox increases productivity without compromising security, two factors their B2B buyer is concerned about.

The next time you’re tasked with creating written content, start with your market. What does your market want to see? Where are they most likely to see it? Whether you are writing for B2B or B2C buyers, remember that your first job is always to deliver helpful and relevant writing.

TL ; DR Summary

  • Both B2B and B2C organizations can benefit from incorporating written content into their marketing strategy.

  • Knowing your audience helps answer two critical writing questions: What type of written content do I create and where do I share it?

  • Whether you are writing for B2B or B2C buyers, your first job is always to deliver helpful and relevant writing.