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In this post, we'll debunk some of the common misconceptions about copywriting for B2B vs B2C and share our top tips for creating copy that truly connects with your customers.
You know your customer. You’re aware of their needs and wants, their budget, restrictions, problems — and how your product or service can solve them.
But do you know how to create content that truly connects with your customers?
Often, this is the part that leaves marketers and copywriters scratching their heads. And this is especially true when it comes to knowing the nuances of B2B vs B2C copywriting.
In both scenarios, you’re addressing your customers. You might even be addressing the same points. But, you have to deliver the message differently in order for it to really land.
In this article, we'll be clarifying some of the common confusion surrounding these two areas and discuss B2B and B2C best practices to get your copy in great shape!
So, let’s get to it!
1. Your customer’s motivations
It is true that both types of customers (B2B and B2C) are searching for your product and service to meet a need — but those needs are very different.
For the B2C customer, it’s a bit more simplistic — your business is only required to meet the need that your product or service delivers. (For example, you sell a makeup brush and your customer wants a makeup brush.)
For the B2B customer, it gets a tad more complicated.
Yes, your product/service must meet the need it fills. But you also need to address how it meets a bunch of other needs that are important to the B2B customer — who is representing their entire organization.
For example: how does it help increase productivity, boost profitability, and reduce cost? Ultimately, how does it affect the bottom line?
Think about it. Your B2B customer is probably going to need to justify their purchase to other people in their company, where the B2C customer does not. So, make sure you’re giving them all of the information needed to make a good case for the higher-ups!
Copy Tip: When you’re writing for the B2C customer, be laser-focused on why your product/service is the best choice for them. And when writing for the B2B customer, discuss why your product/service is the best for them and their boss.
2. The level of detail
Both B2B and B2C audiences will want information about the product or service they’re purchasing — but they’re probably not both looking for the same amount of detail.
If you’re selling to B2B customers, you’ll probably need to get a little more in-depth. That’s because B2B products — especially in manufacturing, software or services — are usually more complex to communicate.
While your B2C customer might want surface level facts, your B2B customer is probably going to need to understand your product or service in more detail.
For the B2B copywriter, this means education, explanation and detail should take priority.
Copy Tip: We love these two story plot structures to help visualize B2C for B2B storytelling!
For B2C customers your plot is a more simple structure that makes your customer the hero, their pain point the inciting incident, and finding your product/solution as the climax.
For your B2B audience, the storytelling takes on a form more similar to a three-act play. You’ll need to address more obstacles, deliver more details, and explain how your product/service is a must-have for their road to success!
It’s important to note, however, that just because your B2B copywriting needs to be more complex, doesn’t mean it has to be dry.
Regardless of whether your audience is B2B or B2C, remember that you’re still talking to a person. Research has shown that 64% of people find customer experience more important than price — which simply means that customers buy from those they like.
So, let’s talk about how to be likeable, regardless of how much information you need to convey. It starts with tone:
Injecting your copy with emotion seems like an easier feat with B2C — and that’s because it often is. Since you have less complex information to convey, you have more room for story, humor or personality. You can keep it short, light, and conversational.
But — while it’s not quite as easy — ignoring the importance of emotion in B2B copy is a big mistake. Here’s why:
Let’s say your company sells project management software. You have some nifty features that are different from your competition, but it’s generally very similar to other products on the market.
So, how do you set yourself apart?
Well, consider that 32% of B2B customers rank brand reputation as a key attribute they look for in a supplier, and you have your answer!
No matter how in-the-weeds you get with your content, it still needs to hold the tone, personality and values of your brand. That’s how you’ll win trust with your audience and capture market share in your area.
Copy Tip: Having a ‘brand book’ or company style guide that clearly communicates the values, personality and style of your brand to your entire team is a great way to ensure consistency! If you have a team of copywriters, this can help keep a uniform voice in your copy.
4. Sales Cycles and Calls to Action
It’s important to keep in mind that sales cycles are pretty different in B2B vs B2C.
Normally, a B2B customer will have a longer sales cycle. Not only do they research competitors, but they often have to go through a series of approvals in order to move forward with a sale.
This isn’t the case with your B2C customers. Although they might do some amount of research, they don’t usually need to consult with a team in order to purchase. They just want to buy the product or service as soon as they need it.
So, what does this mean for your copywriting?
Most importantly, you need to take your customer’s psyche into account in your communications. If you’re trying to hurry your B2B customer along they may get cold feet. And if you’re trying to overload your B2C customer with too much information when all they want to do is ‘add to cart’, they might get overwhelmed and go elsewhere.
Understanding where your customer is in their buying process is a great opportunity for your copywriting to make them feel more comfortable.
This also means you need to pay special attention to your CTAs.
For example, you shouldn’t be using a CTA like ‘order now’ in your first-touch educational content for your B2B customer. And you probably don’t want to use a CTA like ‘learn more’ at the end of a B2C buying cycle.
There’s a lot of content out there with generic CTAs that just aren’t doing the job they’re meant for. If your CTA doesn’t match the buying phase it’s targeting, it’s pretty much useless.
Copy Tip: If you have different types of customers for your B2B, comb through your data to find out exactly how long the average sales cycle is for each. Then, find areas where you may be able to fill a gap with more educational content. For B2C customers, A/B test different CTAs. You might find out you’re jumping the gun too soon with your ‘buy now’ button, or maybe losing potential sales with your ‘book a demo’ CTA.
B2B and B2C customers usually have very different budgets. Unless you’re selling a very high-end product or service as a B2C, the B2B customer will probably be making a bigger investment.
It’s important to acknowledge this with your copy. Connect with your B2B customer by showing that you understand the weighty responsibility of spending their company money with your business.
Copy Tip: While it’s good to empathise with your B2B customer about their budgets and problems, do so with confidence that your product or service is up to the task of solving them! They may be feeling hesitant to make the purchase and need to feel like they’re in capable hands. Focus on the ROI of what you’re offering them — which is something you should be doing with the B2C customer, too.
Trust your Instincts
Like we’ve already said, you know your customer! So the best thing you can do when writing for B2B or B2C is to keep your copy authentic.
Whether your customer is buying a $10 cleaning product or a $10k piece of machinery, they want to know the company behind it has their back — and it’s your job to convey that.
If you keep your customer’s best interests in mind, you simply can’t go wrong. So write from the heart! Tell them what you’d want to know if you were in their shoes, and the rest will fall into place.
If you need some help from experienced B2B and B2C copywriters in crafting your next piece of content, the team at Scribly can help! Learn more here.