B2B? B2C? What’s the tea? If you’re curious to know how marketing and copywriting differ between these two different audiences. Keep reading.
Hey guys, it’s Alex and this week I’m addressing another common question I often receive – “Alex, what are the main differences between copywriting for business-to-consumer brands and business-to-business brands?”
And do the techniques and methods that I’ve shared in my tutorials apply to both?
Ahaaa you are in the right place. I love the questions guys, keep them coming!! Make sure to stay tuned to my YouTube Channel because every single week I release a new tutorial to help you start or scale your business with copy that connects and converts!
Alright. So, B2C, B2B, what’s the difference? Well, let’s first begin with a super quick description of each…
B2C or Business to Consumer refers to commerce between a business and an individual company. So, you’re speaking directly to the customer who is in complete control of what they are going to buy.
B2B Business to Business refers to customers who are typically buying on behalf of a business or an organization, which means there’s likely more than one decision maker involved.
Now – to get back to your question – do the same marketing principles apply to both? Well in short, the answer is yes. All the same formulas, frameworks and psychological triggers apply to both B2C and B2B marketing.
The only thing that’s changing really is your customer avatar, and specifically their unique desires, fears, needs, pains and dreams.
Yup, just because you’re talking to a “business” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still inject some empathy and some emotional resonance into your copy. I mean you’re not talking to a sociopath! No offense, sociopaths.
At the end of the day, it’s still a human being or a team of human beings making the purchasing decision. So yes, while “businesses” do make decisions differently than a single consumer, they still want the best product for their needs, and one that will protect the productivity and wellbeing of their employees.
With that being said, aha, you knew there had to be some differences right? Judging by the title of this article. There is some valuable differences to consider when copywriting for B2B vs B2C brands. And here they are…
#1: Business Products Can Be More Complex
Chances are, business products are more complex than typical consumer products. Especially if we’re talking about a sophisticated software or a tool made for an organization that involves lengthy implementation and indoctrination.
Therefore clarity and education takes higher priority in your copy, because half the battle is in the explanation. You need to be able to quickly summarize what the product is, what it does, and why the business should be interested in it WITHOUT skimping on details. It can be a tricky balance to achieve, but just remember the main objective here is to educate first.
So you’ll want a clear and straight-forward USP to avoid confusion, but stay away from oversimplification or curiosity-driven marketing!
Kajabi is a great example of a B2B brand with a clear USP. “All The Tools You Need To Build A Successful Online Business. Kajabi is an all-in-one platform that makes it easy to create online courses, launch marketing campaigns, build landing pages, and design the perfect website.” It also features live chat which is essential for on-the-spot education catered to their business audience.
Alright, the second key difference… is this!
#2: B2B Customers Are More Ready To Buy
So yes, while you may need to go the extra mile to compel B2C customers to buy into the solution you’re offering, in many cases, businesses are primed and ready to invest. They’re simply looking for the RIGHT product.
A business buyer usually already has the interest, budget and incentive to purchase products and services that can help them stay productive and competitive.
This means that copywriting for B2B requires a tremendous amount of research on your part. You want to make sure that you have a high understanding of your market sophistication, so that you know how to effectively position and price yourself next to your competitors!
Chances are, when a B2B prospect lands on your website they’re already in the process of doing some cost/benefit analysis.
For this reason, you’ll want to have a very clear pricing and feature chart on your website, just like MailChimp, where you can clearly see the plans and packages they offer, and what’s included with each.
Okay, moving to the third key difference…
#3: B2B Customers Rely On Logic First (Or Do They?)
So while you might spend more time crafting something emotionally engaging for your B2C customers, it’s been long known that you first want to focus on the logical and tangible.
A B2B audience makes decisions based on factors like increasing productivity, boosting profitability, and reducing costs – yes, all those things that influence the bottom line…
But, I’m NOT saying to ditch emotions altogether! Because your brand personality and your customer experience can still be a significant factor that sets you apart from your competitors.
In fact, research has shown quite conclusively that emotionally-led marketing is more effective at driving decision-making in B2B than the more rational ‘business-like’ approach.
No one can resist a great offer that also comes with a feel good tug at the heartstrings. Whether we’re acting in a professional or personal capacity, humans still respond to things that appeal to our emotions. Good B2B copy should yes be logical and fact-based, but it also must be compelling on a personal level.
So take Slack for instance. When the team messaging app launched in 2009, it was up against some pretty heavy hitters in the industry. But through a beautifully-crafted marketing message that focused on their user’s passion for collaboration, productivity and transformation, they were able to capture the hearts of teams around the world – from NASA scientists to small tech startups.
Alright, moving on to the fourth key difference…
#4: B2B Copy Speaks To A Team
In most B2C selling situations, the purchase decision is made by a single individual. But a business purchase is usually a team effort, with more people involved. I mean, you don’t usually consult with a team of experts when you’re looking to buy that pair of shoes, do you?
But if you’ve ever worked for a corporation before, then you know that there could be meeting upon meeting or, at the very least, a long email thread or Slack conversation when it comes to making a decision that can impact the entire organization.
In B2B marketing, many department heads influence the buying decision — from marketing to management to HR to sales to finance to IT – and each of them have different needs and concerns and will assess your solution based on different criteria. So, your copy must address the needs of every party involved.
Asana, the project management app, does a great job at this, providing benefit-driven use cases for a variety of different teams. That is brilliant!
Alright, now onto the final difference…
#5: B2B Is Has A Longer Sales Cycle
A business purchase is rarely an impulse, knee-jerk reaction. Often, because of the number of people involved, you’re dealing with a longer, multi step buying process.
For example, if you’re selling a high-priced, slow-to-implement solution, it’s never a one-step checkout. It will usually involve a free consultation, a live demonstration, a sales call, followed by a free trial and finally a contract! And then that doesn’t even include the onboarding and migration and implementation and the training. You get the idea.
So when you’re writing B2B copy, bear in mind that it only needs to convert the prospect on the very FIRST STEP, whether that’s to request a demo or start a free trial. The goal here is to get an easy “yes” so that you can then follow up and sell after-the-fact.
So yes you’ll want to write additional sales assets, like follow up emails, call scripts, a demonstration video script, all to guide your prospect along that buying journey. And hopefully get them to pull the trigger.
Take Active Campaign, for instance, they have a clear USP on their homepage along with a low-barrier “Start your free trial” call-to-action so that you can “Try it for free. No credit card required.” They also have a very clear “Request a demo” option in their navigation. What’s more, after I signed up for an Active Campaign account, someone actually personally called me to make sure I wasn’t having any troubles with the setup process. They walked me through it step by step. They know the likelihood of me cancelling my free trial goes WAY down when I actually start implementing. So that is smart B2B marketing!
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Alright, so there you have it guys! While audiences, marketing goals and sales strategies may differ between B2C and B2B copywriting, the two have more in common than you think.
Remember you still need to convey a strong solution to a singular problem in a very clear and concise way!
So whether you write for B2C or B2B, my copywriter coaching program, the Copy Posse Launch Pad, will guide step-by-step through writing high-converting and highly-paid copy assets for your portfolio.
Just click here to learn more about that!
And, as always guys, thank you so much for reading! I will see you again next week. Until then, I’m Alex. Ciao for now!