There are two ways that you can market your small business. You can implement a B2B (business-to-business) marketing strategy or you can go with a B2C (business-to-customer) marketing strategy. B2C marketing targets everyday consumers, whereas B2B marketing targets businesses and organizations. For example, if you sell software solutions for businesses, you should target B2B customers. If you’re selling software games, you should target B2C customers.
It’s estimated that almost 25 percent of B2B companies only allocate 5 percent of their total budgets to marketing. If there’s one thing that B2B companies and B2C companies have in common, it’s the importance of investing in a strong marketing plan for their long-term success. Despite that, they are two very different approaches in terms of reaching your audience.
How Do B2B and B2C Marketing Differ?
B2B and B2C marketing efforts differ in several ways. The most significant distinction is that B2B marketers target their message to a small group of individuals who make decisions for an organization, whereas B2C marketers target a mass audience of consumers.
Other key differences include the following:
- B2B customers tend to focus on return on investment (ROI), expertise, and efficiency, whereas B2C customers tend to be drawn to deals and entertainment (although they’re not limited to these things).
- B2B customers go through a more complicated decision-making process because they have to consider how a product or service will impact their business. In contrast, B2C customers are more likely to make impulse purchases or to buy items based on their personal preferences.
- Because B2B customers have to make purchase decisions that will affect their business, they want to develop partnerships with the companies they buy from. B2C customers often don’t have any interactions with the businesses they buy from beyond the initial purchase. With that in mind, B2B customers prefer to deal with salespeople and account managers.
- B2B customers tend to be long-term customers because they are looking for long-term solutions. They’re not as likely to switch to another company unless they’re offered a significant discount or the company they’re using goes out of business. In contrast, B2C customers are more fickle and can switch companies at the drop of a hat.
Knowing these differences is critical, whether you’re running paid ads on social media or displaying content on digital signage.
The Best B2B Marketing Strategies
Now that you understand how B2B and B2C marketing differs, the following are a few digital marketing tactics that you should consider when developing your B2B inbound marketing strategy:
Develop buyer personas
To market effectively to B2B businesses, you need to understand who your target audience is. In general, buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They take into account things like demographics, pain points, behavior patterns, motivations, goals, and more.
B2B buyer personas are a little different than B2C buyer personas. You need to make sure that you include information like job title, company size, and purchasing authority (whether they are the primary decision-maker) in your buyer persona.
Email marketing is even more important for B2B businesses than B2C because it’s such an effective way to nurture long-term relationships with existing customers. As such, it’s better to have a small list of engaged subscribers than a large list of unengaged subscribers.
You should also use marketing automation tools to segment your list and send targeted content to each segment. For example, if you sell software solutions, you might segment your list by industry and send different content to each segment. Studies have shown that marketers who use segmented campaigns see upwards of a 760 percent increase in email revenue.
It’s worth noting that 41 percent of B2B customers read at least three pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson. As such, you should have high-quality, relevant content that addresses B2B customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Effective B2B content includes blog posts, video testimonials, infographics, eBooks, white papers, webinars, and case studies.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO is a must for any B2B company that wants to be visible online. Around 49 percent of B2B buyers will perform a search query on Google to look for a new product or service that they need. The goal of SEO is to rank high in search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords. To do this, you need to create keyword-rich content and optimize your website for on-page SEO.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing can be a great way to connect with B2B customers and build relationships. Social media platforms, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, allow you to search for and identify decision-makers at various organizations and build relationships with them. Such relationships can not only help you nurture potential partnerships but also help you earn referrals to other potential customers.
Developing a successful B2B marketing strategy can be a challenge, but it’s important to understand the differences between marketing to B2B and B2C customers. By understanding the needs of B2B customers and using the right marketing tactics, you can develop a successful strategy that will help your business grow.