Why Content Marketing Is Different for B2B
So, let’s say you’re expanding your business, and you’re shifting your focus to a new market segment. Your company built its success on B2C content marketing that worked, and your expertise helped you sell. Your new aim is for a B2B market, and you start out by using all of your tested and proven B2C content marketing tactics in your new B2B materials. Even with all that experience and B2C success, your B2B efforts just aren’t panning out. What’s the deal? They’re the same thing, right?
While this might be a rare situation for many marketers, it highlights a lesson that marketers never want to learn the hard way: B2B and B2C content marketing are vastly different from each other. Both practices aim to move potential customers through to the end of a sale, but the methods and practices couldn’t be more different. Let’s take a look and see just how different B2B and B2C content marketing really are.
The Major Difference: Sales Cycle Length
In B2C spaces, the sales cycle is relatively minimal depending on your product. It might take a week or two to close a sale on a big-ticket item, or you may be able to effortlessly turn around multiple sales in a matter of hours. Content marketing is going to be flashy, emotionally-charged, and will often be filled with hard sales, discounts, and encouragement to convert quickly. Your customers don’t necessarily have to know you, they just need to know that your product is what they need, right now.
B2B marketers play a completely different game, and their content marketing has to build relationships. B2B sales take time, careful management, and a knack for developing your own brand with content that enriches the overall conversion experience, without driving a hard sale. Lead nurturing is an entire field of its own, and lies at the center of the perpetual objectives of B2B content marketing. Your leads need to know who you are, what your goals are in relation to theirs, and what you can provide them that your competition can’t.
B2B content marketing should reflect the need for mutually beneficial relationships that emerge through content sharing, rather than the typical hard sell of B2C pieces.
B2B Clients Need Individualized, Customizable Solutions
Another major difference between B2B and B2C businesses is that B2B products and services absolutely must be flexible, to fit your clients’ individual needs. B2C products, even though many offer multiple styles and functions that customers can choose from, are largely standardized. There’s typically no room for flexibility and customization—not on the scale that B2B services offer.
Good B2B content marketing explores the potential gains your product or service will deliver your leads. These benefits can be reinforced with a commitment to providing clients with only the services and products their company needs. Offering individualized solutions makes your potential clients more interested, expresses a necessary degree of expertise and professionalism, and makes it easier for customers to trust your business and value their working relationship with your company.
You know your products, your services, and your market space so well that you know exactly what your clients need: B2B content marketing is where you prove that to your future customers.
B2B Social Media Content Marketing is More Socially Engaging
Social media is all the rage these days, and you see popular sites like Facebook and Twitter commonly discussed in B2B and B2C circles alike. What isn’t always discussed, though, is that B2B social media strategies and B2C strategies can’t all be lumped together under the banner of social media use. Again, it’s a matter of same-but-different techniques in both fields, but in my experience, B2B is much more “social” than B2C social media content marketing.
More often than not, B2C businesses use social media as another marketing outlet for their advertising message. They realize that it’s a good idea to respond to their fans and interact with their customers, but they ultimately don’t really know the people on the other end of a social media account.
B2B social media content marketing, on the other hand, is a relationship-building space. Social media is an excellent tool for expanding your client network and identifying, reaching out to, and nurturing new leads, either through search results or through other professional connections you already have. In short, B2B social media marketing is much more social! Your unique B2B services should ensure a high degree of individual attention and care for your clients, and that should be further reinforced by your B2B social media content.
Sure, B2B and B2C content marketing might be similar on the surface: the goal of both is to turn more potential customers into loyal repeat customers. Successful B2B marketers know that this is exactly where the similarities end. B2C content marketing is geared towards a high volume of quick sales, while B2B content marketing should be aimed at maintaining a smaller, but more reliable volume of high-dollar clients. When you look at it that way, they couldn’t be more different.