In today’s internet-savvy business environment, more professionals are turning to the internet to help them choose a new product or service provider for their company. In fact, according to Google, 90% of B2B researchers go online to research business purchases. For B2B companies, this means that having an effective B2B search engine optimization strategy and understanding the subtleties between B2B and B2C digital marketing are more important now than ever.
From target audiences to keyword strategy, there are some major differences that should be taken into account when discussing Business to Consumer (B2C) versus Business to Business (B2B) website optimization. If you’re looking to explore these differences, increase the ROI from your digital marketing efforts and understand your target audience better, you’ve come to the right place!
When it comes to digital marketing, B2C vs B2B search engine optimization practices are two entirely different worlds. Without a well thought out strategy based on the clientele you’re looking to reach, you may find that your online marketing successes are few and far between. In order to effectively generate leads and conversions, you must consider your audience, the keywords they use to find your business, the content they need to make a buying decision, and the overall goal of the searchers.
We will discuss each of these aspects in detail throughout this article; however, the first differences to consider are the goals of B2B vs B2C digital marketing efforts. While the goal for both is to generate a sale, in B2C this is often done within a single visit whereas most B2B products and services are not typically bought online.
Instead of an immediate online conversion or sale, B2B digital marketing efforts only just begin when your company is found for top search queries. After this initial discovery, ongoing website optimization and SEO practices are needed to ensure that your company has the right content marketing strategies in place for further consideration during the businesses’ buying cycle.
When it comes to digital marketing, knowing your audience is of utmost importance. Careful consideration of the differences between the people and processes involved will help ensure that your digital marketing efforts will be effective and generate a positive ROI. There are many differences in the target audience for B2C vs B2B advertising that should be considered:
When it comes to B2C digital marketing, efforts are typically focused on individual consumers who don’t always know what they want. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of making them aware of the product or service you offer in a way that grabs their attention; and in most cases the flashier your website and content the better. Once the consumer sees this, all they have to do is decide, “yes I want that product/service”, or “no, I don’t want that product/service”. Because of this simple decision the typical B2C sales cycle lasts just 10-20 minutes from the time a consumer conducts a search to when they buy a product or service.
Contrastingly, the B2B sales cycle may last months or even years as several layers of decision makers research and evaluate all the pros and cons of your company and the product or service you offer. This creates a longer sales process as your products and services have to be presented and scrutinized by multiple people before a final decision can be made about a purchase.
It is also important to realize that although a single person may be making the decision to purchase your business’s product or service, they will be influenced by multiple parties during the research, evaluation, and purchasing phases. Although this one person may have spent weeks researching, a VP or Director of Operations spending only 10 minutes on Google can raise enough questions about how the product meets operations specs, ROI, and financial matters to dramatically alter the purchase decision.
Therefore, it is important to always consider these different influencers in the B2B sales funnel and the keywords that each individual will use to research your product or service.
A good keyword strategy is the cornerstone to effective digital marketing efforts. B2C companies primarily rely on brand-name searches and variations in the generic terms of the items or services they sell to reach prospective customers. However, B2B clients generally know what they are looking for and will use increasingly complex keywords and queries to research and evaluate your product or service.
Although B2B clients will know what they are looking for, the keyword strategy will be complex as prospective clients use dozens of variations in specific search terms, industry-specific lingo, and generic terms to find your product. For instance, to find this article you could have used any variation of searches such as: B2B search engine optimization, B2C vs B2B SEO, business-to-business SEO, B to B digital marketing with different search results for each of these queries.
Since the B2B buying cycle can be significantly longer, there will be different keywords and topics searched during each stage of the buying cycle. During the research phase, businesses may use generic search terms for your product or service to establish a shortlist of potential providers that they will then evaluate and choose from. Once they reach the evaluation phase, potential clients are most likely to use search queries focused on efficiency, performance and maintenance to determine how your product or service best meets their business’s’ current needs. Plus, since you are targeting multiple individuals focused on different aspects of your product (e.g. operations and efficiency vs product ROI and finances) you can see that Business to Business keyword strategy grows exponentially.
Overall, The B2B professional searching for possible products or services for their business is looking to generate a shortlist of possible candidates that they can later evaluate and choose from. Showing up for all potential keywords and search queries at every phase of the buying cycle is important to make the initial cut. However, it is equally important that your landing page has the right content and information that a buyer might be looking for in their search criteria. This is where an effective B2B content marketing strategy comes into play.
Once a prospective client reaches your site, it is important to create content that will help a consumer reach a decision during the buying process. For Business to Consumer marketing, creating effective landing pages with content that is catchy and appeals to the masses is more likely to be successful in generating a sale. Contrastingly, in the realm of B2B content marketing, it is important that your content speaks to a specific group, level of interest in your product or service, and builds confidence in your company.
When it comes to B2B digital marketing, your buyers already know what they want. Therefore, your job is to make your product or service seem more appealing and useful to their specific needs than a competitor’s. Along the buying cycle, a prospective client is conducting extensive research, so it’s important to focus on your service’s unique selling point or why your product is better or easier to use. Throughout the site it is important to emphasize these selling propositions and use a persuasive and authoritative tone that establishes trust in your company and product.
Landing pages and linking should build credibility and put you in the “consideration set” for a final choice. In the world of B2B, building credibility with potential clients through testimonials and reviews is extremely necessary. With a limited client pool comprised of other companies, having great relationships and testimonials from previous clients will help give you an edge over the competition. Providing product data is equally important, and the more you can provide the better. Including a product or service portfolio and white papers will all help you establish your company as an expert in the industry.
Most B2B searches occur on Google, with prospective clients mainly using desktop computers. It is important that you optimize your B2B product landing pages for Google by ensuring that the page title and meta description show up correctly on the search results page. It is also important to track how your page performs in Organic Searches by evaluating the Click-Through-Rate, length and depth of visits and returning visitor pageviews. Evaluating analytics data for these landing pages and setting up conversion tracking is crucial, especially if you decide to use paid-search advertising or social networking to further promote your product or service.
Want to learn how to leverage effective B2B or B2C digital marketing for your business? Whether you’re targeting consumers or other businesses, we offer B2B SEO consulting and services to help you structure and implement an effective digital marketing plan and create a strategy that works best for your company. The experts at Get YOU Found in Greensboro, North Carolina can help you navigate the subtleties of digital marketing and develop a strategy that’s designed specifically for your company’s goals – Contact us today to get more information and get started down a path of digital marketing success!