Does b2c marketing require a different skill set and strategy than b2b marketing?
Yes and no.
Marketing has foundations you should learn regardless of the type of business you run.
Once you master those, it’s important to learn the difference and nuance that comes with your niche.
Most business owners run into the same problem. They think too much, fail to make decisions, and treat marketing as an afterthought instead of the core of their business.
In this guide, we’ll break down the marketing foundations you need to know and the specifics for becoming a top business in your b2c marketing niche.
Marketing 101 – The Basics All Business Owners Need to Know
Often times, business owners focus on the wrong topics when it comes to marketing.
They focus on tactics and asks questions like:
“Should I do SEO?”
“Which social media channels should I be on?”
“Do I need to run PPC ads?”
Those tactics are secondary. First, you need to focus on the core pillars behind your marketing. After, the insights you gain from building those foundations will guide your decision making when it comes to the channels you want to use.
So what are some of these foundational elements of marketing?
Unique Selling Proposition
This is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot. Often incorrectly. Having a USP isn’t about making a sexy mission statement. It’s about answering these two simple questions, famously pointed out by advertising legend David Ogilvy:
“What does the product do and who is it for?”
Seems like a simple question right?
It is simple, but if you never take the time to truly consider that answer, you won’t be able to create the right content, sell effectively, and convert casual browsers into buyers.
I’m guessing you want our answer to that question.
We provide content marketing and SEO for business owners who want to grow their businesses.
Notice our USP had nothing to do with increasing traffic, specific tactics, or a super niche audience.
Not all marketing agencies look at their services as a tool for their customers to grow their businesses. All of them look at their services as a tool to grow their own businesses, however.
There’s a stark difference between vanity metrics and the type of content marketing that moves the needle for your business.
When it comes to your business, think of this answer deeply.
You could own a carpet cleaning company. So the answer to the first question is simple. You provide carpet cleaning services, but the who it’s for part of the equation varies.
Here are some examples:
- Commercial businesses who need regular upkeep
- Homeowners looking for an affordable solution instead of needing to replace their carpets
- Commercial business and homeowners who take great pride in the appearance of their businesses or homes
And creating a USP doesn’t mean you can’t serve people who aren’t directly related to it, but it does mean your business has a focus that you can use in the marketing and sales process.
If the answer to “Who is your target audience?” is anyone who will buy your product. You’re not on the right track.
Defining your audience needs to go above and beyond simple metrics like age demographics and yearly salary. Those are important, but defining your audience goes deeper.
Sales are about emotion, not logic. You need to understand how the people in your audience think — about themselves, about the industry your in, and about the transformation your product provides.
You need to know the hopes, fears, desires, and frustrations of your audience.
For our audience, we’re looking for people who see past the shiny aspects of marketing and understand its a tool for the growth and reputation of their business.
We know how many business owners are hesitant to invest in marketing because they haven’t found the right fit, but see the coming trends and realize they need digital marketing to stay competitive.
They want digital marketing to be like a salesperson and brand advocate for their company that draws leads in. They see that marketing and business growth can free up time and money to improve their product, hire more people, expand their offering, and build an industry dominating brand.
Business owners who only look at the bottom line and nothing else are not in our audience. The same goes for business owners who want fast results or see marketing as an expense rather than an investment.
That comes across in our marketing in many ways:
- We write insanely in-depth and informative articles
- We don’t offer pre-packaged solutions that anyone can replicate
- Our business model attracts people who spend time learning about marketing
Even if you’re in the b2c market, understanding your audience is just as important, if not more, because b2c businesses often have audiences with more choices and shrewder buying behavior due to a large number of products available in the space and social proof metrics to pay attention to like reviews.
This does mean using tactics like:
- Creating customer avatars
- Doing market and competitor research
- Surveying current customers to find additional wants and needs
But these tactics are derived from the philosophy that you’re trying to deeply understand your audience instead of trying to sell to anyone who will buy.
Shortsightedness kills businesses in a variety of ways. Shortsighted business owners don’t invest enough in marketing. They can also invest too much in marketing because they believe marketing can help sell any product (marketing only helps sell good products).
If you’re going to become a master marketer or work with an agency to take care of your marketing for you, you should think in terms of years instead of weeks or months.
The data supports this too.
Pages take a while before they rank on Google:
Per Hubspot: Over its lifetime, one compounding blog post creates as much traffic as six decaying posts. (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
As Neil Patel explains in this video, the average time it takes to rank your pages on Google depend on a variety of factors:
In your case, unless you’re not willing to experiment and take time for your marketing strategies to work.
How B2C Marketing Works
We’re all B2C customers.
The easiest way to put yourself in your customers’ shoes is to think about how you buy products.
Do you buy products from random banner ads? Statistics says less than two percent of traffic goes to these type of advertisements.
You shop differently for different products. You don’t spend as much time mulling over which toothpaste you choose vs. which car you buy.
Often, you rely on word of mouth or reviews. More or less so depending on the type of product you buy.
Yes, you do make impulse purchases, but why? Often, an impulse purchase is for a product you’re already primed to want, quickly solves a problem or need that you have, uses great copy and messaging to persuade you to buy, and is in the right price range to justify the purchases.
It’s useful to go outside of yourself and think of the way you would look at products in your industry.
For a quick example, we’ll use carpet cleaning businesses again.
Carpet cleaning is more of a commodity product. It’s the type of product you’d search on Google and perhaps purchase services from relatively quickly. This insight would let you know that a tactic like SEO might work well for your business over the long run.
People might also buy your services based on your brand and reputation. This comes into play with local carpet cleaning companies and others niches like real estate where companies like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor have established named.
Insights like these let you know to focus on building your brand over the long-term to get more customers and build brand awareness on search engines.
This is an important step to take before you even dive into tactics — simply having the awareness and empathy to see your product in the eyes of your customers.
You’d be surprised how much of a blind spot this can be for many business owners, maybe even you.
You can want your business to succeed badly, but if you want it to succeed so badly you adopt a “build it and they will come” or “build a better mousetrap” mentality, you can miss out on great insights or take shortcut, both of which cost you the customers you want so bad in the first place.
All of these strategies are dependant on your business and niche, but here are some things to think about when it comes to putting together your b2c marketing campaign.
Stages of Awareness
How aware of your business does a potential customer need to be before they purchase?
What is the average time it will take to get them to know, like, and trust you?
What steps and techniques can you use to move them through the stages of awareness?
When we sit down with business owners, we focus on moving customers through the stages of awareness.
Often, we’ll begin with an SEO and content marketing campaign – writing blog posts, building backlinks and getting traffic to their websites to build awareness around their brand and communicate in a way that convinces people to trust their brand.
Attraction can work with different Mediums depending on the business. A business like an e-commerce business could have a much shorter awareness cycle and a strategy like paid advertisements might be the best fit.
You need a way to convert these visitors. Paid ads can be used to convert people into buyers or get them to sign onto your email list to educate and persuade them further. Either way, you need to be able to answer the question “How do I get the visitor to take the next step?”
The answer to that question leads to additional tactics like:
- Calls to action
- Whitepaper offers
- Landing pages
You have to focus on closing the sale by doing things like answering potential objections and reassuring your potential customer.
And immediately after the sale, you must ensure an excellent customer experience to avoid pitfalls like buyers remorse and refunds.
Let’s take a look at some of the channels, platforms, and strategies you can use to enhance your b2c marketing, move people through the stages of awareness, increase your brand equity, and get more sales at the same time.
SEO and Content Marketing
We’ve covered topics like SEO and content marketing in-depth in many of our articles. Let’s talk about how both work specifically for b2c marketing.
When you’re selling products to customers instead of other businesses, there’s one important word to remember when creating an SEO campaign. Intent.
The way you structure your campaign is based on the intent of the people who are interested as well as the stage of awareness they’re in.
B2c marketing strategies also change depending on the region you serve. Let’s take a look at a few different examples.
Local Service Businesses
Our fictional carpet cleaning business would be a great example of a local service business. Many local service businesses like carpet cleaning companies, restaurants, plumbers, etc have a much simple b2c marketing strategy for SEO.
For these types of businesses, your number one goal would be to rank for the key phrase [main service] in [city], e.g., carpet cleaning in Wichita, KS. If your business offers multiple services, you would want to create a unique page of content for each of those services and try to rank in your area as well.
The process would like something like this:
- Create SEO optimized pages for each service
- Create SEO optimized pages for each location you serve
- Add an SEO optimized blog to your website to feature relevant and helpful content
- Build citations for your business in relevant directories
- Through techniques like blog outreach and guest posting, build backlinks to your website to increase authority
- Get high-quality Google reviews from past customers
On your website, you’d create messaging based on factors like USP and solving the problems of your target audience.
Often, people coming to these types of businesses have the intent to buy or inquire. To move them through the stages of awareness, you’d use compelling website copy and calls to action to fill out a form or call your business.
Product businesses use a different SEO strategy than service businesses.
In 2019, most product businesses use e-commerce and online shopping for sales.
If you run and e-commerce business, you have many different strategies you can use to grow your traffic and increase awareness for your site.
First, you want to make sure to optimize each product page on your website by:
- Adding keywords to the title of products
- Adding keywords to the description
- Writing detailed product descriptions
- Using keywords in headings, descriptions, alt tags, and all other meta data
You’d do the same thing for each category page on your website. Here’s an example from one of our clients who sells stud fasteners:
In addition to creating SEO optimized pages for each product page and category page on your website, you can create blog content related to the products on your website.
Visit our e-commerce marketing guide for an in-depth look at the process, as well as our other deep dive guides into content marketing and SEO:
Pay Per Click Advertising on Google and Facebook
Pay per click advertising on Google and Facebook work well for b2c businesses because potential customers have more buyer intent and take a shorter time to purchase than most b2b scenarios. Compare looking for a pair of sneakers with finding a new aerospace machining company to work with.
If you look at many b2c queries, especially for product businesses, you’ll see ads dominate the search engine results page (SERP):
When browsing Facebook, you’ll often notice ads for products you’re interested in:
The question is – how do you make these ads effective and how should you use them depending on the stages of awareness?
Attraction Facebook Ads
If customers aren’t aware of your company yet, you can use ads to attract them to learn more about you. A couple of strategies to find new people to reach are:
- Using detailed interest targeting in ads
- Creating audiences based on competitors in your niche
- Creating audiences based on your current customers called lookalike audiences
Here’s an example from my feed:
I’ve never personally been to this website, but I do like form-fitting t-shirts and have been to similar clothing sites. This brand is doing a great job of attracting me to learn more because it speaks to the things I want in a shirt, e.g., “athletic fit.”
Conversion Facebook Ads
Some ads will attempt to move through further through the stages of awareness by getting you to act in a way that helps further the relationship, mainly signing up for your e-mail list.
Often, these type of ads try to:
- Offer something valuable in exchange for your contact info
- Sell the benefits of joining their list
- Make the decision to sign up as easy as possible
Here’s an example of one of those ads from my feed:
These types of ads are either for people who are well aware of the company or from companies who believe they can close the sale quickly.
For the former, this is often called a re-marketing ad. They know you’ve already interacted with their brand and they’re marketing to you again. There are some categories where it goes make sense to offer your product for sale via an ad right way, often a lower priced product with less friction to buy.
These are just a few of the many avenues you can choose for b2c marketing. It’s on you to choose the right strategy after understanding your customers first.
If you want to know exactly how to define your audience as well as how to sell to them, we can help. Just fill out the form below to get your free marketing proposal and competitive analysis in 48 hours or less: