As a freelance marketing copywriter, you may be called on to write all different kinds of copy for all different kinds of companies. Most of the time, transferring your skills from product to product is fairly easy; there are basic principles of marketing that can be easily applied across multiple scenarios.
But if you’re used to writing for B2C companies and you get asked to write B2B marketing copy, you might well take a moment to ask yourself, “What’s the difference between writing copy for B2B and B2C?”
To answer this question, you have to start out by understanding B2B buyers vs. B2C buyers.
Who’s making the decision?
B2C buyers, with few exceptions, are individuals who can make decisions on their own, and don’t have to answer to anyone else for the consequences. B2B buyers represent their entire organization, and are accountable to many other people for the outcome of their purchase decisions. That means you need to arm your B2B buyer with an arsenal of information they can use to take back to their committees and bosses to lobby for, and ultimately justify the purchase decision.
How long is the sales cycle?
B2C has a very short sales cycle, sometimes as long as a few seconds. B2B sales cycles can be six months to a year or more. That means you need to develop collateral that is appropriate for each phase of the sales cycle, making sure to reach your prospect with the right information at the right time to move them into the next phase.
What motivates the purchase decision?
B2C shoppers are motivated strongly by price and brand recognition. B2B buyers are motivated by return on investment (ROI); in fact business buyers often shun solutions that are the lowest cost, fearing this also indicates low quality. That means you need to be able to demonstrate a clear ROI. And the return doesn’t actually have to be money. Sometimes intangibles like enhanced productivity and shorter lead times can’t be accurately monetized, but are worth spending a chunk of the budget on.
What are some of the different approaches you take to writing for B2C vs. B2C?
Ever gotten it wrong?
About the author: Kate Headen Waddell is a strategic copywriter specializing in web copy, white papers, case studies, blogging and other B2B marketing tools. You can visit her website at www.smartb2bmarcom.com.