Some marketers believe that copy is copy. After all, people are people. And because people make the buying decisions for business, your copywriting approach should always be the same whether you are writing for business or consumers.
This belief is not completely untrue. In fact, there are many similarities among B2B and B2C audiences. They are, in fact, all people. They both have a set time frame in which to make a buying decision. They are both looking for products and services that benefit them. They both need to justify all major purchases to someone else.
But those are broad similarities. There are still many differences between business and consumer audiences, and it’s critical to understand the distinction when writing copy.
B2B and B2C Buying Behavior Is Not The Same
The buying behavior of a business is completely different than the buying behavior of a consumer. Businesses spend the company’s money, not their own. Businesses make decisions by committee. Consumers may consult a spouse or partner, but they typically make buying decisions on their own. Businesses will purchase based on logic and a cost-benefit analysis. Consumers tend to buy based on emotion. And businesses are very methodical when it comes making decisions, where consumers are typically more impulsive.
Those are some pretty major differences, don’t you think? There are some exceptions to these rules, but not many. These key differences are important to remember when it comes to copywriting.
Who, Exactly, Are You Talking To?
Businesses make decisions by committee. You have to reach a whole team of people, each with a different agenda. The way you connect with an HR manager is not the same way you connect with a sales manager, and so on. Each person has a different set of goals and priorities, and your copy has to balance everything.
On the other hand, the conversation you have with consumers is typically one-on-one. This means you can get personal with your copy. Emotional. Hit ‘em where it counts. Even when a spouse or partner is involved in the decision making, you’re still really only speaking to one person, because (as most of us know), you typically only need to convince one partner, and he or she will make your case for you.
What About Emotional Appeal?
When writing for a B2C audience, emotional appeal is often a crucial element of copywriting. You can have a lot of fun with your copy in an attempt to push the appropriate buttons – joy, sadness, empathy, humor, anger. The creative possibilities are endless. Consumers are product driven, the sales process is typically just one step, and the target audience is usually quite broad. This leaves a lot of room for some fun and unique copy.
But B2B copywriting must be a little more stoic. Rational appeal and solid research are important elements of B2B copy because businesses make their buying decisions based on reducing costs, increasing productivity and profitability.
How Long Does Your Copy Have To Be?
There is no formula for copy length, and that holds true whether you are writing for a business audience or a consumer audience. Your copy should be as long as it needs to be in order to tell your story. No more, no less. Length will depend on how much exposure your audience has had to your products and services, and how much education they need on the benefits. The purpose of the copy will also determine length. Lead generation copy doesn’t have to be a novel. But direct sales will require more detail.
The Biggest Copywriting Mistake
The biggest mistake you can make, whether you sell to consumers or to business stems from not knowing your audience. You have to know precisely who you are talking to and tailor your copywriting to the needs of that audience. When you understand the differences between B2B and B2C copywriting, you can clearly assert yourself to your potential customers and create effective copy.
Do you agree that your approach to copywriting for a B2B audience should be different than your approach to a B2C audience? Let me know what you think in the comments.
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