It's easy to assume that B2C and B2B companies have little in common. After all, different audiences require different strategies to effectively engage customers and potential customers. And so, often, we're all too quick to examine each through its own separate, distinct lense.
But what happens if we swap lenses?
Just because B2C brands cater to a different audience doesn't mean you can't pull a page from the B2C playbook. In fact, doing so may bring a little more clarity—and provide a little more bang for your buck.
Here are the three B2C marketing strategies your B2B company should adopt to generate some serious ROI.
1. Use user-generated content (UGC)
When thinking of UGC, it's easy to picture the Nikes, Cokes, and Lululemons of the world that have thousands of brand advocates who are more than happy to tweet, post, and take a picture of themselves enjoying a brand experience.
Reality: B2B companies shouldn't expect that type or level of engagement. However, they can harness the power of UGC content by adapting their approach. Social media has made UGC much more popular; similarly, testimonials and customer reviews—B2B marketing mainstays—now also have more opportunity to flourish because of various digital media.
Knowing how to use authentic B2B customer reviews can do a world of good for your bottom line. For example, rich snippets—structured data markup that site operators can add to their HTML—allow search engines to better understand what information is contained on each webpage. "Marking up" your customer reviews can help achieve stars in organic Google searches. Translation: More SEO bang for your buck, and more visibility for your B2B prospects. The additional markup can help your website stand out in search engine result pages.
Marketing to your B2B prospects using AdWords? You can also use those customer reviews for traffic. Some third-party tools have licensing partnerships with Google, making them Google Review Partners. Accordingly, reviews collected with those platforms can help brands gain Google Seller Ratings. On average, ads with Seller Ratings get a 17% higher CTR than the same ads without ratings.
2. Leverage social advertising
Think social media is predominantly a B2C play? Think again.
A Pew Research Center survey found that 77% of workers use social media, regardless of their employer's policy. Among respondents, 20% use social media to "get information that helps solve problems at work," and 46% say that social media is "useful for finding information they need to do their job."
If you're not investing enough in social media marketing—or worse, if you're completely ignoring it—you might be missing out on reaching relevant audiences.
A Regalix B2B social media marketing study offers some key data points:
- 58% of respondents say LinkedIn and Twitter delivered efficiently on advertising dollars.
- 91% say whitepapers, articles, and case studies performed well on LinkedIn.
- 84% say that video content performed well on Facebook.
Perhaps those LinkedIn stats won't come as much of a surprise for B2B LinkedIn marketers, but there's proof in the Facebook and Twitter pudding, too. Plus, social media marketing is most often more cost-effective than other advertising platforms, offering cheaper opportunities to test new initiatives.
Because platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook allow you to segment and more accurately target your audience, you can test and identify the best-performing content for your audience—before spending a boatload of money.
3. Think mobile, think optimized
Consumer brands have been ahead of the game by optimizing their websites for speed and for mobile devices. But consumers aren't the only ones tied to a mobile device.
A 2015 Google study found that throughout the B2B purchasing process 42% of researchers use a mobile device, a 91% growth rate over two years. The same study found that 49% of B2B users use a mobile device to research products at work, and mobile purchase rates are up 22% in just two years.
Potential buyers are likely to look elsewhere if you're not prioritizing speed and if you don't have a mobile-optimized site. And a lack of optimization will have an adverse effect on your SEO.
The principles of optimizing speed can also be used for optimizing your mobile site. A recent Google initiative, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), is a mobile-first standard; if it's applied, it results in pages that load extremely quickly.
Although the use of AMP pages doesn't affect SEO (yet), Google places AMPs above the fold for news results and adds an AMP badge. That, along with its quick-loading speeds, leads to a higher frequency of clickthroughs and visits for these sites, and those are metrics that do impact SEO positively.