When marketing your products or services, it is critical to determine who your target buyer will be. To start off with, you will need to decide whether you plan to market to businesses, direct consumers, or both. If your marketing plan includes advertising your products to a direct consumer base, then you will need to develop a B2C strategy.
B2C marketing, or business-to-consumer marketing, involves strategies that a company will use to advertise or promote its services and products to individual customers. These companies create products and services designed for the average consumer to utilize in their everyday life.
When most consumers purchase goods or services, they tend to make their decisions more quickly, especially if the price is not significant. This is normally because they are addressing an immediate need. This quick decision-making process means that marketing to them is a little different from selling to a business. Business to consumer B2C marketing involves triggering an emotional reaction or response in their prospective customers.
To be successful with B2C marketing, a company must stay on top of trends, purchasing habits, and competition to better understand how to stand out and find success in a crowded market.
Image via Flickr by A. Charvin
What business is to consumer marketing and why it is important are some of the questions that a business new to B2C will want to be answered. The B to C marketing definition is to market goods or services from a company to a consumer, but that is just a generalized definition. B2C marketing is important to businesses, especially those in competitive industries because consumers’ habits differ from the purchasing habits of businesses.
Since time is of the essence in B2C marketing, your company will need to develop a strategy that helps put you in front of the consumer often and first when looking for a particular product and service. You also have to cultivate a strong relationship to build trust with your brand, which can also help you stand out from your competitors.
The ultimate goal of business to business or business to consumer marketing is to advertise and promote your products and services to increase revenue. The fundamental difference between the two is that B2B marketing focuses on direct marketing to businesses, while B2C marketing focuses more on attracting direct consumers.
Before a business makes a purchasing decision, they are likely to have done some significant research or discussed the purchase with other colleagues. This is especially true with high-dollar purchases and things like equipment or software. Business purchases are rarely spontaneous. So, in short, business purchases will be based more on logic, while consumer purchases are based more on emotion.
Since B2B marketing can be a long process, it is often more costly than B2C marketing.
When a company focuses on B2B marketing, its strategies will be more focused on the product’s logic and the features that can benefit their company. To do this properly, you will have to research businesses in the industry and determine what they may think and the pain points they may experience. Marketing materials will often be more in-depth and strategies focused on walking buyers through the decision-making process step-by-step.
Since B2C sales are more often based on emotion and more likely to be spur-of-the-moment decisions, the marketing will often require significantly more marketing channels than B2B. Also, since consumers want to make their decisions more rapidly, they don’t want to work too hard to understand the benefits that your product or service can provide them. You also should focus on having a clear message that they can easily understand.
Instead of benefits, B2C marketing should focus on how a product or service can help consumers with problems that they may be experiencing. A business-to-customer marketing example could be a company that is selling productivity software directly to consumers. What they are looking to find out about the software is how it can work to help make their life easier.
Can it allow them to connect more easily with their devices? Can it send them notifications of important events? All they need to know is how the product can help provide solutions for some of the pain points they experience.
While B2C marketing can be cost-effective and popular for many businesses, there are still a few hurdles that marketers may encounter during the process. Below are some of the biggest problems you may face when embarking on your B2C strategies.
With many competitors in the market, consumers definitely have more control than they used to. If they are unsatisfied with one company, all they have to do is move along to the next one. In fact, many consumers claim that they are willing to even pay more if they are provided a good customer experience, and 60% have said that they will switch to a new brand if they think they can achieve a better experience there. This makes customer engagement and an enhanced experience even more vital because it will help you convert customers and retain them.
Another important thing to remember is that cell phones and smart devices have put the internet right at consumers’ fingertips, allowing them to access it any time of the day or night. This means that brands must be ready with multiple channel marketing strategies to catch their target audiences’ attention no matter their online behavior.
Remember, if you can engage your customers and provide them with a good consumer experience, there is a good chance you will become a favorite brand for the consumer prompting them to positively review and share their good experience with your company.
Social media platforms are becoming a mainstay in the B2C marketing space. These channels not only allow you to target your specific audience for a reasonable price and bring in the potential for a lot of traffic, but they also have the potential to grow your awareness exponentially through their sharing capabilities.
Unfortunately, the trend to market on these social spaces has been steadily increasing throughout the years, leading to an enormously crowded marketplace. Users are constantly subjected to ads which can lead to ad fatigue, and on top of that, since there are no restrictions on these platforms, it can be easy for random consumers to talk your product down even if they have never tried it.
Typically companies will respond to bad reviews to smooth things over or address the situation. Still, the sheer volume of comments and the overwhelming number of social media platforms make this a daunting and oftentimes insurmountable task.
Since so much marketing takes place on these platforms, it is even more important to draw a consumer’s eye through eye-catching videos and engaging content so they will be enticed to click on the ad and learn more.
Since B2C marketing can involve a significant number of strategies and media channels, it can be overwhelming to keep up with, often requiring significant amounts of time and resources. This can be especially true for businesses just starting and trying to develop their brand image. While technology and software can sometimes help ease this burden, it is a hurdle that many small companies may still struggle with if they have a limited marketing budget.
Data about your customers and their behaviors is valuable, but when you receive your data from digital sources, every touchpoint and interaction from every customer and prospect can be recorded. This can result in an overwhelming amount of data that is hard to sort through and make sense of.
Luckily, software programs can help you automate the process of collecting, sorting, and analyzing this data so you can draw insights and make adjustments to your marketing plan. Without these newer technologies, though, it can be difficult to have enough time to sort the data to extract the valuable information it may obtain.
To be successful at B2C marketing, you must reach your potential customers at the most appropriate time and deliver a message tailored to their needs to promote conversion. While this may seem like an insurmountable task at the outset, below are a few simple tips to help make the process much smoother.
The great thing about email marketing is it can be set to be delivered at a specific time. If you have customers on a mailing list or have expressed interest in the company, provide consumers with a reminder email when there is a time-sensitive sale or promotion.
Reminder emails work for marketing in two ways. First, they give an easy avenue for the customer to convert. All users have to do is click the link. Secondly, reminder emails help keep your company name and message in front of them regularly. So when a need arises, the customer will think to contact your company. There are many benefits to using email marketing:
All customers want to feel like VIPs or be able to be members of exclusive clubs. This is one of the best ways to increase engagement and drive customer loyalty. These types of programs typically will include perks, benefits, rewards, or special deals for members.
When customers become part of these VIP programs, they will not only interact with your brand more but, in fact, become a brand ambassador, likely to recommend your company to friends and colleagues.
On top of that, to become a member of these special programs, customers are usually required to reach a certain level of spending which can work as a way to increase revenue from your current customer base.
Sometimes potential customers may leave your site and switch to another, often a competition when they don’t find what they are looking for or are not engaged. Customer re-targeting helps you get another chance to land that customer through the use of ads. Using data from your customer’s behavior, you can target ads to popup on other websites they visit, gently redirecting them to give our product or service another chance.
This can also be a valuable technique when a customer has abandoned your cart. You can use the re-target ad to help convince them to complete their purchase.
Traditional marketing methods are becoming quickly outdated as they don’t attract the attention they once did due to a lack of personalization. Consumers today want a full customer experience. They want to be taken on a personal and emotional journey that will allow them to better connect with your company and the products and services they offer.
Because consumers demand a complete experience, personalization becomes vital. They expect to feel like an important part of your company, but managing that can be difficult when you have a sea of customers to attend to.
Luckily technology has begun to evolve to help utilize personalization to strengthen and build relationships with customers. These tools allow you to not only hyper-personalize but automate your efforts so that the customer gets the intimate experience they want without taking up an exorbitant amount of your company’s time and resources.
Along with personalization, brand is another vital component of the B2C marketing process. Strong brands inspire loyalty with customers and encourage customers to maintain their loyalty and even pay a higher price. If a consumer is exposed enough to a brand and can easily recognize it, they are more likely to feel worth making a purchase.
Brand can also play a critical role in consumer’s desire to be stylish or achieve a certain level of prestige. Brands like Rolex, Lexus, and BMW all evoke a luxurious and glamorous feel even before you see the product.
It is always important to focus on the quality of content over the quantity and ensure that it delivers a meaningful and engaging message to your consumers instead of sounding too promotional.
Content should always address informational needs first to allow for greater success. Other factors that can lead to a higher conversion rate include:
Having a robust, well-thought-out strategy in place is the first step to success with B2C marketing, but there are other considerations to make as well. Such as the various channels you will want to use to deliver your message. In this instance, you should determine the channels that your target customer base frequents and use as many as you can to take advantage of multiple engagement opportunities. Below are a few other key components that can help make your strategy successful.
Social media is the perfect platform for B2C marketing and can be utilized even with the tightest budget restraints. These channels are a great place to sell and promote your product or service and the ideal atmosphere to engage customers, build awareness of your brand, and encourage customer loyalty.
Since the benefits of using social media in your marketing strategy are great, it is important to prioritize this in your plan. Focus on:
Whether you are marketing B2B or B2C, search engine optimization is critical. For B2C markets, it is even more vital as consumers will often search for and research the products and services they are looking for by internet only. This means ranking higher on search engines and optimizing keywords is critical as the consumer may not spend too much time searching multiple pages.
If you are a business that relies on local customers, you will want to make sure that your visibility is boosted in the local area. Start by optimizing your Google My Business page, which can help your company name appear closer to the top of local search results. You also want to use localized keywords in your content to help you rank when a consumer is looking for a product or service in a certain area.
When you engage with anyone from your site, whether they are a prospect or a visitor, you should always treat them as an individual instead of one of the masses. Customers want to feel important, even if it is just having their email content addressed to them. Luckily much of the email marketing software allows you to easily personalize your information, setting automated drops based on customer behavior.
This type of business will act as a go-between for the business that provides the product or service and the buyers looking for them. With these businesses, much of the marketing groundwork has been laid as many people regularly check these sites for products and services they are looking for. However, businesses will still need to promote their company to stay ahead of the competition.
An advertising-based B2C business’s primary goal is to get visitors to their website. To do this, they will entice them in with free content on topics that are interesting, timely, and popular. The company makes its money through ads placed on its site. They can be paid for clicks on the ads, conversions, or even charge for ad space on their site. For businesses like this, the B2C marketing strategy needs to be focused solely on the content and delivering content that will rank high in search results and draw in a high amount of visitor traffic.
Community-based B2C companies focus on a community built on shared interests. In this community, advertisers and marketers can directly promote their products and services to the group’s consumers. One of the most popular community-based B2C sites is Facebook, but there are many others where the target audience is more specific, which can make it better suited for certain products. Niche businesses may even see higher conversion rates if they can advertise in a community-based group that fits with their more narrow demographic.
In some cases, the content is the sole product or service offered by a digital B2C company. Companies like Netflix are considered fee-based B2Cs that offer content to their customers for a monthly rate. Though they may often entice visitors to try them out with free content, most of the content will cost if they want to watch. This type of B2C company is also seen with newspapers online content since it is becoming more common to get news from web-based sources.
B2C marketing is highly personalized, using multiple channels for delivery. While it may seem complicated at first, B2C marketing plans can be implemented for a reasonable budget and help businesses connect with a wider range of customers than their previous efforts may have gotten them. By understanding what B2C marketing is and important ways to improve its strategy, your business may find that it has achieved a better conversion rate and possibly a higher ROI.
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