Attracting strangers and converting them into customers is a challenge for any company in today’s content-rich world. So making sure that your lead generation strategy is tailored to your type of business is an important starting point. Understanding the key differences between B2C and B2B lead generation will make sure that you’re giving yourself the best chance of attracting quality leads who will hopefully go on to buy the product or service you’re marketing. In this article we look at five of the key differences you should take into account when developing your strategy.
1. Target group
With B2C, it’s pretty obvious who your target group is: the actual customer you hope will buy your product or service. But with B2B, the number of people involved in the decision-making process is likely to be made up of several people.
Nevertheless, don’t forget that although the ‘customer’ is another company, behind that company are real people. Your B2B communications should therefore not be aimed at a company, but at the people who make the decision about whether or not to buy your product or service.
Another difference between B2B and B2C lead generation lies in the size of the target group: a B2C target group will typically be much larger than a B2B target group, which tends to be more limited due to the specialised nature of the product or service, and because the investment is usually bigger.
As mentioned above, when marketing in a B2B context, it’s important to aim your communications at the person making the purchase decision. With an often large budget for their purchase, a B2B prospect expects a very personalised approach to develop the necessary trust before making an important business decision.
Link the most important Unique Selling Points (USPs) of your product or service to challenges the decision maker needs to solve. Informative content can really help in this case, e.g. infographics, white papers and case studies are all valuable ways of helping your prospects understand what your product can do for them, and gently nudge them along your sales funnel.
Your B2B prospect is most likely an expert in his field, and if you hope to gain their trust, respect and in the end, their business, you need to provide valuable content that is sufficiently detailed and highly accurate.
For B2C lead generation on the other hand, you can ‘play’ more with content. Depending on your target group, you can use promotions, original content, personal messages, etc. The length of B2C content is also usually much shorter and communication is to the point.
When choosing which channel to use to publish your content, it’s worth understanding which channels are more appropriate for B2B or B2C audience, and which work equally well for both.
While social media works well for both B2B and B2C, LinkedIn is still the preferred channel for B2B compared to other social media channels. Some key lead generation trends on LinkedIn include sharing informational content, such as short PDFs, presentations or other content that can educate, bring value or answer a question.
This practice of giving valuable information freely is especially importantwith B2B audiences, where applying the ‘rule of giving’ – where you give, give, give and then take – can deliver real return on investment.
For B2C lead generation, all other social media channels are useful, e.g. Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Here, keep an eye on your competitors and make sure your presence on a certain channel – or a decision not to use one – is part of your overall strategy and ties in to your marketing goals.
Google Ads, email marketing and chatbots are all possible communication channels for both markets, while networking events can be an especially good way to connect with B2B prospects.
Having the lowest price is always a nice selling point, but it’s not as important in B2B as in B2C lead generation. When B2B customers search for a solution, they often have a certain budget to make that purchase. So if you can convince them of the value of your product or service, then price is unlikely to be a deciding factor.
For B2C customers, on the other hand, price is a key element, as these customers will be parting with their own hard-earned money. Also, with B2C, there are often quite a few competing providers offering very similar products or services.
At the end of the day, both B2B and B2C lead generation should ideally result in a purchase. However, the main goals of the two strategies are usually quite different.
B2C lead generation tries to attract the attention of price-conscious, emotion-driven consumers in a saturated market, while B2B wants to build a personal relationship with prospects based on trust, so that their brand is the first one the prospect thinks of when they are ready to purchase or invest in a product or service.
There are several differences between B2C and B2B lead generation that are worth keeping in mind when developing your strategy to attract the right kind of leads for your product or service.
At the root of everything is understanding your customer, their needs and their decision-making process, so you can tailor your lead generation – and lead nurturing – strategies to your target audience.
For more about B2B lead generation, take a look at our B2B Lead Generation Guide.