The one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work when you’re adapting best SEO marketing practices in targeting vastly different audiences like a business entity (B2B marketing) and a legion of individual consumers (B2C marketing). Knowing the difference helps when you’re designing websites focusing on specific buyer types, and our guide will help you set the rules that power search engine optimization efforts to achieve a quantum leap in productivity while adding ballast to your bottom-line.
It’s not that B2B and B2C websites are mutually exclusive; some commonality can’t be ignored.
- Consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to access websites, and that means your site follows a responsive design that makes content optimized to a variety of screens to promote user-friendliness. Basically, you are tweaking your code to boost content planning, website design, and performance metrics to run smoothly on a smaller screen that can be adjusted exponentially.
- The language of communication becomes clear and precise to suit the taste and needs of the audience, with consumers preferring a simple and straightforward language devoid of technical jargon and heavy-handed specifications. Businesses, on the other hand, require you to provide information that may be geeky or nerdy with lots of industry-specific jargon.
- An intuitive navigation protocol ensures that searchers move quickly between pages to zero in on the stuff they’re interested in, and searchers don’t get suspended in a matrix of confusing choices. When navigation is simplified, you’re empowering user experience.
- Sites that lower the loading time to 2 seconds on large pages and just under 800ms on simple pages are best optimized to deliver user satisfaction, and achieving that benchmark demands that you rework your entire performance metrics starting from scratch.
- When you deploy basic to the most advanced cybersecurity protocols and plugins, your website is less vulnerable to a hack attempt. You have a security team in place that neutralizes vulnerabilities by updating security patches regularly.
In our opinion, there are 7 critical factors that make B2B and B2C websites very different from each other, and that these variations influence the way SEO marketing is conducted. Let’s take a closer look at the marketing issues involving B2B and B2C companies.
The 7 Strategic Differentials That Define B2B and B2C SEO Marketing
The framework uniting the five common features that we listed doesn’t change; these basic features remain constant and immutable. The differences that we’re elaborating have more to do with how you approach designing and how you gradually improve your workflow. It doesn’t matter if you happen to be a techno novice; get ready for a sea change in your mindset.
SEO Marketing Strategy 1#
Being Unwaveringly Focused on the Decision Maker
The people making decisions, whether it be the CEO of a business or a retail consumer, approach decision-making from an entirely different perspective, and this has a huge impact on the way marketing wings try to influence these buyers.
The B2B Ecosystem
When you’re handling a company, B2B SEO targets two sets of customers – one is the user, a tier 2 employee, possibly a researcher, whose job is to study every available option to zoom in on the product or service that fits the company’s requirements, or something that can be customized to the company’s needs. The other is the chooser, the policymaker, the person who finally gets to decide the offer, who holds the key to business growth.
The dialogue between users and choosers, culminating in the decision-making process, may take weeks and even months to come around, and that implies that SEO for B2B marketing strategy becomes a long drawn-out process rather than an immediate sell-your-pitch-and-book-the-order deal.
The B2C Ecosystem
The business CEO deciding on an expensive CRM solution to streamline his in-house team and outstaffing partners would be totally at variance with the consumer and mother of two needing an immediate replacement for a kitchen appliance that broke down while cooking goulash.
The business CEO may take his time mulling options while deliberating with his team of 30 staff, but the desperate mother, facing distress in the kitchen, is unlikely to waste any time before plunging headlong into the market to find a solution.
The B2B buyer gives you room to maneuver and fine-tune your marketing strategy for better results. The B2C buyer will search the web and come knocking on your door asking for immediate solutions, and if you’re not ready with B2C SEO initiatives, you’ve lost the consumer for all of eternity.
So the first rule of SEO marketing is to create a strategy that is tailor-made to the decision-maker that you happen to be targeting and to fine-tune the plan considering how quickly the buyers respond to your pitch.
SEO Marketing Strategy 2#
Clearly Understanding What Motivates the Decision Maker
If knowing the buyer is the first step in your business growth trajectory, understanding what motivates the buyer to come searching for you helps you clinch deals faster. Your website becomes stronger when it perfectly mirrors the needs or goals of the buyer.
The B2B Ecosystem
The B2B website has to position itself as a problem solver of a more significant magnitude. Problem identification and solution execution become a time consuming and expensive process for any company.
At this point, you need to step in and reinforce the validity of your solution and promise improved ROI by benchmarking your standards. In a professional and technically competent way, you explain what the solution is, how it delivers results, and what it does to erase the buyer’s pain points.
The problem is that you can’t rush a B2B SEO strategy and hold it hostage to your business agenda; you need to leverage SEO for B2B marketing to unerringly focus on the benefits and anchor your arguments in concrete by citing live test cases that eased pain points of others similarly placed.
For example, it won’t do to state that your CRM solution guarantees customer satisfaction. Show the buyer how effortlessly CRM can be customized to their unique business needs, how automation improves customer conversion and retention, and how CRM seamlessly integrates the company’s business apps on to an easily accessible platform.
Building dedicated pages, informational videos, and peer podcasts create confidence in buyers when they see solutions unfolding before their eyes.
The B2C Ecosystem
If logic and reasoning pack power and persuasion into the B2B marketing campaign, the B2C campaign addresses two qualities that are altogether different – impulsivity and emotion. The mother of two struggling to replace her broken home appliance is best appealed to at an emotional level.
The consumer is rational enough to have sifted through various options to come to your doorstep. Emotional branding is what’s going to clinch an impulsive buy for you. The appeal and glamor that you build around the project automatically addresses the sense of urgency that brings the consumer to you.
The most successful B2C SEO strategies use super high definition images to appeal to the senses, irresistible offers make the consumer tarry and consider, attractive discounts sweeten the deal, the time frame (offer closes by) adds a sense of urgency, and within nanoseconds, a deal is clinched.
SEO Marketing Strategy 3#
Improving the Aesthetic-Ambiance of Your Website
Web design is such a huge map that you’d be confused about where to point the compass and which direction to move. But there are vital differences between B2B and B2C websites that you’re better off understanding. It’s important because the design differential can make or break your customer wooing campaign.
The B2B Ecosystem
If you carefully observe SaaS companies, you’ll see a good number of them actively promoting solutions that help other businesses run faster and better. Then you dig deeper and assess companies that are really successful in e-commerce, the companies that are transitioning to a speedier growth curve or expanding their services. You’ll notice these companies replicating specific SEO for B2B marketing metrics that guarantee steady business growth.
- These companies use B2B SEO to create a minimalist approach to design where the loud, the ornate, and the complex give way to a simplistic website design that is easy on the eye, yet carries the buyer directly to the solution that erases the pain point.
- The typography will be conservative and staid, and the images and videos will be executed with clinical perfection and professionalism.
- The color selection will be tuned to the niche and appears downplayed with softer shades that don’t overwhelm the senses.
The CTAs won’t be “Buy This,” “Buy That,” or “Click Here,” “Do That.” Instead, we have unambiguous CTAs leading the buyer directly to the issues that address the buyer’s needs. For example, our CRM solutions provider may like to include the following CTAs that actually voice the innermost needs of buyers:
- Comprehensive App integration: “I want all my apps on the same page.”
- A Collaborative Workspace: “I want all my customers to connect to me anywhere, anytime, with whatever device they have.”
- Strategizing SEO Content: “I want my global outstaffing team optimizing content on the same page.”
At one stroke, intelligent B2B SEO has addressed the personal pain points of the business buyer, minimizing the time spent in navigating between pages searching for customized solutions to specific problems.
The B2C Ecosystem
The B2C website literally has a free run over cyberspace, choosing an adventurous and fun-filled approach to web designing that is consciously geared to project brand imaging, seeking to attract large swathes of retail consumers.
- The images become stunningly attractive, a feast of visually pleasing eye candy that literally stops consumers in their track, presenting the kind of lifestyle choices that fulfill aspirations, and make them feel happier about themselves.
- There’s greater leeway for deviating from the standard rules of typography in favor of more straightforward language that may even sound colloquial. As long as it’s readable and communicates effectively with the consumer, it’s ok.
- Color is an essential cue for appealing to the consumer’s craving for an aspirational lifestyle. All shades of color appear larger than life if only to forge a link at an emotional level, and persuade the consumer to give in to the impulse of the moment and satisfy his needs without further ado.
A good example would be the Airbnb rental that showcases exquisitely colorful images of elaborately designed homes and vacation properties, opening windows to stunning scenery, offering consumers a glamorous lifestyle choice at an affordable rate.
SEO Marketing Strategy 4#
Content Is King, but the Lannisters and Targaryens Wear Different Crowns
The decision making businessman and the retail consumer approach you from different perspectives that demand content that is customized to the buyer’s needs. Even if content is the King of your marketing fortress, the B2B and B2C Kings wear different diadems.
The B2B Ecosystem
B2B content marketing aims to establish that you are an authority providing expertise and deep insights regarding a product or service that can be customized to business needs. You work harder at explaining how your solution is unique and offers better value compared to the competition, as you seek to lay the foundation for buyer confidence and trust.
B2B buyers will be at ease with technically superior blog content that is rich in information, and research-based white papers that clearly separate the product from its closest competitors. The medium that you choose to relay the message works best when content is directed at LinkedIn where the best business minds gather to deliberate the pros and cons of competing products.
When you focus SEO for B2B marketing on niche industries, content needs to acquire the look and feel of language that addresses the core concerns of the buyer, and that involves setting up dedicated pages branching off into instructional videos, informative podcasts, and authoritative peer reviews.
For example, assuming that you are selling CRM solutions, it’s not enough to trumpet that you are the best in the business. Get down to brass tacks, and make extensive use of B2B SEO to actually show how your solutions can be customized for startups, small and medium-sized business, and established corporates. Dispense with the generic advice that you usually provide, and create separate pages for each niche showing how each industry benefits.
The B2C Ecosystem
Remember that emotional satisfaction is the key driver of B2C purchasing. Deliver content that offers preferential pricing and plays up the prestige attached to your brand recall. The aim is to make the consumer feel good about the decision he is making and how it fulfills aspirational goals that he can get bragging rights to.
Grammarly, the highly successful online proofreading software, starts its pitch with the header “Better writing, Better grades” clearly and succinctly explaining what the software aims to accomplish and how consumers benefit by it. They do this with four simple words. Audience-specific content marketing couldn’t get better. Forget reams of unending prose; a simple sentence carries a punch in B2C marketing.
When it comes to B2C marketing, you have unfettered access to social media to post simple videos, condensed messages, and an array of high definition images that do a great job of influencing individual consumers to create an abiding awareness about products and services.
B2C marketing is more flexible in encouraging user-generated content across the whole medium of audio, video, text, and images that spread the right word about you and expand your domain dominance.
SEO Marketing Strategy 5#
Snowballing the Conversion Rollercoaster That Spells Business Success
Businesses don’t mind spending time and resources casting their net far and wide to decide what’s best suited for their operations. Naturally, this makes B2B marketing a long-term venture aiming to educate buyers.
The consumer, on the other hand, has less time at his disposal and is driven to satisfy a current need arising from urgent necessity. It becomes apparent that you need different conversion optics to grab and retain different buyer types. What you need is a call-to-action (CTA) guide targeting B2Bs and B2Cs differently.
The B2B Ecosystem
We’re already aware that decision-makers exist at different levels within organizations carrying out various responsibilities. You’ll see them studying your firm, digging deeper into product research, reviewing competitive pricing options, and requesting for demos, besides clarifying details. These movers and shakers will be hitting your sales funnel at different points, and how ready you are with your response determines how successful you become in canvassing their business.
The B2B SEO best practices present an array of options that aim to educate and inform the buyers as and when they make contact, and that’s easily accomplished by designing a robust system of calls-to-action.
For example, let’s assume that you’re a catering business delivering food to local businesses. Using B2B SEO best practices you could position a catchy phrase at the buyer’s entry point saying –
“ A satiated tummy is at the heart of great food and pleasing service.”
This could be followed by a brief explanation stating –
“we offer speciality gourmet dishes, combining the freshest ingredients and custom-cut meats presented in a style and ambiance that is as unique as your needs.”
Now, you are free to position pithy CTAs directly beneath your message leading the buyer to different menus/delivery services suiting individual buyer needs. Your B2B SEO basics are fulfilled- you have educated, you have informed, and you have addressed every pain point that the buyer can think of.
The B2C Ecosystem
With retail consumers, your initial point of contact could also be the last so you pack as much action as you can muster by designing and presenting an excellent site map, besides ensuring that buyers don’t get caught in a maze of CTAs that confuse people more than they convince.
Let’s assume that you’re a retail site selling fashionable garments. The ideal B2C SEO strategy would be position your prominent CTAs above the page fold, guiding the visitor to “Add to Cart” or “Proceed to Checkout” as deemed appropriate. You’ve given the lowdown on the product, and you’re asking the visitor in unmistakable terms to get cracking on what you want them to do. You’re giving the visitor an option either to get in and book the order or to get going where they want to go. No obligations.
SEO Marketing Strategy 6#
Gauging Effectiveness in Responding to Queries and Aggregating Customer Data
You’re aware that the best SEO practices are geared for achieving one common goal – that of improving your website’s user-friendliness. But in most cases, user experience plummets on reaching the “contact us” page. This is an area that demands remedial action.
The B2B Ecosystem
B2B buyers are more inclined to leave their queries/ contact information with you in the hope of getting a quick and appropriate response. And you can’t afford to fail them. In truth, your failure to persuade a buyer to fill out the contact form or to answer a query represents the loss of a potential customer.
In line with result-oriented B2B SEO protocols, ensure that the title makes the purpose of the form clear, the contact form itself is short and convenient to handle, and the fields of information that your request are purely “need-to-know” information that helps you assess the customer’s background even as you analyze and prepare a response to the query.
Remember that something as precious as an email address is enough to start a conversation and fashion a B2B proposal that is tailored to the buyer’s needs.
The B2B buyer is more invested in developing a long-term relationship and is amenable to repeat orders and wouldn’t mind some complexity. So the B2B check out protocol may involve handling of multiple requests, and making room for customized payment and delivery options, all of which the buyer would be willing to discuss.
The B2B SEO best practices now use AI-powered chatbots capable of archiving and learning from buyer interactions to enhance user experience in personalized communication.
The B2C Ecosystem
The B2C buyer, being in a hurry, has less time to waste on lengthy logins and unending registration formalities. The simplest of contact forms will suffice, capturing the first and last name, and email address. A field for mobile number may be marked as optional. The checkout protocol has to be seamless and intuitive without involving sales staff or needing telephonic clarifications.
Many successful companies create catchy and appealing contact forms that elicit information by offering something tangible in return. Such companies permit consumers to subscribe to special offers and to manage the subscriber account at their own initiative. In this way, buyers are free to decide communication options and choose how offers can be personalized.
SEO Marketing Strategy 7#
The Challenge of Building Trust to Seal Deals and Clinch Conversions
Ever heard of the term Social Proof? It’s behavioral science telling you that people generally tend to overcome their personal reservations and make decisions based on what seemingly authoritative people say. I hate bananas, but when I see the entire community going gaga over bananas, I sense there must be something good about bananas, so I’ll try them.
The social proof behavioral quirk has been used ad nauseum by B2Bs and B2Cs to build trust and rope in new customers, especially the fence-sitters. But the way the social proof is handled by the two marketing streams is very different.
The B2B Ecosystem
By now you are aware that B2B SEO marketing has a long-term perspective just because it takes time to educate and inform, and that trust and confidence cannot be created overnight. For this reason, you need to arm yourself with as much social proof as possible to convince buyers that your product is the real thing. The following strategies will accomplish that goal with ease:
- Securing the testimonials of prime customers for services rendered.
- Aggregating the personal reviews and ratings scored by customers for products and services.
- Highlighting case studies that showcase how efficiently your solutions work.
- The positioning of high-visibility company logos of trustworthy clients or prominent partners.
- Researched comparative studies differentiating your product and pricing models from your biggest competitors.
- Recognition you receive from prestigious forums, industry peers, and authoritative figures.
- White Papers detailing authoritative and authenticated information that educates and enlightens buyers.
The objective of B2B SEO best practices is to find and leverage your best social proofs and to use them to project your brightest image.
The B2C Ecosystem
B2C marketers have successfully deployed social proof to convince the worst fence-sitting consumers and improve conversion rate optimization. Consider the following facts:
- More than three-quarters of active consumers trigger a purchase decision only after studying product reviews.
- The review contributed by a third party is considered to be more reliable than the sales copy or manufacturer’s product description. (another way of saying that you trust an unknown third party review more than what the manufacturer says in the description).
Social proofing as an ideology is well ingrained in consumer psychology. Else, why would a long line of customers waiting to enter a restaurant encourage us to visit that restaurant? Why do shops display pictures of celebrity endorsements, if only to remind consumers that their products have the highest visibility? Why do clubs and private resorts make you wait an eternity for membership if only to preserve an air of exclusivity?
The B2C SEO social proofing initiative is easier to sustain by gathering as many product reviews as you can, and by encouraging third parties to comment on products and services in social media. Allow old clients to wax eloquent on the benefits accruing to them from your services. Gradually and inevitably, social proofing begins to accelerate conversions, bringing on a silent revolution that boosts the bottom-line.
When you internalize the subtle and not so subtle differences between B2B SEO and B2C SEO, the realization dawns that you’re becoming a game-changer, and you begin to approach marketing with an altogether different mindset that is finely tuned to the market segment that you are championing.
Here onwards, no matter what you do, you will be selling your pitch more effectively because you have a better understanding of the needs and motivations of your target audience.
Remember to interact and communicate with your customer base regularly, giving them the space to grow and boost the relationship to a higher plane. Allow buyers to decide where they want to take you. Soon, your buyers become partners in your entrepreneurial journey, notching major milestones for you within no time.