Marketing is most effective when it gets to the right people at the right time. In today's ad-saturated world, billboards and radio spots won't cut it; most people tune them out automatically. That's why more businesses are investing in B2C content marketing to reach their target audience.
B2C content marketing is a great way to build customer relationships—and good relationships, of course, mean loyal customers. According to a survey by the Content Marketing Institute, over 80% of marketers said they wanted to create content that built that loyalty. What's more, 56% of those marketers increased their spending on content creation in the last year.
If you're just getting into B2C content marketing, it's difficult to know where to start. Where should you focus your efforts? What strategies should you use? Here, we'll briefly define content marketing to give you a better idea of what it really is, and we'll go over some strategies you can try with your business.
While none of these examples can serve as an exact B2C content marketing strategy template for your business, they'll likely provide a spark of inspiration.
What is B2C Content Marketing?
There are two major types of content marketing: B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer). B2C content marketing refers to the group of methods and best practices that a business uses to promote its product or service to consumers via the use of content.
The “content” part is your chance to get creative with images, videos, blog articles, or a combination of them all. Where and how you use different types of content can be just as important as the medium you choose.
B2B versus B2C Content Marketing
B2B content marketing targets other businesses. It's professionals marketing to other professionals in a certain field. Strategy in the B2B world, therefore, usually involves positioning yourself as an expert or leader in a certain industry. In B2B content marketing campaigns, you already know exactly who you're marketing to, so you need a very focused kind of content.
Key B2B marketing elements include:
- Building brand identity by establishing yourself as a thought leader or expert
- Establishing value through information-dense resources like white papers, articles, or in-depth blog posts
- Developing trust by showing expertise and understanding to industry leaders
The B2B buying cycle is usually longer than in other marketing spaces, as purchase decisions get cleared with the company and require sufficient evidence to justify the expenditure before closing a sale.
On the other hand, B2C is consumer-focused. It should be tailored to catch consumers' attention, usually with an emotional or interesting hook that brings them in. Once they've been hooked, you can tell the consumer how your product or service meets their needs and why you're the best business to provide it. Your B2C campaign should market to a range of people within your target audience, creating varied content for different segments.
Some key elements of B2C marketing are:
- Identifying your brand to the consumer
- Making an emotional impact on the target audience
- Enhancing the value of a customer's purchases via upselling or cross-selling
The buying cycle in B2C marketing is usually longer than in the B2B marketing space, as individual consumers buy products either based on a need, impulse, or emotion. There's also no intermediary between you and the consumer.
B2C Content Marketing Strategy
Let's talk about the effective elements of a B2C content marketing strategy and look at some examples you can base your marketing efforts on in your next campaign.
According to marketing forefather E. Jerome McCarthy, any effective marketing campaign will include the “four Ps.” They are:
Every campaign needs a viable product that actually meets a customer's needs or adds value to their lives somehow. You need an audience for that product. They need to be able to justify the price of that product. And finally, you need to promote it!
Below are a few very successful B2C content marketing examples, ranging in media from video to print.
Example 1: John Deere's The Furrow
The first-ever example of content marketing, John Deere's magazine The Furrow was created in the 1800s—1895 to be exact.
The company developed it to help their customer base with problems while at the same time establishing themselves as experts with solutions. It's a textbook example of B2C content strategy at work. And The Furrow is still a leading voice in agriculture today, with over 180,000 followers on Twitter alone.
Example 2: Shutterstock's Creative Trends Report
Since it's in the business of images, it makes sense that stock image company Shutterstock would delve into trends in the creative space. It puts together a yearly report of the latest stuff and releases it for free. In 2018, Shutterstock even made the report interactive, adding a little extra entertainment factor for readers.
This is a great example of a company capitalizing on its expertise to put together insightful data that anyone can use. It adds value, and since the report is original research, it helps establish Shutterstock as an expert in the creative industry.
Example 3: Blendtec's “Will it Blend?” Viral Video Series
Almost everyone has heard of the "Will it Blend?" channel on YouTube.
Since 2006, it's racked up over 800,000 subscribers and over 289,000,000 video views. Not bad for a channel about a blender! While the premise is a bit silly, the series effectively shows how powerful the company's product is by its ability to blend pretty much anything into powder. How many other blender companies have that kind of name recognition?
Example 4: Zendesk's “Alternative” Website
When marketing company Zendesk realized people were searching for alternatives to its business, it pulled a bit of a power move: they bought the domain zendeskalternative.com and built a website around it.
Zendesk styled the page like an alt-rock band's website, describing itself as “one of the original Seattle alternative rock bands.” The end result: top Google ranking for the term, and a really funny web page.
Example 5: LinkedIn's Guide to Using Its Platform
We already hear all the time that LinkedIn is one of the best places to market yourself as a potential employee. LinkedIn took advantage of that rep—and the fact that no one is more of an expert on the platform than they are—to release an in-depth report on how to market yourself and your business using LinkedIn. They called the report “Secret Sauce,” and it gives users intriguing statistics right from the landing page.
With this guide, LinkedIn capitalizes on the company's exclusive access to data while establishing itself as even more of an industry leader. It provides content that adds tremendous value in a niche space.
Now It's Your Turn
Now that you've got a better idea of how to use B2C content marketing to your advantage, try it out for yourself. Research B2C content marketing trends and experiment to find which media channel yields the greatest return for you. Then, make that your focus. Great photos of your beauty products or clothing line would fit like a glove on Instagram, for example. Iterate and adjust, and remember to have fun with it.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer John Bogna.