B2B vs B2C copywriting: What’s the difference?

Is there really such a big difference between B2B vs B2C copywriting?

B2B vs B2C copywriting: what's the difference?

B2B vs B2C copywriting

B2B stands for business-to-business and what it refers to is a business that sells products or services to another business. In other words, their customers are other businesses.

For example: A shopping cart manufacturer that sells baskets and trolleys to supermarkets.

B2C on, on the other hand, stands for business-to-consumer whereby a business sells products or services to private individuals like you and me, that is for our personal use.

For example: Your neighbourhood bakery where you get your fresh breads and pastries daily.

Of course, businesses aren’t necessarily exclusively B2B or B2C—many cater to both.

For example: A mattress manufacturer that sells to private individuals (for home use) as well as hospitality industry clients like hotels.

So when we talk about B2B copywriting, we’re talking about crafting the sales and marketing materials for businesses that sell to other businesses whereas B2C copywriting is developed for the consumption of individual customers, i.e. those that aren’t making decisions for a business or organisation.

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This image shows a female business woman in thought and looking out the window.

How the B2B audience is different

As you might have expected, there are some differences worth noting in terms of the intended reader.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind regarding a B2B audience:

  • They are better informed about the topic (product, service, industry) at hand.
  • The readers are decision-makers for their companies / organisations, not for themselves.
  • Their budgets are much larger than that of individual customers making purchases in a personal capacity.

You should also know that in a B2B setting, decisions are often reached as a group. That means you can expect multiple individuals from the same establishment to read your materials.

B2B copywriting projects include:

  • Websites
  • Dedicated sales pages
  • Landing pages
  • Direct mail
  • White papers
  • Case studies
  • Press releases
  • E-books
  • Sales brochures
  • Blog posts
  • Newsletters

Speeches, sales scripts, and even infographics are also included in B2B copywriting territory.

B2B vs B2C copywriting: How does the audience differ? This image shows two women in discussion at an office.

Writing for a B2B audience

B2B copywriting doesn’t have to be incredibly complicated. Why? Because at the end of the day the same writing principles apply – it’s just that they’re adapted for a different audience.

The following copywriting guidelines are universal.

1. Know your target

A solid foundation to your writing starts with knowing and understanding your customers. That’s necessary for building trust and confidence.

In B2B copywriting, you will want to address the following questions before you put pen to paper.

  • Who are the decision makers?
  • What kind of information are they looking for?
  • How are they likely to progress through the sales funnel?
  • What needs do you have to meet?
  • What could their professional but also personal goals be?
    (E.g. A professional goal might be increased productivity whereas a personal goal could be less stress at work.)
  • What emotions should you aim to appeal to?

2. Factor in human nature

Unlike the B2C audience, we sometimes forget that B2B decision-makers are ‘real people’. Like everyone else, they make decisions based on both logic and feeling. That means, contrary to what you might have been told or read, you can’t ignore appealing to emotions in your B2B copywriting.

To influence the B2B reader, you’ll need a savvy balance of fact-based writing and reasoning without being boring. You’ll need to be engaging.

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Why? Because people won’t buy something they don’t understand. And they certainly won’t buy from people they don’t understand either.

That ‘rule’ applies in business-to-consumer markets as well as in the business-to-business sector.

So while you can include industry jargon – specific terminology – in B2B copywriting and even employ a more serious (“professional”) tone, that doesn’t mean you should forego clarity.

To summarize:

  • Don’t use jargon – even if you’re talking to people in the same industry – if it will only lead to sounding convoluted.
  • B2B copywriting should still be clear, concise, compelling—and interesting!
  • Don’t beat around the bush — get rid of useless or unimportant information.
The image shows a street where two business people are meeting and looking over a document together.

3. Find the right tone and style

How do you speak in a work setting, i.e. when you are face-to-face with potential clients? What kind of image do you want to craft?

Your B2B copywriting influences and impacts how you are viewed in the industry.

Ideally, you want to be professional yet approachable. You also want to deliver a clear and credible message that builds confidence.

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To conclude: While the audience, marketing priorities and goals, as well as strategies may vary, at the end of the day there aren’t any overwhelming differences in B2B vs B2C copywriting.

It’s all about adapting what and how you write for the target market; knowing your audience inside and out in order to generate new leads.