Understanding Your Audience is Critical
The first rule of content marketing is to make sure your content speaks directly to your audience so it connects better with your readers. To understand the best path to making that connection, you have to first find out where your customers are when they are looking for products and services.
Two Types of Audiences
The first type of audience is commonly referred to as B2C or Business to Consumer. This audience consists of regular people that are shopping for products and services while they are not at work. Think about someone who is looking for clothing, groceries, electronics and gadgets, home improvements, children’s items, entertainment options, and other similar items.
The second type of audience is commonly referred to as B2B or Business to Business. This audience is made up of people that are looking for products and services as part of their job. Think about an office manager shopping for office supplies, IT personnel comparing software solutions, or a CEO considering a location for the annual retreat.
You might think that knowing which branch your audience belongs to is obvious because you know your business, and you know your customers. There may be some crossover, and some solutions are great for both home and office, but typically the audience falls into one camp or the other.
There are also common characteristics of each type of audience even though as consumers, people can fall into both audiences. The difference is understanding the frame of mind of your reader as they are consuming your content so you can hit the right notes for the role they are currently playing.
When you are creating your content marketing plan, consider these differences between the two audiences.
Tone. People have their professional hats on while they are at work. While an interesting story or funny joke can help keep things light, you should really try to stick to the point and not waste anyone’s time. On the other hand, direct consumers can enjoy a more relaxed tone.
Motivations. Business customers care about the bottom line and meeting the needs of their bosses and the organization as a whole. They need a great deal of input and details to make a decision and to back that choice up to others. Direct consumers are often emotionally motivated and need a little less proof once they've developed some trust for your brand.
Buying Cycle. Business buyers will typically take a long time to reach a decision. Their moves are carefully calculated, so you need to stick with them long enough to make the sale. Their purchases often lead to long-term relationships so the investment is worth it. While direct consumers form relationships with service-based companies, products tend to be one-offs that are bought with a lot less consideration. Exceptions include big-ticket items like cars and vacations.
Addressing Each the Right Way
In the future posts, I’ll get into the details of getting it right for both audiences. First up is the B2C group, or direct consumers. They want to be entertained and informed, and the style of content is fun and fresh. Check back later to get the full rundown!