As with any piece of content, to get it right the most important thing to ask yourself is: who’s your audience? While B2C companies tend to sell directly to the end consumer B2B organisations sell products or services to other businesses, which means your approach to PR is going to be slightly different. Here’s how the two differ and how to get your B2B PR right.
Long VS short buying cycle
While consumers tend to be more straightforward in their purchase decisions, B2B buyers, on the other hand, often go through a more complex process often due to the number of stakeholders involved or the complexity and price tag of the services and solutions they’re looking to buy.
Competitor analysis, tending processes and board room presentations are all a fairly common sequence of events in the B2B buying cycle. Also, research shows that over 80% of B2B buyers will do some form of research online, taking themselves down a longer buying journey before making contact with a supplier.
As a result, your PR needs to find ways to keep your prospects and existing customers constantly engaged at every stage of their buying journey – so when they’re ready to buy, you have a seat at the table. This could be an infographic to raise brand awareness, an eBook for the consideration stage, and a white paper in the last decision step.
Education VS entertainment
End users often buy a product or service based on entertainment which means your content needs to be simple, relevant, and entertaining. They want videos that make them laugh, blogs that make them smile, and social updates that they can share with their friends.
B2B counterparts are looking for information that’s of value to them and their business, that lends reassurance and credibility around a brand’s expertise, industry knowledge, product performance and reliability. These components are crucial to facilitate their research before a purchase can be made. As the saying goes, no one ever got fired for buying IBM. That’s why educational content is an essential part of any B2B PR strategy.
All customers are more likely to buy from a company they trust, and this trust usually comes from establishing some sort of connection, which in turn eventually becomes a relationship. Relationships are crucial in Public Relations for B2B companies because buyers need more time to make a purchase decision, so it’s important to nurture these relationships for the long haul.
As in B2C, B2B PR, brand awareness is the key. You want to gain as many followers as possible and generate a buzz as well as desire for your products. But think carefully about the channels you choose. Not all will be as relevant or as effective for your business, so you want to make best use of your communications budget. Think about your audience and your business objectives. Who do you want to reach and what do you want to achieve?
More B2B businesses are venturing onto the newer channels like Tik Tok. However, think about the typical persona of your sweet spot market, their average age, typical occupation, what value they’re seeking from your business. What do you want to communicate and how – from videos to infographics? Then ask yourself which channel will best serve that purpose?
Finally, the number of decision makers in B2C and B2B vary considerably most of the time. While usually only one person is involved in the purchase decision in a B2C transaction, there are often several key players involved in a B2B purchase. For instance, while the CEO may opt for a particular brand of computer security software, the CFO may consider many others to make sure it is a wise use of the company’s funds.
With that in mind, a B2B PR strategy should think beyond buyer, to key influencers, partners, suppliers and so on. Be aware of the different departments that will be involved in making or influencing decisions during the purchasing process, and target content that anticipates and answers their questions, confirms their thoughts, and reassures their decisions.
For more advice on B2B PR strategies, contact the HeadOn team here