In this article we take a look at the ways in which you can build a solid B2C Lead Generation Strategy.
The Definition Of B2C
Business to consumer, otherwise known as ‘B2C’ refers to direct selling between a business and an individual, known as a consumer.
It applies to any type of direct to consumer selling. For example, this could include products, services, subscriptions or contracts. Generally, any commerce between a business and a consumer.
Although it covers any type of of direct selling, it is mainly associated with online selling, also known as e-commerce.
The growth in online sales has created challenges for traditional businesses on the high street. To stay competitive, they also need to build a service online.
Generally speaking, every business selling directly to a customer needs a form of online presence.
For the consumer, this can only be beneficial. The choice of what to buy is growing all the time and the convenience of buying online adds to the benefits.
Essentially, if you own a business and you are selling products or services, you need to be aware and on top of your business to consumer marketing.
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What Is The Difference Between B2C and B2B
We have seen that B2C means direct selling between the business and an individual customer. Therefore, B2B refers to sales business to business.
Generally speaking, B2B sales include a decision making process, that usually requires more than one person signing off on it.
It’s much more complex. Decisions can’t be made without much thought because the experience of an entire body of users rests on it. The end users are not buyers.
For example a digital website and marketing agency will first compare and contrast several different types of software before deciding which one has the best features at the best price.
A decision will be made on the way forward. Another example is an online retailer selling office furniture. Its primary target market is other businesses who need office furniture. Or a wholesalers providing food to cafes and restaurants.
These companies are selling to other businesses, not directly to the consumer.
In comparison, B2C selling doesn’t need a consensus. The aim is to sell straight to the person who wants it.
This definition should help you to start focusing on your B2C sales and what approach you might want to take.
However, notably, some companies can operate as both B2B and B2C businesses. An example is an events management company.
They may offer wedding organisation services, as well as conference management services to other businesses. They may sell tickets for concerts while directly dealing with audio and visual businesses.
In this article, we are particularly focusing on B2C lead generation and marketing.
What is B2C Marketing?
So now you understand what B2C is, but how do you use it to maximum effect for your business.
B2C marketing refers to all the techniques you can use to promote your products and services to the consumer. Essentially, your goal is to sell your product or service. Along the way, you will also capitalise on the value of your brand.
For example, with B2C, your customers are likely to make sudden purchases. Generally speaking, they make decisions independently and can also be swayed by different factors.
Such as free shipping or a free smaller product along with their purchase. Even a two for one offer.
However, not all buyers respond to the same marketing techniques. You may have one customer who wants the convenience of free shipping and will buy the product immediately.
Or you might have another who is still searching for exactly the right product and is willing to pay for shipping to get it perfect. Hence they continue to shop around.
That’s why a useful technique in B2C marketing centres on segmentation and targeted messaging.
To reach different customers, you need to consider what is an effective campaign for each marketing channel.
Then, target the audience and tailor your efforts to that customer base. For example, your customers on Facebook may need different advertisements and tailoring compared with returning customers through your website.
This is where analysis helps. Consider the results of website and social media analysis.
Then group together the data and work out how to tailor your marketing to that particular audience. You want each online customer to feel like they have your individual and focused attention.
If you discover that Facebook works better than Twitter, or YouTube delivers more leads than your website, then you know where to put the majority of your investment in B2C marketing.
Not to ignore the other channels, but to focus on the best techniques to drive your business forward.
What is B2C? And Why Is Lead Generation Important?
B2C stands for business to consumer. This is the process of companies selling to individual people, not a business.
Examples of this could be diners eating in a restaurant, consumers buying clothes or even people paying for a subscription. Whatever your business does in the B2C world you will need to focus on how to build your brand, and its awareness.
Once you build that brand and awareness you will be able to relate this to lead generation.
Lead Generation is the process of generating ways to bring people to your business who are likely to spend with you. From here, you can then engage with them and turn them into paying customers.
Lead Generation is done through a variety of ways, and marketing is the most successful.
Your marketing efforts and plan need to aim towards generating traffic and also leads, so that you can build revenue.
In regards to B2C this is done in a variety of ways, and we will now look at ways to build a B2C Lead Generation Strategy.
5 Examples of Business to Consumer Models
There are different types of B2C business models you can use, but here are 5 ideas to get you thinking about what will work for your business.
1. Direct sellers
Direct sellers are online retail sites where consumers buy products. There are large businesses such as Amazon. Or small businesses that create and sell products online. Additionally, there are online versions of department stores, like John Lewis who sell a wide range of brands.
2. ‘Go Between’
Go Betweens put buyers and seller together without owning the product or service. An example of this is Etsy, a website which hosts a wide range of different arts and crafts sellers and products. Etsy provides the space for consumers to choose who they want to buy from.
The advertising B2C model uses high quality free online content to attract visitors to websites, who then come across online ads. So, lots of potential consumers see the ads and then some may continue on to buy the product or service on offer. Examples of this include Huffington Post or the online Daily Mail.
4. The Community Model
Interested in photography? Or fishing? Or writing? A community B2C model builds an online space around shared interests. Hence, people who have something in common will gather in that online space and look at the information. Therefore, if you have a fishing tackle shop, you may want to advertise in that area. Or if you are selling antique cameras, you will target a specific community of photographers. The best known example of this is Facebook. Marketers can target people very specifically using Facebook.
5. Subscription Fee
Some newspapers or magazines charge a subscription fee if you want to view their content. The Telegraph online newspaper will publish the first two paragraphs but the rest of the article is hidden. Another example is Netflix or Apple TV.
B2C Lead Generation Strategies
Within the world of business many companies will either fit into B2C or B2B. Some may even do both.
When it comes to those focusing on B2C it’s important to look the different strategies you can deploy to generate leads for your business.
B2C does differ slightly from B2B, so naturally the way in which you approach customers is different too.
To create a successful lead generation strategy you need it to be tailored to your audience. And also tailored so that it helps convert that audience into sales.
It’s not about the results today, it’s the pipeline of potential people you can build into your business.
Never lose focus of conversion and sales, and ensure that what you are doing is measurable. Some great ways to generate more leads in a B2C Setting are as follows:
Provide a Solution to a Problem in a Video
Video marketing is huge at the moment, and also allows you to put a lot of content across in a less lengthy format.
Creating videos for social media channels, your website or even youtube are a great way to engage your audience. The key to success as with anything in business is to add value.
Videos that you put out should look to solve issues your audience has, or even look to provide advice.
The value piece is how you help them. If they feel you have added value they will come back for more. This is when you are able to capture them to bring them on as paying customers.
Cross Promote Email Marketing and Social Media
Cross promotion is a great way to bring on more customers, and also grow your audience.
It is highly likely you have some of your audience following you on social media, but not picking up your email marketing. And vice versa.
Both, therefore, have a big growth potential which you should be focusing on. Social share buttons are a great way to do this, and also subscribe links.
Many businesses focus on their following. The more followers the more business? Not always correct, unfortunately.
Your followers do not always represent opportunities so this is where you need to think about your lead generation. This is where cross promotion comes in.
Changing your mindset of focusing on the amount of followers you have, look at how effective you are at cross promotion. These customers present the best chance to engage, as they have an active interest in your business.
Correspond on Twitter and Facebook
Social media is a great way to have a conversation with your audience. And remember B2C is all about the customer.
Answering your audience no matter what social media platform you are using is a must! Your audience will like this, and it creates a good impression of your brand.
One of the best lead generation activities is going beyond just answering people on social media. Actively looking for conversations on Twitter.
Facebook and even LinkedIn that has a relevance to your industry helps to build your reputation. Once again adding value is key be that in the form of an opinion, advice or link to a resource.
Optimise Your Website and Landing Pages
Your Website and its various landing pages make up a big part of any digital lead generation strategy.
You need to know why people are landing on a certain page, and also understanding what their actions are.
Where they click, how long they are on the page and where they get to before they click off are all key.
Doing this analysis helps to make decisions on where to place ads, subscribe or links to other pages a lot easier.
Putting them in the correct places helps your conversion rate. Refining your landing pages are a great way to engage your audience, and should not be ignored.
Advantages of B2C Lead Generation
B2C selling has a number of advantages as you will see below.
- Firstly, it reduces the number of components within your business. Such as the number of employees, the costs involved and the lack of physical stores.
- Secondly, it shrinks the competition gap. For example, a small business has the same marketing and advertising opportunities online as high profile companies. They may not have the same budget. However, they can use marketing techniques and clever campaigns to bridge that gap in a way that wasn’t possible with traditional sales.
- Thirdly, people can buy products from anywhere in the world. Hence, there is an unlimited market place to advertise in.
- Fourthly, B2C online reduces the cost of doing business. Hence, you can run your customer service and sales support with smaller teams. Or maybe you are even doing this yourself already.
- Additionally, with B2C, you can sell your products directly to customers, without the need of any third party clients. Thus cutting out any unnecessary middle men.
- Furthermore, in terms of supply and demand, you will automatically be building up better links with your manufacturers and suppliers as your business depends on it.
- Generally speaking, the sales process is handed over to customers. They get to choose what they want to buy and when. This helps to build up a loyal customer base if your customer service is good.
- Finally, it provides a massive customer reach as all people can use the same platform to buy from.
However, there are some disadvantages. Namely that due to the nature of a global market, the competition is extreme.
There are millions of online brands and services people can choose from. Therefore, you need to be able to make your business stand out among the others.
To be seen as a relevant and trustworthy business in your industry. You need to understand how customers in your industry behave online and how you can target the particular group you are aiming for.
Then, you will have success with your B2C online sales.
B2C, How To Do It Well
With this in mind, how can you do B2C well? A top tip here is to test everything.
You don’t want to just launch into a marketing strategy without knowing how it works. A bad strategy could have a negative effect on your business and its reputation.
Furthermore, some strategies will work better for one business than for another.
Here are four strategies to start with. See what works best for you.
1/ Content Marketing and Building Relationships
The goal here is to build relationships with your customers. Treat them like you would in a shop, with fantastic customer service and good quality information.
Think about the content you use in your marketing. Don’t just write anything. Does it add value to the customer?
Will they benefit from reading your blog, your newsletter or your social media post? It doesn’t have to be a work of Shakespeare, but it helps to treat your customers like human beings. Is your blog interesting?
You need to create content that is authentic to you, your voice and your brand. This will help you to present your business as a solution to something your customer is experiencing.
For example, you have a business that sells vegan cakes and bakes. Your target audience are probably vegan already, or they may be looking into changing their diet.
However, they’re not sure how to adapt or what to bake. Here’s where you can offer some great content including recipe cards, high quality images, how to videos and favourite bake blogs.
Hence, you are offering high quality content and building your customer base by sharing your knowledge.
2/ Try a Competition or Offer A Free Product
For many people, the thought of winning something for free is often too tempting to ignore. Therefore you can make the most of the platforms available as part of your B2C strategy.
For example, sticking with the vegan bake business, how about a bake off among loyal customers?
They could post images of their own bakes and ideas. Thus sharing and growing awareness of your brand. Or, you could offer a free cupcake or box of bakes for people to try in return for a review.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even host a webinar showing your expertise in baking.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you offer something that is related to what your business is about.
3/ Optimise Your Content For SEO
With this strategy, you need to consider searcher intent when optimising your content for SEO. This refers to the reason behind a Google search.
So for example, if you want vegan food, you might search for ‘Vegan dining near me’. Or for ‘vegan takeaway food’. Maybe the consumer is searching specifically for a ‘company near me selling vegan birthday cakes.’
The type of search that goes into the search engine indicates its intent.
So, the first customer may just be looking for different restaurants and comparing them to decide on where to eat in the future.
The second customer may want takeaway food this evening. And the third is looking for someone to make a cake. Ideally, you’ll be creating content for people in each of these phases.
For example, you don’t provide fine dining, but the word Vegan and Food means that your business may appear in the search.
Here you can create content for delectable and sumptuous vegan desserts.
With the takeaway search, perhaps you can offer content about quick and easy vegan cupcake deliveries. And then there are reviews of the wonderful birthday cakes you make.
So you start to see how optimising your content for SEO can help with customers finding your business in a google search.
4/ Use Social Media
Using social media for your brand and business doesn’t have to be expensive. With strategic B2C marketing, you can grow your brand and audience organically.
Furthermore, social media platforms are great for cross over promotions. For example, you can highlight your website on your social media sites and vice versa.
With Instagram as an example, you can start by setting up a very simple strategy. Follow a few people per day who are interested in your niche or industry.
Then, create a branded hashtag for all your posts. For example, #veganbakes or #tastyvegancakes. Instagram is an image heavy platform, so make sure you post all of those beautiful cakes and bakes in their best light. Keep words to a minimum, and let the images do the talking.
5 Examples of Successful B2C Campaigns
The McDonald’s team are clever with e-commerce, but they have had to adapt. The brand itself has undergone lots of different perceptions by consumers.
However, it used to be all about the food. Recently, the company is focusing on the customer experience.
An example of a successful B2C campaign is the ‘Hands Full’ advertisement strategy from 2018. There are 3 ads which all focus on an element of in-store innovation.
So, there is the McDonalds mobile app, the in-store order screens and the table service.
With this strategy, McDonalds is targeting families in particular. With the aim of changing perceptions about going to a restaurant and also to highlight its innovation and focus on customer experience.
So you can see, it’s not just all about the burger.
Starbucks, which basically sells coffee, runs a successful campaign thanks to its multi channel approach to marketing and selling.
The user experience is also very good. Through its Facebook page, Starbucks has a variety of special features, including contests, a store locator, international links and job postings for example.
To simplify the buying process even more, there is also a Starbucks app, so that consumers can avoid any queues and buy easily using mobile payment.
Overall, the use of its brand across each channel, makes the process easy and even enjoyable for the customer.
TOMS is a company that sells shoes with a mission to help others. The key to its B2C marketing is excellent visual storytelling, so high quality images with stories behind the images.
One third of the profits from TOMS goes to grassroots organisations and efforts. Therefore, consumers who buy from TOMS are already on board with the company’s mission.
They know when they buy a pairs of shoes, a slice of the profit goes to helping others.
As images are a key part of this, their social media sites involve high quality photography and visuals.
But they go one step further than this. The company also films virtual reality videos which take the audience alongside the team on a giving trip.
So consumers can even see where their money is going and experience the visual surroundings with an immersive video.
You may not have a team of photographers, but this example shows that you can consider what you do best and use it as an asset.
Then, consider how you can push that asset further to create excitement around your brand.
Argos is a well known brand that has focused on price and quality control over the years. We may know it just as a catalogue, or a place to pick up some toys at Christmas.
The way a customer interacts with Argos is usually through range, price or availability.
However, recently, Argos is using a B2C campaign to build a better connection with customers. And to promote their partnership with Sainsbury’s.
The goal of the campaign is to create brand loyalty and an emotional connection with customers.
The strategy is based on a video targeting busy parents, with a focus on the realities of modern family life.
The family go through struggles of going on holiday together, when Argos steps in with products to solve their problems, making it a fun trip.
Hence the overall idea is to solve a problem that a customer might have by providing a solution.
With this campaign Argos is aiming to shift the position of how people relate to its brand.
Tesco is a giant in the supermarket world but it does have a lot more competition now, especially from discount stores like Aldi and Lidl.
So a recent successful B2C campaign for Tesco focuses on customer nostalgia.
The ‘prices that take you back’ campaign highlights nostalgic products, including reducing the price of Freddo chocolates to 10p.
As well as a competition to see whether Skips or Frazzles were the better retro snack.
They chose products to spark an emotional response with the customers. Hence, the strategy was a success across social media channels as people enjoyed getting involved with providing a response.
By choosing particular products, it also highlighted the differences between Tesco products and those available at other retailers.
The campaign received instant results. Tesco sold nearly half a million Freddo bars in one week. Furthermore, consumer perception of Tesco’s value for money improved across every platform.
Key Elements Of A Successful B2C Lead Generation Campaign
Collecting Data and Using The Insights
To create a successful B2C campaign, it’s essential to target the customers you want to attract and to collect useful data.
When you have this data, you can analyse it and see who is visiting your marketing channels and from where. Then, you have the information to start specific targeting techniques.
For example, by age group, area, or specific platform. So, if most of your customers reach you via Facebook, then you should be thinking about the best ways to use Facebook for your next campaign.
Consider the examples above and how to push your campaigns creatively.
Be where your customers want you to be
Moreover, you want to be where your customers are. If your customers don’t really use Twitter, then there’s little point of throwing your resources and money at it.
Unless of course, you would like to use it as another channel and improve upon your reach on that platform.
Remember to think about where your assets are. So for example, if you are a visual storyteller, then platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram are good for you along with your website.
If you are offering recruitment opportunities or content within your industry, then LinkedIn might be where your customers are.
Research your competitors, what platforms do they use and who is successful at it and why?
Optimise your website
Finally, don’t forget your website. Often, you can get so swept up in social media or new marketing campaigns that the website can get overlooked.
You need your website to be the best showcase of your business that it can be.
If a customer finds you through social media channels but then discovers your website is not much to look at, you may lose them completely. Keep it up to date and offer useful valuable content for customers.
Then, you are making the most of the efforts from your B2C campaign.
Choosing a B2C Marketing Plan
As you already know the difference between B2C and B2B sales you will recognise the difference between the marketing plans.
B2C is designed with the customer in mind, whereas B2B is with the business in mind.
So, looking at B2C marketing plans, clearly the main aim is to connect to the customer. To talk to them in a way they will connect with your business.
Therefore, you need to engage your audience at their level. As new technologies and platforms continue to emerge, it makes sense that your B2C marketing strategy will also evolve.
Here are 3 top tips to engage with your customer;
- Gather positive reviews of your business. You probably can’t have enough of these! If you have a happy customer, ask them to write a positive review and place it where potential customers can see it. Hence, you are creating a trustworthy brand and building up a following.
- Provide useful and engaging content for customers. For example, use Instagram or Facebook stories for some behind the scenes images of your business. New item of furniture sold? Maybe the customer can provide a picture of it in situ, ask permission, then post it on your business social media site with the caption ‘another happy customer’. The more people can see others using your business, the more trust and engagement you can build.
- Make the most of your social media marketing. Generally, a B2C customer likes to have an affinity with the brand they are buying from. If you aims and goals tie in with theirs, they are more likely to buy from you. This is where targeting the right audience pays off for your business.
Choosing a BC2 E-Commerce Model
Now you know about business to consumer sales and you’ve seen some great examples, what e-commerce model will suit your business? Ideally, spend some time learning about the market you’re targeting, then consider what unique value you can bring to that market.
Firstly, who is your customer?
Who is your target market? What are their expectations when buying the product you are selling? For example, your business sells a subscription service to children’s magazines.
Obviously, the parents will be paying for it. So how will you attract families, both parents and children to sign up to your subscription service?
You are likely to success if you understand the behaviours and habits of your customer. Also, if you can provide a solution to any problem.
Look at the way other businesses in your industry are selling. What platforms are they using?
Next, take some time to consider how you can do this differently. Then, you will stand out among the rest.
What are your strengths and assets?
Think about what aspects of your business or industry you know better than anyone else. What makes you buzz with excitement about your business?
Then, it helps to be realistic about what elements you can do yourself, and what you might need help with.
For example, you might be a fantastic salesperson over the phone, and once you get taking to people, you can sell them almost any product. However, you might not have a clue about how to market your product so that people actually find you to talk to.
That’s why it’s good to get experts on board, such as Lead Genera, who can help to transform your business to consumer sales.
Which B2C Strategy Is Best For Your Business?
This question depends on your product and what you are selling.
For example, if you manufacture your own products, you may wish to consider wholesaling or subscriptions to cover production costs.
Comparatively, if you sell other people’s products, you’ll probably want to invest more in direct marketing and strategies to grow your customer base.
What Makes Your Product Better?
Why should consumers choose you over the competition? It helps to evaluate others in your industry so that you can make it clear why your product is the best choice.
Of course, you already think it’s the best choice, but how do you convince your customers of this? For example, are you competing on price, variety, delivery or convenience?
Conclusion: B2C Lead Generation
To sum up, being successful in B2C can mean different things to different businesses. Success to you could mean more sales and business growth. Or it could be offering the best customer experience and fantastic reviews.
Therefore, it’s important to define what you want to achieve from your business to consumer strategy. Then create a plan to get there.
Generally speaking, unless you are a marketing and business genius, you are probably not an expert at everything.
You may be fantastic at sourcing products and providing an excellent price point for your customers. But setting up an online shop is not your forte.
Your marketing efforts and plan need to aim towards generating traffic and also leads, so that you can build revenue. This is when you need expert help.
At Lead Genera, we harness the latest technologies and strategies in the web development and digital marketing space to help brands achieve the extraordinary.
Lead Genera constantly reinvests in technology and its people, so each client ends up with a long lasting product of extremely high quality.
Our work begins when we understand your requirements. In an online landscape where only 2% of visitors leave their contact details without a prompt, we can help shine light on the other 98% of the leads you’re missing out on.
Our services include branding, design and corporate identity along with Lead Generation Strategies.
We also offer Branding, design and corporate identity, CRM platforms and customer relations, Lead generation services, Marketing consultancy, Search engine optimisation, Social media marketing, and Web development services.
If you are looking for expert support with your B2C strategy and sales, then contact us now at Lead Genera. Chat to a member of our team over email, phone, live chat or messenger. Or we’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn so you can see our work there too.