B2B vs. B2C Copywriting: An Emotional Journey

emotional decision making

As a copywriter who is dedicated to working primarily on B2B websites, I’ve often fallen into the trap of thinking that B2B copywriting vastly differs from B2C writing. While you might choose different marketing methods and tactics for each, the copywriting itself doesn’t actually have to be all that different. There’s a simple reason for this: A website visitor’s final decision always involves some degree of emotion.

If you’ve studied personas, you know that some people are more inclined to make decisions based on their emotions than others. Maybe they want to get the trendiest product or service, or maybe they identify with a company’s philanthropic mission. But dig a little bit deeper and you’ll find that even B2B customers who we think don’t typically make decisions with any emotional involvement actually do.

 The Emotions of B2B Customers

Here’s an example: Let’s say you’re the manufacturer of material handling equipment. That doesn’t sound like it’d be a very emotion-based purchase, right? Just buy the equipment you need for your loading dock and be done with it. You wouldn’t think that ramps, conveyors or other material handling equipment have any emotional pull, but they can.

A prospective customer who’s new to their job could come to your material handling equipment website. They’re eager to make a good impression on their new boss, so they want to know that they’re buying the best equipment for their company’s needs. They don’t want to make a purchase and have any doubts that their boss will praise them for a job well done. So in your website content, you’ll highlight awards your company has won, you’ll talk about the benefits of your products, you might even get into some cost-of-ownership data to really push them over the edge. You can even get creative with it. Maybe you develop product videos showing how easy it is to use the equipment or promote an infographic on the evolution of material handling.  Your goal as a copywriter for this website is to make the visitor feel that whatever they buy from you will ultimately make them look good.

If your content can appeal to that emotion, then bam! You’ve just helped a B2B customer make an emotion-based purchasing decision. So, the next time you contemplate how different B2B and B2C copywriting are, just think about the fact that even a B2B customer will have some emotional needs that need to be met.

Do you agree or disagree? Do B2B customers make decisions based on emotion?

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  • Definitely agreed Caroline. Liked your article.

    As a qualitative researcher a big part of my job is uncovering the emotional levers that lead to purchase behaviour. You are right, they can be found regardless of whether the research is on a consumer brand or a business brand. And it is important for comms to reflect that to be effective.

  • Caroline Bogart says:

    Thanks for the comment, Donna! I agree that communication needs to geared to appeal to those emotional levers.

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