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7 Tips for B2C Marketing in the Digital World

By DeVry University

February 23, 2022

14 min read


In today’s digital society, business-to-consumer, or B2C marketing continues to reinvent itself to attract well-informed, tech savvy consumers. 


It’s no surprise that consumerism has changed tremendously over the past century, evolving from downtown department stores to suburban shopping centers and ultimately to the online ecommerce world we know today. To reach customers wherever they are and track their behavior, many brands are using tactics that previous generations of marketers could not have imagined.


In this article we will define B2C marketing and its channels, explore the differences between B2C and B2B marketing and offer 7 tips that modern B2C marketers can use to reach consumers.

What Is B2C Marketing?

B2C marketing is among the most widely known of the various sales models. B2C marketing simply means that a business is marketing a product – either directly or through a network of distributors – to the consumer, sometimes referred to as the end user. 

Widespread availability of broadband internet service and the introduction of Apple’s iPhone in 2007 made it possible for innovators in e-commerce to sell directly to consumers, who could shop and make secure payments via their mobile devices. More recently, social commerce, where consumers shop directly from social media channels, has become a digital marketing trend. What hasn’t changed is the marketer’s need to demonstrate key product features and benefits and cultivate a relationship with the consumer.

The Difference Between B2C vs. B2B

B2C marketing differs from B2B, or business-to-business marketing, in that the B2B model involves a business selling to another business. Businesses buy materials, capital equipment, specialized software and professional services from manufacturers or distributors in a process that tends to be more complex than in the consumer marketing model. In B2C marketing, the consumer could be an individual with their credit card and promotional code ready to make the purchase and receive next-day delivery. In B2B marketing, however, budget restrictions, committees and organizational hierarchies can complicate and extend the sales cycle.

B2C and B2B marketers also use different marketing tactics to reach and influence their target audiences. Rather than using consumer-targeted media, a B2B marketer is more likely to sell via direct sales, conferences and trade shows and online or in-person webinars to reach the right decision-making executives within carefully targeted companies.

B2C Marketing Channels

The marketing channels brands use to sell products to consumers have changed quite a lot over the years. Traditional advertising – television, radio, newspaper and magazines, direct mail and other media – is still around, but digital technology has enabled marketers to reach consumers on devices like smart TVs, laptops, tablets and smart phones.  

Consumers expect to have access to all the products and information they need without having to make a phone call or visit a retail store, and have even begun to purchase cars online, without a test drive. Here are a few commonly used B2C marketing strategies:

Digital Advertising

According to the American Marketing Association, digital marketing refers to any marketing methods conducted through electronic devices utilizing some form of computer, including efforts conducted on the internet. The AMA notes that unlike traditional advertising, which is a static, one-way communication between seller and consumer, digital marketing and its various branches, including digital advertising, is an ever-changing and dynamic process of two-way communication between a business and its actual or prospective customers. The AMA further notes that for many consumers, screen time is at an all-time high.

Digital advertising is a catch-all term that describes any strategy to promote a product or service online. Different types of digital advertising identified by Indeed include the following:

  • Paid search: In a paid search advertising campaign, ads appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) at the top and bottom of the page, based on phrases or keywords consumers use to search for information online. Generating revenue through its extensive network of properties, apps and partner sites, Google is the leader in paid search, earning revenue of more than $209 billion in 2021, according to Statista.

  • Display: Digital display ads are more visual in nature. Unlike search ads, they use graphics and images that are more like traditional advertising. B2C marketers use digital display advertising to build awareness, increase sales and drive website traffic. Types of digital display ads include banner ads, interactive media ads that include elements like videos or audio clips and video ads.

  • Remarketing: Remarketing is a type of display advertising used by online sellers to target consumers based on their browsing behavior. Sometimes called retargeting, remarketing is when the consumer visits a site but doesn’t make a purchase. They are then “targeted” with personalized digital ads for the product they were looking at. The marketer’s objective here is to get that consumer to go back to his site, look at the product again and complete their purchase.

  • Social media: Social media advertising encompasses a variety of formats to help advertisers build brand awareness and rack up sales. Marketers who know the value of how their audiences operate online can create highly targeted and cost-effective campaigns on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. 

  • Audio: This form of digital advertising allows marketers to place recorded advertisements between songs in streaming services or in podcasts. Generally, this advertising model is effective because listeners who are not paid subscribers must listen to the ads in full.

  • Mobile: Mobile advertising uses customers’ locations, demographics and behaviors to deliver highly targeted ads to their mobile devices. Common mobile advertising methods include banner ads, push notifications and SMS messages.

Email Marketing

B2C and B2B marketers continue to use email marketing as part of a multi-faceted strategy by leveraging something people interact with every day – their inbox – to distribute their brand’s storytelling and engagement efforts. According to HubSpot, 37% of B2C marketers send daily marketing emails to their subscribers.

Email campaigns, which are sometimes called electronic newsletters, help marketers engage with their audiences on a meaningful level by delivering information along with promotions. Headlines, images and articles in email campaigns contain links to product-specific web pages, blog articles, the brand’s podcast or other information related to the marketer’s brand story. Effectiveness is measured by the number of subscribers who opened the campaign and what they clicked on.  

Attributes of an effective email campaign include readability, storytelling value, a focus on the reader, clear calls to action and an attractive, user-friendly design.

Social Media

The Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) reports that there are 4.6 billion active social media users and they spend an average of 2.27 hours every day on 7.5 platforms per month. For this reason, DMI suggests that social media marketing is no longer an option, but a necessity for B2C marketers to drive brand awareness and consumer engagement. 

As also noted by DMI, having a clear social media marketing strategy gives B2C marketers benefits that include improved brand awareness, increased website traffic, better quality leads and data that can be analyzed and measured. They also stress the importance of identifying and keeping up with rapidly evolving trends in social media and influencer marketing.


To promote their websites, a B2C marketer’s goal, quite simply, is to build more website traffic. Tactics used in website marketing include reviewing the site’s design, optimizing it for SEO (more about that in our next section), creating a content marketing plan and promoting the site via paid advertising and social media networks. Another important aspect of website marketing is keeping the website up to date by freshening content regularly, keeping the site secure and updating software.


Search engine optimization (SEO) is a practice used by B2C marketers to optimize search results, so their websites rank higher, or appear early and often, on search engine results pages (SERPs). By using tactics that make their websites more recognizable and easier for search engine algorithms to analyze, they make it easier for prospective customers to find them before they find competitors. 

SEO marketing is an organic marketing practice, as opposed to paid search advertising, in which marketers pay for advertising placed on SERPs.

Shopify offers these SEO marketing tactics to help B2C marketers improve search results:

  • Keyword research: Use keyword research tools to discover which ones consumers are using and leverage them to lead them to your site. After researching and generating keyword ideas that take user intent into account, marketers can add those keywords to site content to improve organic search results. 

  • Competitive analysis: Look at the keywords on competitors’ high-ranking pages and optimize existing content or add new content that will utilize those keywords.

  • Active link building: Increase domain authority by establishing backlinks, or links on other websites that point to your site. The more backlinks you have, the more reputable search engines will interpret your site to be. This SEO tactic is time consuming, but worth the effort.

  • Image optimization: Search engines analyze images as well as written content. Optimize images by using keywords in their file names and alt attributes and be sure all images are sized and formatted appropriately. If they’re too large, pages may take too long to load, and search engines may penalize you for that.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is coming on strong. That’s according to Influencer Marketing Hub, who report this B2C marketing channel grew to $16.4 billion in 2022 and that businesses are making an ROI of $5.20 for every dollar they spend. 

Some high-profile influencers have become celebrities, but many non-celebrity influencers or micro influencers have developed reputations as subject matter authorities in their fields. They are valued by marketers for their ability to create engaging social media posts, share quality pictures and make entertaining videos on sites like TikTok and Instagram, a platform that Influencer Marketing Hub says 67% of brands use for their influencer marketing.

7 B2C Marketing Strategies and Tips

Effective B2C marketing begins with understanding and engaging with your consumer while keeping the two-way communication of digital marketing in mind. Here are 7 digital marketing strategies to enhance your B2C marketing campaign:

Use Social Media

Facebook, TikTok, avatar integration, augmented reality… keeping track of the trends in social media can be perplexing. For many B2C marketers, a smart social media strategy simply consists of maintaining a presence on consumer-facing social media platforms in a way that works for their brand. Here are some of the different ways you could leverage social media, segmented by network type:

  • Social networks: Maintain a presence on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to connect with a broad demographic, partner with influencers and monitor how people use your brand. 

  • Bookmarking networks: Using Pinterest, FlipBook and others, you can direct people to your website and influence their opinion by creating and sharing your own content and interests for others to bookmark.

  • Image-sharing networks: Use an image-sharing network like Instagram to spark creativity and encourage customers to talk about your brand.

  • Consumer review networks: TripAdvisor, Yelp and Google My Business are examples of networks that list customer reviews. They can be a place for you to promote positive reviews, respond to negative ones and source feedback to proactively improve customers’ experiences.

  • Social shopping networks: Many social networks include elements of social shopping. These include Facebook, Instagram, Poshmark and Etsy. They help people spot trends, share great finds and follow their favorite brands.

  • Video hosting platforms: YouTube, TikTok and Vimeo give filmmakers and other creators a way for their followers to stream videos easily and accessibly. You can use paid ads here to gain and interact with new customers or partner with influencers who will showcase your products.

Run Retargeting Campaigns

Retargeting advertising helps people who’ve had limited experience with your company understand how your product could fit into their life and helps make your brand message more personal. 

According to HubSpot, retargeting campaigns are an effective way to generate brand awareness, drive conversions, increase customer lifetime value and reach other strategic goals. 

HubSpot defines the 2 main types of retargeting:

  • In pixel-based retargeting, your ads are re-displayed to any anonymous site visitor based on their browsing history. When they’ve left your site, a cookie notifies retargeting platforms to run particular ads to them based on the pages of your website that they’ve seen.

  • In list-based retargeting, you can retarget visitors of those same pages, but if you already have them in your database as a customer or lead, you can send them a more customized advertising message.

Create Content for SEO

Underscoring the importance of search engine optimization in your B2C marketing efforts, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) states that SEO success in 2023 will hinge upon your ability to provide relevant, original content that answers searchers’ questions and addresses their concerns. Marketers will also have to make frequent changes in your program to keep pace with Google’s shifting SERP priorities. 

For optimal organic search results, follow the SEO practices described in our previous section and maintain a steady drumbeat of content creation around topics related to your products or services. A few of CMI’s tips for SEO success include:

  • Tracking your presence in ever evolving SERPS.

  • Understanding the impact of backlinks on the Google algorithm.

  • Creating catchy page titles that include your primary keywords. Google still considers page titles in its ranking criteria, so continue to optimize them. 

  • Using Schema, or a structured data vocabulary that helps search engines better understand information on your website, to clarify content types.

  • Exploring new tools for keyword generation like Suggest Machine, KeywordsPeopleUse and Keyword-O-Matic. 

CMI also points to Google’s content update of August 2022 as a good source of “dos and don’ts” of content for SEO.


Partner with an Influencer

Making influencer marketing a component in your digital marketing strategy can be an effective way to reap social media marketing success, helping you to increase brand awareness, generate leads, boost sales or reach other objectives specific to your goals. Because influencers typically have loyal followers, working with these content creators could allow you to gain traction on new platforms. Therefore, finding the right influencer for your brand and making the most of the collaboration is absolutely essential.  

Create a Loyalty Program

Customer loyalty is difficult to earn and easy to lose. That’s why the concept of offering special rewards to regular customers is so widely used. Brands use customer loyalty programs to entice customers buying everything from a three-dollar cup of coffee to an expensive vacation to stick with them rather than shopping the competition. 

Customer loyalty programs can help marketers increase numbers of happy customers, build stronger relationships over time, defend against competitors’ efforts to gain market share and make their brands stand out among the competition. 

Examples of customer loyalty programs include:

  • Points programs: Customers earn points by making online or in-store purchases and turn those points into rewards in the form of free or upgraded merchandise or services, or cash applied to their next purchase. 

  • Paid programs: In this customer loyalty model, consumers pay an annual fee to receive free delivery, deeper discounts and other members-only benefits.

  • Refer-a-friend programs: Customers in this loyalty program model act as brand ambassadors by referring friends and family members in return for a reward, such as a discount for each new customer they bring in. This model can also include a discount on the new customer’s first order, making it a win-win for both customers. 

Improve Your Customer Journey

The customer journey is the series of touchpoints a customer has with your business over the course of hours, days, weeks or even months, from first encounter to final purchase and delivery. Touchpoints may include customer experiences like website visits, emails, text messages or social media posts. By understanding and mapping the customer journey, you can take steps to make the overall customer experience more memorable and satisfying while working to increase operational efficiencies and boosting revenue. 

Your customer’s journey will typically include the following 5 phases:

  1. Awareness: The customer identifies a pain point and begins to seek information about how they can solve it. Your job here is to increase your target audience’s general awareness of your brand.

  2. Consideration: In this phase your customer is weighing the benefits a product or offer before making the purchase and is likely to be researching alternatives to your product. Here’s where you need to differentiate your brand from the competition.

  3. Conversion: Here’s where you use a dedicated call-to-action to prompt the prospective customer to buy. This may involve offering them a discount or other incentive. Once the conversion is made, you have a new customer.

  4. Retention: If the customer sees the value in your product or service, they will likely bring you more business over time by making consistent purchases.

  5. Advocacy: At this stage, the satisfied customer has not just returned to make multiple purchases, they’ve become an ambassador for your brand by submitting top reviews, sharing positive feedback through word-of-mouth or doing other things to help more people become your customers. 

Focus on Mobile

One of the major benefits of mobile commerce, or m-commerce, is the convenience it gives the consumer, allowing them to shop and purchase on their mobile phones anytime and from anywhere. In January 2023 Retail Dive reported that 37% of adults in the United States had made purchases via mobile sites during the previous 3 months.   

If you want to reach today’s mobile consumer you will need to adopt strategies that will help you make the most of mobile’s convenience, speed, security and, well, mobility. What to include in a strong mobile marketing strategy? Consider these 5 important factors:

  1. Identify your target audience. Establish who you want to reach and understand what they want from your business.

  2. Choose the m-commerce platform that’s good for your business. Many platforms like Magento and Shopify provide the shopping cart programs that make online shopping possible.

  3. Decide how you want customers to pay. Make sure you consider all the options, like credit cards, PayPal and Apple Pay.

  4. Determine your marketing strategy. As mentioned earlier, your strategy here should include a healthy mix of SEO, social media, content marketing and other tactics.

  5. Integrate your customer service strategy. How will you offer customer support? You might have multiple options, or you might choose one that best suits your company’s needs.

Expand Your B2C Marketing Skills

Develop skills that can help you prepare to pursue a career in B2C marketing with a graduate degree here at DeVry. Covering topics like marketing research, consumer behavior, digital marketing, communication and technology, our MBA Marketing Specialization can help you develop business administration and management skills along with your marketing know-how.

Let’s talk about your plans and how you can get started in our next session. 

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