June 3, 2019 | Sean Foo
B2B copywriting is all about selling your awesome product and solution to other businesses, and here’s a secret:
You’re still selling to other human beings. (shocking I know!)
That means you will need to appeal to the buyer’s wants and needs, build sufficient trust and make your solution compelling enough for them to give it a try.
Done right, B2B copywriting isn’t supposed to be boring but can actually exciting and interesting for the reader!
But hold your horses before you start! There are a set of rules that set B2B copy apart from B2C writing that you must know before making critical mistakes.
You might be selling to these guys!
While the end goal of both types of copywriting is to get the sale or conversion, there are two major differences between selling to businesses versus the person down the street.
B2C (Business To Consumer):
The B2C customer, like me and you, is in 100% control of the purchasing decision.
We see the product’s sales copy, we make a decision and we immediately buy it (or not).
B2B (Business to Business):
The B2B customer is probably buying on behalf of the business or corporation.
That means while there is normally one decision maker that makes the purchase, he or she will have to run it by their entire team – prepare for a longer sales process.
If you are selling to businesses, your offer is probably going to be a higher priced or long-term commitment type of solution.
That means you will need to go beyond the flashy slogans and witty taglines – we are talking about presenting hard facts, core benefits and business results to make your case.
With these key differences in mind, here are 8 proven principles to follow as your craft your best B2B copy to rake in more sales!
While it’s tempting to address every single person that you think affects the buying decision, don’t do it!
Whether your B2B sales copy is on a website landing page or on an eDM (electronic direct mailer), make it a rule to write only for one person – and let it be the decision maker!
Nailing down your customer persona is key. Fully understand their wants and needs as well as what will motivate them to take action first before you write a single word of copy.
Take Zoho’s CRM landing page copy for example. Their messaging focuses on their key persona – the sales manager or sales director in an organisation.
By highlighting what is important to them: getting more leads, tracking their sales pipeline and shortening the sales cycle.
Business people are busy, when they are searching for a solution they aren’t looking to be entertained like the average B2C customer.
They want to know if your solution fits their needs within 3 seconds.
That means you have to grab their attention but also get straight to the point – no beating around the bush & no guessing games!
Proposify does this well in their copy by capturing attention with a big promise – transforming your sales team into a squad of closers!
Their supporting subheadline then dives straight into what their solution is about and what it can deliver – a proposal software that creates quotes & contracts.
Not everyone will be a perfect fit for your solution.
By being upfront with what you offer, you can better capture the attention those that are interested and get them to read on and fully understand what you have to offer.
If you are too vague in your copy, people will zone out and then click away.
You might be an expert in your field and your target customer might also be one, but don’t count on that 100% of the time.
Seek to strike a balance by using the jargon your customer is familiar with and then continuing in simpler terms.
While speaking their language allows you to be relatable and builds credibility in their eyes that you are a subject matter expert, don’t overload them with too many technical terms – especially when you can explain it simply!
Blockchain (the company) does this beautifully by using jargon such as ‘Crypto’ that all cryptocurrency experts can immediately identify before continuing on with a simple and elegant explanation on what their solution does.
An explanation that almost anyone can understand.
One of the most common B2B copywriting mistakes is to focus on explaining your process instead of showcasing your solution’s value.
When you buy a smartphone, do you really care how the parts are fitted together and how the phone is constructed from start to finish?
I didn’t think so. And the same goes for you B2B customers!
That being said there are two situations where you can consider explaining your process to your reader:
When your process is novel or different:
Maybe your software uses artificial intelligence while your competitors don’t. Go through that differentiator and how it affects the process that leads to the end goal or benefit.
When your solution is too much of a ‘black-box’:
The more complex your product or service is, the more you will need to explain and going through the process will be a good option.
If you are selling a complicated sales automation software that drives leads, you will have to break down how it works to your reader.
Still have an urge to explain your process?
Do it in your company blog posts and not in your sales copy – that is what content marketing is for!
Social proof is crucial in building trust in your brand and the credibility of your solution.
The more pricey your product or service is, the more elements of social proof you will need to inject throughout your copy.
– Customer testimonials
– Media mentions & features
– Influencer endorsements
– Your customer count/products sold
– Case studies
VendHQ uses a variety of social proof throughout their homepage copy to show the credibility of their software.
From utilizing customer count to individual case studies, they ensure trust in their solution is well established.
Every business is different and that means the strategy you use in your B2B copywriting will have to suit your brand and solution’s perceived value.
While it is tempting to throw in enticing offers to grab sales and use copywriting tactics such as FOMO (the fear of missing out), you need to match how ‘salesy’ your copy can be with that you are actually offering.
Selling an exclusive consultation and experience? Don’t mention anything about a discount, instead, introduce a waiting list as your call to action.
Selling a solution that is a commodity with tons of competitors such as an accounting or CRM software?
Feel free to turn on the salesmanship in your copywriting and even offer limited-time discounts to spur on more sales.
Accounting software today are a dime a dozen and Quickbooks recognizes that and chooses to be more salesy in their copy, competing on price without fear.
7. Present the Benefits Then Justify with the Features
People care what you do for them more than how you actually do it.
The same applies to B2B copywriting!
When you are writing copy for your sales materials, whether it be a webpage or a physical brochure, it is important that you lead with the benefits (what you can do for them) and then justify with the features (how you do it).
Stripe, a competitor of Paypal, does this well by leading with the big benefit of ‘Growing Faster’, something everything a business wants to achieve.
They then justify how they will help you accomplish it – through their suite of payment options that increase checkout conversion rates and more!
Sometimes, you can lead with a more immediate & down to earth benefit like how Square does.
They present the tangible benefit of accepting all types of payments anywhere to their audience to address an immediate need their customers desire.
Only then do they go into explaining the features, such as custom payment platforms, that make it happen.
Become the fly on the wall & investigate your customer’s needs like Sherlock Holmes.
The thing about B2B marketing is that you can be laser-focused and dive-deep into what your audience really cares about.
As a landing page builder, Instapage knows the generic benefits their solution can give – better conversions and more sales, but they go beyond that.
Through research and deep-diving into what really matters, they craft out a targeted message that hits on what the customer really wants – a higher ROI on Ad spend and justifies how they do it – through ‘personalized post-click experiences’.
Do the same for your copywriting.
Research both internally and externally to find that hook or angle that really speaks to your customer.
Research within your team & customers:
– Hold a conference with your sales & customer service team
– Conduct a survey and interview with customers (both happy & unsatisfied)
Research outside your business:
– Head over to platforms like Quora & Reddit to spy on your customer’s conversation
– Figure out what your competitors positioning by digging through their sales material
– Learn what your competitors are doing well and are screwing up through review sites. (like G2Crowd if you are selling software)
One of the greatest social proofs you can incorporate into your copywriting is to include testimonials, but don’t grab any generic one from a random customer – you have to tailor it!
Take Sumo for example. They know what their customer wants – to build up their email list as well as influence and authority in their niche.
Instead of using a bunch of random testimonials, they chose to showcase selected testimonials from marketing influencers known for having a killer email list.
By showcasing these influencers such as Pat Flynn, their reader can immediately relate to and visualize themselves directly enjoying the benefits of Sumo that matter to them – growing their email list and traffic.
Crafting your own hyperspecific testimonial isn’t difficult.
Just find out the type of people your customer identifies or relates with and showcase the results or benefits that truly matter to them.
It’s that simple!
Want a step by step guide on how to get those testimonials and use them? We have you covered with right here!
If your buyer is a human being, they have feelings and that means you have a great opportunity to inject emotions into your copy!
Take Basecamp, for example, although they are selling a serious collaboration and project management software, they don’t shy away from tapping into the readers’ emotions.
With their tongue-in-cheek visuals and witty copy, Basecamp injects just the right amount of humor into their copywriting making their brand (and solution) feel instantly more relatable and human.
Do the same for your copy, just because your writing in the B2B space doesn’t mean you need to be as serious as a Terminator Robot!
No one can resist a good story even in the B2B marketing world – but the reader has to be the hero of your story!
While I’m sure you had a fantastic journey creating your business & solution, create a narrative around your customer instead.
And a fantastic way to do it is through a testimonial shaped like a story, like how ExpertSecrets does it.
They take their reader through the background and journey of their success stories (their whole landing page is essentially a collection of stories!)
By hitting the key points of a powerful story, they present their solution in an effective way that is natural and engaging while allowing the reader to visualize their own story and struggles.
A great story allows your reader to relate to the journey and that also means relating to the benefits and rewards of your solution – better persuasion and higher sales!
Wanna dive deeper into storytelling?
Learn more about how to use storytelling to capture attention in our guide here!
While these 8 principles will help you steer your writing towards more fruitful waters (and sales), there is a world of knowledge just waiting for you.
Discover 18 awesome copywriting examples from the world’s most successful brands – after all, if it worked for them, there are golden lessons to be learned!
B2B copywriting isn’t just about informing your reader, it is also about driving action!
Learn how to incorporate direct response strategies into your copy in our article just for you.
We’ll be more than happy to!
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