So, you’re in the B2B space.
Maybe you’ve got a dazzling new piece of tech. Maybe software is your thing. Maybe you deliver top-notch SEO services to clients.
Point is, you always get the short end of the stick when it comes to marketing (or so you think).
You don’t sell tasty cheeseburgers or glossy handbags. You can’t hit on any of the senses: taste, sight, hearing, smell, or touch.
All you have to go by is results and cold hard facts.
VoIP communications? Work management software? CRM tools?
Oooh, exciting – not.
Stripped naked, B2B products are never going to be that interesting. But that’s okay, because copy can do all the hard work for you.
It can make your B2B marketing sound actually exciting. Give it the same kind of oomph that KFC’s “finger-lickin’ good” slogan does and instil the same level of excitement in your readers as an ad for a shiny handbag.
The great contradiction
You want to sell. You want copy that’s interesting enough to read but not so OUT THERE that it leaves readers running for the hills.
But deep down, you’re scared.
You’re worried that adding a bit of excitement to your B2B copy will make your audience question your validity. Downgrade your “expertise”. Make you look a bit daft.
The funny thing is, it’s that dry dribble that will actually push customers away.
Carefully crafted copy infused with a bit of creativity can be magical for B2B businesses – you just have to know how to do it right.
Think about it this way.
The “entity” on the other end of your copy will always be a human being – even if you’re targeting an entire business.
They may know lots about tech or SaaS, but that doesn’t mean they want to read a bunch of copy that sounds like it’s come out of a dictionary.
So give them something to be WOWED by. Don’t deliver the same old, same old.
Now, on to the tips!
Humanise the tech
B2B on its own is a little cold.
That is unless you’ve written really good copy – infused with just the right amount of creativity.
Creativity = a little more fun. A lot less cold. And a lot more relatable.
Now I know what you’re thinking.
Not “fun” in the way Innocent Smoothies and Dollar Shave Club are in their copy.
Fun in the B2B sense of the word. In the B2B world, “fun” is subtle. Seamless. Refreshing.
One easy way you can strike a bit more creativity into your B2B copy is by humanising tech.
That means steering away from listing all of your product’s snazzy features and focusing on the benefits.
Because no one cares about a piece of software’s “cloud PBX feature” or a marketing platform’s integrated “data sets”. People care about what those features will do for them and how they’ll drive forward their objectives.
Adding this human touch to your B2B copy also means making it fun enough to read.
- Play around with humour
Don’t be afraid of humour. The right amount of “funny” at the right time can strike a chord with readers and amp up engagement levels.
An easy way to slip in a bit of humour is by relating – and playing – on your readers’ problems. Think about the unique challenges they face within their industry (ideally things that your business can solve) and make it funny.
This is known as observational humour and it’s a great way of showing your audience that you “get them”.
- Scale back on jargon
Jargon isn’t a bad thing, especially if your target audience is already clued up on core industry terms.
But don’t go overboard.
Nothing disrupts the flow of copy more than badly placed jargon.
Just read this sentence:
Design beautiful control pages that increase ad ROAS and monthly uniques.
On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with that line.
It’s grammatically correct and if your reader was an expert, they’d know exactly what you were talking about.
But it just reads so bad.
It doesn’t flow – it’s jarring.
How about this one?
Design beautiful landing pages that convert more.
Cut back on some of the jargon and you’ve got a refreshingly simple and beautiful piece of copy.
- Use POWER words
Power words are emotive. They trigger a response from your audience – to sign up, to buy that product, or to click on that link.
Power words can be urgent. They can be emotional. They can even give off a sense of “newness” or “exclusivity”. Sprinkle a few in your headlines or blogs to inspire your readers to take action.
Check out this blog post by HubSpot for some examples of the most impactful power words out there.
Weave in your brand personality
Are you a soulless, faceless B2B business?
Do tech-speak and jargon flow from your company mission statement?
Probably not, right?
Your business has a personality. It has its own style. Its own way of doing things.
So why not infuse a bit of that “personality” into your copy?
- Use storytelling
There’s a reason we all flock to the cinema or buy the latest Harry Potter book. We love stories. And that’s never going to change. They’re evocative and make us feel like we’re in a different world.
Brand storytelling is no different.
And the best thing about it?
It’s super removed from traditional marketing.
It’s not boring. It’s sort of fun. And it makes readers forget that they’re being sold to.
The next time you’re crafting a blog post, try to work in a little story. A little anecdote. It could be something as simple as telling the story of a customer’s experience with your product/service.
You’ve got some creative licence here, so don’t be afraid to stray from the crowd and create a story that has a few unrealistic elements in it. Done just right, this can even evoke a little bit of humour and make your brand extra memorable.
Another easy place to use storytelling is within your “brand story”.
Instead of talking about when and how your business was founded (borrring), make a story out of it.
Combine the two core elements of storytelling – conflict and resolution – to give your originally black-and-white brand story a memorable feel.
Don’t shy away from the problems or adversity you faced as a business – spotlight them! Perfection doesn’t resonate with readers.
What strikes a chord in their hearts is a story that’s transparent. That exposes the challenges you faced as a company and how you came out the other side, successful and with an amazing product/service in tow.
- Nail your brand TOV
Your “personality” is closely tied to your brand’s tone of voice. It’s what defines your communications.
If you haven’t quite figured your TOV out, reflect on the following questions:
- What’s your company culture like?
- What’s your target audience’s TOV?
- What’s your company’s defining trait?
- What are your core values?
These are all things you can work into your brand TOV (if you’re really struggling, read this blog post by Forbes for a quick step-by-step guide).
If you’re a company with a casual and laid-back culture, for example, you might want to use colloquial language within your copy.
Get close to readers
We’ve already gone over the fact that tech is sorta cold.
But it becomes even colder once you wrap up it in highbrow language that’s far removed from the reader.
A bit like this…
We merge integrative cloud solutions with APIs to modernise VoIP communications. Click to try a 14-day trial.
Do you feel at all enticed to follow through with that CTA?
It’s cold, it’s removed, and it doesn’t talk to me (the reader) at all.
Instead, it’s talking at me.
The best way to inspire your readers to take action is by using copy that bridges that gap between business and customer.
Copy that gets close to them, talks to them, and forges a real connection.
- Ditch the formal “egghead” talk
Don’t write copy that sounds like something out of a software manual – have a conversation with your readers. Ditch the stuffy language that B2B is so often known for and opt for something a little more casual. Think seamless and easy-to-understand – copy that demonstrates your expertise while remaining accessible to your readers.
- Ask questions
Questions – rhetorical, literal, or open-ended – are a great way of engaging your readers and getting them to reflect.
Read our blog post for a lesson in the art of asking questions – without sounding annoying.
- Use the first and second person
Use the first person (“I”) and the second person (“You”) to spark a connection with readers and make your copy more personal.
Feed them digestible content
Imagine chomping down an entire plate of pasta, then a bowl of fruit, then a seven-layer cake.
That’s a lot.
You’d be stuffed.
It’s the same with your B2B copy – don’t overload your readers with a bunch of information.
The world of B2B is automatically a little intimidating, even to the initiated.
- Data aggregation. Supply-path optimisation.
It doesn’t exactly scream “easy reading”.
Break up your text and make it scannable and easy to digest.
Your audience hasn’t got all day and they’re definitely not going to stick around to read a fat block of text.
Make your copy easy on the eyes (and the brain) with these tips:
- Use bullet points to break up your long-form copy and make it easy for readers to skim.
- Vary your sentence structure, avoid long paragraphs, and play around with breaks and repetition.
- Italicise and bold words that are super important – this will help grab your readers’ attention.
Out with the old, in with the bold
There are hundreds of B2B brands out there, all vying for the attention of their audience.
But only a handful are actually memorable, and that’s because the B2B industry is stuck in a time warp.
It’s still pushing out the same dry dribble of jargon-loaded, chunky “trying-to-sound-smart” copy that it’s been doing for years.
And readers are getting sick of it.
So be a little bold. Be a little different.
Let your personality shine through. Sprinkle in a bit of creativity. And don’t always follow the crowd.