Struggling to write copy that performs in a B2B environment?
Many businesses fail to sell B2B because they don’t know how to write B2B copy.
B2B copywriting is similar to B2C, however, it has some key differences that must be acknowledged.
Over my years working as a marketer in B2B, my results suffered because I didn’t know how to adapt. Over time, I learned what I was doing wrong and developed a B2B copywriting strategy that works.
If you’re a business owner or freelancer who wants to write copy that sells in a B2B business, here are 9 tips that you need to implement in 2024.
What Makes B2B Copywriting Different from B2C Copywriting
B2B stands for Business to Business. It means that your business sells products or services to other businesses – as opposed to selling to consumers (which is called B2C, business to consumer).
While there are some differences between the copywriting strategies, B2B and B2B sales are more similar than you might think.
There is a common misconception that B2B means speaking to a faceless corporation. In reality, you are still speaking to people, those people just happen to be decision-makers within a company.
This means that many of the same rules of B2C copywriting still apply to B2B copywriting:
- speak to pains and benefits
- use compelling hooks
- identify a target audience
- build a relationship with your reader
- use storytelling
Effective B2B marketers use a strong base of copywriting principles while applying a few tweaks for a B2B context.
What makes b2b copywriting unique is:
- Longer Sales Cycles
- More Complex Solutions
Longer Sales Cycles
While end consumers might buy after seeing one ad, B2B prospects are less likely to make impulse decisions. In fact, geckoboard found that the average time to close a B2B lead was 102 days.
This means that you have to expect multiple touchpoints and follow-ups and adapt your copy accordingly.
More Complex Solutions
When you sell B2C, your products and solutions are typically straightforward and self-evident.
Fitness programs get you in shape.
Movies entertain you.
Food tastes good.
Clothes look cool.
B2B products and services usually address specific needs within a complex business ecosystem. You can’t just plop an offer in front of your prospect and expect them to “get it”.
Effective B2B marketing needs to introduce relevant business problems, break down the requisite parts of those problems, run through possible solutions, and explain how your solution is the best.
As we’ll get into below, this plays into the strategy of building a full awareness funnel and writing to specific needs.
Now that we’ve established the difference between B2B and B2C copywriting, let’s take a look at how to make B2B copywriting work in action.
9 Tips for Effective B2B Copywriting
Here are nine actionable strategies that you can leverage to make your B2B copywriting even more compelling and conversion-oriented. Each of these tips is designed to build on the fundamentals of copywriting while adapting to a B2B environment.
1. Write for Individuals Within Companies
Just because you’re selling to a business, doesn’t mean the decision-maker in that business is a heartless automaton.
In B2B copywriting, you need to speak to a person’s individual pain point.
For example, your ideal customer might be a middle manager who is responsible for hitting performance targets. Speak to the obstacles, pains, struggles, and problems that this manager will individually experience in pursuit of their goals.
Use emotional and personalized language when you’re writing so it will speak to their subconscious and capture their attention. Only once you’ve stuck an emotional cord should you add in the logical “facts” of your product or service.
Good copywriting should create a strong desire for action so you need to make it impactful.
2. Write Copy for Each Level of Awareness
Because sales cycles are longer in B2B, you need to walk people through each level of awareness. Don’t assume that a potential customer will be ready to buy on the first exposure to your copy. Decision makers need to be contacted 8 to 11 times before they buy.
B2B prospects also need to be educated on the intricacies of your solution and how it can help their complex business. You can’t write copy for the “conversion” level only and expect it to perform.
Here is an example of what B2B copy might look like in a full content marketing sales funnel.
- Awareness: A social media ad calling out businesses that can benefit from your solution.
- Problem Identification: A landing page outlining the common problems experienced by the business.
- Solution Identification: A webinar script talking about the solutions your product or service provides.
- Conversion: A sales presentation that walks through the features included in your product or service.
- Retention: Onboarding and training materials that ensure your customers are getting maximum value and continue to use your product or service.
Every step of the sales funnel will have slightly different copy but it should also have a unified message.
Dividing your copy by level of awareness ensures that your prospect stays engaged throughout the entire sales cycle and receives all the information they need to make a decision.
3. Prioritize Informational Copy
B2B prospects are often willing to purchase a solution, they just need to be convinced that your solution is right for them.
This is in contrast to B2C where customers need to be convinced that their lives would be worse if they didn’t buy your product.
You don’t need to SELL with your copy as much as you need to INFORM.
With this in mind, informational copy such as blog posts, newsletters, and sales pages are king. Always support your sales copy with a healthy dose of informational copy.
Always make your copywriting SEO-friendly. Just like everyone else, B2B prospects do their research on Google. So you want to make sure your messaging shows up when your target audience comes looking.
4. Include Cost Vs. Benefit Analysis
In B2B, decision-makers have to justify their decisions to higher-ups in the company. This means they have to PROVE that their purchases will contribute to the bottom line of the company.
Emotional reasoning alone will not make the sale.
Instead, use a powerful combination of emotional and factual copy to empower your prospect.
Emotional reasoning will keep the reader interested, and logical facts will give them the ammo they need to justify their decision in an internal meeting.
For example, copywriting frameworks such as ACCA (awareness, comprehension, conviction, action) or the 4 Ps (Picture, Promise, Proof, Push) hit the prospect with exactly this kind of emotion-logic double whammy.
Emotional levers in a B2B context include things like:
Logical levers in the B2B context include things like:
- time saved
- money made
- processes simplified
- competitive advantage
When you speak in terms of benefits gained while minimizing costs, your B2B copywriting will craft a powerful narrative that bridges the emotional and logical gap.
5. Write to the Needs of the Team
When you’re copywriting for B2B, you’re not just writing to one type of person. Businesses are made up of teams across multiple departments.
Different teams will have different needs.
The challenge is to address multiple team’s concerns with your copy while keeping a consistent message throughout.
One of the best ways to speak to the needs of multiple teams is to use audience personas.
Audience personas are fictitious characters that embody common characteristics within a target audience.
For example, if you’re selling widgets to internal accounting teams, you could make the audience persona: Accounting Carl. This made-up character would have goals, struggles, pains, hopes, and dreams specific to his accounting role.
You would then write copy that speaks to Accounting Carl’s needs. This added personalization will increase the relevance factor and boost the prospect’s emotional investment level.
Once you’ve created a persona for accounting, move on to other departments and company roles. Over time, you should have a network of personas that you can pull out of a hat depending on your targeting strategy.
It pays to outline audience personas before writing your copy. This makes it very easy to address each team’s concerns while maintaining the overall message.
6.Be Specific, Not General
Business people are busy and don’t have time to read drivel.
You need to be clear and concise with B2B copy or your prospects will lose interest and move on.
Business people want to get their problems fixed NOW.
So get straight to the point.
Your job as a B2B copywriter is to communicate how you can fix their issue, why they should choose your solution, and how to get started right away.
The best way to communicate the relevant information is to niche down and speak directly to the prospect’s concerns.
How is this information relevant to THEM?
What makes your solution UNIQUE?
Why should they take advantage of your offer NOW?
Answering specific questions will make your prospect’s ears perk up because it makes the information sound more relevant to them.
7.Lean on Social Proof
People in the B2B world are very aware of their competitors and get FOMO easily. This makes social proof a very powerful motivational force.
When you’re assembling B2B copywriting, gather and include tons of:
- media mentions
- case studies
When you show how your product is improving other people’s businesses, your prospects will want in on the action.
8.Use a Strong CTA (call to action)
In B2B copywriting, you have to show confidence and ask for the close. There’s no point in buttering up your prospect with amazing copywriting only to let the sale wither away and die.
You have to tell the prospect what to do and provide a CTA (call to action).
In the longer sales cycle where prospects need more rational information before making a decision, you have to make your CTA a no-brainer – it should be very easy to say “yes” to.
To make your CTA a no-brainer, maximize the upside and minimize the downside.
- To maximize the upside: talk about why they should start now and how much closer they will be to their goals because of it.
- To minimize the downside: make the ask as effortless and as risk free as possible. Make it fast. Make it easy.
Great CTA offers in B2B are:
- free trials
- money-back guarantees
- front-end offers
- lead magnets
Anything that is free, easy to get started, and has very little risk associated will be easy for your prospect to justify to their superiors.
9.Test Your Copy
B2B can be tricky so the best way to dial in your copywriting is to test tons of variations.
Elements of your copy that you should test are:
- body text
- facts & figures
Sometimes the difference between crickets and purchase orders is a simple substitution of one headline for another.
Where to test these things?
Anywhere you can get a volume of eyeballs on your content.
Taking out ads, sending cold outreach, or even free content on social media posts can be great places to test copy.
Let’s say you find a hook that does really well on social media. This is a perfect opportunity to expand on the concept and include it in your sales presentation.
Over time, you should form a reservoir of high-performing copywriting in your arsenal that you can pull out when you need it.
B2B copywriting is not that dissimilar from B2C. When you strip the copywriting process down to its bones, the principles are the same.
Where B2B differs, you need to slightly adapt your strategy. Longer sales cycles and more complex solutions make informational copy more important. Also, remember to write for a full sales funnel to account for the complex solutions necessary for B2B.
Keep on testing to form your own strategies and frameworks over time. The best education for copywriting skills is trial and error.