As you go through your copywriting career writing for a variety of clients, you start to develop a formula—a blueprint for success in a variety of B2B copywriting niches. You start to see a common thread that unifies industries and businesses. And, perhaps most importantly, you start to see a proven strategy that works.
Hiring the right B2B copywriting agency is important, but beyond that, you want someone with real “in the trenches” experience. You want someone that can handle everything from landing pages to B2B email copywriting and everything in between.
In short, it’s smart to learn effective B2B copywriting tips by following advice from proven leaders and influencers in the field. With that being said, here are a few tips to help you work better with your copywriter and get the best possible results for any type of launch or campaign.
Have a solid, specific production brief
The first step to get the kind of results you want from your B2B technology copywriter is to fill out a detailed brief. Most people simply tell a copywriter that they want an ad and send over a short brief stating their goal. Don’t do that. Instead, send them a detailed brief that contains:
- The specific goal you’d like to achieve.
- The expected deliverable(s).
- The deadline(s).
- The specific target audience.
- Any other relevant information.
It’s common for agencies to give a copywriter some of the marketing research they’ve done, and while these insights and statistics are valuable, they’re more data driven than holistic.
Providing data isn’t a wrong move, but remember that your goal is to communicate a message to your readers. Your copywriter has to hit the right audience with the right message at the right time, and to help them do that, you need to be crystal clear on the goal of your copy, what action you want the user to take, and how those users will benefit from taking those actions.
Look at copywriting through the right lens when managing your team
Copy is not a standalone part of marketing, design, or any other department. It’s an integral part of how people look at and interact with your brand. It’s a good idea to have a fresh set of eyes look over the copy that’s written before it goes live, because one misplaced word can completely change the messaging, impact, and perception of your copy.
This doesn’t mean that you need to micromanage your copywriter—just a quick, cursory check is the minimum that’s really needed.
At its core, copywriting is a marketing skill. Even if you don’t have a dedicated B2B technology copywriter or a B2B copywriting agency yet, it’s important to do your best to provide the resources that people need.
Just like any other skill, writing copy can be learned by anyone. People have to understand the importance of communication, whether it’s B2B email copywriting, landing pages, or any other copywriting piece.
Know your target audience
No matter how many B2B copywriting tips you read and implement, they’re all going to fall flat if you don’t truly know your target audience. That means understanding things like:
- Psychographics, demographics, attitude, behavior, and characteristics.
- The language they use (this is particularly important).
- Where they tend to hang out.
- What keeps them up at night and what they worry about.
Don’t hesitate to seek out your target audience members and ask them questions directly, even if it’s just through an anonymous survey. If you need more info, ask the sales or customer service team. Your marketing team or product development team won’t always know how to best reach the people who matter most: Your customers.
It’s not enough just to know your target audience
It’s one thing to know what’s keeping an executive-level decision-maker up at night. But it’s a completely different thing to directly address their pain points (as well as the consequences of failing to alleviate them) in writing. A good B2B copywriter must be able to articulate a decision-maker’s needs, wants, and feelings better than they could. To do that, your copywriter needs to know how badly the audience wants to resolve that pain point and how important it is to them—it has to be an itch they can’t scratch.
Now, let’s cover more specific B2B copywriting tips. These are mostly going to apply to the writing itself, but they should give you a good idea of what to look for in a good B2B copywriting agency as you shop around. You may even want to condense these tips into a guide for your agency so they know what you’re looking for in their writing.
Start with the headline
The headline is the make-or-break point in any copy. It has to be concise, readable, and actionable. It has to stand out.
It’s also important to remember that different headlines serve different purposes. For example, there’s the headline of an ad that pushes people through to a landing page. That headline has to compel people to click on the ad.
In contrast, the headline on the landing page has to convince people that it’s worth their time to continue reading beyond that point.
Simply put, headlines have some heavy lifting to do!
Remember, you’ve got five seconds or less to get a reader’s attention. You don’t have to sell to them at this point; rather, you need to understand that the headline is the turning point that will convince people to either:
a) click because their curiosity is piqued, OR
b) keep reading because they have a vested interest.
If you just want to get a quick response, you don’t even need to state the selling point in the headline. It needs to have an implied benefit, although it doesn’t have to be as blatantly obvious as something like “hormone treatments for $195.” However, it does have to present itself in such a way that it’s worth their time to keep going.
That’s a tall order to fill, so don’t be afraid to break the mold when it comes to writing your headline. Try something fresh, unique, and creative. Test and see what happens.
It’s important to note that there are going to be times when you don’t have to go through all of that. If you’re focused on conversions for a product that already has an active user base and strong selling points, you won’t need to place such a strong emphasis on the headline’s performance. It still matters, just not as much.
Overall, you’re going to want to look at your copy and ask yourself this question:
Does the copy make sense in the context of my other marketing?
Is my brand voice clear and consistent?
Are all of the offers and benefits synergistic?
The best B2B copywriting tips won’t do you any good unless you can look at the rest of your website with a keen eye toward brand messaging and overall consistency. If your copy doesn’t sound anything like the rest of your brand, it can be jarring and off-putting to your target audience, souring the whole conversion experience.
Write in simple terms
Just because your audience is B2B doesn’t mean that you have to talk over people’s heads. In fact, copy works best when it’s conversational, simple, and accessible. Most importantly, your copy should seamlessly integrate with the way your audience speaks: It has to appeal to them but also give them the sense that you’re “one of them” and understand them.
With that being said, B2B copy doesn’t have a lot of slang. Use slang and terminology sparingly because people read copy as human beings first first and as a member of their profession second.
There’s a difference between writing helpful copy for people who are looking for a service and writing copy that makes people feel like you’re intruding on their “space,” their identity, and the groups that they’re part of. B2C copy has a certain tone—specialized language that copywriters can tap into.
There’s a world of difference between audiences. Copy that’s written for Whole Foods shoppers is not going to appeal to a Chevy audience, and vice versa. One is not better than the other—they’re just different audiences.
Brand voice is also important, and it’s different from tone. Every brand has a certain flair to their writing. You know you’re reading copy from Mailchimp and how it differs from something written by GetResponse. Many B2B businesses need more of that voice.
In the B2C world, voice is crucial because people can be fiercely loyal to brands. Trying to tackle copywriting without a voice makes your brand sound robotic and salesy. The point isn’t to cling dogmatically to your brand guidelines—just remember that you’re writing for other humans. Professionals, yes, but also humans.
A lot of B2B terminology in copy is going to bore people senselessly. With a recognizable brand voice and tone, it’s going to make your brand distinct from your competitors and will help make your unique selling proposition (USP) stand out and be remembered.
It’s important to restate the importance of making sure your copy meshes with your other branding efforts. You don’t want to make your campaigns so wildly different from each other that no one recognizes them as yours. Make your messages cohesive.
Be aware of the differences on messaging platforms
You have to be aware of the differences and goals of your different copy and campaigns. Blog posts are going to be different than expanded text ads, which is going to be different than Instagram ads. You have a limited amount of space and a limited amount of time to make your message clear, compelling, and visible.
LinkedIn presents a great opportunity to put your B2B copywriting tips to the test. Advertising on LinkedIn is basically creating a display ad. You want to be sure that your copy blends in with the platform and that your target audience has a presence there. You can create an ad for a specific industry or even a job title.
Personalize. The last thing you want to do is write an ad and blast it across all industries and job titles you’re aiming for. Make use of a segmenting and targeting feature to customize your ad so that it reaches the right people at the right time, in the right place.
What about Facebook? Although LinkedIn is the undisputed home of B2B and a great place to hone your skills and explore B2B copywriting niches, keep in mind that a great majority of B2B folks are also on Facebook. Since almost everyone is on there, you may even get more of your ideal prospects on Facebook than on LinkedIn.
With that in mind, the ads you create for Facebook need to be thoughtful and deliberate. You might have to inject a bit of humor in your ad to get a smile or a chuckle (and hopefully a click). Don’t worry, it’s not going to break your brand messaging if you approach your ad this way. Check out SEMRush for a great example of a B2B company that does a great job of being playful in Facebook ads. All in all, Facebook is a seriously under-utilized platform for B2B messaging, so it’s definitely worth including it as part of your promotional arsenal.
Which types of B2B services sell well on Facebook?
In our experience, the services that sell well on Facebook in the B2B arena are those that people log in and use, rather than professional services. If you have a video that you can link to from an ad, even better.
Bringing your users to a 2-minute overview that hits on all their major pain points and gets them to stop scrolling and pay attention is a great strategy. Video as a whole is a great way to sell quickly. In just seconds, you can explain your USP and target the pain points in a visually digestible, simple, and stepwise manner. If you want to map out your product’s benefits on a whiteboard, go ahead and do so. B2B can be complicated, and it can take a long time to explain things.
Don’t forget about Google Ads
Finally, there’s Google Ads, which revolves all around search terms. What your prospects are searching for will give you insight into their intent, education level, and overall knowledge of the industry. From a standpoint of effective copywriting tips, all of that is going to define your angle and how you approach the prospect.
To do this well, there has to be feedback between the person (or B2B copywriting agency) writing the ads and the performance of the ads. See what people are searching for already, then add those keywords to your roster of ads to test so you can explore new areas that you aren’t currently targeting.
Struggling to come up with ideas for your search ads? Check out answerthepublic.com. It’s a great resource to help spark some ideas for search ads because it plugs in prepositions and lets you see precisely what kinds of questions people have related to your industry, product, or service.
B2B email copywriting tips
Keep in mind the following B2B email copywriting tips to maximize your results while writing for email.
Write the preheader
First, you’ll want to always have a preheader. The preheader is like the email equivalent of a meta description—it appears under your subject line in some email clients (but not all). It isn’t an integral part of every email because it displays differently and may not even be seen.but it’s a nice way to entice people to click if they do happen to see it.
Think about why you’re writing the email
You’ll want to take a careful look at your B2B cycle. What does it look like? What is the touch point you’re emailing about, and why are you emailing about it? If you need some inspiration for email copywriting, check out reallygoodemails.com.
Cold email objectives
It’s also important to remember that there’s a considerable difference between cold and warm emails—they’re two very different breeds. With cold email, the goal is to get people to open it no matter what. They don’t know you and don’t trust you (yet), so you’ve got to put the most important information upfront. Even if you’re doing a cold email blast, make sure it’s a plain text email from an actual person. Use an actual name and a real email address.
With warm emails, you’ve already gotten someone to act. Now you want them to convert, so you’ve got them on a nurturing path. You want to build a gradual relationship with them and demonstrate the value you provide.
With B2B email copywriting and marketing, you can’t rely on brand loyalty as much as you would with B2C marketing. People are going to compare solutions no matter what, so make sure that you’re talking to your prospects accurately and openly. Just like an actual talk, you want to have open communication. They need to want to hear more from you.
Use the occasional emoji in a subject line
You might also be interested to know that putting emojis in your emails can increase open rate by up to 40%. You don’t have to be afraid of them just because you’re in a B2B industry. There are some businesses where emojis won’t make sense, but if you want to inject some fun and humanity into your emails, it’s fine to use one or two. Eemojis keep your character count low, and they’re a different strategy that isn’t often seen in B2B, so they could stand out if you’re willing to test it.
Effective copywriting tips for blogs
Blogs are another area that your copywriter will need to concentrate on, but most blogs get it wrong—they concentrate so much on SEO that they lose the point of blogging:
You have to blog about something that people care about.
Your target audience has to get value out of your blog. If no one’s getting value from your content, there’s no point.
Fortunately, with blogs, you can link to them in emails and use them as an integral part of other communication strategies. However, you must write naturally so that people land on them organically and enjoy the content. If you must write content that’s purely for SEO, that’s fine, but at least be conversational—leave it up to your salespeople to follow up with them and talk business.
Your blog posts can be similar to a white paper that’s divided into several pieces. SEO is important as well, but don’t keyword stuff something to death. Moderation and readability are the most important considerations.
Using push notifications as part of your B2B copywriting strategy
Push notifications have great open rates for B2C, but the jury still seems to be out on B2B-specific results. In the past, I worked with a live-ticketing B2C, and push notifications were immensely effective because you had 25 characters and had to produce immediately visible and digestible information in a small space.
Don’t oversell: The risks outweigh any payoffs
One of the biggest B2B copywriting tips is also one of the simplest: Overselling in B2B can do more harm than good. If you approach it with the promise that the prospect is going to get a major response overnight that’s going to change their lives right away, they’re going to be unhappy or skeptical.
Misleading prospects will come back to bite you. People will find out, and they’ll find a better alternative. Word will spread, and your numbers will drop off.
Even if your solution isn’t for everyone, you should define your customer upfront: “If you’re this size, we’re perfect for you. If you’re bigger or smaller, we might not be the best option.” That’s much more authentic than, “Choose XYZ Company because we have the best prices, best support, and best service for everyone.” (They’ll think, “Yeah, you and everyone else!”).
You’ll often hear a B2B copywriter tell you to focus on the benefits and not the features of your product, but sometimes prospects do want to know features, depending on the application. People are going to be skimming your emails and landing pages, and in cases like these, you might want your features to stand out. Don’t hesitate to use them if you feel like doing so might be a good option. If you’re not sure, test it!
Wrapping it up
Whether you’re trying to find the right B2B copywriting niche or are considering hiring a B2B copywriting agency, the bottom line is that you need to look for ways to position yourself uniquely in an otherwise competitive market.
Be sure to do a competitive analysis. Use all available information you can to support your claims—that means charts, scientific studies, endorsements, testimonials, and case studies, among others. Use a clear and concise call to action so there’s no doubt in your prospect’s mind regarding what you want from them.
And finally, realize that no copy is ever truly finished. Whether it’s your first draft or a live version, there’s always room for improvement. Keep testing, tweaking, refining, and improving to learn what works and resonates with your target audience. You may be surprised by what you learn!