How the hell does one go about crafting sharp, crisp B2B Copywriting?
I’m seated at a quaint coffee shop here in Nashville, Tennessee called 8th & Roast. I like the tables. They’re large and made of thick clunky hardwood offering plenty of space for this six-foot-two copywriter to spread out nicely.
I’m staring out the front window at passing cars. Some are moving fast. Some are moving slow. But, that’s neither here nor there.
I’m not sure where you are. You can write me and tell me where you are if you want. If not, that’s okay too.
Anyway, wherever you are, you’re reading this right now because you obviously have a lingering question –– how the hell does one go about crafting sharp crisp B2B copywriting?
It’s a good question. It’s a money-making question. It’s questions like these that call me to lace up my thick leather bound Red Wing boots, trudge out the front door and spend a cloudy afternoon at a place like 8th & Roast writing an article like this.
Anyway, I have an answer to your question. It’s down below.
This is the difference between B2C and B2B Copywriting.
Before we can begin discussing how to craft sharp crisp B2B copywriting that sells like a Florida Snow Cone Vendor on the hottest day of the year, we must first understand the difference between B2C and B2B copywriting.
Contrary to what many business owners believe, they really aren’t all that different. In fact, they’re vastly similar because human psychology holds true whether you’re a customer buying a washing machine for your home or a sales manager buying a new CRM for your business.
However, there is one main difference between the two which I will explain by telling you a story about a pair of girls that just walked into the coffee shop where I am seated.
They are best friends or so it appears and it’s obvious they plan on ordering the same drink so they can enjoy it together.
Bound and determined to find a drink they both think sounds good, they ask the barista what the best thing is. He attempts to sell them on something called a Sweet Iced.
One of the girls thinks it sounds nice. The other, less so. Since both weren’t in, they ask the barista for another recommendation and the barista tells them about a House Chai that’s creamy, nutty, full of spice and impressively delicious.
He sells both of the girls and they order the House Chai.
This, at it’s most basic form, is B2B copywriting. And, it’s what separates B2B copywriting from B2C copywriting.
In B2C copywriting, you’re selling to just one person (generally).
In B2B copywriting, you’re selling to two or more people because often times there are multiple decision-makers in a business.
Generally, where brands make mistakes with B2B copywriting is they attempt to sell to just one person, not realizing that that person has to then go on and attempt to sell the product or service to another person.
Knowing this, when we craft B2B copywriting we need to accomplish two coups, which we will discuss in the next section.
The two coups all B2B copywriting must pull off to sell.
As we mentioned previously, B2B copywriting must sell to multiple people (not just one). That’s extraordinarily challenging. However, it can be done if we successfully pull off the following two coups:
1. We have to sell the initial decision maker.
B2B Copywriting is first read by an initial decision maker (or gatekeeper) and we must sell them first to have a real shot at selling the entire business. If the initial decision maker isn’t a “buy” the final decision maker will never even see our product or service.
To sell the initial decision maker (who is probably a senior manager of sorts) we must make it clear that making the decision to buy our product will make them look good in the eyes of their boss and that there is very little risk involved.
This is tricky. If someone goes out and buys a car and it ends up being a piece of shit, they only have to answer to themselves (and perhaps an angry wife or husband).
If, on the contrary, a senior manager goes out and buys a $100,000 piece of software and it’s a piece of shit, they can get fired.
So, to put the initial decision maker at ease we must minimize perceived risk by giving proven results of using our product. Or, we must give them some sort of free-trial, money-back-guarantee, etc.
We then must tell the initial decision maker how this product will make their business (and them) more successful (aka how it will move them up through the company hierarchy without actually saying it).
The trouble with B2B copywriting is that we’re not just selling a product or service but we are forced to manipulate the political bullshit that goes on in most offices.
WeWork will offer larger startups one month of office space completely free to minimize the risk of doing business with them –– this can end up costing the shared co-working space giant $5,000+ in revenue.
So, why do they do it? For one, it minimizes risk. For two, it incentives the initial decision maker to sell their boss on the deal –– who doesn’t want to be the employee that landed his or her brand $5,000 - $7,000 in office space for free?
And, for three, it can take startups two and in some cases three days to move from one location to another. So, it’s a smart strategy too –– once a company moves locations, it’s rare that they will move again after just one month. In many cases, it’s more trouble than it is worth.
Anyway, once we have sold the initial decision maker (whether that be through a free trial or some sort of incentive to minimize risk), we then need to put them in a great position to sell to the final decision maker. We cover that in coup number two.
2. We must make it easy for the initial decision maker to sell our product or service in-house.
Once we’ve sold the initial decision maker, we have a real shot at selling the business. What we have created is our own internal salesman trusted by the business we’re selling and that’s invaluable.
However, we must make it as easy as possible for the initial decision maker to sell the final decision maker(s).
This is where things become tricky.
Generally speaking, final decision makers don’t have a lot of time. To be successful enough to reach the executive level, you must become very good at saying “yes” or “no” quickly.
So, we have one meeting or one email or one phone call to prepare the initial decision maker to sell the final decision maker, which means we must help the initial decision maker make a very very strong sell, quickly.
How can we do that? By utilizing just three bullets.
Bullet One –– How will our product make the brand money?
Bullet Two –– How will our product save the brand money?
Bullet Three –– How will our product improve the brand in (fill in the blank way)?
This might sound rudimentary. It’s not. You’d be surprised how many brands write massive sales emails and never fully touch on the above three bullets (or don’t make it easy for their contact to relay the benefits of the product or service to the rest of the team).
Really, what we’re thinking about here is the following –– if the initial decision maker has just five-minutes with the final decision maker to sell, what are the three things about our product or service that makes it impossible to say no?
It’s very easy for a brand to say no to a bullshit benefit like this… our CRM will help you build stronger relationships with your customers.
On the contrary, it’d be very difficult for brands to say no to a benefit like… 85% of people who use Grammarly become stronger writers –– what could it mean for your business if 85% of your employees wrote better, crisper, clearer?
The latter of the two benefits is extraordinarily compelling, whereas the first one is just kind of… bleh.
Now, let’s talk about best practices where it concerns B2B copywriting.
A few B2B copywriting tips and tricks.
Understanding that the broader complexities of B2B copywriting is only half the battle. To really write words that sell, you need to understand a few copywriting tips and tricks.
1. Save the grab-assing for the golf course, lead with benefits.
Building rapport isn’t a luxury you have with B2B copywriting. Yes, you can grab the readers interest with a story or a catchy opening sentence, but don’t ramble on forever. Cut out the fluff and the grab-assing. The initial decision maker is busy and the final decision maker is busier, this means you need to make your pitch quickly and this is best done by leading with benefits.
2. Trim your copy by 25% after it is written.
Once you’ve written your copy and you’re beaming with pride, pull out your knife and start slicing away 25% of the page. If there is anything magical about copywriting, it’s that you can always say the same thing with less words (and in many cases in better more compelling ways).
3. Always (ALWAYS) close with a call-to-action.
Anytime you craft B2B copywriting, you need to be thinking about what you want your reader to do after they read it. Do you want them to call you? Then ask them. Again, this might sound rudimentary but you’d be surprised how many brands are horrendous at crafting call to actions that make people want to actually take action.
“I think we should set up a call", is not a call to action. “Let’s set up a call. I have availability this Thursday at 3 p.m”, is more like it.
So, to recap.
I just threw a lot at you. So, here’s a brief recap in seven handy-dandy bullets…
The difference between B2C and B2B copywriting is that the latter is selling to more than one person.
Always sell to the initial decision maker –– this is best done by minimizing risk and telling them how it will make them look good in the eyes of their boss (in not so many words).
Make it easy for the initial decision maker to sell to the final decision maker by giving them a very clear and compelling list of benefits your product or service offers.
Leave our the fluff and grab-assing –– in other words say what you have to say and don’t waste the person’s time.
Always trim your copy by at 25%
Always close with a call-to-action.
That’s it fellow marketers, entrepreneurs and snow cone vendors. And, as always, if you ever find yourself needing help. Please, feel free to set up a call with me here. Or, you can always reach out about collaborating on a project, too.
By Cole Schafer.
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