If you’re reading this, you know B2B marketing is vital for your business. Even when you know how crucial it is, you might have a hard time succeeding.
The problem is, if you don’t up your game, you’ll miss out on the benefits that B2B has to offer.
Those long-term, consistent profits from B2B customers won’t hit your bank account. Neither will the mutual purchasing, the higher ROI, or the greater conversion rates.
You can’t be the Michael Jordan of your niche if you don’t slam dunk B2B copywriting. If you feel like your copy is bouncing off the rim, don’t worry.
In this article, we’ll talk about 5 B2B copywriting mistakes that kill conversions and how to fix them, so you can go back to getting nothing but net. Here’s how you can avoid rookie mistakes and write all-star B2B copy.
There are tons of different kinds of B2B copy, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
That’s only a few of them. You can feel like you have to do everything, or you’ll miss out. What if the perfect client only hangs out on the platform you’re not targeting? What if you put lots of effort into one social media platform, but your dream client uses a different one?
You know the potential outcome, so you try to do everything. You set up a newsletter and try to send it out weekly. You set up a blog and scour the web for SEO tips. You set up a profile on all the social media you can think of and try to post every day…. It’s exhausting even to consider. You’ll feel scattered, tired, and getting terrible ROI for the time, energy, and money you’ve put in.
If you try to do everything, you’ll end up doing nothing (or at least doing nothing well). Read that again. If you try to do everything, you’ll end up doing nothing. Either you’ll burn out or put out work that isn’t reflective of your business.
Remember that worry of missing the right person because you’re on the wrong platform? Missing the right person because they see you and think you do poor quality work is much worse. Not only will you miss their business in the short-term, but you could also turn them away for good.
Instead of pulling yourself in a hundred directions, get all your bananas in one bunch. Focus your efforts on a single platform.
To start, take a look at your competitors. What are they doing with their copywriting? What are they not doing?
Say you’ve got a banana stand, and every other banana stand in the country has a blog. They might all have a blog and a Facebook. You can stand apart by being the only banana stand with an Instagram and a podcast.
Or you might check out their Facebook and find it isn’t doing well. Jump on that, and be the only banana stand who understands how to run a Facebook.
Your potential clients are familiar with your competition. Focusing on the platform they aren’t covering makes you memorable. They’re going back and forth, looking at different banana stands and weighing pros and cons. They can remember you as “that one banana stand that had a podcast.”
The most important thing is that you can put all your energy, time, and passion into one platform. That focus will make you shine a hundred times brighter than you would otherwise.
Remember how I said that doing everything is the same as doing nothing? This is also true when picking your audience. If you try to write to everyone, you write to no one. You have to be specific with your audience.
This can feel counterintuitive. That old worry creeps in again — what if I miss the right person because I’m too specific?
It’s a valid concern, but unless you know who you’re trying to reach, you won’t connect with anyone. Your copy will be too broad and too vague. That means the people you want to reach will read it and think, “Oh, I’m not sure it’s for me.”
Think of it this way. If you wanted to throw a banana where your buddy could catch it, how would you throw it? Would you aim in his general direction, or would you aim for his palm?
If you throw in his general direction, you could hit your friend in the face or miss him altogether. If you aim for the middle of his palm, you might miss, but he could still catch it with no problems.
If you don’t know your audience, you’ll be tossing a banana over your shoulder and hoping it hits someone.
If you want your audience to catch the banana, think about who you want to work with most. Build your ideal customer into one person. It’s not only about who they are, it’s about what they want.
Ask yourself questions about your ideal customer as though you were interviewing them.
Write it all down, and reference it when you’re making decisions in your copy.
For our banana stand, let’s build a persona and call her “Kim.”
Building a persona like this will do two things. First, it keeps your copy from being general. You can speak to the correct desires and pain points. For instance, you can write copy about retaining customers by adding value.
Second, your copy will be more personable and conversational. When you have a persona in mind, it makes it easier to write good copy. You have an idea that you’re speaking to a real person, and that will show in the end result.
Your audience isn’t stupid, and you don’t want them to think you are, either. In B2B writing, it’s crucial to remember that you’re writing to other business owners. They’re familiar with copywriting, marketing, and their industry.
This means that if you’re too vague, they’ll perceive you as a rookie. Being too broad is a rookie move, and they’ll pass on working with you.
Dumbing things down is a sure way to get a no, too. If you only scratch the surface, your audience will have a lot of doubts. Do you know what you’re saying? Are you new to the business? Do you care about their business the way they do? Can you provide value?
Being shallow is a problem you’ll encounter if you’re used to working B2C and are new to B2B. In B2C, you’re working with someone in the general public. Your average Joe doesn’t want or need specifics. If you tell them you’re selling bananas and they’re delicious, that’s usually all they need to know.
In B2B, you’re working with another business. If you tell a business owner you’re selling delicious bananas, the business owner says, “And? So? Why should I care?”
Say you’re talking to Kim from our persona. You tell her you’re selling bananas, and they’re a great post-workout snack for her gym’s members. She'll listen because you’re speaking to the pain point of customer retention. Your average Joe doesn’t have that problem, so you wouldn’t mention it.
Remember that persona you built? Time to take a second look at it. You want to reassure your audience that you’re a professional who knows the market. How? Through thorough research.
You should research your audience first. You can talk to customers you’ve already had. You can hang out online, in social media groups, or in chat rooms. You could even talk to them in person, via focus groups or events.
You can flesh your persona out even more, and then it’s time to research your competitors.
Subscribe to their newsletters, read their blogs, follow their social media. Meet them wherever they are, and take notes. What do they do well? What don't they do well? What do you have that they don’t?
Finally, know the product and industry inside and out. Even if you gather up knowledge or jargon you don’t use right away, it’s crucial to know as much as possible. The more you have to draw on, the more confident you become. Having that knowledge means you can back up your confidence and handle objections. You’ll have an answer ready when your potential customers ask, “What about …?”
Well-researched copy makes you look like the intelligent professional you are. It’ll give a good sense of the value you’ll bring to your customers, which means more conversions for you.
New B2B writers struggle with placing too much emphasis on branding.
Why is that a problem? Well, let’s put it this way. You know those hours-long infomercials that come on at 3 am? You never search them out, but we’ve all come across them. When was the last time one of those held your attention? Have you ever thought, “Wow! This thing is amazing! I need it right now!” when you watch them? Yeah… me, either.
When you stuff your writing full of branding, it sounds like one of those. Your audience isn’t engaged by them any more than you are. Here’s an example based on our banana stand from above:
Banana Standz is the leader of high-quality, fresh banana providers. You won’t find a better banana than the one you’ll find at Banana Standz.
You can buy it at this link!
Banana Standz has the highest quality bananas in the galaxy.
Get the best bananas on our website!
Banana Standz has plenty of bananas for all your banana needs. Banana Standz knows you have problems with your bananas, and Banana Standz is here to help.
Click here, and Banana Standz will solve your banana problems!
Yikes. It sounds spammy, scammy, and amateur.
“But Daniel,” you protest, “without branding or a CTA, how will my conversions improve? I don’t want to hide my CTAs at the bottom of the page — no one will click them.”
You’re right. The important thing is to balance it. You don’t have to hide your CTA, but it shouldn’t be half your copy. If your copy is short, keep it to one. If it’s longer, you could place 2 or 3. Make sure to be aware of how your copy sounds.
It can be tempting to over brand, but it’ll hurt your copy’s performance. Unless your brand name is also a household name, you can’t rely on it. Businesses like Apple, Starbucks, or even Kleenex can market around their brand name.
They’ve built their brand so much that the name alone evokes specific thoughts and feelings. Most coffee shops aren’t Starbucks, so relying on the brand will create confusion, not desire.
How do you brand well in copy? Focus on your reader. It’s essential to use “you” language like you’re speaking to one person. It makes your reader feel like you wrote your copy “just for them” and makes you seem friendly.
Avoid using “I” or “me.” Opt for “we” or “us” if you can’t use “you.” Your copy should center around what will add value to their lives and give a sense of teamwork. You’ve heard the classic saying, “the customer is always right,” and that applies to your copy, too.
Don’t focus on why you wanted to write the copy. Instead, focus on why the reader is looking at your copy in the first place. What kind of value do they want you to add? What problems do they need solved?
Your copy should focus on how you can solve part of the problem right now. Then, you can direct them to your business to finish solving the problem or start solving another.
So how do you know what value or problems are most relevant?
By this point, you’ve created and fleshed out a reader persona. Time to put it to work. Earlier, we talked about how a reader persona can make it feel like you’re writing your copy to a real person. This is where you do that.
Say you were writing a blog post on healthy eating for Banana Standz. Rather than writing to “anyone who wants to eat healthy foods,” you write to Kim. In the first instance, you might write something like, “How Eating Healthy is the Missing Piece To Your Fitness Routine.” Kim isn’t interested in something like that.
Instead, you’ll write to Kim’s interests. Your article could be “How Having Healthy Snacks Will Boost Your Gym’s Sales.” Now that’s an article Kim wants to read.
Focusing on your reader will give your brand a good reputation and improve your SEO rankings. When you offer legitimate help to a reader, they’re more likely to read it all the way through.
That means your reader will see you as someone offering real help, not reaching for their wallets. Search engines will see people staying on your page and boost you to the top of their rankings.
Being known as the brand that cares and being at the top of search rankings is ideal. That means you won’t need tons of CTAs to improve your sales.
It’s easy to churn out low-quality content every week or even every day. Anyone can bang out a some short articles or unimaginative social media captions.
Unfortunately, easy does not always equal a good ROI. It’s tempting to think of B2B copywriting, or copywriting in general, as a quantity game. If you get enough out there, you’re bound to get more sales.
While quantity will get you sales over time, is it easier to pick up 10,000 pennies or a single $100 bill?
Low-quality work also hurts your brand and SEO rankings, and frustrates your customers. And all for the same reason — low-quality content is spammy.
Say you’re searching for “banana recipes.” Now, imagine someone spends an entire article telling you to buy their cookbook. Pretty annoying.
Your customers deal with the same thing. They’ll get frustrated if they only see content from you that’s grasping for their wallets.
Or what about emails that have the same headline you’ve seen a billion times before? You get irritated, delete and unsubscribe.
This is true of any kind of copy. When you put out low-quality content, it reflects something specific to your customers. They see the work you would do for them as low-quality.
You could be the best in your niche, but no one will be willing to give your brand a chance if your copy is low-quality.
The name of the game isn’t quantity, it’s consistency. Slow and steady wins the race. Remember when I said a single $100 bill is better than 10,000 pennies? That’s true of your copy, not only your customers. Putting out one $100 blog post once a month is better than putting out a $0.01 blog post every day.
It can feel urgent to get something, anything, out there. Don’t give in to the pressure. You’ll put out writing with clear mistakes or bad structure that isn’t reflective of your brand.
Take your time. Review and revise, and stick to a slow, consistent schedule. If you can put out good copy or content every day, good for you! For most people, it’s better to build up to frequent posts. Start with monthly or weekly instead.
Even if you only put things out once a month, you'll still boost your image, SEO rankings, and sales.
Remember how we said that customers reflect low-quality copy onto your brand? The same is true of high-quality copy. If you put out great work, your customers will think of you as someone who will do great work for them, too.
Sometimes it can feel like B2B marketing is working against you. You can feel like it takes more time and more effort for less reward. When you’re coming to B2B writing after working in B2C writing, that feeling is even worse.
B2B marketing can be even more lucrative than B2C, as long as you avoid the common problems. These roadblocks pop up for everyone, but they don’t need to bring your business to a halt.
By following these tips, you can get B2B copywriting back on your team. With your copywriting in order, your conversions will rise. When you make your copy focused and high-quality, you’ll generate more revenue for less work.
All you need to do is spot the weak points in your copy. Are you doing the same thing as everybody else and blending in? Are you too general or too shallow? Are you over-branding? Are you putting out a wide range of work that doesn’t reflect your brand’s quality?
Once you know where your weaknesses lie, you can find solutions. And now that you know the solutions to these common problems, your copy can be stronger than ever.
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High-converting direct-response copy for growing B2B companies and disruptive digital brands.