Words never exist a vacuum. They’re meant for a purpose. They want to be read. But who exactly will read them?
That’s your first question when writing for decision makers.
Who are these decision makers?
And what do they want? Business-to-Business (B2B) copy is meant to hit business goals. Your client wants to increase sales, explain their new products or services, or become a thought leader in their field.
These goals require your words to be read by a specific audience. So the first step is to understand what this audience is interested in, what they want to read, and the terms they use in their job.
Then, tailor your copy to your audience’s needs, wants, and way of speaking. That’ll drive up engagement.
What do you want to achieve?
It’s worth repeating: B2B copy needs to serve a purpose.
So ask your clients (or yourself) what you’re looking to achieve. Is your copy a tactical blast meant to generate leads? Is it more subtle and designed to build brand awareness? Or is it informative and designed to help your client be seen as a thought leader?
The copy you write should be closely related to what your client wants to achieve.
1. Write as though you are your ideal customer
As part of the company branding, there must be a cohesive tone and style across all platforms. Email marketing content can’t sound entirely different from blog posts.
But, even more than just the tone and the style of the content, your copy needs to use the ideal customer’s voice.
Using the customer’s voice means utilizing the language they would regularly use to explain and represent your products or services.
To locate this language, research the common pain points in your niche and then figure out what it is that potential customers want from businesses such as yours. Once you understand these two parts, you can produce copy that approaches these factors.
Every part of your content should have an element that speaks to one of these dimensions you have found in your market research.
That way, no matter how much of your copy they read, or which piece they come across, potential customers will recognize you are speaking about something that is of importance to them.
Additionally, every single line of website copy should serve to assist your visitors in accomplishing or learning something.
Using the voice of your customer, as well as ensuring every line of copy is valuable, is key to getting a B2B reader to take decisive action because it shows that you understand them, you recognize their problems and objectives, and that you are thinking in the same way.
2. Keep it simple
One of the most challenging hurdles in getting a B2B reader to take decisive action is that they often have too many choices — so many options, in fact, that they feel overwhelmed and unable to choose.
This is known in psychology as Hick’s Law, which explains the correlation between how long it takes a customer to make a choice due to the number of options available. It’s also called information overload — a phenomenon linked to the internet age.
So when you’re competing for attention not just against other firms but everything else on the internet — such as clever videos in your newsfeed — the only way forward is to keep things simple and compelling.
Don’t overcomplicate. Keep the message on point and use simple words, and avoid too much jargon.
3. Add a touch of urgency
We’re all prone to inertia — which means we want to continue doing what we’re currently doing. This means there’s a psychological hurdle in getting people to click on your call-to-action, download your lead magnet, or even pick up the phone to call a sales team.
Fortunately, you can help. As a business copywriter, it’s worth remembering the old mnemonic “AIDA” — Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.
Your introduction should grab attention, and your follow-up create interest by being relevant. Once you’ve got readers hooked, the next step is to create desire for what you’re selling — by pointing out relevant benefits and opportunities.
Follow this up with a call-to-action, and you’ve built yourself a streamlined copy funnel that will increase conversions.
Establishing a deadline, utilizing time-sensitive language such as “This video will only be online for 48 hours” or “This special report will be taken down Friday,” have been used again and again.
But they work — because they work on people’s FOMO — or Fear of Missing Out. And yes, FOMO applies to business customers too — because everyone is motivated by a specific deadline.
Add urgency to your copy so business customers don’t meander away or postpone taking action. Make them take the next step now.
Bonus Tip: Appeal to the buyer’s emotion
Creating a business case is all very well. But you also need a bit of emotion and a hint of personalization to bring your copy to life.
Admittedly, emotional purchases are more a B2C phenomenon than a B2B one — but decision makers are human after all. And humans respond to emotion.
This doesn’t mean outright drama. But if your copy can show, for instance, how a solution would help the business and also benefit society, your business audience will be more inclined to follow through.
A bit of emotion and personalization takes B2B copy from being “just copy” to something much more powerful and actionable.
Apply these tips and your B2B copy will be more appealing to decision makers and more likely to get the results your clients want.