Writing effective communications for your customers can be the difference between making the sale or not. But getting it right isn’t easy. Here, we offer some tactics to help you write like a pro every time you put pen to paper.
When you’re interacting with potential customers face-to-face or over the phone, there’s a good chance that you feel comfortable in discussing products, talking up your business, and generally using your words to get the sale.
Unfortunately, that verbal dexterity can disappear when it comes to writing on behalf of your business. Suddenly, your words become weighed down with marketing-speak—instead of a sharp blog article or sales message, you end up with a bloated block of copy.
To help you out, we’ve put together our top 11 tips for B2B copywriting. We’ve kept them straightforward and easy to implement. Have a read through and get your business writing sharpened up.
Remember that you’re writing for humans
If you’re not used to writing regularly, it’s easy to revert to the lessons learnt in high school English classes. As a result, your copy ends up sounding like a college thesis more than an enticing sales pitch.
Fortunately, this affliction can easily be avoided with one simple rule: read everything you are writing out loud. Sure, you’ll feel like a bit of a berk at first, but keep at it, and your writing will soon feel much more human and, therefore, readable.
Visualise your ideal reader and write directly to them
There’s probably a good chance that you’ve got a mental image of your ideal customer. At a push, you could probably describe their background, professional goals, and even their personality traits.
Every time you sit down to write, imagine that you are writing directly to that person. Even better, imagine that you are talking directly to your ideal customer. Write down that conversation, and you’ll find a sentence or paragraph that is concise and, hopefully, jargon-free.
Put together a brief (even if you write your own)
Like anything in the business world, a piece of writing can spin off course without some clear guidance at the start. This is where a brief can help. By noting down the overall aims and planned outcomes of the copy, you’ll have an instant target to work to.
In some situations, you might find that you need to write your own brief. Don’t skip this step, even if that’s the case. Simply make a quick note of what you need the writing to achieve, and refer back to it often.
Plan out a structure first
The B2B copywriting process often falls into one of two camps: either you write reams and reams of nonsensical copy without getting to the point, or you simply stare at a flashing computer cursor for an hour without writing a word.
Fortunately, there’s a single answer to both of these problems: put together a structure first. This could be as simple as noting down your key subheadings as a roadmap, or you could go into a bit more detail and sketch out the key points for each paragraph. However you choose to approach it, a structure will help you to stay on track.
Spend lots of time on your headline
As much as we’d love to believe that the reader will ingest every single word of our writing, the fact is that they’ll probably glance at the headline without ever going any further.
With that in mind, it’s worth spending plenty of time putting together a headline that will entice the reader to invest their time in reading the whole piece. Try framing your headline as a question, make a promise of knowledge (see the headline of this article as an example), or use words like ‘how-to’, ‘free’ and ‘you’.
Get some words on the page without overthinking
Up to now, we’ve talked about being meticulous, precise, and measured. Well, now it’s time to flip all that on its head. You see, the first draft is the time to get all of your ideas out onto the page. Obviously, you have your brief, structure and headline to guide you. But beyond that, it’s all about getting your thoughts on paper.
Don’t worry about typos or adhering to grammar rules just yet. Instead, just keep writing until you feel that all of the material is out of your head and on the page.
Include stats to help you make a point
In any type of writing, the inclusion of a well-placed statistic can galvanise an argument better than anything else. So, sprinkle a few through your copy to help tell the full story.
It’s worth pointing out here that any stats you use should come from reputable sources, and those sources should always be referenced. And never, ever be tempted to make up stats. 98.7% of readers will see straight through it, and it’ll undermine trust in your brand.
Make your point quickly
As we mentioned earlier, your reader will quickly skim your copy to see if there is anything of interest to them. So, if you have a point to make (a new service that your business is offering; record sales; a glowing testimonial) position it early in the text.
in long-form copy, a stand-first (or bolded intro paragraph) is the perfect opportunity to highlight your key point. This is the place to showcase your most concise, punchy writing.
Use the active voice
Keeping to the active voice makes sure that your writing skips along at a decent pace, rather than becoming bogged down in wordy, laborious sentences.
The concept of active versus passive voice can easily become confusing, though. Here’s an example that simplifies things:
“Many lessons are being learnt, and improvements are continuously being made across the board.”
Edit and proof mercilessly
Once you’ve got all of your ideas written down and in order, it’s time for the difficult task of editing. If possible, print out your copy, read it aloud, and note down any mistakes or sticking points.
Change the copy according to your notes, and repeat the process another time through. Once you’ve done this, step away from the writing to give your brain a rest. Then, go back and check all of your punctuation, spelling, and grammar.
For an added layer of proofing prowess, we use an app called Grammarly. Think of it as a spellchecker on steroids. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great way of running a final check on your copy.
Don’t forget about a call-to-action
You’ve put in all the hard work of crafting a readable, entertaining piece of copy and the reader is fully tuned in to your brand and whatever you’re selling. Don’t miss out on turning that reader into a customer by forgetting to include a call-to-action (CTA).
Your CTA could be as simple as ‘call us on xxx xxx’ or a ‘find out more’ link that leads to product information. Or, it could be something more detailed, such as getting the reader to sign up to a mailing list. The important thing is that your reader’s journey shouldn’t end abruptly once the copy is read.
Despite all of the advances in technology in recent years, the written word is still one of your most powerful sales tools. By following the simple measures we’ve talked about, you can ensure that your copy is working its hardest to drive your business forward.