What is the fundamental rule of copywriting? (No, it’s not a trick question.) Know thy target audience. The sole purpose of copywriting is to communicate some sort of persuasive message to those target customers you’ve gotten to know so well. This is, in my opinion, where business-to-business/corporate copywriting suffers.
The biggest error made with typical B2B copy is that it completely ignores the customer. Most frequently, B2B copy fails to acknowledge the customer whatsoever, placing the entire focus on the company. Worse yet, some copy goes so far as to speak in third person with such language as, “… as our clients, they find we do an excellent job with creating success in their businesses.”
The justification given for this type of writing is that the copy is aimed at companies rather than individuals. I beg to differ. Have you ever seen a building pick up a phone and call in an order? Have you ever seen a conference table mail payment for an invoice? A company is not made of inanimate objects like buildings and furniture. It’s a collection of people.
People receive information. People make decisions. People benefit from the products and services you sell them. So why, if people are doing the evaluating and decision making, would you want to write copy that ignores them or talks around them?
Take a look at what you’d typically find on a B2B site.
Specializing in XYZ for small and mid-size businesses, LMNOP Company understands their clients need to concentrate on other things. Clients generally need to look only to LMNOP Company to meet all of their XYZ needs, from this to that.
A Stronger Connection Means More Conversions
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Contrary to popular B2B belief, it is not a sin to use the word “you” in corporate copy. Even if the person who is purchasing isn’t the ultimate end user, you can still address them and the overall needs of the organization without neglecting the reader of the copy.
Some companies are starting to come around. For instance, congrats goes out to Pitney Bowes whose copy actually does speak to human beings. But many other still lack the necessary copy to truly connect with those within a company who can make buying decisions.
What’s the old saying? People buy from those they like? Well, if relationship selling is your goal, you might want to check your website copy and other marketing materials to see if your text is enhancing or degrading the relationships you hope to build.
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