When talking about copywriting today, the first thing people are likely to think of is B2C copywriting. That’s because B2B isn’t often talked about outside specialized copywriting communities.
Nonetheless, knowing the difference between B2B and B2C copywriting is paramount for increasing sales. New writers and businesses looking to employ them need to be aware of their points of difference.
The intention of both B2B and B2C copywriting is to make sales. However, there are stark differences, especially when it comes to the challenges that come along with B2C and B2B copywriting. But before delving into these challenges, it is essential to differentiate these two models from each other.
B2B, or Business to Business, sells a product or service to other businesses. B2C, or Business to Client, sells a product or service to people or if you may, individuals. The objective in each model is the same – to sell. The most notable difference, though, is the profile of their target audience.
Many copywriters know these differences but still grapple with their craft. This is especially the case with B2B copywriting, which usually presents a unique set of challenges.
So, what exactly should a copywriter expect when starting a new B2B copywriting project? It’s easy to say, ‘expect the unexpected’, as experienced B2B copywriters would say. But as you’re about to find out, the following three challenges cut across the board no matter how big or small a B2B copywriting project is.
Read on to learn what it takes to tackle the challenges.
1. Gathering Information
It goes without saying that not all clients are the same. You can’t assume client A works precisely the same way client B works simply because both are the same niche.
Different companies have different values. Then there is the fact that target markets always differ even for companies in the same niche. It is also essential to understand the company’s goals.
You should make no assumptions when gathering information for a new B2B project. Your client will need to be closely involved at every stage to ensure you are both on the same page each time you finish a phase.
When gathering information for the project, there are several things you’ll need to be clear on.
First, figure out where they were before they engaged you, where they are at the moment, and what they hope to achieve. Ask what is their primary challenge in achieving their goals and how your writing can help with that.
Working with the company’s marketing department will provide you with the most important details you need to know. For example, knowing who their target audience is will determine many factors, from your tone of voice to the content, depending on what stage of the sales funnel or medium you are writing for.
Another important piece of information is the company’s branding policy and mission statement, so that your writing doesn’t clash with the values your company is looking to promote.
Furthermore, take the time to properly research the product or service that your client offers. As an “outsider”, you can probably see some aspects with fresh eyes and come up with new and unique angles to present the product in a way the client hasn’t thought of.
It’s important that your client doesn’t withhold any information, and that you ask for clarification if anything is unclear or vague. Having sufficient information about the client’s work and their target audience will be the foundation on which you’ll build your copy.
2. Aligning Your Style and Expertise To Client Requirements
Forget about how you’ve handled similar projects in the past for a while. Think of yourself as a ‘blind’ copywriter and follow your client’s lead. You’re the expert in copywriting, but then again, only your client knows what they want for the company.
Unless you follow the client’s lead and ask pertinent questions along the way, you’ll find yourself tinkering with copywriting ideas. This is bad because there’s often no room for trial and error models in B2B copywriting.
Ask your client to share any previous copy such as landing pages, blog posts or other promo materials they’ve used. Ask them what they thought worked well and what didn’t. Maybe the client won’t know what they want straight away, but even knowing what they don’t want will eliminate most of the guessing work.
Pay attention to how much industry terms they use, what kind of CTAs work best, and how they structure their posts or websites.
Are there some aspects of the industry that you’re not familiar with? Will you have to brush up on the latest trends in the industry that your client works in? Conversely, how much does the intended audience need to know in order to fully understand the benefits of the company you are writing for?
3. Establishing Healthy Communication
Healthy communication in this context means many things. It means clarity on vital B2B copywriting aspects like payments, deadlines, and even feedback.
Perhaps you prefer finishing the whole project and submitting it once for approval. However, your client may want you to submit each phase separately.
If you haven’t worked with this client before, establish clear guidelines for the revision process. You don’t want to waste each other’s time on something that could have been course-corrected before you put in all the hard work.
Remember, ‘assumption’ is one of the most notable setbacks when communicating. Request enough information from your client to ensure you don’t face challenges because of ambiguity in communication.
If you and your client “assume” your target audience understands some industry terms just because you and your client do, your copy will most likely fall on dead ears. Involve a second and even third party in your new B2B copywriting project. Use them as independent parties and have them read your copy. If they have to read twice to understand it, then you’re not communicating as a B2B copywriter should.
It will take some time until you and your client streamline feedback and revisions so you can more easily determine what needs to be changed. Until that happens, ask your clients to leave detailed and actionable feedback so you know precisely what to do next and avoid the problem in the future.
B2B copywriting comes along with a myriad of challenges. Any copywriter worth their salt won’t mind the challenges, though. Remember that when it comes to handling a new B2B project to the end, communication plays a key role.
Words are to copy what fuel is to cars. As a B2B copywriter, you help companies reach out to their clients through words. This means your copy should speak to the ideal customer clearly and concisely.
Talk to your client often. Divide the client’s project into phases, then update the client each time you finish a phase. Be very candid each time you face a challenge. In a nutshell, involve your client in any B2B copywriting project from the start to the end.