More than 400,000 businesses are started each year in the U.S. – an average of more than 1,000 startups a day, according to the Small Business Administration. That’s an enormous opportunity for business-to-business (B2B) marketers. But unfortunately, many of those marketers are missing the boat.
Nobody can deny the value of content marketing – especially when targeting small-business owners, who often need extensive information on a product before making a large expenditure.
So why, then, is B2B content often so terrible?
As a small-business owner myself, I’ve seen the mistakes first-hand: Dry, boring emails. Lifeless articles. Marketing materials that are so stuffed with technical jargon, they’re practically unreadable. Yawn.
For business owners and entrepreneurs to care about your content, you need to put yourself in their shoes. Here are six crucial tips for making your B2B content far more engaging.
1. Make it conversational.
Marketers often make the mistake of thinking their B2B content must be stiff to appear “professional.” But I’m going to let you in on a little secret: businesspeople are humans, too!
A conversational tone is easier to read and more attention-grabbing. As long as the content shows expertise on the topic, then the professionalism will come through naturally. Write like you’re talking to a friend, and you’ll keep the reader interested. [Tweet it]
2. Know the language, but skip the jargon.
Contrary to popular belief, your content doesn’t need to be all jargon-y to resonate with business owners. Yes, depending on the audience and topic, certain keywords may be necessary, especially for SEO. But that doesn’t mean you need to insert every buzzword in the industry.
With B2B content, it’s important that you present yourself as an industry authority, without resorting to jargon-stuffed dribble. Sometimes, it’s simply more powerful to say “Make more money” than “Revenue Opportunity Optimization.” Or, “Keep your business running after a disaster,” rather than “Proprietary Business Continuity Solution.”
3. Make it skimmable.
Think like a BuzzFeed writer. (Yes, really.) Snappy, provocative headlines will always grab attention, no matter what the industry. Don’t be afraid to use these, just because you think you’re writing to an “executive-level” audience:
- 7 Ways to …
- How to Solve …
- The Secret to …
- 23 Business Owners Who …
- Why These 4 Entrepreneurs …
These are tried-and-true headlines that copywriters have used for decades to drive response. Use them in your blog posts, articles, web pages, and even your white papers.
4. Be clear about product benefits.
Think like a business owner. For your content to be effective, it needs to speak to entrepreneurs’ biggest concerns: generally making more money, or saving it. From technology services to commercial insurance, virtually all B2B-focused companies offer these crucial benefits. Yet, their content often buries those benefits under a mountain of product features.
Why hide what entrepreneurs are most interested in? Always be clear about how the product helps the business’s bottom line. If you sell CRM software, for example, say how it increases revenue, not just how it works. Employee benefit management? State how it saves the business money (via time savings and better employee retention), instead of simply listing all the staff perks you offer. Commercial security systems? Show how they prevent costly theft, not just the technical specs of the system.
Don’t be afraid to state the obvious: Your products help their businesses be more profitable. [Tweet it]
5. Back it up with data.
Nothing is more powerful than data and facts. That’s true whether you’re writing a blog post or a hard-selling direct-mail piece. Use relevant, credible stats to add weight to your content or back up the product benefits you’ve already outlined:
- 97% of business owners increased their sales …
- 4 out of 5 HR managers reported lower turnover …
- Two-thirds of new businesses fail within 10 years because …
This doesn’t mean your content needs to be heavy with numbers. But by highlighting stats that matter, you’ll keep the reader engaged, while also adding credibility to your expertise.
6. Speak to their entrepreneurial spirit.
Remember that entrepreneurs and business owners tend to be ambitious people with big aspirations. They have an entrepreneurial spirit that compelled them to start a business, often at great risk and expense. This drive to succeed is essentially the same for a pizza shop owner as it is for the founder of a 100-employee tech startup.
Business-focused media organizations like Forbes and Entrepreneur do a great job of speaking to that spirit – with content that resonates with business owners and drives sales for their magazines’ advertisers. Your B2B content should be no different. Think beyond the promotional. Consider ways to make your content insightful, meaningful and inspiring.
No entrepreneurs are looking to make a business purchase “just because.” On a very fundamental level, all of their buying decisions are based on a desire to grow their businesses, be competitive and win. If your content can tap into that drive, you’ll captivate your audience every time.
5-Star writer Michael M is is a professional copywriter, specializing in product descriptions, SEO content, articles, blogs and advertising copy. He has written for hundreds of clients across the U.S. and abroad.
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