Do you promote your brand, product or service to other businesses? If yes, you’re in B2B rather than B2C (business to consumer).
There is a rumour that B2B copywriting should be more formal. Also, that B2B copywriters are hard to find. I disagree with both those statements.
B2B clients are human beings, triggered by the same psychology as B2C customers. So I believe it should all be H2H copywriting – human to human.
But the buying process and the things they care about are different, so your copywriter needs to take that into account.
- B2B clients might want to see more than one piece of marketing collateral before making their decision, with different content required at different stages of the awareness, assessment and action process
- There is often more than one person involved in the B2B purchase decision. Sometimes, you have to convince a whole team or different people at several layers of the organisational hierarchy. They each need the right information at the right time
- They like detailed information such as white papers, product brochures and tech specs. The most influential content is relevant case studies and testimonials from ‘other people like them’
People are cynical. They believe what other people say about you more than anything you say yourself.
So gather peer-to-peer recommendations and use them in your marketing. They can be standalone pieces and they can guide your web content. By identifying what people really value about you, you can use it as your core message in future. And, by reflecting the same language used by existing clients, you can attract more of the same.
Here’s how to structure a powerful case study:
Tell the story in three phases
The best structure is a story-telling format such as Problem > Solution > Results.
Start with the situation before you became involved. Describe the background, the problem you were briefed to fix or the goal you were supposed to achieve.
Explain the solution. Talk about what you actually did and how it went.
Then share the results you delivered. What changed thanks to your intervention?
Remember that people buy results
This is where numbers speak louder than words. Quote the percentage decrease in complaints, or the number of pounds that turnover improved.
You might pull out three bullet-pointed highlights in a coloured panel that busy people can view at a glance.
Include a testimonial
End with something the client said (in their own words), maybe about how your speedy delivery helped them out of a hole, or the unexpected extra value you added.
Write a compelling heading
Some people write the heading first. I prefer to write it last because I don’t know what I’m introducing until I’ve written the rest of it. There’s no right and wrong to this, it’s just whatever works for you.
But don’t head a case study with, for example: “Sony case study”.
It’s brilliant that you’ve worked with Sony. It might impress people. But remember the purpose of the case study is to win you more business. And if someone doesn’t recognise themselves in the heading, they might not read on.
It’s better to head your case study with the problem you solved or the solution you achieved, such as : “Communicating across a silo-ed organisation”.
Make sure you get your client’s permission before you use their logo, tell their story or quote them publicly.
What this means to you
Does my team include a dedicated B2B copywriter? Funny you should ask. Why, yes it does. Meet Laura.