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What your industrial B2B copywriter needs to know about the real industrial buying decision-making process – in one short story

Industrial B2B copywriters like me have always bought into the whole power-of-storytelling thing because most industrial buying decisions fall neatly into the three bits that make up pretty much every story.

So, if you sell or supply anything like enterprise software, industrial components, commercial machinery, or similar large-scale investments, the following tale is going to sound familiar. And in order to sell your products or services into these hectic B2B environments, your copywriter will need to know this story too.

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What your B2B technology buyer is really thinking when they’re reading your marketing content and collateral…

By addressing the emotional concerns of your prospective B2B tech buyer, and not just the technical considerations of the project, you’ll engage the person behind the title. For too long, many marketers have pictured your typical IT buyer as a human spreadsheet, ticking boxes and clarifying administrative and budgetary needs.

When developing your marketing materials, remember that technology buyers are people too and if you listen closely enough, you’ll hear their emotional concerns loud and clear…

“I’ve heard that one before” – if you sell B2B technology, you’ll know that everybody wants a piece of the IT or engineering decision-maker. Possibly the most marketed-to professionals in any industry, these guys and girls are promised the sun, moon and stars from people like you every day of the week and as a result, they‘re sceptical about the ability of any solution to deliver on its promises. You can counter this concern by presenting real evidence where possible through research reports and testimonials.

 “I still have to work here you know” – in work, we all want to do the best job we can and how our peers and colleagues see us is very important. Your prospective customer will consider how your solution will impact on their daily working life and they wonder about how it will affect their image and position in the company. IBM have built their marketing message on this very idea thanks to that famous 1970’s cliché – ‘nobody ever got fired for buying IBM’. Recognise this and address it through your content and collateral using, for example, a detailed, role-based case study or success story.

“I’m not sure it’s worth the risk” –when it comes to complex, expensive products and services, risk is intensified.  You should also bear in mind that if there is a high level of technical support or implementation required, your prospect might already have an existing relationship with their current service provider.  And there may be a feeling that whatever benefits your solution offers, the relationship with the existing supplier may be valuable and not worth losing. Your collateral must show you understand any risk and detail how you can reduce it or better still, eliminate it.

 “I just don’t get it” – just because you understand your product suite intimately, that may not be the case for the buyer. When preparing product and service information, consider what might already be preconceptions, and seek to clarify misunderstandings where possible. Be prepared to use diagrams, tables or videos to help communicate complex aspects of your solution.

“Change?… Me?” – sudden change can be scary and when it comes to selling software or hardware that can have a major impact on an existing network or technology infrastructure, it can make buyers very reluctant to fully engage with your marketing materials. If they have already invested in hardware, software, and training for their existing solution, why would they get rid of all that to use your product or service? You need to convince them that this change is certainly worth it and you can do this by showing empathy and that you understand the nature of any specific changes, addressing them as required.

Humanise your marketing content because your B2B tech buyer relies not only on their research and technical knowledge, they listen to their gut too.

And for help in developing those materials, I’ve been writing B2B technology copy for more than 15 years and can give you the expertise you need – email diarmuid(at) oconnellcopy.om now, I’d be delighted to hear from you.

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B2B focus: It takes two – why sales and marketing folk must work together to create content that gets results…and how they should do it

Who doesn’t enjoy the passive-aggressive banter between sales and marketing people, often about content development and who does what? You’ll be glad to know I have a great suggestion to unite them.

The next time you see sales and marketing folk together at a water cooler/printer/canteen, just take them aside and calmly tell them  in an agony-aunt manner that in order to create great content they must work together and that this is how you should do it. They will instantly come together in their overwhelming hatred of you – job done! Easy!

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If you’re an SME B2B technology company, define what you want your website to do and build your content around that

Understanding your website communications goals has never been more important for the tech-sector SME. In broad terms, a technology B2B website aims to do one or more, of three things. Identify what you want to do and develop a content strategy that will help you realise your goals.

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Selling B2B? – You’ll need a b2b copywriter that understands the difference between writing for consumer and business audiences

On their journey from consumer to professional buyer, people change – a lot!

As a consumer buying just for yourself, you’re probably at your most vulnerable to emotion and impulse buying. And when buying for your family and friends, you tend to be less impulsive and a bit more cautious.  But when you go to work and are tasked with buying something as a professional buyer for your business or organisation – you turn into a completely different person.

If you’re selling b2b (business to business) and creating content to connect with decision-makers in any industry, an experienced b2b copywriter knows that there is a big difference between writing for consumers and business buyers.

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Web content and digital marketing

Marketing events and seminars – just get out and about

Ever seen the film ‘Rear Window’? James Stewart plays a house-bound hero in what some call one of Hitchcock’s greatest works. I also sit beside a window most days and can identify just a little with Stewart’s character. And if you work for yourself and find that you’re keeping clients on the phone a little longer than usual or that you look forward to the small talk at the local café every day, perhaps it’s time you got out and about too. But where do you go?

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Are you juicing your web content? – The grey area between black and white hat SEO copywriting

A bit like professional cycling, doping was once endemic in SEO web content and copywriting. The demise of keyword stuffing and a crackdown on high levels of keyword density in the last 18 months has levelled the playing field and those trying to do the right thing are now getting the rewards for their efforts. Ok – stuffing your content with keywords and stuffing your veins with EPO is not exactly the same thing (c’mon, I’m looking for a hook here)…but still….if you’re juicing, you’re losing.

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Copywriting for print

Fundraising copywriting – the one, single thing you must do in your fundraising communications

Yesterday morning a fundraising letter fell lightly through my post-box complete with a dusting of rapidly-melting snow.  I opened the letter and waited for the first paragraph which would tell me what the problem was and how I could help. After reading that first paragraph, I was a little shocked….

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Copywriting for print

Is someone immune to your sales and marketing charms? There’s one way to get through …

You know who I’m talking about. Sometimes you think the only way they’ll use your product or service is if you don’t charge them and they double their income from it. They are cautious…very cautious. Every brochure or website they read is ‘marketing bluff’ and every word that comes out of your mouth is ‘just another sales pitch’.

But there’s one marketing tool they can’t argue with. One lead generator that’s so straight-talking and no-nonsense, they’ll feel like they’re talking to themselves.

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Web content and digital marketing

Web content in tourism – your customers love research and planning so you should give them what they want online

Remember the last time you bought a washing machine – now that was a great day! Wasn’t it wonderful pouring over technical details and energy efficiency ratings before….please stop….boring! This is so boring! You’re thinking…. ‘Life is just too short for this’! If you sell holidays or tourist destinations, your audience or target market should never have this problem. Yours is one of the few products where people genuinely love all stages of the decision-making process. It’s time for your online content to shine.