In the past, writing skills for B2B marketers weren't as important as being able to source lists and batch send a heavily product-oriented email, hoping someone will open the email and maybe even read it!
But it's not so easy these days.
Your buyers are sick of interruption-style marketing tactics, so B2B marketers are switching to content marketing tactics in order to cut through the noise and engage successfully with the target audience.
Content marketing entails drawing buyers to you so they happily part with their details in exchange for information they actually value and want - and that rarely involves talking about your product or service.
So you have to develop your writing skills to be a successful B2B marketer in this day and age. Here are some of the different things you will need to be able to write:
1. Website Copy
Because you're most familiar with the buyer personas that you're selling to, you will probably be given the task of writing copy for the entire website - and beyond. This is no easy feat.
Write With SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) in Mind
Although Google is asking for an emphasis on content and user experience, keywords are still important, because it's what your buyers are searching. You must know how to write for:
- On-site SEO. To make sure your website is easily found, you'll have to think of attractive metadata and meta descriptions. You'll also have to decide on phrases for headings, alt text, and internal links. Then there's the job of writing the actual copy.
- Off-site SEO. Besides guest blogs, off-site SEO is all about social media. These include everything from status updates to personal and company bios.
Make sure to incorporate your keywords whilst keeping it short and punchy.
Build Landing Pages & Calls to Action (CTAs)
These are really important, because CTAs entice buyers to visit your landing page, and landing pages entice buyers to convert into contacts. For this reason A/B testing would be a good idea on both to test the language and design you have used.
If you're not sure what kind of copy would be most successful, put up variations and see which one does best when you have a good data set. Your marketing automation software should be able to do this easily.
It's also important to consider how you will structure your forms on these pages. While you must add enough fields to make it easy for yourself to segment your contacts later on, if you're too demanding you will scare people away. You want to have contacts to market to in the first place!
Use Paid Ads
Using Google AdWords for PPC or remarketing campaigns can work really well - if you're offering the right thing, in the right way. Remember, people are completely sick of being sold to, so don't be too pushy. Consider what stage of they funnel they're in, and match your offer accordingly.
For example, link to a piece of content if they're still educating themselves. But if they're lower down the funnel and already looking for a solution like yours, that's when you link to a demo, trail or product/services page so they can find out more.
2. High Value Content
Buyers don't need to talk to a salesperson until they're ready to buy. When they're doing research, they're making those early buying decisions themselves. Use your high value content to be seen as a trusted source of information when they're in that key stage of their journey.
Write Smart Blog Posts
I do not mean press releases about your product, or new hire, or what award you have recently won. None of those blogs will be of any value to your buyer. Resist the urge to talk about yourself and give them some valuable tips that will make their lives easier. Prove to them that you know all about the problems they're facing, and you are happy to share some tips on how they can solve these problems.
Which brings us to our next point.
Develop "Chunky" Content
Each blog should have a CTA at the end which serves as a way of converting your blog reader into a contact. But again it has to be of high value to them, aligning with your blog topic. Most of the time, it's something like an eBook, a research report, or a webinar. It can be anything, as long as it's worth it to your buyer. Put yourself in your buyers shoes - what are they looking to get out of the blog? Use an offer that best suits that purpose.
Invest In Case Studies
The old school case study still has a place in content marketing - as long as it's written with an inbound twist. This means that you focus more on the experience of the person you're interviewing. How did they feel at the time? What pushed them to realise they had a problem? How did they go about their search? Write as if you're telling a story. You are trying to demonstrate to other potential buyers that you understand their world and have solved their problems before. These work particualrly well at the consideration stage, once your target buyer are past the awareness stage of their buying journey.
Writing non-salesy emails can be tricky if you've never done it before - especially if you're sending it to people who don't know who you are yet. It's imperative that you have a strong incentive for them to open, read, and click through your email.
The basic structure should go like this:
- Introduce yourself. Answer the question: Who are you?
- State your offer. Answer the reason: Why are you emailing me?
- Reinforce your offer. Answer the question: Why should I care?
- Provide instructions. Answer the question: What should I do next?
Seems simple enough, but its hard to do succinctly and without embellishing (promising things you can't deliver). If you waffle on it will take too long to read and you'll lose their attention.
Here are three awesome blog posts for further reading:
- 4 Steps to Writing B2B Promos That Actually Work (MarketingProfs)
- 11 Smart Tips for Brilliant Writing (CopyBlogger)
- Copywriting: How to improve headlines on landing pages and blog posts (MarketingSherpa)
And to put your other B2B Marketing skills to the test, download our free health check:
What other writing skills do all B2B Marketers need? Let us know in the comments section below.