I recently came across a job ad seeking a writer to craft ‘seductive’ content for their IT consulting firm. Those aren’t words you see together very often. Nonetheless, as ridiculous as it might sound against the stereotypical image of a geeky basement lurker, the job poster certainly made an important point – B2B technology content doesn’t have to be boring (or even overly technical).
Out with the Old, and in with the New
Business technology is about innovation, disruption and transformation, all of which happen to be popular power words in the sector. The only problem is that almost every tech company seems to be using them in their marketing copy. In the end, they all end up sounding much the same as firms try to express just how innovative they are when compared to their competitors.
Too often is the world of enterprise IT riddled with industry jargon and lofty claims expressed through baffling phrases and cringeworthy buzzwords. It has become a defining characteristic of the corporate world in which salespeople think they’re going to supercharge their conversion rates by bamboozling their audiences with big words and claims of greatness.
Your customers just aren’t interested. They have complex problems for which they need dependable solutions. They’re not interested in being advertised to, and the last thing they want is for some suit to harp on at them about how great a product is and how it’s going to lead to digital transformation and greatly increased profitability. That’s why it’s time for change in the way many B2B tech firms go about marketing.
Feel Your Customer’s Pain
Let’s say your business provides a cloud-hosted application for healthcare providers. In such a highly regulated industry, potential customers will be coming to you in the hope that your solution can offer the security and privacy that they absolutely need when it comes to handling patient health information. How do you communicate trust and authority in such a demanding situation?
The key lies in building a meaningful relationship, and that starts by putting yourself in your target audience’s shoes. With a thorough understanding of their pain points and the challenges they face, you’ll have the critical foundation in place that you need to communicate with them effectively. Successful technology firms achieve this through a variety of mediums, such as blogs, case studies and whitepapers.
Start with a Question Word
It’s often said that internet users have attention spans shorter than our little tank-dwelling goldfish friends. You only have mere seconds to make a connection with your audience, which is also why everything starts with a captivating headline (see what I did there?). However, as we’ve discussed, there’s a lot more to making a real connection than by using powerful words alone.
Your headline needs to make it instantly known that you understand your customers’ pain points. Starting with a question word gives you an immediate opportunity to say to your reader that you understand what they need which, particularly when it comes to busy business people looking for a technology solution they can rely on, is crucial.
A strong headline also needs to define the audience if it’s not immediately obvious already. Finally, we have power words which your readers should be able to link to tangible results or, in other words, gives them a reason why they should keep on reading and why your organization is an authority in its niche. That might sound like a lot to fit into a single headline, which is perhaps why longer headlines are better.
Describe the Problem, and Give Examples
Your customers are coming to you with their technology problems, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be well-equipped to express them in a way that they can relate them to the solutions and results that your firm offers. For that reason, it pays to describe the problem in a sentence or two to make it clear that you’re fully onboard with their pain points.
Of course, you don’t want to be patronising, which is why it’s also good to give an example that lets your customer know they’re not alone. After all, that’s what makes case studies so valuable in B2B content marketing. With more casual content, such as blog posts and social media updates, it often pays to use a little humour to help build the relationship with your reader.
Offer a Solution
This is the stage where those with more traditional marketing backgrounds often get it wrong. Instead of continuing to build and nurture the relationship with their would-be customers, they’re chomping at the bit to offer their company’s product or service as a solution. It’s understandable too, since your goal is ultimately to increase sales, but now’s not the time, especially not in the world of inbound marketing.
Drawing readers in in the first place might seem like the bigger part of the challenge but keeping them on the page is quite another matter. If all they have to go on after you’ve made your introduction is a raw list of benefits and product specifications, there’s a good chance they’ll lose interest. This is particularly the case with blogs and similar content formats, which tend to feature strongly at stages of the customer journey other than sales, such as initial research and post-sales nurturing.
Consider an example of a technology firm that provides AI-driven business analytics and cybersecurity. Your readers don’t want to hear about how your AI solution is the best or even wade through a lengthy list of technical specifications. They want to see what makes AI so important to businesses seeking to automate their workflows and increase profitability and improve security. There’ll always be an opportunity to draw attention directly to your product later.
Of course, sales copy takes a different tone, since readers are more likely to be ready to make a purchase. With other content formats, such as blog posts and whitepapers, however, there’s a much bigger chance that they want to learn about the technology itself rather than about your product specifically.
Build Authority, Build Trust, Increase Sales
You might be wondering how such an approach can drive sales when I’m telling you to avoid talking about your product. What it all comes down to is building trust by communicating industry authority. It’s about forging relationships by inspiring two-way conversation and leaving your readers feeling that they’ve really learned something valuable. That’s the sort of reader who’s likely to share your content and, in doing so, help your brand increase its reach and its sales.
Are you ready to start building stronger relationships with your customers? I love crafting value-adding content for B2B technology and digital marketing firms. Contact me today to tell me about your project.