I’m going to tell you a secret about copywriting.
It’s a secret that the copywriters don’t want you to know. It’s a secret the marketers and the people who hire copywriters haven’t figured out. It’s a secret the business owners and managers don’t even know exists. That secret is this:
There is no difference between B2B copywriting and B2C copywriting.
None at all. It’s complete bullshit. They’re exactly the same, because they use the same thing in both camps:
- The ability to use one to tap into the other.
Oh, and a decent grasp of the English language.
If you understand and can use those things, you can write for both B2B and B2C clients. Even on the same day.
Your Target Audiences Are People
Their users are people. Their visitors are people. The page views? Made by people.
And people have thoughts, emotions, and complex inner lives. They want things and they’re afraid of other things. And they’re reading your copy because they either want something or they’re afraid of losing something else.
People are stirred by the same emotions whether they’re at work or at home, trying to decide whether to buy your SaaS software or large-screen TV. They’re motivated with the same methods, follow the same sales funnel, and can be persuaded with the same formulas. They respond to good stories, persuasive arguments, and important ideas, whether they’re at work or at home.
No one is a completely different person between work and home. Oh sure, they don’t do the same things. They may have a work personality and a home personality, but fundamentally, they’re the same people. High-energy Type A people are always high-energy Type A people. Laid-back Type B introverts are always laid-back Type B introverts.
And that means a copywriter who is adept at telling stories or is able to simplify complex information can do that for a B2B buyer or a B2C buyer, even when those buyers are the same individual.
Whether your customer is trying to decide whether to buy a gas or charcoal grill or trying to decide which cloud-computing service to use, they’re going to use the same critical thinking and decision-making skills to solve the problem.
That means your copy needs to be concise, coherent, and complete. It needs to be well-written and informative. It needs to fire up their emotions.
Good copywriters can do that for B2B copy, trying to convince a purchasing agent or a department head to make a decision on their particular product or service. They can turn around and do that for B2C copy, trying to convince a consumer to make a decision for that product or service.
To the copywriter, there’s no difference in how they do their job, how the copy is structured, and which kinds of copywriting formulas they use.
Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
There’s Not Much Difference Between Industries Either
Years ago, I used to work in the poultry industry — we sold poultry feeding equipment and watering equipment to farmers and poultry companies.
Over the years, several of the growers told me, “Poultry farmers are like no other consumers. We’re frugal and we do things our own way.”
At the same time, our company sold hog feeding equipment and watering equipment to farmers.
Over those same years, several of those farmers told me, “Pork farmers are like no other consumers. We’re frugal and we do things our own way.”
A few years later, I worked for a software company that sold software to state governments.
The people I called on told me, “Government purchasing agents are like no other consumers. We’re frugal and we do things our own way.”
Over the last 12 years, I’ve written for startups, Fortune 500 companies, and every size of company in between. I’ve written for techies, marketers, fintech developers, small business owners, lawyers, and software companies, and you’ll never guess what they all — ALL! — have said to me:
“__________ are like no other consumers. We’re frugal and do things our own way.”
At no point did anyone ever say to me, “We’re just like everyone else and we’re damn stupid with our money.” If they had, that one would be the different one, the only one not like all the others.
“But every industry is different by its very nature!”
Well, of course, every industry is different, Financial technology is nothing like hog farming. Women’s skincare is nothing like cloud computing. And marketing software is nothing like construction equipment. I know, because I’ve written for all these industries.
(But I was successful in all of them, despite being a newbie at one point.)
Industry knowledge is important to a writer because it makes their job easier. But it does not make them better. I’ve known veteran industry writers who regularly produce some of the most mediocre, boring garbage, and I’ve seen people who just earned their creative writing MFAs writing write circles around the veterans.
I’ve also seen the reverse to be true.
Industry knowledge does not make the writer, writing skills do. The ability to use language to tap into a person’s emotion and compel them to buy? That’s the real skill.
You can teach industry knowledge. The writer can interview a subject matter expert and craft a compelling story in 10 minutes. But the industry expert can’t learn heart and style — at least not in a 10-minute conversation.
Bottom line: If you’re looking for a good copywriter, focus less on their industry expertise. All that means is they know the industry terminology, but anyone can figure that out with a quick Google search.
Instead, hire a copywriter who knows how to write so they can make your blog articles and webpages interesting, compelling, and fun to read. Hire fiction writers, poets, screenwriters, journalists, and storytellers. Get the people who know how to make boring things interesting and how to make complex ideas easy to understand.
If you’re focused on the length of time a person has spent in an industry, you’re looking at the wrong thing.
Because everyone’s industry is just like all the others, and your customers are just like everyone else’s. The good writer knows that, and they know that tapping into a buyer’s buying motivation is the key to success.
Photo credit: Voltamax (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)