Is there a difference between when writing to a business audience and writing to a (personal) customer audience?

That is a question that frequently causes arguments amongst freelance copywriters – or at least heated discussions.

Before I begin, this is my own opinion on this particular conundrum, and one that has stood me in good stead for all the clients I have worked for over the years.

As far as I’m concerned, B2B (or business to business) copywriting should be treated in exactly the same way as when writing for a B2C (business to customer) audience. I can’t think of any reason why it should be seen as different.

After all a company can’t physically buy anything, it can’t get up and meet you for a coffee and it can’t sit down and sign a contract.

A ‘company’ can’t do those things, but people can. So when you’re writing, you’re not addressing a company, you’re addressing a person – a real, live, human being.

Some believe that because you are writing to people in ‘powerful’ positions (Directors, Managers etc.) your writing should be formal, complex and full of big words. Utter tosh! If anything, your writing should be brief and simple. Just because the people you are writing to are a long way up the corporate ladder, doesn’t mean they want to read ridiculously complex sales patter. Yes, they may be educated but no more nor less than some of your customers.

The one thing these people do have is a lack of time. They are running demanding businesses and are being pulled from pillar to post. The last thing they want to see is a sales letter that requires a super high IQ – or a thesaurus at the very least – to make sense of it.

Writing in plain language is far more likely to get their attention and keep it.

4 golden rules

When you write your next piece of B2B sales copy, you’ll do well to remember the following 4 golden rules. I have followed them ever since starting out as a copywriter and they’ll worked every time.

Are you ready?

1. Be brief

Remember, these are busy people you are writing to. If you want them to read your sales message keep it short. Faced with a single page of strong copy will be more attractive than opening an envelope to reveal a small rain forest. These are busy people, recognise that and write accordingly.

2. They are human

Even though they’ve climbed the corporate ladder, they are still human and will make decision partly for personal reasons, such as generating larger profits will boost their salaries. So, if you can tap into their emotions, there’s more chance of getting them to buy.

3. Benefits, benefits, benefits

You will save time! You will save money! You will reduce staff turnover! You will improve productivity! These are benefits, they are things that will have a direct effect on your audience. This is what they want to know, not what colours your product comes in.

4. Keep in simple

There is no such thing as B2B English, despite some of the sales letters you may have seen. Your best bet is to keep your language and sentence construction simple and steer away from jargon.

There you go, it’s as simple as that. Treat your business customers has human beings – they are real people like you and me.