Lead Generation With B2B Marketing Copy: Turn Those Features Into Benefits
Do you write B2B marketing copy? Is the offering you are writing copy for a product that is driven by pop culture, unique, state-of-the-art, and not easily replicable?
If you qualify in the small percentage of marketing communicators working for this type of company, congrats and happy click-ings. This article is not for you!
For the rest of us, writing for features and specifications in our products and services hardly moves the needle in B2B marketing. They need to be there somewhere. But ideally, not in a place of prominence.
The practice of synthesizing boring or complex feature/specification-type elements into an attention-grabbing vehicle for your users is important in most B2B marketing copy (and still many B2C) industry applications. Why?
- Doing it right helps performance.
- Doing it consistently will make you a better writer.
- It gives you a competitive advantage by forcing you to develop a deeper understanding of your audience.
- It fosters creativity by forcing you to think critically about your offering.
We’re not talking about any low-hanging benefit fruit, such as saving time or money. No. This isn’t Intro To Benefits 101.
Let’s discuss the value: the one that finds the true how and why in a way that makes it sound as interesting and informative as possible to the ideal decision maker you want to reach.
The Secret Sauce of Specifics
What do most B2B customers want from your product? Most likely in a general sense, they would like to:
- Perform better
- Operate with more efficiency
- Increase revenue
- Decrease costs
These are benefits. But aren’t they what most B2B services are offering? Nothing about them stands out in a crowd of messages.
The Continuum Of Needs: Implicit Versus Explicit
The international bestseller SPIN Selling by Neal Rackham details the differences between implied needs and explicit needs.
Implied needs are the statements a customer makes about problems, difficulties and dissatisfactions.
Explicit needs are specific customer statements of wants or desires.
While verbal sales discussions are different than writing copy to sell, the principles are similar. Implied needs can work for smaller sales, but in B2B marketing copy and sales you are more successful uncovering explicit needs.
Uncovering the buyer’s deepest wants and desires can open you to a new world of benefits.
When you wanted something as a child, examples of your explicit needs were entertainment, challenge, exploration, control, and independence. In adolescence you developed a better understanding of social needs. You desired a Sony Playstation, or a new pair of shoes because your peers had them.
Adult decision makers have the same mental makeup about the companies they create, and work for. These are the same wants and desires for a product or a platform at their company. New avenues are a necessity for growth amidst constant competition and internal pressure to meet goals.
In the ever-changing digital landscape, problems are ubiquitous and inevitable for business. As are opportunities to solve them. Grow or die, keep up, stay ahead. A great copywriter understands the prospect’s explicit needs, and speaks to them with the right benefits to nudge them a little further down the pipeline.
Tip #1: Organize Your Features
To distinguish your brand, you’ll need to go deeper.
In order to go deeper, you need your benefits organized under one umbrella. Then you can put them through a process that makes the messaging clearer to communicate.
Bring a document or Google Sheets into play. Take your features, color-code them, and then write your best shot next to them. Talk to your subject matter experts or your customers to confirm these work. Some features may have the same benefit — that’s ok.
If you start to see the SAME benefit over and over again, you might want to consider elevating it or looking more into the “why” behind its consistent appearance.
Tip #2: Talk To Yourself: Ask “Why?” — And Answer “Because”
List each feature of your product or service out and ask, why does this matter to my audience?
Then answer the “because.” You don’t need to stop once. Often times, ask “because” in a string of “why’s”. The further you make your way down the prompts, the closer you get to the root of the message you want to convey.
Here’s an example using Search Engine Optimization as a service example.
- I offer search engine optimization services > why does it matter? >
2. Because it’s of great value to companies to have quality content, great UX, and a high level of organic online authority > why does it matter? >
3. Because having those things increases brand exposure and generates leads > why does it matter? >
4. Because it drives revenue and organic brand growth at little cost > why does it matter? >
5. Because with that extra money, you could cut advertising expenses and use it in other valuable resources or increase your profit margins.
Notice the last sentence may be the one explicit need most likely to strike a chord with the decision maker that matters. Understanding how to break this down for a high-level
Tip #3: Leverage Your Brand
It’s worth noting that branding, user experience, design, and a litany and other elements are often major factors of selling anything.
Its true value, even if explained well to the right person, may solve one problem. However, one solution may not convince the buyer to try or switch to your offering.
Thus, your job as a copywriter is to not only discover what their problems are, or what they want. It’s to convince the user of value — that the investment of time or money to switch over to your product or service is worth it.
The user calculates this value in their head and makes decisions based on this. It’s why ordinary services sell often when the branding or design make it look extraordinary. It’s also why “get rich quick” and “lose weight fast” schemes work so well.
Remember That Consistency Is Key: Your Brand Needs Clarity
Writing for benefits is one of the foundational keys to great messaging in B2B marketing.
- It makes your offering more memorable
- It captures the explicit needs of your desired audience (see more below about this)
- It is more persuasive than features
- It connects with your targets on an emotional level
There are a variety of decision-making types that want fed the right information at the proper time.
Engaging with them in a clear, concise manner with just the right benefit points will yield a better perception of your brand, better engagement rates, and ultimately, a better chance at a sale.