Content is king
Creating high-quality, helpful content can be a challenge, especially in the B2B market. You know the importance of connecting with potential customers through the written word. But you may be hampered by your own expertise or how you generally talk about your product or service.
If you’re a business owner or a marketer in a highly specialized field, you may be wondering how to communicate the benefits of your products or services to your ideal audience — without having your content be bogged down in jargon or overly technical language.
So how do you keep your technical edge without losing your audience in a jargon fog?
Enter conversational copywriting. If you look up that term on the web, the first person you’ll probably come across is Nick Usborne. He’s a 40-year copywriting veteran who has a background in various types of copywriting for all kinds of businesses, large and small, with extensive experience with print advertising and with writing for the web. And although he didn’t invent the term or the method of conversational copywriting, he’s been one of its most vocal champions.
But first: what is conversational copywriting?
Conversational Copywriting and Writing for the Web
Conversational copywriting has become popular in recent years. But for Usborne, it was synonymous with how he approached writing for the web. Since he was around for the zeitgeist of internet writing, (circa 1994, when web browsers came into existence), he found that at first, companies were cutting and paste their print copy to the web.
But as Usborne studied how people talked to each other on the web in various discussion forums and groups, he found that web writing was had some key differences. And even though it’s been 25 years since the advent of web browsers, these key differences are worth thinking about as you develop your business's sales copy.
“Less broadcast and more conversational. Less adversarial and more engaging. Less pushy and more trust-building. That’s always been my approach [to copywriting],” Usborne said. He goes on to say that the goal is not to sell at your prospective buyer but to engage with them.
Even famous advertisers like David Ogilvy have used the term conversational to generally describe the best kind of copywriting.
But you may also be aware that although this kind of writing is gaining popularity, conversational copywriting isn’t the go-to method for advertising and sales copy. You can go look at your email inbox right now and find sales emails that don’t meet that standard of engaging, trust-building, and conversational. You may be suffering from what Usborne calls, “funnel fatigue.”
Enter the Sales Funnel
We’ve all been there. You signed up for information about a product or service from a business, and then you begin to receive emails about that service, increasing in urgency.
Only ONE WEEK left…
Only 24 HOURS left…
Doors closing TONIGHT!
Then you realize you’re not actually that interested in the product or service anymore. You may even unsubscribe from the email list. It’s what Usborne calls being “stuck in a funnel.”
Yet this isn’t to say marketing automation is bad. Even Usborne uses an email sequence for people who sign up on his website. But he believes there needs to be a balance.
“I keep the live, real person interaction to a maximum and the automation to a minimum because people respond to that. They say, ‘Oh thank goodness, a real person.’” he said.
And email marketing still works, including for B2B businesses. Wordstream compiled some B2B marketing statistics and found that 59 percent of B2B marketers found email to be the most effective strategy for generating revenue.
So it may be clear how conversational copywriting helps with B2C interactions, but how about in the B2B realm?
How Conversational Copywriting Applies to B2B Marketing
“Basically, if you think about it, B2B has always been conversational,” Usborne said.
If you’re looking to purchase a high-priced item, you go to a website to look up more information. You also end up talking to someone, usually a sales representative, someone who can explain what this product or service can do for you in a way you can understand.
In comparison to B2C, where the sale copy can focus on giving potential customers the hard sell through "salesy" language, B2B conversations can be held back by corporate speak and industry jargon.
Usborne gives the example of attending a meeting as a new employee on your first day. You could be drowning in what he calls “in-house jargon”, having no idea what’s really being said. Then afterward a colleague, who noticed you looking lost, offers to explain in plain language what went on. Conversational copywriting is meant to be just as elucidating.
“When you [use business speak], you create barriers and hurdles. [As marketers], our job is to reduce barriers and hurdles, to get out of the way, to make it simple to see the value of what we’re presenting and make the decision to purchase that product or service,” Usborne said.
Using language that is appropriate for potential buyers is necessary in the eyes of conversational copywriting.
How to Learn More About Conversational Copywriting
If your sales are experiencing a bit of a slump, this may be the time to examine how you’re communicating to your ideal audience.
Yet conversational copywriting may sound too simple or informal. How do you sound professional and approachable?
You can learn more about conversational copywriting from Usborne himself. You can also read the book Same-Side Selling by Ian Altman, which is essentially conversational copywriting in action. This sales method focuses on cooperation between the buyer and seller, not confrontation.
Using conversational copywriting in your B2B marketing efforts will not only help you to connect with potential buyers more easily, but you’ll most likely see a boost in sales because you’ve been able to remove the barriers and hurdles by using clear, transparent language about your business and the services or products you’re offering.
- Conversational copywriting helps you engage with your customers and looks away from in your face advertising
- Creating a real live person interaction through email can really help recipients respond and connect with you and your business
- Using appropriate language with potential customers helps connect them with your products which will eventually drive sales
- Conversational copywriting can be used in many different facets of your business