Treat Your B2Bs More Like B2Cs

In an effort to sound like an authority in your field, it’s tempting to overdo the “industry speak” when marketing a B2B product. Though probably absorbed much of the time in industry lingo, your “business customer” is also a real person, who is also a “consumer” with a consumer’s needs and sensibilities. Like anyone, this person is inspired and motivated by simple ideas and simple language, often only reserved for ordinary “consumers.”

The real people behind companies will understand (we assume) the industry jargon and technological terminology, but it is in both yours and their interest to provide an easy read with a clear message. If big words are overused, they can interfere with your main message.

In the proper context and presented in the right way, tech terms and jargon can be used effectively. Just don’t overdo it – especially not on your home page. On your home page, your message should be quick, easy-to-digest and focused on how the reader’s life will improve with your product. Simple ideas and language can still be expressed even if the technological concepts aren’t as simple.

In This Case

In the following example, the site’s message is muddied by too much industry terminology. The product itself is impressive.  It makes online videos stream faster in any situation and with almost no buffering. Both the problem and term are well known. The causes (at least on the consumer end) are not as well known.

[From first posting]: Sadly, there is no mention of buffering anywhere on the site! For my money, if you write something like, “We keep your videos from buffering,” just show me a demo and I’m in! At least, I will be inspired enough to stick around and read more.

Since the above text was first written, the website in question made a few changes. One big one was that they added the word “buffering” and the fact that they “eliminate buffering” from streaming videos. First of all, kudos to them for making this change (I wonder if they read my blog) 😉 However, their current home page is still flooded with long-winded sentences and too much industry jargon.

What’s Missing?

What’s missing is a simple short description with short sentences. This type of description is useful for drawing the eye in quickly. Then, bullets, flash (not preferable), or links to other pages can lead the reader to more details. In general, this website gives us way too much all at once right from the first moment. There are other problems (including with design) too, but I won’t go into those in this post.

I will only add that the intended target for the message is service providers who serve their end consumers’ needs. But the language on the home page confuses this point by speaking to both the service provider and the consumer at the same time. If you actually intend to speak to both companies and end consumers, there are clever ways of creating two convenient streams for each specific user.

It Might Be Complicated, But Keep It Simple

Make your solution’s short description (for your home page or landing page) focused on the most important benefit to the customer. Save the technical details for “Solutions” or “Technology” where there is more space to elaborate. But don’t elaborate too much. If the reader wants to go more in-depth, provide a downloadable white paper or brochure, or encourage questions by phone or e-mail.

Simple ideas inspire people and build great businesses. Communicating a simple idea, however, is sometimes not so simple. It also must be done strategically for the Web. As a solution provider for other businesses, it is easy to forget that you are marketing to people, not just businesses. As businesses, we look for tools to increase our bottom line. As people, we need to be inspired.

Inspire me, and I will sign up for your “Free Trial.” If I’m still happy after the trial, my company will thank you and budget you in.

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About Jacob Nehman

Jacob Nehman is an experienced messaging consultant and marketing copywriter in the startup industry. He has developed content for numerous B2B and B2C brands selling a wide variety of products and solutions for mobile and Web. He has also consulted startups on user experience and product development. Jacob is originally from Austin, Texas and currently resides in Tel Aviv.
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