B-to-B Insights: Technical Know-How
A lot of B-to-B marketing either promotes technical products, sells to a technical audience or both.
The technical nature of these marketing campaigns poses a challenge to those who must create them, because the marketers tasked with executing these high-tech marketing campaigns often lack a technical background. Therefore, they may have a steep learning curve and difficulty understanding what they are selling and to whom they are selling it.
I have been writing copy to sell technical products to engineers, scientists, programmers and other techies for 34 years. Here are some tricks of the trade I use to give me an edge in creating copy that both pleases the client, as well as persuades the target prospect:
1. Build an Accurate "Fact Bank"
A fact bank is a series of statements describing the products and its features that have been vetted by a technical expert. Before I start writing my copy, I go through the source material for the project and write down a series of five to 10 sentences that precisely describe the product, its major features, how those features translate into important use benefits and how the product works.
I email these sentences to my clients with the request that they review them and make any necessary corrections, additions or deletions. After they do so, I make their edits. Now I have a "palette" of pre-approved sentences I can use to construct my copy, with the added confidence of knowing what I am writing is technically accurate. The clients, in turn, get a first draft of copy on a highly technical subject that is surprisingly correct and on the mark.
2. Buy a Children's Book on the Topic
If you have to write copy about a technical subject, buy either a children's book on the subject or an adult nonfiction book aimed at a lay audience. For example, when I had to write copy for an aerospace contractor, I was aided by an Isaac Asimov book for young readers about satellites.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.