A Simple Guide to B2B Copywriting

Charlie Lawry


April 26, 2024

It’s easy to treat copywriting as an afterthought in B2B marketing. If people need a product, they’ll find it. And if your product is good, they’ll buy yours. Right?

If only.

Everyone has a basic grasp of language. If you also have strong knowledge of your product, the assumption is that you should be able to clearly convey its benefits in a way that your audience will care about. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. The end result is a lot of marketing copy that just fills space but doesn’t convert. In an increasingly crowded marketplace, this just creates noise. And that’s a cue for prospective customers to disengage.

‘Copy’ refers to any text written for a promotional purpose. This could be a tagline on a billboard, an email to subscribers, a video script for an ad campaign, or simply the text that appears on your website. 

Copywriting comes with a bunch of subtle rules and best practices that differentiate it from everyday communication. But a few key questions should keep you on the right track:

  • Audience - Who are you speaking to? 
  • Platform - What channel are you communicating on? 
  • Structure - What’s the hierarchy of messaging?
  • Call to Action - What do you want people to do next?

Let’s unpack what good copywriting actually looks like. Here’s your crash course to improve the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns in an instant.


  • What’s the difference between B2B and B2C marketing?
  • What does good copywriting look like?
  • What are the most common copywriting mistakes?
  • Best practice for better B2B copywriting

What’s the difference between B2B and B2C marketing?

B2B is ‘business-to-business’ – referring to industries that create products primarily for business use. For example, things like accounting software, office furniture, or freight management.

B2C, in contrast, is ‘business-to-consumer’, which accounts for pretty much everything else used by individuals in their day-to-day lives. Products like food, alcohol, clothing and so on.

B2C marketing only needs to guide the purchase decisions of individuals. 
B2B copy needs to justify the business case for multiple stakeholders.

The common perception is that the tone of voice for B2C marketing is more relaxed and ‘fun’. Whereas B2B is more formal and ‘boring’ by nature. There’s an element of truth to this. For example, beer branding will often aim to simply create a vibe. Maybe it’ll also convey product features like low carbs or alcohol content. But mostly it’s about conveying a sense of sociability and relaxation that consumers can project themselves into.

B2B brands typically have a few more hoops that need to be jumped through, with more technical product offerings that need to be explained. This complexity can potentially weigh down the copy from a ‘vibes’ perspective. This means B2B copywriting tends to require more research to understand audience personas, including motivations and pain points.

B2B purchase decisions also tend to take longer, due to there being more stakeholders involved, along with the need for budget approvals and so on. The role of copy in nurturing leads and justifying the business case therefore takes on added significance. 

A few things worth noting: In B2B marketing, your audiences are still people. Even if they have a business agenda, the same principles apply for engaging them. Copy still needs to be concise and attention-grabbing. If anything, you need to be aware that you’re not just winning the attention of individual consumers. You also need to convey a clear business case that they can take to other stakeholders within their business. 

Will your product save money for businesses? If so, how? And how much? Will your product save them time or complexity so they can put more resources towards other tasks? And so on.

What does good copywriting look like?

When it comes to digital copy, it’s as much to do with navigation as it is about persuasion. 

Good copywriting – much like design – is ultimately a means of wayfinding for customers. It acknowledges a consumer need, contextualises the value of the solution, and guides them intuitively towards the next step.

Let’s take another look at those questions I mentioned earlier.

AUDIENCE - Who are you speaking to?

Good copywriting understands the needs, wants, and challenges of its audience. Obviously, you can’t talk to everyone at once. Your content needs to be targeted, without becoming so niche that it becomes irrelevant or too niche for people to engage with.  

For any piece of content you create, you should have a clear idea of which audience segment you’re targeting. It could be a general audience. It could be for people who work in a certain industry or a certain job type. Or it could be for people who live in a particular region. Their common signifiers will dictate how you speak to them. 

A very simple example: If you’re creating organic content for your social media channels, this will primarily be seen by people who already follow your account. That means they’re more likely to be familiar with your brand and have an active interest in your products. If you’re creating sponsored content to run as ads, this will appear in front of a less invested audience, so this content may need to be pitched at a different level. And if you want content to be shareable, it needs to be entertaining and/or informative, rather than salesy.

PLATFORM - What channel are you communicating on? 

Audiences have different expectations in different settings. They engage with content in different ways. For example, right now you’re reading a blog post on TMP’s website. That suggests you have an interest in this topic and are willing to engage with long-form content (or skim it at the very least). The purpose and value of this medium is to provide a relatively deep dive into a particular topic.

If you were reading an email newsletter from TMP, however, you might not be actively engaged in this topic, so you might only get a bite-sized blurb to see if you wanted to click through and read more without wasting your time in the body of that email. 

On social media, no one wants to read a long caption, so get your point across concisely. Whether you’re posting an image or a video, the visual asset should do the heavy lifting in terms of engagement, while the caption should only be used to complement that hook with a CTA and/or value-adding context.

Even if you’re focusing on primarily visual mediums, copy still has an important role to play. Arguably even more so, because less copy means it has to work harder. For example, videos tend to auto-play silently on social media by default. Strategic copy – subtitles aside – could be what gets someone to turn up the sound and engage with the content. This could be a tantalising question or headline posed at the start of the video.

That said, copy in videos should be minimal. If someone is speaking, or you’ve recorded a voiceover, the copy within the video should align closely with what the speaker is saying, and only used sparingly to emphasise key points. 

If it’s a paid ad, copy carries even more responsibility to earn engagement, because it’s not something that users are actively following. You probably only have a couple of seconds – tops – to make someone care about your brand in a sponsored ad placement. You need to find the most attention-grabbing angle to present your product.

STRUCTURE - What’s the hierarchy of messaging?

Typically, the structure of any content creation will be:

  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Call to action (CTA)

The trick is to make it feel seamless and authentic, in order to tap into prospects’ needs and wants. It’s a balancing act. If you get too specific, you narrow the audience that you’re speaking to. If you’re too generic, it’s less likely to engage.

Often, brands fall into the trap of trying to act like they know everything about you. But it’s easy to miss the mark with copy that comes across as forced or insincere.

Ultimately, regardless of the channel or depth of your content, this basic structure will be present. The problem sets the context of a challenge that your audience will recognise. The solution sets up your product as the most effective way to address the problem. The CTA gives them a clear next step towards that solution – whether it’s to learn more, make contact with your team, or to make an actual purchase.

ENGAGEMENT - Why should your audience pay attention?

There are a few ways to earn attention, including:

  • Storytelling: You see a lot of this on platforms like LinkedIn to the point of parody. But there’s a reason people keep doing it. It works. Of course, a lot of advertising mediums (and audience attention spans) don’t allow you the time to tell sweeping narratives before people tune out. Storytelling isn’t necessarily about going on and on; it’s about conveying your point in a context that people can relate to and understand.
  • Data & insights: When businesses make purchase decisions, they don’t want opinion. They want proof. If you can provide data that’s relevant, recent, and compelling, it goes a long way to justifying the business case for your audience.
  • Be funny: When you're dealing in the currency of attention, it behoves brands to be entertaining. It doesn’t make sense for all brands, mind you. Depending on the sector you work in, or what your audience wants from you, humour isn’t always the most suitable tool. But as long as it fits with your brand voice and conveys some sort of value related to your product, you might as well create content worth watching.
  • Be unexpected: The nature of online media has conditioned us all to know the rhythms of certain platforms. If an ad placement pops up in a podcast, we might skip forward by a minute or two. If we can’t skip the ads on a streaming platform, maybe we’ll multi-task until our show starts up again. Back in the day, when the ad break came on, we’d put the kettle on and pop to the bathroom. Basically, we’re so inundated with commercial messaging that we tend to tune it out. You only have a tiny window to keep people engaged before they tune out or scroll past, so your copy needs a hook that’ll grab people.

VOICE - What should your brand sound like?

Copy doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s an extension of your brand. Tone of voice should remain pretty consistent across all the material you produce. Firstly, this creates a stronger sense of brand identity that’s likely to foster more trust and authority as you nurture leads through the marketing funnel. Secondly, this consistency ensures your copy remains aligned to your product and audience expectations.

We’ve all seen big brands trying to be funny or sassy on social media. Or ‘fun’ brands trying to post solemn tributes in the wake of tragic events. The risk/reward ratio isn’t favourable. Brands shouldn’t try to be all things to all people. You don’t need to weigh in on things outside your industry or area of expertise. Stay in your lane and you should be fine.

CALL TO ACTION - What do you want people to do next?

What’s the point of getting someone’s attention if you don’t give them a clear path to follow?

If you’re trying to convince people to buy your product, create a path for them to do that. If you want them to subscribe to a mailing list, or contact your team, give them the most direct path to do so. Users will inevitably drop off at every step, so the fewer clicks and scrolling required the better. Your call to action should always promise value, and the destination that a CTA button takes users to should reward that click with what they expect to see. 

Similarly, too many CTAs on one page can disorient users and not 

Sounds simple. But it’s amazing how often this stage of the user journey becomes an obstacle.

What are the most common copywriting mistakes?

It’s easy to fall into bad habits, especially when timelines are tight and resources are limited. Here’s a checklist of common copywriting traps to try and avoid.

❌ Too wordy.

A common mistake in copywriting is to make the text too dense. Trying to say too many things or elevate the tone in an attempt to sound formal. Brevity is important, but so too is rhythm. 

Copy isn’t about trying to sound as clever as possible. It’s about being understood and getting to the point. The aim of the game is to create a path between consumer needs and their desired action as concisely as possible. Problem — Solution — Call to action. 

❌ Too much hard selling.
Not everyone in your audience is coming in at the same level of knowledge. Some may already be familiar with your brand and product offering. Some may have even made purchases with you previously. Others may be vaguely aware of your brand, while some won’t have heard of you before. You can’t hard sell to everyone.

❌ Ignoring what your audience cares about.
Perhaps the most frequent mistake that brands make is getting too caught up in what they want to say, rather than what their audience wants to hear. Don’t drown them in detail. Be concise. Stay solution-oriented. Speak to their specific pain points. And give them a clear path to take the next desired action.

❌ Incongruous call to action.
Speaking of desired actions, conversion doesn’t always mean a sale. Ultimately, yes, you want people to purchase your product. But there are other objectives that may be more effective along the way.

For example, effective copy might encourage users to ‘learn more’, ‘subscribe’, ‘get a free trial’, or ‘schedule a call’. B2B sales require trust and lead nurturing to increase conversions and encourage repeat business.

❌ Let down by poor UX.
Just as an unappealing headline, or hard-selling CTA might be a cue for disengagement, user experience is just as important. When a user clicks through to a page that doesn’t make sense to them at first glance, they’ll instantly drop off. Good copy is aware of the next steps of the user journey to ensure user expectations are managed and rewarded with every click.

Best practice for better B2B copywriting

Someone once told me that good copy should act like gravity. Gently pulling prospects down a page — so compelled by their own desires or curiosity that they don’t even notice an external force being exerted. To think about it another way, your copy and user journey is like open-plan architecture, allowing leads to flow effortlessly from room to room.

Here are some tips for more effective copywriting.

✅ Get to the point.

The golden rule for all writing, really. Marketing is interruptive, so don’t waste your audience’s time. Give them solutions. And remember, it’s better to be clear than clever.

✅ Be benefit-driven.

A lot of brands get caught up in what they want to say, rather than what their audience wants to hear. Start with your audience’s needs and work backwards.

✅ Don’t forget the business case.

B2B sales involve multiple stakeholders. You’re not selling to individuals re: ‘ease of use’, you’re
building a ready-made business case for senior decision-makers (e.g. ‘save time & money’).

✅ Clear CTAs & conversion path.

It’s no use winning someone over with a compelling ad if users can’t follow an intuitive path to purchase and/or find out more. CTAs should reflect the copy that comes before it. And the next step in the navigation path should affirm a user’s choice to click. 

For example, if you send out an email spruiking price points and discounts on certain products, your CTA should be along the lines of ‘Buy Now’, and clicking that button should take users to a product page where they can directly make an order. If content aims to pique audience curiosity or likely to prompt follow-up questions, a more suitable CTA would be something like ‘Learn More’ or ‘Get In Touch’.

Finally, it’s worth noting that there’s never one definitive answer when it comes to copy. Different hooks or CTAs may be equally effective. While a lot of strategic insight takes place before creating content, that research process doesn’t end when you publish something. Digital copy is a living, breathing thing that you should continue to test and refine to see what resonates best with your audience.

Let’s talk!

Already know what you need? Or just want to kick things off with some advice? Schedule a free video consultation with TMP founder, Holly.
© Copyright 2024 
— The Marketing Project — Marketing that serves a purpose — Terms & Conditions Privacy Policy