Think CIAO for B2B SEO Copywriting

Whenever I chat with in-house and freelance SEO copywriters, I’m typically asked “the B2B question.” It goes something like this:

“I think I understand how to write optimized Web copy for B2C sites. But what about B2B SEO copywriting? Isn’t it different?”

It’s true that B2B SEO copywriting often has a slightly different tone and feel than its consumer counterpart.

After all, if you’re targeting executives with buying authority, the copy will read differently than if you’re writing about pet accessories or Pilates mat classes.

But that doesn’t mean that B2B copywriting has to be straight, dull and “just the facts.” Nor does B2B copywriting have different SEO copywriting “rules.”

If you’re confused about writing for the B2B market, just remember one simple acronym: CIAO. Here’s how it breaks down.

C – Customer focused copy

Your first step before you start writing is to develop a customer persona:

  • Who will purchase this product or service?
  • What are her pain points?
  • What objections does she have?
  • How can you help?

Just like in B2C SEO copywriting, every word you write should be laser-focused towards your audience’s needs. Consider how your product or service helps to shave expenses, provide peace-of-mind, improve profits or somehow simplifies a process. Specific benefits sell in the B2B market – so make sure you tell your prospect exactly how you can help them.

I – Interesting copy

B2B copy doesn’t have to be boring. Spec sheets, product features and case studies are important. However, the information doesn’t have to put people to sleep (really!)

In fact, one way to instantly differentiate from competitors is to write engaging copy that speaks directly to the prospect while providing benefits in an easy-to-read manner.  It’s true that you won’t necessarily be able to use a “peppy” tone and feel like you could with a B2C page. But you do you have more creative room to move than you think.

A quick rule of thumb: If you’re bored by the copy, it’s time for a rewrite.

A – Action-oriented

It’s scary to see product or service Web pages without a call-to-action.

The last thing you want to do is frustrate your prospects when they’re trying to make a purchase or contact you for more information.

– If you want folks to make a purchase, make the purchase link prominent.

– If you want folks to contact you, make sure you tell them and make it easy for them to take action.

See? Easy!

If your prospects have to hunt around your site just to figure out how to buy from you, there’s a good chance that they’ll boogie away and find another vendor.

O – Optimized

The B2B world can be highly competitive, and optimization can make the difference between a nice site that gets a little bit of traffic – or a huge powerhouse site that gains massive market share.

The same “rules” apply when optimizing a B2B site.

  • Hire a content marketing strategist to help plan your campaign.
  • Choose topic-specific keyphrases and related words.
  • Create a clickable Title and strategically insert your keyphrases within the copy.

Remember, just like a B2C SEO copywriting campaign, skipping a step (like creating strong, keyphrase-rich Titles) can decimate your campaign, rendering so-so results rather than stellar.

See? SEO copywriting for the B2B market is easier to create than you think! Just follow the same “rules” you would for B2C SEO copywriting (keeping in mind that you’ll need a different tone and feel) and you should be fine.

Ciao, baby!

7 replies
  1. Professional Copywriter says:

    I Love Acronyms! really nice post! I think that the CIAO principle can be used in B2C as much as B2B. Every element needs to be included in every kind of copywriting. I think in the nature of selling the CIAO principle could be implemented across, all sorts of selling techniques, be it car salesmen, real estate guys, anybody really!

    Mike J

    • Heather says:

      You’re right! I created it for B2B copywriting because that’s where people get confused – but CIAO would definitely apply to B2C copywriting as well!

  2. Jaime-Ann L says:

    This is awesome! When I was scanning recent tweets I saw the link to this. I love it! CIAO! Is it just us folk with ADHD that process information this way and need acronyms to remember most things relevant to life? jk hehe! I will be passing this information on to those in my network and I know many will love it as much as I do. When writing and reviewing my copywrite i will think “Ciao to Freelance Copywrite!”

    • Heather says:

      Thank you so much! Having ADHD tendencies myself, I always use acronyms to remember things – and CIAO just popped into my brain (at 3am…) :)

      I’m REALLY glad that you enjoyed the post. Thanks for letting me know. :)


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] B2B websites have some room for creative copy. You don’t have to sound like everyone else. You can reach […]

  2. […] skills are crucial, this post explains it all. And if you’re a B2B company, here are some SEO copywriting tips just for […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.