8 Horrible Words To Avoid In B2B Digital MarketingI read a lot of B2B digital marketing content. From rival brands, to client competitors, to industry blogs; I encounter it everywhere. And I’ve noticed a few of my own bad habits repeated by other marketers over and over. Each one grates when I read it, especially because I know I’ve written them myself.
Every one of us is guilty of using words and phrases that don’t do the job we intend them to do. So I thought I’d put together a list of the most common, which may help you to avoid them in your marketing content. Or at least remind me to avoid them.
‘Meet Your Needs’
‘Meeting your needs’ is what every B2B company does. Or at least it’s what every B2B strives to do. Simply telling clients you will meet their needs is not enough, you need to show them how and prove that you’ve done it before. Because meeting your needs could really mean anything, and ambiguity is one of the most common killers of marketing content.
I’ve blogged about this one before, and I probably will again. To keep it simple, a ‘Rockstar’ is a musician who plays in an extremely popular rock’n’roll band. No insurance agent, marketing executive, HR consultant or industrial solvent salesperson has ever been a ‘Rockstar’. Ever. Remember, credibility is one of the key targets for B2B digital marketing. How credible does your business look if your clients see you in leather pants and a headband?
The more practical version of ‘Rockstar’ is ‘expert’. While it doesn’t carry the ridiculous overtones, you need to take real care using the word ‘expert’. Your company may well be brimming with experts, you may have years of experience. But the more you say ‘expert’ the more it sounds like you’re trying to convince yourself of your staff expertise. The expertise you have should come through the information in the content, not the repeated use of the word ‘expert’.
Which brings us to another word that is too easy to overuse, ‘trust’ or ‘trusted’. As a B2B service provider, the trustworthiness of you and your people should be beyond question. Why do you feel the need to remind your clients that you are a ‘trusted’ anything? Put it another way, if someone you’ve never met started your first conversation by saying, ‘I’m very trustworthy…’ what would you think?
One rule we shouldn’t need to go over is the one that says, ‘B2B digital marketing should never lie’. Many of you who are reading this now and shaking your heads at the suggestion, probably use the word ‘unique’ somewhere in your online content. And it probably describes something that isn’t exactly unique. Don’t feel bad; everyone else in your industry probably does the same thing. Of course, that doesn’t make any of you any more unique.
This one may depend on the reader. Some people will read ‘cost-effective’ and think, ‘efficient and good value’; others will think it’s a euphemism for ‘cheap’. Make sure you understand your market before you use it. And consider focusing your content on ‘value’ instead, because that’s what you offer and what your clients are looking for.
When you write digital marketing content, whether for B2B or B2C, your first though should always be, “who is this content for?” The answer is never ‘them’ or ‘they’. It’s for your prospects and clients, the people who will be reading it. Don’t tell those readers about some other people; tell them about themselves. Focus your content on ‘you’, not ‘them’.
The other ‘others’ you should avoid talking about are your rivals. Of course, if there is a specific competitive factor you want to raise, you can do that. But that’s the only time you should mention them. Don’t fall into the trap of using phrases like ‘other advisors will tell you…” or “what other agencies don’t know…” It looks petty and just invites them to correct you.
I started out saying these words are horrible and I stick by that, but that doesn’t mean you should never use them. Each of these phrases has their place in B2B digital marketing.
But, when they are misused, they don’t meet our needs. They are neither cost-effective nor unique solutions and I hate to see other marketers use them. Marketers can use them; they just need to be careful. Take it from a trusted expert who just can’t bring himself to use the word ‘Rockstar’.
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