Technical people struggling to write marketing copy at a laptop

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

If you’re a tech company, you’ll be familiar with a painful paradox: you have lots of clever people working for you but they often struggle to get away from the engineer’s fascination with technical detail and translate what you sell into benefits-focused marketing copy.

Result? Lots of verbiage on your website, in your brochures, in your case studies and elsewhere that isn’t wrong, but just isn’t marketing!

We have many tech clients, and here are a few tips and tricks we use to keep their copy convincing, persuasive, and benefits-focused – feel free to make use of them!

Start with a strong problem statement

This is a perfect way of getting straight to the heart of your customers’ pain points and striking a chord with them by showing them that you understand their challenges (perhaps even better than they do!)

Here are a couple of examples from our recent work for tech clients:

“Gaming is one of the most highly regulated industries in the UK, and when it comes to cyber security and data protection you need to be holding all the aces. That, or risk losing your gaming licence and scaring away potential investors too!”

“If technical vulnerabilities in your IT and communications systems enable an attacker to create a breach, you could be in for a big clean-up bill – around £311,000 on average for an SMB and upwards of £1.46 million for a larger business.”

This initial statement is the sucker punch that will make readers sit up, take notice, and understand you’re on their wavelength – so keep it bold, unflinching and, above all, non-technical!

Tell them you are the solution

Close to the problem statement should come the solution assertion. Together, these two statements leave an indelible impression on the reader about what you do, why you do it, and why they need it – even if they don’t read any further.

Together, they look something like these two examples (again, taken from our work with tech clients):

“Although Prop Tech connects you to ever more resources, data, information and opportunities, it currently lacks the mature security culture to inspire long-term confidence from your supply chain, your clients and your investors.

With our Prop Tech-focused security services, we help you set that right – now and for the future.”

“Are you paying to pull your internal teams in too many directions at once, stretching your security fabric into holes and leaving your business-specific core risks under-protected?

Our Managed Security Solutions (MSS) and Security Device Management services provide flexible, responsive, scalable protection, tailored to your organisation’s security infrastructure, 24x7x365.”

See how that works?

Flip your bullets

Bullet points are a great way to summarise information at a glance, and both technical guys and marketing people make extensive use of them.

But here’s a thing: many tech companies still write bullets in ‘feature first’ fashion, something like this:

  • Multiple, mirrored UK data centres – Uninterrupted availability of your data even if one or more data centres suffers an outage

This is the wrong way round! Benefits – not features – convince decision-makers to open their chequebooks. Look how much better this works, by flipping the bullet point structure around and simplifying the language a little:

  • Your data is always available – Multiple, mirrored UK data centres protect you comprehensively from outages

It doesn’t matter how nominally technical the audience is, the decision-makers are still looking for proof that your product or service will serve their business needs – productivity, profitability, risk management, compliance and a whole host of other ‘hot buttons’.

Make your bullets speak to them!

Differentiate yourself like James Bond

“Nobody does it better,” sang Carly Simon of Roger Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me, and your marketing copy needs to take a leaf out of that book.

Don’t just tell your audience what you do and why it’s good for them – tell them why you do it like your competitors can’t!

Now, you can flag this by using phrases like “Unlike many of our competitors’ products…” or similar, but they can sound a little arch and petulant, so a more effective way of doing it is often just to introduce a known downside that applies to your competitors’ products and negate it, like this:

  • No single point of authentication failure  – Choose from scores of authentication methods to suit every user and environment, rather than relying on email only

In this scenario, the clear implication is that you’re getting a direct dig in at your competitors’ weaknesses, but you’re also observing the cardinal ‘benefits first’ bullet point rule, since a negated disbenefit is a benefit!

Nice work, 007…

Be like vegan shampoo

Have you noticed how the current rise in popularity of veganism has prompted many cosmetic manufacturers (amongst others) to promote their ‘vegan formula’ products – when many of them have always, one suspects, been vegan?

From the point of view of marketing language, there’s absolutely nothing awry with this; in fact, piggy-backing on current trends to add relevance and topicality to your offering can be singularly effective in moving your copy from technical features to actual benefits.

Take this sentence, for example:

“End-to-end encryption ensures that your customers’ confidential messaging stays that way.”

Now, let’s ‘do a vegan’ on it – that is, update the statement with something that is of the moment (in italics):

“End-to-end encryption helps your customers with GDPR compliance by ensuring confidential messaging stays that way.”

There’s much marketing wisdom in them there vegan shampoo ads…

Get your customers to say it for you

Finally, nothing says ‘benefit’ like a customer testimonial – because, by definition, it is focused only on the value your product or service has delivered, not on the minutiae of the product, service or technology itself.

For this reason, testimonial quotes should be highly visible pretty much everywhere in your marketing copy. Again, as with the problem statements and solution assertions, this is about distilling killer benefits into one glance, even if it’s all the reader takes in.

No amount of carefully written web copy, for example, could possibly convey value as effectively as one customer testimonial I saw on this site:

“Firesand are highly professional and skilled. We won’t hesitate to use them again – in fact we regularly recommend them to our clients for anything to do with Cyber or Information Security.”

Nailed it!

There are scores of other techniques you can use to turn techspeak into marketing copy, of course, but hopefully these few examples have given you some helpful guidance.

Now cast off your tech shackles and go set those pages aflame with customer desire!

info@arrowmaker.net

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