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The difference in the B2B call to action

Business to business marketing is different to consumer marketing in many ways, and one where it’s important to understand this is in the call to action. Put simply, we need to appeal to logic rather than emotion.

Much of what has been written about calls to action comes from consumer marketing, and we need to be careful with the advice given. On the other hand, it took me 5 minutes online to find all these recommendations specifically for B2B calls to action, not all of which I agree with:

  1. Be conversational, to a point
  2. Be direct and informative
  3. Build trust
  4. Consider the first person approach
  5. Create urgency
  6. Deliver value
  7. Don’t force the action
  8. Don’t be bossy
  9. FOMO works
  10. Keep it short and sweet
  11. Make it irresistible
  12. Make it meaningful
  13. Make it obvious
  14. Nurture rather than transact
  15. Provide instant gratification
  16. Spark curiosity
  17. Use action words

So where should we start? I think it’s more than acceptable – indeed, desirable – to maintain a professional distance in B2B sales. There’s a transaction going on, and everyone understands that. The vendor isn’t being philanthropic, even if (with any luck) both parties stand to gain. So we should make it about what ‘you’ (the customer) will get from the deal.

I think it’s essential to make a clear promise of what will happen if the call to action is followed. People can be apprehensive about making commitments when their job is involved. Make customers feel at ease, and that this is a safe, quality offer.

And remember, while the call to action itself should be a very short statement (3 to 5 words, typically), that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have some explanation around it. It’s good to generate curiosity, but in B2B that shouldn’t be by withholding information.

I won’t give examples here, as there are hundreds of articles online which do just that, and it’s important that we all develop our own calls to action that work for our business. However, I would recommend spending some time looking at examples and developing a style.