If you’re a B2B marketer, then you (more than) know this simple truth: messaging is hard. 

(And by “messaging” I mean “what should this damn page say?!”

Knowing exactly how to speak to your specific customers, what to say to them and how to say it, is challenging. (And ‘challenging’ is the understatement of the year.)

And because nailing down the right message is hard, it’s not uncommon to find yourself staring at a blank screen for ages… tab jumping to something more interesting (like literally anything in the world!)… and then returning to the umpteenth attempt to nail down the ‘message’ and direction for  your homepage, email, landing pages or the latest set of ABM ads that sales is waiting on. 

It’s because of this — because getting messaging right is  so incredibly hard — that the go to approach for B2B marketers to determine their messaging strategy usually ends up following some very common and flawed tactics…

… Or falling into “safe” messaging directions like “the only all-in-one solution for X” or the self proclaimed  “THE #1 solution that does X”.

(spoiler alert, I’m going to go deep into the “all-in-one” messaging problem the B2B industry has, but first let’s review those common tactics I mentioned above)

#1 Copying competitors — without making it fit your messaging strategy

There’s no sense in denying it: Everyone does this. 

You do too (probably). 

While staring at a blank google doc trying to come up with smart and effective copy that will help prospects understand what it is you do — and why they should choose you over someone else — you probably find yourself almost automatically gravitating towards your competitors’ websites. And what starts as a way to simply look at their copy and design somehow ends up with your page saying almost the exact same thing. (Though obviously using our own brand name hopefully and not theirs). 

This happens in every industry…

… like in this example from the accounting software industry:

And in this one…

… And this one…

…Aaaand this one…

“Built for your business, simple, easy, for business owners…”

Any of these brands could simply use their competitor’s headline and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. 

Brands — and the messaging and copy experts behind them —do this because we convince ourselves our competitors probably know what they’re doing, or because we like what they’re doing and want to be the same. 

Another reason this happens is the need to reduce risk. It’s not easy to get buy-in on a new bold idea that’s different from anyone else without proving that other brands use this strategy too. It’s a hard sell. 

 One of the first questions our conversion-copywriters get when presenting copy to clients is, “Okay, but who else is doing it?” Oftentimes writers use gravitate towards competitors as an example because that’s the only way to make people feel “safe” with going in a certain direction, but the other side of this is that brands just end up copying each other. 

However, in a crowded market, prospects need to clearly see the difference between you and your competitor in order to make a buying decision. If you want your customers to be able to differentiate you from your competitor, you need a strong messaging strategy.

#2 Relying on the ‘HIPPO’ too much — without doing supporting market research

More often than not, B2B messaging ends up being decided by the HIPPO (AKA – the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion). Many founders, CEOs and C-Level execs announce (early on) what they believe the messaging should be and that ends up determining what our homepage or landing pages will say.

Of course,  overall messaging direction should come from the C-Suite. But how that overall messaging is applied to different campaigns — how it’s translated into homepage headers, email subject lines and  in-app user flows — that type of messaging needs to be rooted in continuous customer research and experimentation. 

Because while the overall messaging spirit for a company is leadership-led, the “how we execute on that spirit” portion needs to be team and research led. And it needs to be constantly growing and evolving based on user tests, customer interviews, surveys, user journey recordings, emotional competitor research, data analytics… you know, the lifeblood of great marketing.   However, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve asked teams why they’re using a certain messaging strategy and they responded it was based on the original strategy directed by the founders and hasn’t evolved since. Add in the fact that other people in the room may lack the confidence to present their own research or challenge the assumptions of past decisions that are no longer relevant, and you have a message mismatch.

As the company evolves so does its product and messaging strategy — if you want messaging that stands out, speaks to your prospects and increases conversions, you need a solid marketing & sales based messaging strategy that’s based on your CUSTOMERS, and only them.

#3 Heavily focusing on current trends — without doing the foundational work you need beforehand

The other mistake many brands make is heavily relying on new technology to supplement their lack of knowledge and research. 

For example leveraging AI, machine learning or automation to “serve” the right message to customers. You end up allowing software to write your content, but these tools are only as good as what you feed them. In order to truly get meaningful copy and messaging from them, you’ll need to have a TON of information about your customers and give very specific directions. 

In addition to relying on new and exciting (shortcut) tools, B2B marketers also default to heavily highlighting the software, features and technology. Almost all B2B brands err on the side of focusing completely on their product, how it was built, what it does and how it works.

Take the AI “trend” as an example, once it was clear it was the future and the biggest thing, EVERYONE added it to their messaging. Like this one…

This one…

…And this one…

Everyone has added AI to their website in one or another, whether it’s actually a core piece of their product, or not. Because AI is THE thing right now. 

It’s a classic B2B marketing approach. 

We’ve somehow convinced ourselves that it’s enough to talk about the product and that these are enough to convince someone to buy from us, when in fact, behind that screen are real people that need to see themselves in your message and marketing, not your software. 

So many brands struggle with wanting to have their own voice but end up sounding like everyone else. 

Which leads us to our current “mess” where everyone just sounds, looks and feels the same. There are many “one liners” and common messages B2B companies use, but the MOST popular one is without a doubt the ‘All In One’ message. 

With this sentence (and often used as the main headline of a homepage) a brand declares that what’s special about them, and why you should choose them above all competitors is the simple fact that they are one tool you can do it all on. 

This tactic can work well, when done correctly… But there are many challenges to using it.

The ‘All-In-One’ tool (or software) for <action>

After scouring the web and reviewing over 250 B2B homepages, I found that over 70% of websites leverage this messaging strategy. They use one variation or another of the “all in one” tagline. 

Folk is an all in one CRM for all your relationship needs…

Square Appointments is the all in one PoS solution for all your payment needs…

Bonsai is the accounting software that lets you run your business in one place

Gitbook stores all your engineering and tech knowledge in one place… 

Clickup is the project management solution that lets you do everything on one platform… 

And the list and examples go on and on. 

First, let’s talk about why the ‘All In One’ message is so popular and why it works.

The all in one message emotionally resonates with B2B brands because it focuses on one of the biggest pains B2B teams tend to feel: Overwhelm. 

They use countless tools, software and products daily and it’s a LOT. 

Every day, the average marketer in a B2B company: 

  1. Logs into the email marketing software to check on campaigns,
  2. Analyzes the analytics software to look for leaks and reports…
  3. Adds new tasks and updates them in the product management software
  4. Turns on their time management tool, 
  5. Logs into their advertising software to review their campaigns,
  6. Sets up new rules and updates the marketing automation tool, 
  7. Posts on countless social platforms like X, threads, linkedin, FB and YouTube.
  8. Builds, edits or reviews landing pages in their landing page software
  9. Follows up on the results of their content marketing in its dedicated software and creates new content to share, 
  10. Analyzes new organic trends in their SEO software
  11. Updates and replies to unread Slack threads, 
  12. Answers all their unread email… and so much more.

That’s a lot of tools to check and naturally, using  each one on a daily basis causes frustration and fatigue. 

And that’s just for marketers.

Product managers, developers and customer success teams use another wide-range of tools. So, the promise of one magical place that will suddenly hold everything a team needs to solve a specific problem (like point of sale, customer management or project management) do (or a large chunk of it) in one place is appealing. 

But here’s the thing: if everyone is using “all in one”, does this universal messaging really do the job it needs to do to convince prospects that they should choose this tool over another? Ultimately if everyone is saying it, we all end up sounding the same and there’s no real way for us to stand out. 

So how can we leverage this messaging approach that really does resonate on an emotional level with so many B2B buyers? 

There are meaningful ways to leverage this message that will impact buyer decisions and convince people to give your software a try over the competitor:

How to use the “All-in-one” strategy wisely.

#1 Call out who your all-in-one platform is for

Go beyond just saying it’s a platform you can do anything and everything on, dig deeper into who it is for. When you make it about the specific customer you’ve built this all in one platform around, prospects can quickly see if this tool is meant for them or not. Here’s an example:

Sure, all project management solutions are an all in one solution, but ONLY Teamwork.com build their platform so you can run all your client work in one place. 

Using their subhead they specifically call out who it’s for and why it matters: For teams that run client work only, to get the results you need – efficiency, growth and scale.

#2 Call out why they need an all in one platform and what the outcome will be for them.

There’s a difference between saying: “Run all customer research in one place” and saying “All your customer insights in one place” – The first headline focuses on what the product does, the second on the value of the software and results. 

Dovetail goes beyond the generic sentence and calls out the result and value their customers get:

A few formulas you can use to think about this approach are: 

  1. This ‘All in one’ platform is for <who specifically it is>. 
  2. Having an all in one software results in <value>.
  3. Having an all in one software will eliminate or lessen <biggest pain>

Trello does a great job at calling out exactly what pain it will eliminate for you (letting go of multiple tools you have to manage, people you have to run after and tasks you’re struggling to stay on top of).

#3 Leverage it in other places other than the HP: 

The homepage hero isn’t enough to drive that ‘All In One’ message. If you want to make it a bigger part of your value proposition, you need to include additional elements on your pages that speak about it. For example; in your social proof, feature call-outs and pricing. 

In continuation of their homepage, Dovetail also has a section on their homepage that unpacks one of the biggest pains researchers have: repeating the same research over and over again. This is where that All In One platform comes in handy: 

Hotjar’s homepage hero focuses on the pain they eliminate for their customers (AKA – using analytics) and make that their specific unique selling proposition. 

A short scroll below the fold unveils their “all in one’ messaging approach: 

“Why settle for one tool, when you can have it all? Give your team the tools they need to deliver experiences that convert, every time.” A brilliant way to say the same thing (this is one platform that removes the need for any other), while reducing another “negative” emotion: FOMO.  You don’t have to choose one tool or the other due to budget or any other reason – Hotjar has it all.

#4 Don’t make it your only message

While the all in one message is strong, it’s not enough to sway people away from your competitors. You need stronger messaging that leans into the results and outcomes your customers are searching for. There are many different emotions that impact a B2B buyer’s decision-making process and you need to ensure you’re uncovering them all and mentioning them all in your copy and design. You can only do that when you go beyond the product itself and start considering your customers, and the emotions that guide the during their decision. 

Tapping into the emotional resonance of B2B buyers

Features, pricing and technology are critical to a product. (People obviously care that the price fits into their budget and that the product can do what they need it to do.)

But in order to increase conversions, you have to understand your customers’ pains and day to day challenges. 

Ultimately your competitor can always (and probably will at some point) develop or add a new feature. The market will change. People’s needs will evolve. BUT if you’re able to evolve the conversation beyond tech and focus on clearly showing your prospects and customers the value they get from using your product they’ll choose you and keep choosing you because they’ll instinctively understand the value you give themThat’s why the All In One message can work so well: it isn’t about having all the tech in one place, it’s about removing the pain and frustration people  feel from  logging into additional software each day. If you can uncover additional pains, friction and concerns, you can develop a stronger messaging strategy that will stand out in the sea of same-ness and increase your conversions. Learn more about how to optimize your funnels and B2B marketing with emotional resonance here.

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