Mastering the B2B Balancing Act: Striking the Right Tone with Business Audiences

JTN Article

Mastering the B2B Balancing Act: Striking the Right Tone with Business Audiences

Navigating the world of business-to-business (B2B) communication is a delicate task, full of complex jargon and nuances. When communicating in such an environment, the tone becomes vital. But what is tone? And how can you make sure your organization is conveying the right one?

Striking the right tone in your B2B marketing messages can be a bit like walking a tightrope. Too casual, and you risk appearing unprofessional. Too formal, and you may seem detached or impersonal. It requires a certain level of finesse that many organizations struggle to achieve.

This blog post explores the intricate dance of B2B copywriting to provide meaningful insights into honing your writing tone.

Understanding The Meaning of Tone

When we talk about writing, particularly in the B2B arena, terms like tone, style, and voice often crop up. Yet they aren't one and the same. While style refers to the overall way we construct our sentences, and the voice speaks of the unique personality imbued in our content, the tone is a somewhat trickier beast.

In B2B communication, 'tone' is all about how we communicate our message rather than just what is being said. It's not merely about conveying facts or logic. It is also about shaping perceptions and triggering emotional responses. In other words, it's an attitude or an approach.

Tone matters because behind every organization interaction are human beings. People with emotions, biases, and preferences. That means communication can be a make-or-break deal. An ill-chosen or poorly articulated tone will create barriers instead of bridges between parties.

Some examples of business writing tone may include:

  • Casual but not too friendly
  • Assertive but not cocky
  • Professional, formal, and authoritative
  • Witty and conversational
  • Elegant yet direct

Knowing Your Audience: The First Step to Effective Communication

Step into an artist's shoes for a moment. Before you can paint your masterpiece, you need to understand the nuances of your canvas – its texture, its absorbency, and how it reacts to different strokes. This same principle applies to effective B2B communication.

Understanding your audience means understanding their needs, motivations, and pain points. This is integral to crafting messages that resonate with them. It also depicts the pivotal role of market research in preparing the groundwork for effective communication.

For example, you likely wouldn't use a laid-back or sarcastic tone if you sell something serious like cybersecurity software. In such a case, the best approach may be to focus on your audience's desire for safety and security. You want to demonstrate that you understand the gravity of their situation and that you are serious about protecting their organization from potential threats.

Steps to Audience Research

Market research in B2B communication is done in a few easy steps. Ideally, you should already have a good idea of your target audience from the get-go, so this should be fairly straightforward.

  1. Defining Your Target Audience: Get crystal clear on your ideal client or partner. Identify their industry, size, and location, among other factors.
  2. Identifying Their Needs: What are they looking for in products or services? What problems do they face that your organization can solve?
  3. Learning Their Preferences: Discover how they like information presented (casual chat, formal webinar, hands-on demo?) and which channel they prefer using.
  4. Analyzing Your Competitors: Keep tabs on who else in your industry is targeting this audience and what approaches they are taking.
  5. Staying Updated: Make sure this research isn't a one-time activity. Organizations change continually, and so must our understanding.

Creating Your Brand Guidelines

You've done all your audience research and are now brimming with insights. Excellent start. The next step is to translate these insights into something actionable. Enter Brand Guidelines.

Brand guidelines are valuable documents that serve as a North Star for creating content. This document takes all the findings from audience research and shapes them into a practical framework for effective communication.

One main advantage of penning down these guidelines before diving headfirst into B2B copywriting is that it kindles cohesion in your team's work. Everyone follows the same guiding principles no matter who crafts the message—a seasoned in-house writer or an enthusiastic new intern.

Another bonus is putting you in the shoes of your prospect. By delineating how to protect your brand's voice, it lets you see if your path aligns with what resonates best with them. If not, you can easily make tweaks.

What to Include in Your Brand Guidelines?

Brand guidelines are usually presented in the form of a text document that can vary wildly in length and detail. However, there are some essential elements that any document should have:

  • Organization Persona: Define who you are as a company. And just as importantly, who you aren't. For example, maybe you are not a big corporation, and that could play to your advantage.
  • Tone Descriptors: Since tone is about how things are said & not what is being said, pepper this section with adjectives that portray your brand's vibe. See the examples we provided earlier for reference.
  • Organizational Values: Infuse these core beliefs into every part of B2B communication for authenticity. Perhaps eco-friendliness is a big part of your company culture. Mention it.
  • Voice Rules: Although style and voice aren't exactly tone, they are definitely related. Specify how language should be used regarding tenses, vernacular, and slang.
  • Style Guide: Standardize grammar and formatting rules so everyone presents a united front to the business world.

Bring this document alive using real examples from your own content archives or craft new ones if need be. This living document paints a vivid picture of how everyone should communicate under your organization's banner.

Choosing the Right Words: The Power of Language in B2B Marketing

With your brand guidelines in place, it's now time to craft your day-to-day B2B messages. Here's where the magic happens. Language doesn't just transmit messages. It should shape perceptions, steer emotions, and foster connections. Mastering this dynamic means wielding your words with intent and precision

In B2B marketing, storytelling is a potent tool. No one genuinely cares about what you do. There are dozens or hundreds of other companies in your space. They want to know why it matters to them. Craft compelling stories that revolve around the client's pain points and showcase how you can ease them. This approach attracts buyers more effectively than any dry-pitch presentation would.

So here are some crucial tips for choosing the right words while crafting your B2B communication:

  • Balancing professional jargon with accessible language: You want to sound credible and 'talk the talk' of your client's industry. But not so much that you seem unrelatable or incomprehensible.
  • Maintaining consistent vocabulary: Building relationships needs consistency and frequency—in human terms and linguistic ones.
  • Creating engaging content: Think vibrant literary devices, intriguing headlines, or thought-provoking questions. They aren't just pretty extras, but they keep readers wanting more.
  • Evoking emotion: B2B may seem cut-and-dry, but at its root, it's one group of people reaching out to another group. Make it personal by connecting with their emotions.
  • Incorporating industry-specific terms, acronyms, and buzzwords: These let clients know that you understand their turf.

Remember to also prioritize attention to detail on often overlooked yet critical linguistic requirements. Proper spelling, grammar accuracy, and avoiding repetition of keywords reduce the risk of reader fatigue.

Embracing Empathy: Humanizing B2B Communication

Perhaps you've mastered the art of deploying the right words and crafting engaging content. But if there is a lack of human connection in your message, it may still fail to resonate emotionally. This brings us to an important factor in B2B communication- empathy.

Injecting empathy into your marketing efforts infuses authenticity and understanding, making your brand more relatable and inspiring trust.

Techniques for Conveying Empathy in B2B Communication

Incorporating empathy effectively involves understanding customer needs and pain points. Show that you 'get' their challenges and are eager to help them overcome these. Honesty and transparency are also crucial. You should always be upfront about what you can offer, including possible limitations. Honesty often garners respect and builds trust.

Like in any form of communication, personalization can go a long way. Use names, refer to previous interactions, or acknowledge their unique circumstances for a bespoke touch. This could be done through a tailored response or even with small personal touches in the design. However, you don't want to sound robotic. Add a pinch of personality to your brand voice and ensure you don't appear disingenuous.

Finally, maintain an ongoing relationship with clients by keeping them in the loop and engaging with them on digital media platforms. This encourages customer loyalty which can be beneficial to any organization. That brings us to our next point:

The Role of Digital Platforms in B2B Communication

As you probably know, most B2B communication will occur on digital platforms. Each channel has its unique quirks and capacities.

Given the range of platforms available today for B2B communication, how does your brand choose which to adopt? It requires understanding both the nature of each outlet and its alignment with your target audience's preferences.


Email marketing lets you send personalized content directly to potential clients' inboxes. It offers a powerful way to nurture leads, notify customers about new services or updates, and keep your brand atop their minds. Thanks to CRMs and email marketing software, tailoring messages to each lead has become easier than ever.

On the other hand, email can come off as pushy if not used judiciously. If your campaign becomes too intrusive or repetitive, you risk annoying customers and driving them away from your brand.


Your website is an essential tool for controlling your online presence. Make sure it clearly communicates what you do, who you serve, and how you differ from competitors. Optimized web copy that adds value will attract potential clients researching solutions. It should be a prime example of your brand's tone and style.

LinkedIn and Social Media

A lot of professional conversations also happen on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter nowadays. LinkedIn is an especially powerful platform for establishing thought leadership among B2B companies. You can use your business writing tone to create articles or share news relevant to your industry here for maximum impact.

However, one-on-one conversations on LinkedIn messages or Twitter mentions might differ slightly from email or website communications. They are often more conversational, so try to stay professional yet friendly.


Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is where your B2B copywriting skills will be put to the ultimate test. You will have very few words to convey your brand's tone. It must be concise yet still relevant to the person viewing it.

Evaluating Success: Measuring the Impact of Your Communication

The hard work doesn't stop once you hit send. To evaluate your success, you will need to measure the impact of your communication efforts. Feedback and analytics play a vital role in assessing the effectiveness of B2B communication. Here's where data takes center stage

Measure performance using analytical tools to track relevant KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). These could range from website traffic, open email rates, and click-throughs to social media engagement, among others.

Another insightful strategy is A/B testing. By creating two versions of a content piece and observing which one performs better, you can discern characteristics that resonate better with your audience.

Used intelligently, these insights will provide a snapshot of current effectiveness. They also guide you as you refine and improve your B2B communication strategy over time.

Staying Consistent With a Marketing Agency

Creating a cohesive brand identity that resonates with your customers is not a one-time endeavor. It requires consistency across the board. And given the myriad responsibilities on the shoulders of most organizations, outsourcing this responsibility to a specialist could be beneficial.

A dedicated marketing agency can bring several advantages. It ensures that an experienced team with in-depth knowledge and diverse skills is closely monitoring your B2B communication efforts. Content strategists can align messaging with your goals, while copywriters craft engaging content that appeals to your audience. SEO experts ensure website content remains visible and attractive to search engines, maximizing reach.

Partnering with a marketing agency allows for consistency across different channels, ensuring that your carefully crafted messages are well-communicated wherever they appear. Plus, it frees you to focus on core activities crucial for growth without compromising on nurturing potential partnerships or customers.

Conclusion: Mastering the B2B Balancing Act

As we've journeyed through the various facets of B2B communication, one thing is clear—tone plays a pivotal role in B2B marketing. Mastering it isn't just about impressing potential clients eloquently. It's an ongoing quest to connect meaningfully and build lasting relationships.

So embrace continuous learning. Stay aware of your evolving audience and trends in the technological landscape where these interactions happen. For instance, exploring how visuals can be harmonized with tone for more effective messaging could shape the next frontier of B2B communication.

Hiring a competent marketing agency can anchor this exploration by maintaining consistency and infusing expertise into your efforts. Connect with us at JTN Group - your trusted partner in crafting personalized, effective B2B content.

Mastering the B2B Balancing Act: Striking the Right Tone with Business Audiences
Ashley Jenkins

Ashley is a senior digital marketing specialist at JTN Group in London where she plans and executes high-ROI digital media and PR campaigns for B2B clients in high-growth industries including Fintech, Commercial Property, and Manufacturing. Read more about JTN Group.


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