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5 Tips for Creating B2B Data Sheets That Can Deliver on Their Mission

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 by Jane

Marketers may refer to the data sheet by many names—sell sheet, product sheet, one-pager, solution brief. Yet this document’s core mission never wavers: to succinctly yet compellingly summarize how a product can solve specific challenges or otherwise create meaningful benefits for customers.

That mission sounds straightforward, perhaps. But when you consider the limited canvas of a 1-2 page data sheet, it’s actually quite a challenge. We know it well—after more than a decade of working with genius clients on many, many data sheet writing and design projects, the Content Bureau has learned how to create B2B assets that can deliver on their mission. Here are some tips we hope you can use:

  1. Define your goal. All great marketing efforts begin with a well-thought out creative brief. This tool will help your team answer vital questions such as: Why are we developing a data sheet? Who is our target audience? What action do we want them to take? And most important: How do we convince them to take action? (That is … What is our message?)
  2. List the must-haves. Once you have the mission for your data sheet in focus, outline what you need to communicate about your product to meet your goal: Is it new? Is it improved? How does it work? How is it different from what competitors offer? What are the main benefits? (Consider highlighting the benefits in a callout section for extra emphasis.)
  3. Commit to “copy light.” Yes, you’ve heard this before, but it’s especially true for data sheets: Less is more. Essential elements include a strong header, high-impact subheads, a clear call to action, and supporting narrative that says everything necessary in a simple and direct yet highly memorable way. (It helps to enlist a B2B copywriting team who knows to evoke Hemingway, not Tolstoy, when composing data sheets.)
  4. Present the facts. Do you know that your target audience can realize a specific benefit because of your product? Save X amount of hours? Reduce costs by X? Increase sales by X percent? If you have credible and timely research that underscores the power of your product, shout it out. Just one prominently placed “wow” stat can draw in your audience and convince them that your product delivers real results.
  5. Provide go-to resources. Once your audience has scanned your data sheet, they need to know two things: how to learn more about your product and how to get it. Include links to relevant resources—your website, a case study, a white paper—and contact information (e.g., URL, phone number). Present these details as calls to action, such as “Read how XYZ company …” or “Sign up today …” Also, be sure this information is positioned to stand out and appears more than once in the copy.

Another tip: Take care to make your data sheets visually compelling. These assets need to reflect your branding, of course. But also feature imagery that helps to convey a feeling about the product, what it does, and who the users are. Include simple but eye-catching charts or other graphics to highlight key details or explain how a product works. Include a pull quote, a callout, or a customer testimonial. Structure the content so it is skimmable (bullets are your friend). And above all, make good use of white space, because in a data sheet, “less is more” applies to more than just words.

Want to create B2B data sheets that deliver on their mission? Contact usWe’re also experts at developing another essential sales tool for B2B marketers: brochures. Check back with the Content Bureau blog again soon to learn why data sheets and brochures work better together.

is a member of the Content Bureau editorial team.

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