My colleague and white paper writer extraordinaire Jonathan Kantor, the White Paper Pundit, is now sending out a newsletter called “Short Attention Span Marketing Tips.” His September issue makes it very clear why he picked the name. I suggest that all B2B marketers take note. He explains,
“In today’s ‘sound-bite’ world, it’s getting harder to pay attention:
- We don’t read articles — we scan headlines and sub-heads.We prefer short SMS text messages to email.
- Social media platform Twitter is based on messages of 140 characters or less.
- The ’3-second rule’ — the amount of time a web surfer will spend on a page — is a key factor in website design.
- Television news — the industry that invented the sound-bite — has succeeded in reducing a complex news story to a few seconds.”
He’s right and this reiterates why it’s so important to follow these B2B marketing copywriting and design rules:
- Make your message scannable. Put the heart of the message in the headline, the subheads, bullet points and the call to action. If the reader is grabbed, then and only then will he or she read the body copy.
- Make your headlines strong benefit statements or promises of a benefit. That is, don’t make them information such as “Sarbanes-Oxley Compliant” but deliver a benefit such as “Stay compliant with Sarbanes-Oxley — effortlessly.”
- Make your headlines and subheads action statements. Write using words like Save, Get, Win, Start, Learn, Discover and dozens of other words that get your readers involved with your message.
- Keep emails under 250 words and keep lead generation letters to one page. I’ve worked with a client who had many lawyers involved in the marketing process and insisted that every possible caveat be included in every message. This approach diminishes the effectiveness of every marketing communication.
Think bullets. Think short paragraphs. Think reader benefits. B2B marketing must be inviting and informative even when it isn’t read word for word.
Jonathan Kantor is the principal and founder of The Appum Group, “The White Paper Company.”