After a short stint writing copy at an ad agency, I discovered the world of B2B direct marketing. The difference that made me love it is that B2B direct marketing requires an action on the part of the prospect or customer — so every dollar that’s spent is trackable.
Early on in my B2B marketing copywriting career, a colleague recommended that I read Successful Direct Marketing Methods by Bob Stone (later Bob Stone and Ron Jacobs). It was from that book that I learned the foundation of B2B marketing lead generation best practices that I still use today. It still works and it’s a perfect formula generating outbound B2B marketing lead generation sent by email or snail mail.
There are six important steps in the perfect B2B marketing lead generation copy. Here is the first.
Step #1 — Open B2B lead generation messages with copy that addresses the prospect’s biggest pain.
In the B2B marketing lead generation world, testing continues to show that HTML-designed emails and direct marketing mailers that are heavily designed do not perform as well as text emails or traditional letters in #10 envelopes.
When using text emails or traditional letters, the opening line is the most-read part of any B2B lead generation copy. This opening sentence needs to focus on the most significant pain suffered by the prospect group in relation to the product or service being marketed. Basically, this is the approach that gets the prospects’ attention and lets them know that the message is for them.
As long as their #1 pain is being addressed, the context of the opening can take many forms, as Joan Throckmorton outlined in her book Winning Direct Response Advertising.
- Directly address the pain in a generic form: “Tracking labor hours for employees across the globe is a huge challenge.”
- Start with an invitation: “You are invited to discover how you can simplify the tracking of labor hours for your employees across the globe.”
- Use a quotation: “According to a recent Business Week survey of CFOs, ‘68% of global companies identify employee labor hour tracking as their biggest challenge.'”
- Identify your prospect: “As CFO of ABC Company, you know that tracking labor hours for employees across the globe is a huge challenge.”
- Take an if/then approach: If you’re looking to simplify the tracking of labor hours for employees across the globe, then . . . .
- Ask a question: “Are you feeling overwhelmed by the time and cost involved in tracking employee labor hours for employees across the globe?” I personally do not like this approach because questions force readers to think. As I’ve covered in earlier posts, B2B marketers don’t want prospects thinking. We want them to intuitively react to the message.
- Be negative and instill fear: The inability to accurately track labor hours for employees across the globe can have a huge negative impact on your bottom line.”
- Build a fantasy: Imagine gaining a 20% increase in revenue by being able to accurately track labor hours of employees across the globe.
- Open with an analogy: Find out how today’s financial executives are handling labor hour tracking more easily than putting on their shoes in the morning.
- Tell a story: “In November of 2012, John Smith, CFO of XYZ Company, discovered a painless way to handle the tracking of labor hours of employees across the globe.”
Which of these approaches to choose will depend on what type of content or information is being offered. Next week, I’ll cover Step #2 on how this opening can lead instantly into the offer of content with information to help the prospect see how they can overcome their pain.