Business-to-Business Prospects are People Too
Just as companies don’t write direct-mail packages, they don’t read mail either. But somehow, when we talk about business-to-business (B-to-B) mail, it’s easy to focus on the “business” aspect and forget that despite their titles, job functions and career goals, your B-to-B prospects are people too.
So while your message will be different, the same emotional tactics that work on business-to-consumer (B-to-C) prospects often will work in the B-to-B realm.
Nancy Harhut, senior vice president/executive creative director for agency Hill Holiday Direct, offers up a number of emotional levers that will help you effectively reach out to B-to-B prospects:
Eliminate the risk of responding by leveraging a powerful guarantee.
“If you aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll refund the entire price – including shipping and handling.”
Make the reader feel singled out.
“You are invited to a most unlikely gathering. Nothing quite like it has happened in over 200 years.”
Reveal “confidential” information.
“The letter your direct-marketing competitors don’t want you to read.”
Flaunt your third-party endorsements.
“Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Jay Walker. They all read this magazine. Do you?”
Build a message around specific things you know about the prospect.
“A very special invitation, only for readers of WMW! Archive Insider.”
Strike an emotional chord.
“If God created the heavens and earth in seven days, why does a buckslip have to take 12 weeks?”
Use specifics, such as numbers, response rates and percentages.
“Follow these 10 steps to create professional direct mail.”
Play on their fears.
“One of your biggest customers is thinking about leaving you right now.”
“You are fully aware of your financial status. You’re secure. You’re in control.”
In the end, it goes back to that basic rule: know your prospect. Just remember that business buyers are making both a personal decision and a business decision. So when writing B-to-B copy, you’ll need to address the needs of the individual and the needs of the business.
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