B-to-B Insights: Follow the Formula to the 'C'
It is not enough that the copy is easy to read. It must be so interesting, engaging and informative that the reader cannot put it down—or at minimum, feels compelled to skim the document to glean the important points.
A major reason so much copy is not compelling is it is written about things that interest the marketer, not the prospect.
The marketer is interested in his product, his organization and, in particular, his "messaging"—key points he wants to get across to the reader.
Unfortunately, the reader is not interested in any of these things. The reader is more interested in the reader—his problems, needs, fears, concerns, worries, challenges and desires.
As copywriter Don Hauptman often has said, the more your copy focuses on the prospect instead of the product, the more compelling it will be. The product is only relevant insofar as it addresses one of the reader's core concerns or desires.
Copywriter Herschell Gordon Lewis has noted that we live in an age of skepticism: Simply put, prospects are disinclined to believe what you say precisely because you are trying to sell them something.
Fortunately, there are a number of useful tools for building your credibility and overcoming the reader's skepticism.
Your prospects are skeptical of salespeople, but are more inclined to trust advice from recognized experts in a given field or industry. Therefore, you can overcome skepticism by establishing yourself or your organization as a thought leader in your market.
One way to do this is by publishing a lot of content. Prospects are distrustful of advertising, but somewhat more trusting of information sources such as Web sites, white papers and magazine articles.
Become an active publisher of valuable content in your niche. Communicate your key messages in documents that do not look like sales promotions, but are published in editorial formats such as webcasts and white papers. Not only will your prospects find the messages more credible when they are presented as content rather than sales copy, but these publications accelerate your ascent to guru status in your niche.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.