B-to-B Insights: B-to-B Writing Clinic
It's true that consumer direct response headlines can get pretty clever, daring and even outrageous. But powerful headline writing is just as important in B-to-B marketing communications. So let's look at some successful headlines you can add to your swipe file and apply to your own product or client:
1. "Imagine Harry and me advertising our pears in Fortune."
The story: Brothers Harry and David Rosenberg launched an unprecedented marketing ploy: advertising gift packages of their pears to business executives through a full-page space ad in Fortune magazine. Within four years, sales of the Royal Riviera pears soared to 87,000 boxes, and Harry and David had to double the acreage in their pear orchards, at a time when other pear growers were struggling to survive. Today, Harry & David is the most recognizable brand in the "fruit by mail" business.
2. "How to keep your products pure."
The story: Filterite made filtration cartridges used in pharmaceutical manufacturing, an industry where the primary concern is purity above all else.
The headline works because, instead of focusing on the brand, it focuses on the prospect and its needs. In addition, it sounds like the prospect will learn something—the secret to product purity in pharmaceutical manufacturing—just by reading the ad. The secret, of course, is to use Filterite cartridges.
This ad was modeled after an ad running in women's magazines for Duncan Hines Chocolate Cake Mix, with the headline "The Secret to Richer, Moister Chocolate Cake." What readers learned, of course, was that the richest and moistest chocolate cakes are made with Duncan Hines mix.
3. "7 reasons why production houses and ad agencies nationwide prefer Unilux strobe lighting when shooting important TV commercials."
The story: Unilux rented strobe lighting equipment to video production studios and advertising agencies for shooting TV commercials (the lights were also used in shooting films). Unilux had a combination of features and benefits that most others did not offer.
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.