B-to-B Insights Powerful Prose, Part 2
By Russell Kern
In my B-to-B Insights column in the April issue of Target Marketing, I presented a baker's dozen of copywriting tips that can be leveraged to create response-generating direct marketing campaigns. But I was just getting warmed up, so here are six more prose pointers you could apply to your creative efforts for stronger results.
1. Make your headlines and subheads so compelling, readers will want to act now. People don't read direct mail, or even e-mail, in a linear fashion. Their eyes jump around, looking for information that helps them understand the value and benefit of investing more time in your message. They start at the top, quickly skim the subheads, glance at any copy presented in an interrupter (such as a sidebar box), read the first sentence and possibly go to the end to examine the P.S. If they like what they've seen, they will go back and get more details. Look at your headlines and subheads and see, have you revealed enough information to draw in your reader? Do your heads and subheads present an engaging and emotional story that is enough to get the reader to act now? If so, bravo.
2. Never forget, they don't care about you. Your readers don't care about your company, your quarterly goals, your products and services, or anything else you want to sell them. All they want to know is "What is in it for me?" The battle for direct marketing starts when they open an e-mail, read a direct mail package or turn to your direct response ad in a newspaper or magazine. Let's assume you have a new product that's 55 percent faster than the competition's product. Let's also assume that you know the target market is over-stressed, over-committed and burned out. Let's say your e-mail arrives on the same day in the same inbox as your competitor's e-mail. One of these e-mails promises, "The New Sunstream 422 is 55% faster in duodecaflop mode than any competitive unit available today." The other e-mail promises, "Now you can get more done faster and easier. You will be able to get ahead at work and spend more time with your family, too." Which one wins? Which one do you want to be your e-mail message? It's the second message that talks to the recipient like a real person who has real problems. And years of testing prove it. Capture their hearts to get to their minds. Their wallets will follow.