For a B2B sales team it’s really important to judge correctly the mind of the recipient when sending follow up sales emails.
The path to a sales contract is tortuous and certainly not linear. There are many places where a poorly written sales email can foul your pitch. Marketing and sales need to collaborate with strong Account Based Marketing and Customer Relationship Management strategies to overcome this. Here’s an example from today.
Well written direct sales copy
If you have a clear understanding of the prospect’s stage in the sales funnel, your emails can be written to align with the precise needs of the prospect at that exact time. Otherwise you are guessing – like throwing darts in the dark…. all misses.
I went to a conference recently and the sponsor has been hounding me ever since about his software.
Yes I did give them permission to contact me.
Yes I did take a look at the lead magnet they offered.
BUT I’m not taking their sales call. Because I’m not going to be buying…. and they could have found that out earlier in the day and so saved their sales team a lot of effort.
Who is this prospect?
Just because I attended their talk and said they could contact me…. does not mean I’ll become a customer.
First thing wrong – the lead magnet was plain vanilla – same for everyone.
Second thing wrong – the landing page was a cornucopia of articles, undifferentiated and left me with too much choice. So I read none of them. I am interested in the topic… but with a bit more care, this campaign could have been so much better.
A cheeky sales email
I replied to his third message (repeating a link to the landing page and asking to do a demo) to explain my reasons.
And so I sent him this reply.
4 Reasons your sales email failed
Here are the reasons I am not an appropriate prospect
Why I didn’t want to answer your email (It was about YOU not me)
How your subject line alerts me to the sales opportunity – and puts me off (There are better subject lines)
How copywriting can help you discover more about ME before you push ahead for a sale (Customer Journey)
Why XYZ has not yet demonstrated the correct alignment to my need (Awareness Stages)
If you want to fix a time with me, please let me know.
Cheeky, I know but sometimes you’ve gotta shout out that THIS IS WRONG ….. sales tactics from a B2B marketing expert.
I write a lot. Words, words, words. Each project is designed to fit into a particular desired outcome within a marketing strategy and tactical framework. I say that so you understand context.
Context in writing is both important and valuable – but more about that later.
My actual pen and notes for B2B copywriting
How I write marketing copy
Getting a message across using printed words (as opposed to audio, images or video) is a giant challenge. Knowing how long humans have been writing, you’d think that everything that could have been written has been. And yet…. we know that’s not true. The imagination and skill of mankind to innovate is immense.
My writing is usually business to business copywriting for marketing purposes. That’s my area of expertise. And so the steps I take begin with the outcome. What do I want to happen as a result of a prospect or client reading what I’ve written?
End goal is to click through to website
End goal is to understand how to write B2B copy
End goal is to reply with a question
These examples are all valid outcomes and each requires very different copy treatments.
The first version is always factual
What are the true, inalienable facts that support the end goal? I list these in a brain dump document. Frequently these are the result of conversations with the client, the internal team and existing customers.
Then I supplement this with some desk research. Reading ‘around the subject’ can come from many sources – newsletters, online magazines, blogs, books. Interestingly, I rarely search social media for this information. My choice – it may suit your needs. The amazing Knowledge Hunter, Geoff McDowell, taught me so much about this subject.
Adding more copy material
From the wider reading I copy/paste and add in more themes, concepts, nuance, examples, phrases and keywords. I also look out for no-nos. These are things I want to avoid.
Sometimes images, colours, layouts and other visual elements present themselves from this research too. That can be very helpful as my brain often leaps forward towards the end result WAY earlier than it’s supposed to. To avoid distraction, I save and note these ideas back in the research document. By noting them, I have preserved the idea; but I’m not focusing on them at this stage. It means I don’t lose the inspiration – I can revive that thought later just by re-reading my notes.
This all contributes to a second draft. This is when I decide the overall frame for the project and HOW does this translate into the copywriting. This could be storytelling, it could be demonstration, case study, questioning, educating. There is a lot more information added, there are more concepts and overall I just write freely incorporating the research information and framing arguments, emotions and logic into one long piece of writing.
This is the place where context comes to the fore. How will the message be delivered, what will the recipient be doing or not doing? Where in the customer journey will they be? What is the outcome or next step goal in this campaign?
Editing and refining copy
This is the part I love.
Precise and concise are watchwords which I hope any client applies to a testimonial about my business copywriting.
Taking what I wrote and simplifying, cutting, removing extraneous information and honing it down into a tight, precise and well-organised message is a repetitive task and it gives me so much pleasure. Sometimes I use a technique of adding in sub-headings (as in this blog) because it helps me to organise and find the big messages in the very long copy.
Often I leave the first opening paragraph until last because it’s so hard. Sometimes I switch the first and last paragraphs – try it!
Headlines and calls to action are a separate challenge and I may do a couple of different versions or give options and let the client choose. This is because they are mostly better-informed about their product or service than I am. Teamwork helps work out what will resonate and achieve the goal.
And then I sleep on it
Yes this is really the final step before showing it to the client, adding it to a mock-up or an EDM. This is important and is one reason why planning at the first step needs to include deadlines and allowances for sleep time.
7 things I’ve appreciated after sleeping on my work
My brain is fresher in the morning
I process ideas while resting
Better re-writes are (nearly always) possible
I can check that I haven’t missed anything out [done this MANY times – but rescued the situation before the client read it]
Reflect on alternative approaches which I earlier discarded
Opportunity to print it onto paper and read out loud
Check grammar, punctuation, capitalisations and links all working and correctly placed
And that’s it. The whole creative writing process for B2B copy.
About the picture illustrating this article.
That’s really my pen and my notebook, photographed this morning as I got a tiny bit of inspiration for a client as a result of doing some research for a different client. It’s odd the way my brain works. And I have learned to respect my brain process and to always seize the moment and make the notes when they jump into my mind. I don’t have to use them – but I’m sure I will lose them if they aren’t captured.
I do not have the neatest handwriting, yet using blue-black ink in an old-fashioned fountain pen gives me both pleasure and the chance to read my words again without guessing what I meant to write. Someday I’ll photograph some of my notes which turn out to be illegible even to me. Generally when I rush to write, legibility suffers.
The unknown part of writing inspiration
The pen also lives in a leather case. My ritual of opening the case flap and flicking back the long cover, unsheathing the pen and unscrewing its lid before writing still gives me a frisson. I never know exactly what will come out of the inky nib onto that pristine sheet of paper, onto the next empty line, or inserted between the paragraphs of print.
And the pen – a birthday gift chosen with care while on holiday. I got the nib re-surfaced by this amazing pen expert who recommended not using ink cartridges. He also explained a lot about the issues of ink/paper and my unique hand/pressure and what a converter is, not a bladder. There is a distinction between them.
So now you know my B2B writing process. What will you do with this knowledge?
One of my clients did something ill-advised and their account got flagged by MailChimp as spammer.
Goodness that’s a tough call and the restrictions placed on the account are significant.
The good news is that I succeeded in untangling the situation and restoring the account. BUT it would have been better never to have got into that situation in the first place.
And so if you’re tempted to re-use an old mailing list, don’t. Digging out old lists from a few years ago who haven’t been mailed and who haven’t had a history on your account is a big risk. If your email service provider gets a higher than normal bounce or spam reporting rate, it will be noticed. I think ISPs are very vigilant at this time.
If you do want to re-use an old list, I suggest you create a separate audience and after the first mail-out has identified unsubscribes and bounces, then later merge it into your main audience so it doesn’t contaminate your good standing.
Good mailing list hygiene
Something to do today – run through your email list and check off whether you have everything in place to enable personalisation. Correct first name, last name, company name? No capitals? Can you deduce recipients’ names from their email address e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org
Now start planning out your segmentation. Here are three easy segments for you to set up.
Focus on retention
For most direct marketing at these times, I recommend retention rather than acquisition. It’s easier to keep than acquire a new customer.
Three quick campaigns you can run
Repurchases – a suitable date after the last event
Best sellers – your top 20% of sales by product
Referrals and testimonials – ask your customer to do ONE thing for you
Untangle a spam label by Mailchimp
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https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/spam-tin.jpg376496Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2020-06-10 15:06:462020-06-10 15:06:46Overcoming a spam label by MailChimp
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpg00Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2020-03-30 15:19:442020-03-30 15:21:37How to write a good Covid-19 email
I love getting really timely direct mail messages that are relevant.
This one came just in time to help me navigate a change to podcast categories.
Let’s analyse the direct message
[Small fail here as they don’t know my name. Implies a purchased list rather than an opted in CRM database.]
In case you missed it, Apple Podcasts have changed how they categorize podcasts. In short, new categories like True Crime have been introduced, old categories have been rebranded and lots of new sub-categories dedicated to sports, comedy, TV and more have been added!
[Opening paragraph – helpful link to contextualise in case I haven’t seen the news. It’s a blog post on their website…. that’s good because it drives traffic and cookies my browser. Nice bold text for likely interesting new categories to draw my eye.]
Unfortunately, some services as SoundCloud don’t support them yet. Spreaker is a platform dedicated to podcasting and we put the podcasters’ needs first.
[Natch! a snipe at a popular competitor. I use SoundCloud for my podcast and so this is relevant to me. Could be a merge field – but not likely. I think they may have targeted me from the SoundCloud platform.]
For this reason
our podcast platform already fully supports the new Apple Podcasts categories so you can improve your show’s discoverability
Spreaker allows you to set three categories – your podcast will rank in more than one category on iTunes at the same time – and fully customize the RSS feed tags
our service enables you to earn money with your podcast thanks to the Spreaker’s Monetization Program.
[Small quibble about supplying 3 reasons and not numbering them… and referring to “this reason” when it should be “these reasons”. However, their nimble coding enabling the new categories quickly is encouraging when considering an alternative hosting platform. Hopefully they keep up the speedy work.]
If you want to start using the new Apple categories and are curious about what Spreaker could do for your podcast – why not give us a try with our FREE, no strings attached, month-long trial.
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/alesia-kazantceva-XLm6-fPwK5Q-unsplash.jpg36485472Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2019-09-04 14:39:232019-09-04 16:05:48Anatomy of effective cold direct mail
In 2014, Matt Cutts, former head of the Web Spam team at Google, wrote the following:
“Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using
guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop.”
Ever since the state of guest blogging has been debated heatedly. Indeed, guest blogs with low-quality content have truly been dead for decades.
On the other hand, high-quality blogging is an effective strategy to create backlinks, and drive traffic to your website. Even Cutts eventually published a correction, and said: “There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.)”
So, the question is, how can we create
quality guest blogs every time?
Here, we have outlined three easy and effective
strategies to create guest posts that are sure to attract links, and bring in
The Robin Hood Technique
The Robin Hood technique, as suggested by SEO Gold Coast, is a quick and effective way to write guest posts with good quality content. This technique involves recreating great content from popular blogs and offering them to platforms with a low ranking, and less credibility and traffic.
Keep in mind, however, that this does not
mean plagiarizing the content – instead, you must only take inspiration from
the blog to recreate ideas for your own post.
The following steps can be undertaken for this technique:
Ahref’s Content Explorer Tool contains one billion pages and can be used to find blogs you can write a guest post for
Enter a keyword corresponding to your chosen topic to find similar articles
Check the “one article per domain” box to find unique blogs related to your keyword
Sort the results according to Language, Shares, Domain Rating, Organic Traffic, and Number of Words to truly find a customized blog post idea
Note the importance of Domain Rating (DR)
that showcases the popularity level of a backlink, based on a scale of 1-100.
While it is tempting to only work with high
DR blogs, low DR blogs are also worth investing your time and energy in, as
they usually have a niche following and are bound to grow.
What’s more, low DR blogs usually receive fewer pitches and have less strict editorial standards – thereby making it easier to get featured or published.
Finally, you can move on to step 4:
4. Read the content of your chosen blog piece, and recreate it by adding a unique spin to it – conclude by pitching it to low or high DR blogs through email outreach
Another effective way of guest posting is by splintering or breaking existing blogs into shorter, but authoritative posts.
The point of splintering content is to dive
deep into a topic that you have already researched before, as it is easier to
recreate, revise, or rewrite.
After writing detailed individual posts, you can then pitch the pieces to online magazines and platforms that would publish it as guest posts, whilst still re-directing the reader to your original blog post – thereby creating quality backlinks.
The Perspective Technique
A small change in perspective can lead to a
completely new, and unique piece of writing.
The trick here is to use a previously written blog post and turn it into multiple guest posts by simply tweaking your overall perspective.
For instance, if your previous blog post was on the “The Future of Link Building” – you can now write on a variety of topics by changing your viewpoint, such as:
Future of link building for
Future of link building for
Future of link building for
startups, and so on
Effective Guest Posting
The techniques outlined here are a good way
to get you started. Keep in mind, however, that once you start pitching your
guest posts, you may be faced with some problems.
For instance, editors and bloggers may
routinely reject your pitch, negotiations may take months, or the link to your
article may be taken down suddenly and without prior notice.
To address this concern here is what you can do:
Focus on creating good quality
content for your blogs
Pitch to multiple blogs at the
Include links to your other
guest posts to generate more traffic
Keep exploring and writing for
new platforms and sites
In short, by following the techniques outlined above, you can defy Matt Cutt’s claim that guest posts are dead. Indeed, guest posts are thriving and can be used to generate traffic and brand awareness for your business in the long run.
Today I received a GDPR email message from a LinkedIn connection – we are 1st degree connected. But because he’s in Europe, all his written electronic mass communications are now governed by GDPR – the European Union legislation General Data Protection Regulation.
The full email is reproduced below. Here is my analysis of why it’s such a nicely composed text. If you are in B2B marketing, I recommend taking a close look and deciding if this sort of annual review of your mailing list is appropriate.
Because we pay (mostly) for our email mass communications in a monthly fee calculated on the size of our mailing list, it’s worthwhile doing a “cull” to remove people who are either not reading your messages (since Gmail introduced the tabbed viewing this has increased for my list) or those who are no longer relevant to you or vice versa. It keeps your messaging tight and focused.
6 direct mail copywriting tips
The opener explains why – in large font. The subject line is “Why did we connect in the first place?” so I was intrigued to open it.
The addressee (me) is personalised.
The four points summarise Paul’s brand offering and gives me more reason to check out his current work.
Then he justifies continuing to mail me post-GDPR (not sure I buy this – but points for trying)
He gives permission to unsubscribe and suggests reasons why I should do this.
Lastly, in the footer he reminds me to update my LinkedIn contact preferences – a very nice touch
So here’s his article in which he explains what IDK means and here’s the list management options for future communications showing my selections.
I think this is clear and totally appropriate. Get in touch if you’d like me to review your mailing list strategies.
Email list marketing permission options
The Full Email Text
Rebecca, You are receiving this email because we are 1st. grade connected on LinkedIn.
“I did not have time to write a short note” sic. Mark Twain The words appeared in a letter [JRMT] 1871 June 15, Letter from Mark Twain to James Redpath, Elmira, New York
Was it because my profile caught you attention, or was it something in my Company page which appealed to you?
All good reasons and fine with me…, as these are my reasons too.
By connecting 1st grade you signed-in = pre GDPR opt-in – when accepting the connection request.
Your connection is as valuable to me as exchanging a business card containing all contact data during a life network event. A licence to contact… by phone, fax (I still remember), mobile phone (now WhatsApp), mail … This in order to set-up a business deal, meeting (now virtual) and social event… stay in contact.
And which is more, exchange or reach out for knowledge, an introduction, bring articles, whitepapers, books – all now with e- extension – which added to our success to each other’s attention and use. Shortcutting the learning curve, avoiding pitfalls, grow faster.
It is cumbersome to maintain contact with your network (it contains the verb …work) so here is how I do it: I am a giver – the golden rule in networking: give and not expect to be given – by sharing courtesy content, summits, introductions…. Proper GDPR set-up in place to safeguard and cherish our contact.
When your interest, position, business evolves, it is okay to: * Unsubscribe * or hit the * No longer interested *, * Unspecified * , * Other * (a reason appreciated) tab. No hard feelings!
But don’t throw * Did not sign up * back at me because you did – pre- GDPR – check your linked-in connection list.
It gets worse with * Inappropriate content *: how am I supposed to know things changed when you are not telling me, your once 1st linked-in chosen contact, what changed, what your interests are today… so Update your preference.
Having said this, I rest my case with respect for your decision and the consequence that our 1st connection will be discarded.
Best Personal Regards,
Paul Van den Brande
—We Never Forget You Have A Choice —
You are receiving this email because we connected on LinkedIn.
Our mailing address is:
Noble House Group
Max Hermanlei 74a
Add us to your address book
–We Never Forget You Have A Choice! —
Your GDPR safety requires you to update your preferences
GDPR Contact Paul Van den Brande – email@example.com
Your data will never be shared without prior information.
You can change your mind at any time using the unsubscribe from this list
No hard feelings!
Consultants offer all types of services from HR placement to IT, but when compared to other businesses such as selling cars or real estate, marketing a consultancy is much harder to drum up new business. Most of the time, your potential clients are not even aware that they need your services.
You must, therefore, come up with a consistent approach to marketing if you want your business to get traction. Diligence and persistence pay off when selling services.
So, if you are new to this line of work and need clients, here are a few ideas on how to market your consulting services effectively.
1. Send Direct Mail
Direct mail is an effective marketing tool since it accurately targets the right audience. To get started, first make a list of prospective clients. Next, send them a brochure, flier, or sales letter detailing the services you offer.
However, remember to address each recipient by name both on the envelope and in the sales letter. By personalizing a sales message, you increase your chances of getting a favorable reception. In the letter, describe the benefits of your services before listing your contacts. Finally, include an attention grabber such as “limited time offer” on the envelope.
Also, make sure that you play up your area of expertise. If you have an online masters in communication management and you’re intending to become a communications consultant, make sure that your qualifications like the master in communications is front and center on any of your sales material, especially your blog.
2. Make Cold Calls
Simply put, cold calling is making calls to prospective clients who do not expect to hear from you. Although many people resent cold calls, they are still worth giving a shot, especially when you are starting out. So, expect a lot of rejections. For every prospect who says yes, hundreds may say no.
Traditional advertising, which is expensive, may be out of your reach when you first start out as a consultant. So, focus on advertising in trade magazines and journals as well as in consultant’s directories. Also, use another (mostly) free, and often overlooked, advertising tool – the Yellow Pages. Other local Marketing tips include free directory listings.
Once you install a business phone line, your business name and phone number are automatically listed in the book. You can opt to leave it at that, for, after all, it is free advertising, but to look more professional, consider paying for a larger ad. It also makes your business more conspicuous.
Newsletters are another effective way of drumming up new business. They work by presenting relevant information about your trade to prospective clients. In addition, they remind your former clients that you still exist.
A typical newsletter includes helpful tips, your opinions on a particular subject, and any news of importance to your work. Remember to include local marketing news and information – most of your early clients are likely to be in your city or region – so let them know what’s going on locally where you could meet them to say hi. Here are more local marketing tips which you can action immediately.
This is probably the easiest marketing tool at your disposal. After you complete an assignment, send clients a note to thank them for their business, and to ask for the names of associates who might be interested in your services.
Overall, a consultancy advisory business is unique because prospective clients rarely know that they need your help. To stand out in the marketplace, use as many marketing methods as possible and deliver them consistently every month.
We use our 8 Step New Business Development process and each has a category – this blog post is related to Step 4 – Profile Raising. Click the link to read more free advisory articles on how to raise the profile of your business.
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https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/4-Profile.png562494Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-04-21 12:18:032020-01-24 01:44:56How to Market Your Consulting Services Effectively