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.
Always give people the opportunity to opt-out or unsubscribe.
Deemed consent is what most B2B marketing would be using for email marketing.
[Quote from article linked above]
However, the area of ‘deemed’ consent is still an area open to interpretation in New Zealand. What was Keith’s advice on this?
There’s an overload of businesses sending unnecessary emails about the New Zealand Covid-19 alert level change.
May I suggest we simply put something on the website home page?
And telephone anyone who’s coming in for a meeting.
And maybe the team add a note to their email signatures….
Covid Alert Email – is it necessary?
The customer is SMART
Interrupting with email is not respectful of people’s time… they will probably guess what you’ll be doing because, let’s face it, compliance has been exemplary through lockdown.
Virtue signalling emails are self-serving and easy to see through. Do you really need to send that message?
Our clients and customers aren’t stupid.
One of my clients sells PPE gear – for them this email is useful – because they can communicate product stock levels and ordering information to bulk-buying customers who are probably already working on stocking up.
Be sensible, just think it through from the recipient’s point of view.
One thing to DO NOW
Update your Google Business Listing status. There’s already a Covid notification “post” option.
Good. Sorted in 10 minutes work.
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https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Alert-note.png3921200Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2020-08-12 15:23:052020-08-12 15:23:05Please NOT another covid email
I wrote down each colour hash on a post-it note and had it above my desk. Every time I was writing or designing, I manually wrote out the colour hash. My copying skills are all right – but the potential for a single digit error was high – particularly when I was in a rush.
And so I decided that a change was needed. Electronic copying rather than visual copy-typing was needed.
But again, having a document I had to find and open and copy and paste was a bore. You get the idea. Time consuming eh?
My big insight
I realised that my emailing programme was the place where I used these colour hashes most frequently.
And so I edited the newsletter template to include a segment where each and every colour and its associated hash is listed.
Creative Agency Secrets logo hex colours
The time saving design outcome
Now whenever I need to get the colour shade I want, I can copy it from the template block into the area where it’s needed. Remove the hash text and bingo!
The only thing to remember is to remove the block from the final email design before sending.
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?
Take a look at your most recent email marketing campaign and review where people clicks and how many people clicked on each link.
I found that we were getting a lot of clicks in an unexpected place and we were able to correct that in our next campaign iteration. I also recommend a chrome extension which will help you appraise your website clicks.
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Click-analysis.png4241384Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2020-05-19 16:41:092020-05-19 16:41:09Click Analysis to raise ROI
How frequently should you message your customers during the Covid-19 lockdown?
Google my Business has a new tab with Covid19 status for your business – useful to update folks if you are open or not.
And the new Facebook layout seems to have relaxed flood control for messenger.
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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 Caroe2020-04-01 09:00:422020-03-30 18:15:20Messaging frequency in Covid19
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 Caroe2020-03-26 15:30:382020-03-26 15:30:38Anatomy of a list building campaign