Lead Nurturing depends on great content. Not just eBooks, blog posts and webinars, but especially email content. Email is still the most effective way to promote your content, but it’s hard to get noticed in today’s overflowing inbox. However, a good email can make the difference between a 2% click rate and a 12% click rate.
The email text itself is not the only thing that matters. It also includes the ‘from’ address, the subject and the offer that you’re presenting. You really need to understand direct response marketing, but apply it to the email medium.
Unfortunately, it’s really hard to find good copywriters for email. Most copywriters focus on whitepapers and press releases, fewer copywriters are good at direct marketing, and even fewer can apply direct marketing best practices to email marketing. And some of those are exclusively B2C.
Is there really a difference between a B2C and a B2B copywriter? I think the principle for writing great emails is the same, but the tone-of-voice will be different in B2B, and it can be lot harder to understand the topic: everyone knows what car insurance is, but it can take a while to understand complex corporate insurance policies.
So good emails can make a big difference in the effectiveness of your lead nurturing program, but the people who can help you with this are hard to find. That is the reason why certain specialized B2B copywriters like Ivan Levison can charge a serious amount per email (see a recent interview with Ivan).
What is your take: are B2B email copywriters a seriously scarce resource, or is it a coincidence that I know several companies that have trouble finding someone like that?
PS. If you are a copywriter specializing in B2B email, please leave a comment or send me an email. I know several companies who are looking for someone with your skills.
PPS. If you are a B2B Marketer and currently looking for email copywriting skills, also please let me know. I may be able to match you with a copywriter who responds.
Although you have not heard of me, I have an increasingly rare skill…the ability to write copy that makes people buy.
My rates are sensible and I can turn copy around quickly.
I’m taking my website through a total makeover so use my Krop portfolio now.
Direct Response Copywriter
P.S. A testimonial…
“Unlike most copywriters, Scott has a great understanding of direct response copy. The kind that actually makes you money instead of merely filling the page with prose! That’s why we use him again and again.”
Testimonial from Andrew Wood–Legendary Marketing, Lecanto, Florida.
One of the top direct response marketers and copywriters in the U.S.
I think there’s enough difference between B2B and B2C that it’s worth specializing in one or the other.
And you’re right, some clients have complex products or services which take time to understand. For it’s only when we understand it as a copywriter that we can write the direct response copy that persuades business buyers to take an action. This is where my engineering background comes in very handy and I’m glad to have it.
I would second Karen’s comment. B2B buyers appreciate subject matter expertise. Especially the ones with complex bits and bobs.
Like you Karen, I’m an engineer and worked in the trenches for 14 years. I was also a buyer for some complex and expensive IT stuff. So, my market (B2B IT industry) knows that I understand the buying process. There is no haggling, no arguing because the demand is higher than the supply.
I think the main difference between B2C and B2B that B2C shoppers spend their own discretionary income, white B2B buyers have company budgets. And this difference alone makes the decision process somewhat different.
And I think it would be a mistake to get stuck at the “buying decisions are emotional” mantra. I think there is a bit more to it. At least at the B2B arena.
Hi, Jep. Great post; great question.
Here’s a quick thought: I think copywriters are focused on stati prose, not on dynamic/conversational prose, and that’s where they are challenged in B2B marketing. Nurturing emails have to literally be a conversation thread — picking up from where you first met someone and continuing the thread forward. Some of this can be automated — e.g., personalization, linking to the last action so there is continuity, etc. — but some of it requires really good dialogue visualization. What did we say last? How did they respond? What should we do next?
Good sales people are used to this type of role playing in sales training. Perhaps the same methods could work for marketers.
Great call-out and great dialogue this a.m.
B2B Marketing Evangelist
Great post. With so many folks proclaiming the “death of email,” it’s easy to forget it’s still a great way to create and nurture a relationship with prospects and customers.
And since you asked…
I’m a copywriter specializing in helping B2B companies with their lead generation and nurturing efforts. You can learn more about me and my services at my website, http://www.cwritingsllc.com
Thanks for offering to help marketers and copywriters find each other.
Commercial Writing Solutions
Great post, Jep.
You make a great point about how much click rates can vary.
Marketers should keep the subject line in their thoughts as they develop the entire email marketing campaign. You can’t overcome a bad subject line with good email copy. It is important that you have an enticing subject line whose promise you deliver on in the email and landing page. Good copywriting provides value and leads to the call to action.
Thanks for all the comments. There seems to be agreement that B2B is different for B2C. In B2B, multiple people are involved in the decision making process. They often have different backgrounds, so there a need for segmentation. Also – as Adam remarks – there is a conversation going on, so often you need to write many different messages that are part of a bigger conversation. And then finally, B2B products tend to more complex, as Karen mentioned.
@ Kristina: I think the ‘death of email’ is proclaimed because the typical email is so bad. Great emails will stand out :-)
Mark also makes a great point about the importance of the subject line. I’ve had copywriters submit email copy with specifying the subject line, which shows that they didn’t understand the email medium.
I also agree that there’s a big difference between B2B and B2C but that is simply a symptom of a much bigger issue: knowing your audience. That’s why B2B and B2C copy are different animals altogether. Even within the B2B space you can further segment that a bit more. I’ve worked with great copywriters that simply weren’t that good when the target audience changed. Experience within the industry and with the particular person (or ‘title’ in the case of B2B) is essential.
When looking for good copywriters I usually try to match the intended target audience w/ a writer that has proven experience in that space. Sure, a great copywriter may be able to write very well for multiple segments but if you can choose, go with the one that has done it before successfully.
Great point Daniel. Just out of curiosity: did any of those copywriters give you performance data, like clickthrough rates? Or will they mainly provide sample copy?
Jep, you have great point here with the performance data.
Most buyers select copywriters based on how much they “like” their samples. But what does exactly “like” mean?
How can the buyer judge the sample piece without understanding the principles of copywriting, without knowing the target market, the project and some other bits and bobs.
I think assessing copywriter based on sample copy is flawed.
Mind you, the copy is just a small contributor to overall success. I’ve read that it’s 40% offer, 40% list and 20% copy.
And far too many buyers muddle with the copy after they get it back from the copywriter. Not to mention the criticism from the “creative” people: Too much text. No one reads that. We need more space for our newly-developed dancing cockroaches.”
I didn’t get performance data, only actual work samples. In some cases they don’t have the data because they provided only the copy and the marketer did the blast, etc. But I see where you’re going. A good copywriter will show you results of their work. The problem is finding those who have results to share.
I know this is an old post, but I just want to throw out there that I just released a book on Amazon on Email Marketing Automation. The book was written specifically with B2B in mind and in fact it’s ranked #1 in Amazon for the keyword “B2B Email Marketing.”
The biggest highlight of my career has certainly been a email retention campaign that brought in more than $500,000 over a 7 month period.
Always looking for more clients to help. I can be reached at email@example.com