Email is still one of the most powerful and cost-efficient marketing tools you have in your arsenal. However, it is also a challenging one – especially in the B2B world. Honestly now, decision makers in large companies have their inbox flooded every day with hundreds of emails. Some of them are work related, but most of them are newsletters, proposals of business, offers, sales, etc. And they have a common fate – they go straight to the Trash folder.
This is not meant to discourage you from honing your copywriting skills – on the contrary, you should find ways to craft messages that don’t read like all the other promotional messages. Let’s be fair – buyers, logistics managers and financial directors are not waging a war against sales emails. They need trusted suppliers and high quality products and services for their companies. They just don’t have the time to read boring, badly worded and overly aggressive sales letters.
So, how should you write to keep your B2B email recipients interested and willing to follow your CTA ‘call to action’? Here are some actionable tips:
- Don’t Be Overly Familiar in the Salutation Line (but Don’t Sound Like a Corporate Robot Either)
One rule about salutation lines is that you make them personal and sound friendly. But there are degrees and degrees of friendliness. You are addressing someone whose trust you want to win, not your best buddy. So the salutation line: “Good morning, Jake! How’s your day shaping today?” will probably not make the kind of impression you were expecting.
At the same time, do not start with a cold “Dear Mr. Jones”, which reeks of corporate jargon. “Dear Jake Jones, here is your personalised news digest for today” manages to be both friendly and respectful and actually make your reader willing to keep reading.
- Be Brief and to the Point
Time is very valuable to decision makers in companies. They have every minute judiciously planned out, and they allot a specific time frame to reading their emails. You are lucky to get five minutes of their time – so make the most of if with crisp, clear and concise writing.
Avoid repetitions, filler words (“for that matter”, “in other words”, “to be honest”) and make your text easily scannable. Break it into paragraphs, use bullet points and sub-titles, and make sure that your formatted text is easily readable both on a computer and a mobile phone.
- Do Not Be Presumptuous
Marketers always make assumptions about the needs, likes, interests and problems of their prospects. But there is a fine line between being assumptive and being presumptuous, and you should never cross it.
Let us examine the following statements: “As a busy entrepreneur you would certainly appreciate a tool which helps you delegate tasks quickly and efficiently” and “If you are a manager, then you definitely need X software suite, the most advance collaboration tool from Y company.” The first statement makes a safe assumption, the second one is patronizing to the extreme.
- Make the Key Message Crystal Clear
“Why should I read this? What do I get out of it?” These are key questions which you should ask yourself when reviewing your copy. Is the main topic obvious, included in the first paragraph of the email? Is it expressed in an emphatic manner, which creates interest and maintains it? Does the CTA tie in properly with it?
Many brilliantly written B2B emails fail in this core aspect: their message, their unique selling proposition, is buried in a sea of verbosity and secondary topics.
- Personalise, Personalise, Personalise
You do not write for B2B people as a uniform mass. You write for a company buyer, for a general manager, for a logistics specialist, and so on. Each of these people needs to be addressed in a specific way, targeted with specific benefits. Financial directors appreciate ways in which they can save company money. Logistics and warehouse managers want solutions for smooth and seamless shipping and storage operations.
Last, but not least, do not forget to proofread your copy. A single typo or grammar mistake will ruin your credibility and your message will never get through.