The Art of Writing a Sizzling B2B Lead Generation Letter

So your sales force need to bump up this month’s figures. And to do that they need more appointments which means they need a killer B2B lead generation letter.

What do you do?

In direct marketing we live and breathe “salesmanship in print”, however the approach used for a great lead generation letter is different.

It’s more about “relationship building in print”.

A great lead generation letter doesn’t sell a product or a service. Instead it flirts with the reader … arousing them just enough to want to take that next step and find out more. The selling part is then up to the salesperson.

That‘s where many lead generation letters come off the rails. Here are some of the most common mistakes writers make…

1. Not writing with the campaign objectives in mind

Quality or quantity – be clear on which one you want.

If the business is new that sells products with a long lead time and you want to build a large database of contacts, use an offer of a free white paper. You will receive up to 4 times as many leads as you would if you offered a free consultation.

Instead, if your focus is maximum sales quickly and lead times are short, offer a free consultation. Your prospects are more qualified and the consultation will secure more sales in a relatively short time period.

2. Not making it easy to respond

Give your reader a variety of response vehicles and your results will increase dramatically. Include a reply card which features fax, phone, email, mail and web details.

Feature more than one offer – white paper, demonstration CD, free consultation, “rain check” consultation, free demonstration etc.

3. Not using testimonials to establish credibility

Even though it’s best to keep B2B lead generation letters short, I usually include a separate testimonial sheet packed with testimonials (the more the better). Through testing I have found that it boosts responses because it builds more credibility with the reader.

 Use 1-2 paragraphs per testimonial
 Give each one a headline
 Feature full names, business names and locations for added credibility
 Mix up the subject matter … some about the company, product and the offer.
 Always make sure they are genuine.

4. Not including a P.S.

The P.S. is one of the most important elements in any direct mail piece yet many writers neglect to include one. When a person opens a letter they will often read the first paragraph and then if a PS is included they will read that next.

• Re-inforce the benefits of your offer and re-emphasise the urgency of the offer.
• Mention a specific benefit that someone in their industry/occupation/location might receive from the product/offer.

P.S. Frank, because you’re an accountant on the Gold Coast, I think you’ll find the information inside this White Paper is of particular interest to you. In fact, on page 23 you’ll see some information that xxxxxxxxxx. So make sure you secure a copy.

5. Insulting the reader’s intelligence

If you’re selling a high-tech product to a “tech head” the last thing you want to do is insult their intelligence by “dumbing it down” and explaining the benefits of every feature in layman’s terms. They already know it – it’s their job to know it. You’ll be seen as out of touch with the market which reflects poorly on the company’s reputation.

If, on the other hand, if you’re trying to introduce that same high-tech gizmo to the office assistant or the MD, techno-babble will probably go straight over their heads which means you’ve lost.

Know your product. Know the knowledge levels of the influencer, the information gatherer and the decision maker and tailor your copy to suit.

6. Not personalizing the message

You already know that the more tailored your message is, the more responses your letter will generate. This statement rings even more true when it comes to writing B2B lead generation letters.

•  “If you’re like most web designers I speak with you …..”
• “I was browsing the web yesterday and I stumbled across your website. What I saw (be specific) was so impressive I felt compelled to write to you. Since your company looks like it prides itself on xxxxxxx I thought this might be of interest.”
• “Accountants … introducing a xxxxxxxxx”

7. Including a gimmick just for the sake of it

With the right execution gimmicks are great for achieving cut-through. With the wrong approach, it can make your company look a little “cheesy”.

Always ensure that there is “tie-in” between the gimmick and the “big idea” of the campaign.

What problem does your product solve?

What needs does it fulfill?

Then – what gimmick is a great metaphor for that solution or benefit? What device involves the reader in your message and creates the right emotional reaction?

8. Not recognising that 80% of sales are made after the 5th contact.

If a prospect doesn’t respond to your letter straight away, that doesn’t mean they won’t. Get on the phone and follow-up a couple of days later and you’ll find your response rate doubles. If they’re still not interested, send out a series of drip-feed follow-up letters and your response rate will double again over the next few months.

It might be a relevant newspaper clipping with a comps slip attached followed next month by another letter with a bunch of success stories and testimonials attached, then a letter offering a white paper.

At the end of the day, the most important thing you can do to maximise your responses is to write what you think is a great lead generation letter, establish it as the control and test it. Test various offers, test appeals, test industry-specific vs general business, test timing, test copy and so on.  Keep testing (one thing at a time) and over time you will be producing maximum bang for your marketing buck.

About Kristina Mills:
Kristina Mills is a highly regarded direct response copywriter, marketing strategist, entrepreneur and success strategist having worked with and produced great results for some of Australia's most inspirational entrepreneurs, speakers, event companies, professional services firms, property companies, and internet entrepreneurs. She is the author of Invisible Genius Vol1 and 2, Freelance Copywriting Fast Track Course, Direct Mail Mastery, Web Copy Mastery, Invisible Genius Vol.1 and 2, Mortgage Broker Letters that Sell, Real Estate Letters that Sell, How to Create a Sales Explosion With Every Ad and Letter Your Write. To find out more about how Kristina can help you live your potential, arrange a free 15 minute phone chat.

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