Do you want to know a sure-fire way to grab the attention of a prospect or reader?
I just demonstrated it: ask a question.
Not just any question − a laser-sharp question that when posed to your audience arouses curiosity, promises a benefit, frames a problem, or taps into an emotion. This is a powerful device in B2B copywriting.
Where might you ask questions? Wherever it helps to keep your audience reading. Tip: Questions make excellent teasers and headlines.
A few examples:
Do you make these mistakes in English? (Classic ad headline by Max Sackheim)
Do you know where your kids are online? (Story headline at startribune.com)
How much money could you save on your next golf course project? (Web page headline by yours truly)
In B2B copywriting, it’s smart to write like you talk. This will do amazing things for you.
One, it’s much easier and faster to write a draft. Just write what you would say. Then organize and polish the results.
Two, your copy will have a conversational tone that will make it more readable, enjoyable and persuasive.
Try it and see.
No, these “sins” aren’t new. However, they’re very easy to commit when lost in the vast fog of media choices and marketing tactics. Be forewarned.
Deadly Sin #1: Not attracting attention.
If you don’t attract attention with a compelling headline or opening of some kind, it doesn’t matter what follows. As David Ogilvy famously said, “If you haven’t done some selling in your headline, you have wasted 80 percent of your client’s money.” Work diligently on headlines and don’t try too hard to be clever.
Deadly Sin #2: Not identifying an audience need, concern, or problem.
In journalism parlance, this is called the hook. This is what tells your audience you understand them and sets up how you can help them.
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