In B2B, Shamelessly Market the Fulfillment

To market B2B products or services that are high ticket, complex, or simply take several steps to sell, providing more information — fulfillment — is the first critical step in the sales cycle.

As a result, the fulfillment becomes the offer.

Make the fulfillment a kit, a guide, a video, a brochure, a packet, a report, a white paper, a landing page. Give it an engaging name that promises a benefit or piques interest. Detail what’s included and how it will benefit the recipient.

Of course, this approach means your fulfillment must deliver on its promise. Your fulfillment needs to sparkle, inform and inspire further action. If it disappoints, valuable leads will slip through your fingers.


Shackleton Ad Has Virtuous Appeal

I saw this in Ivan Levison’s monthly e-newsletter, The Levison Letter. It’s a small ad that was placed by explorer Ernest Shackleton prior to his epic journey to Antarctica.

Men wanted for Hazardous Journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success — Ernest Shackleton

This small ad pulled like a freight train.

“It seemed as though all the men in Great Britain were determined to accompany me the response was so overwhelming,” Shackleton later wrote.

It’s 2008, not the early 1900s. Still, Ivan points out that small, well-executed ads continue to perform well for lead generation.

Ivan Levison is a top direct-response copywriter. You can sign up for his free e-newsletter at

Be Provocative

Be provocative and cut through the massive clutter and “me too” marketing. Get people thinking, feeling, reacting. I’m not advocating anything inappropriate. Good taste should prevail.

Here’s what marketing legend Ted Nicholas wrote in his e-book, 87 Marketing Secrets of the Written Word:

If copy doesn’t bother or offend someone it usually doesn’t work! When getting feedback on new copy from colleagues, advertising media and prospects, if everyone likes it, watch out! Nearly every time I write a breakthrough ad or sales letter, it pulls orders and bothers someone. Reason? Great copy gets attention by being provocative. And interrupting usual thinking habits.

Let’s face it, “safe” is usually boring and unmemorable. Instead, try to interrupt usual thinking habits and pump some new life into your marketing.

Renegade Adjectives

“Step aside and let us handle this sale.”
–a roving band of adjectives

Too many adjectives can drain the selling power out of your copy. They may look and sound good, but get them in a group and they’re likely to turn your copy into vain blather.

If you let them, adjectives will crowd into your sentences like it’s the New York subway during rush hour. Your nouns and verbs will have to work harder than they should. Your copy will plod along. Readers will lose interest.

Don’t let this happen! Choose your adjectives carefully and in limited quantities. Edit ruthlessly. Use the delete key. Your marketing and sales depend on it.

Magic Marketing Words

I’ve seen the word lists of copywriting legends and others. Now I’ve started my own word list below. My word list is not comprehensive, but is offered to help you think about words that have special marketing and selling power.

These words can be effective for B2B or B2C.


Continue reading “Magic Marketing Words”

The Power of First Person

If handled correctly, first person has an authenticity and power that’s often absent in today’s hyped-up communications.

Here’s the opening of a fundraising letter I wrote this week. The signer will be a grad school alum, and I strived to keep the message straightforward and dignified, which was how she struck me in the telephone interview:

This year marks my 50th anniversary as a graduate of the (prestigious university). The master’s degree I earned in 1958 launched my career as a junior high school counselor in the city schools, where I remained for 23 years until my retirement. My graduate degree had a lasting impact on me and those I counseled.

I have made a financial gift to the school each of the last 50 years. When asked why I am such a loyal supporter, I say I simply feel it is my place to give back …

And a paragraph later, the ask …

I ask that you please join me by making your next gift today.

I love first person. You transmit the thoughts and feelings of a real person as honestly as you can, with the right amount of persuasion thrown in.

Try it in B2B copywriting, blog posts, fundraising and other communications. It works.

5 Tips for Breezing Through a First Draft

“Writing is a hellish task, best snuck up on, whacked on the head, robbed and left for dead.”
–Ann-Marie MacDonald, author, The Way the Crow Flies

Can’t write? Intimidated? Scared out of your wits? Facing a first draft can produce a cold sweat.

Do as Ann-Marie MacDonald says: sneak up on the task. Here are five tips on what to do when the words won’t come.

1. Write “notes.”
This is a way to trick your brain into writing. You’re not writing the real stuff, just writing down a bunch of notes about your subject for the ad, Web page, or article. And with a little work those notes can be crafted into copy.

2. Create an outline.

Get organized: Make a list, bullet points, or an outline. This gets you into the writing process.

Continue reading “5 Tips for Breezing Through a First Draft”