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When It Pays To Be A Sadistic Marketer

One technique B2B Copywriters can use is sadism. No, I’m not talking about inflicting physical pain on your prospects (though if you’re like some of my customers, the thought has probably crossed your mind). I’m talking about identifying a problem you know that all prospects in your space suffer from, then writing a lead generation piece that gets a “painfully” high response. Here’s what I mean…

Most B2B copywriting headlines are what I call “benefit headlines.” They trumpet the main benefit your product or service provides once the prospect owns it. Not a thing wrong with that – it’s a safe strategy that produces consistent results.

But if you market your product in a very mature market that has seen a lot of near-outlandish claims over the years, you may have to resort to a little stronger headline technique. One that rises above the noise level, stops the B2B prospect in his tracks, and compels him to read your ad.

Headlines Copywriting

Aggravating Your Prospect For Fun & Profit

If the prospects who will be reading your ad have “heard it all before,” your benefit may not resonate with your prospect.

For instance, take UML and software design tools. Those products have been around for nearly 10 years – the equivalent of a century on internet time. The fact that you can draw UML and have the tool produce Java code for you in real time was a great benefit back in 2001. Today, it’s a ho-hummer. Every UML tool in that space can do the same thing, so a benefit headline would probably fall on deaf ears.

So if you market one of these tools, should you declare “game over” and fold your tents? Not at all.

Instead of leading with your benefit, lead with the biggest pain the prospect is feeling at the time. A pain that causes your prospect a lot of inconvenience or job dissatisfaction. Find the biggest pain and you’ll often find the dominant buying emotion you need to lead with in your B2B sales letters.

Once you’ve honed in on the prospect’s dominant buying emotion, you have to put it into words. This is where it pays to have empathy. As a B2B copywriter, you may have never held the same job title as the people you’re writing to, but you still need be able to feel the pain they feel. And use the words they would use to communicate their business problems and frustrations.

The Secret of the Dominant Buying Emotion

But there is a secret that in B2B copywriting that most writers overlook. In addition to writing a headline & lead based on a dominant emotion, you have to communicate the implications of that problem going unsolved. In the B2B copywriting world, we call this a Critical Business Issue or CBI.

Going back to our software design tool example: software development managers are under constant pressure to meet deadlines they feel are unreasonable. But nowadays, their companies are giving them more development work while allowing them fewer programmers to help get it done.

If this problem goes unresolved, the architect will have a backlog of work so big that he’ll stress himself beyond his capacity. His boss will start wondering if he’s doing his job because he’s just not getting the work done fast enough.

Since I feel their pain, I might write a promo with a headline & lead like this…

Attention Development Managers: Ever heard your boss say…

“You Have To Do More With Less. And Do It Faster!

If you’re under the gun to write more internal apps with fewer programmers to do it with, you’re not alone. CFOs are slashing IT budgets down to the bone these days. Yet they continue to shovel more and more work on your plate…so much that you barely have time to take a full lunch hour.

That’s why the busiest software development managers are turning to XYZ Corporation’s Object Modeling Gizmo Tool. It makes short work out of the hairiest Java integration problems your boss can throw at you.

Use the dominant emotion headline properly and you’ll propel your response rate through the roof. But you have to do it in a proper way. Remember, you’re writing B2B marketing copy. You can’t write a sensationalist headline like those you’d write for a biz-opp or an alternative health supplement.

But if you craft your marketing piece in a way that triggers the dominant buying emotion in a proper way, the dividends will be great. And remember the section: the critical business issues. They resonate well with B2B buyers who have problems your product can solve.

So go ahead. Be sadistic! Once you have a good feel for the implications of that problem going unsolved, inflame it to the point where your prospects can’t help but give you the response you want.

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