B2C Talk

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Still talking about the difference between copywriting for business to business advertising (B2B) and business to consumer advertising (B2C).

Given the growth in B2B, and the fact that I came off sounding reasonably intelligent, I thought I should reprint the interview here on my blog.


What is one of the key differences between B2B and consumer writing?

Business buyers often aren’t spending their own money. That’s good and bad. Good because they’re more open to big-ticket purchases. Bad because they usually have to get approval from others. In fact, you must sometimes talk to many layers of a company before making a sale – decision makers, buyers, and end users. All of which means you have to provide more purchase justification than you do for consumers.

Two other challenges also face the B2B marketer:

First, the buying process is often complicated, following a formal, rigid pattern of bids, budgets, bargaining, and analysis.

Second, you often have to get past a ruthless mail room or secretary before your message reaches your prospect.

However, these differences too often overshadow the similarities. Remember, business buyers are people with the same basic problems, fears, feelings, and dreams as everyone else. They just have those problems, fears, feelings, and dreams at work instead of at home. So while your products may be less sexy than in consumer marketing, you must never separate the sizzle from the steak.

When writing B2B copy, do you want to try to individualize the copy or make it appeal to a group of people?

I always try to target my message to one person. If I have to talk to more than one person, the ideal answer is to send more than one message. The broader you make any individual message, the more diluted it becomes.

Instead of one big brochure that tries to speak to three levels simultaneously, why not three smaller brochures, each clearly targeted? Or you can mail the same basic package to different people with versioned letters. Or if multi-level approval is essential and you’re on a budget, turn your one-step into a two-step and provide targeted information for each level as a follow up. There are lots of ways to do this without delivering watered down copy.

And frankly, it’s not the multi-level appeal that cause problems in the typical B2B mailing, but a client who wants to say everything about everything instead of focusing on the problem at hand.

If you want to sell a widget, sell a widget. If you want to position your company, position your company. But don’t try to meet all your marketing objectives in one big campaign.

And speaking of positioning, the best way to establish an “image” for your company is to make sales and put your products into people’s hands. That’s an image that lasts.

What kind of copy motivates a business person to buy?

That’s easy. Copy that has something to say.

Most writers approach a direct mail package or ad or whatever as a word problem. They focus on form over content. But WHAT you say is more important than HOW you say it. Clumsy copy with a powerful message can easily outperform carefully crafted verbiage that says nothing. Of course, it’s best to have both.

The key to having something to say is research. I routinely spend half of every project gathering information. I use the product. Talk to the manufacturer. Read background information. Search the Internet. Analyze test results. By the time I get to writing, I usually know what I want to say and the copy seems to write itself.

Should B2B copy be long or short?

Everyone gets so hung up on this long copy or short copy thing. But the question should be, “How much information does my prospect need to make a decision?” For lead generation, that usually means shorter copy. For direct sales, it usually means longer copy. But each case has to be dealt with individually.

It depends on how familiar a prospect is with your company, product, or category. The price level. The difficulty of switching from product A to product B. And so on.

Instead of saying write long or short, I would prefer to say, “Write clearly and concisely. Provide enough information to make a decision. Then shut up.” The only thing worse than short copy that doesn’t sell is long copy that rambles on and on and puts people to sleep. You can’t bore people into buying.

I know that each element of direct mail has its own role in consumer marketing. Do the elements play the same roles in B2B packages?

Absolutely. Divide and conquer. Here are a few of the basics …

Envelope – There is no law that says you are required to cover your envelope with clever copy to impress a client. You should not expect an envelope to position your product. You should not use it to show off your design skills. Its job is not to entertain or amuse. Aside from holding together the contents until delivered, an envelope has only one job: to get opened.

Letter – Your letter is a sales pitch, meant to be read generally in sequence from beginning to end. It should make a personal, emotional connection. And it should make a promise and ask for the order.

Brochure – Your brochure is factual support for the letter, meant to be scanned or read in any order. It is less personal. It should illustrate features, list benefits, provide proofs, make comparisons, and list technical details to lend credibility to what your letter claims. In B2B it’s often a “keeper,” so it has to be complete.

Order Form or Reply Form – Direct Marketing guru Bob Stone called the order form the “moment of truth.” Its job is not to persuade, but to make response easy and quick. It’s a facilitator meant to keep the action going and not get in the way. Along with order forms, you can include reply cards and reply envelopes in this category, whose job is also to aid response.

Guarantee – A solid guarantee is tangible proof that you’re reputable, and it helps to lower the perceived risk your prospects feel when considering your offer and almost always boosts your response rate.

Testimonials – People expect you to say wonderful things about your product, service, or cause. But when they hear other people saying wonderful things, that’s when they really start believing you. Testimonials support your claims and build confidence. Plus they engage the “bandwagon” effect. All of us look to others to help us decide how to act, to guide our behavior, and to determine whether something is right or wrong. The more people doing it, the more correct it seems.

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Starting up a new business can be easier of proper steps are followed; there are different businesses that can yield high profits with minimum risks associated. Always it is best to consult with the people who are already associated with a business.Assuming the scopes and the risks related to a particular business must be estimated before starting a business. It is prudent to remember that the role of the businessman is to make a business that yields profits consistently. A critical analysis while framing idea for a Small business coaching solutions can help to identify the average profits and losses of a business.

There are many websites that help to know the basics of initiating a small business venture and a quick look into the site can be quite handy. Web based small business ventures are highly lucrative in this era of electronic commerce. There remain different case studies and stories which clearly explains how the small business owners beat the odds. The following tips can be of immense use while starting up a business:

” Ideas for small businesses can be found from almost any skill or industry knowledge which can be turned into marketable new products or services ” Seeking suggestions of the small business owners/entrepreneurs helps a lot ” While doing web based research top get proper tip of starting a small business, it is advisable to gather the important keywords ” Deciding the mode of business (for example: Web based, B2B/B2C etc.) is really important ” The promotional process and marketing communication strategy is required for making a small business popular ” Reviewing each and every step of the business process can be an added advantage ” An MBA degree can help to have better business ideas but it is not mandatory, business sense and relevant experience usually can be of more value ” Hard work and dedication and a keen urge to have better revenue truly helps Working together can help in accomplishment of business goals

Knowledge of accelerating business growth is really an essential thing and there are different online articles that help. There are various online consultations available as well. There also remain toll free contact number of the customer care executive and by punching the numbers with ease further information can be found. Many statistics suggests that new business fails due to lack of experience and improper market analysis. It is worth mentioning that while starting up a business, knowledge about the entire product cycle is indeed helpful.

All sorts of businesses involve risk and while devising ideas for small business, the fact must be considered. Ideas for small business can be found from the different old spin off businesses but the requirement of the business in the market must be analyzed before making the investment. Proper knowledge accumulation and effective suggestion from experienced people really helps while starting a new small scale business. After starting a business, it is best to consider that there may be initial hic ups and instead of being rattled, it is necessary to wait and watch how a small business venture works remaining adherent to the crisis management parameters.

Internet is the best biding platform and you can come across best deals on Internet. The sale and purchase of goods via internet is called e-commerce. It has various aspects like B2B, B2C, B2G, internet marketing, supply chain management or online transaction processing attached to it.

The e-commerce is no new aspect of selling and purchase of goods online but has reached to new pinnacles in recent few years. This boost in the e-commerce is due to the heavy penetration of Internet and its impact in our daily lives. It has reached to new horizons and according to one analysis the e-commerce or online sales has surpassed a remarkable 25% scale. With all this success at hand the main question that is constantly taunting the marketers is : What lies in future? What lies ahead in the roadmap for e-commerce?

As driven by technology the people will look for more of the digitalization and broadband will get further boom. With coming years all aspect of e-commerce will see radical changes in their profiles and spheres. As per estimations it is concluded that five years in the row and m-commerce will boom making the use of e-commerce platform. The devices like PDAs or mobile phones will see the innovations of high technology integrated in them and m-commerce will see an astronomic upshot. The coming era will see the advent of convergence in basic devices that will help e-commerce to create new horizons for it.

The B2B sector will face the changes at strategic level and ERP will get more promotion. The technical nuts and grits will be same more or less but with XML technologies in the picture the need to assemble the disparate systems will be on the minds of all concerned business houses. The e-commerce will see promotion by Government also and the projects like e-governance will be no new to the common people. They will get better acceptance and will also suit to the citizen’s needs. It shows that B2G will also be promoted and the platforms where citizens will not only be able to fill forms but also to make payments will see the shores.

The last but not the least �” peer to peer activities will also see an upward mobility. The services like ebay or file sharing will be seeing developments and may evolve to provide services rather than just products.

At the concluding note one thing can be said that the speculations can be endless but one thing for sure that e-commerce will see peculiar advancements. It will touch the new horizons and all types of e-commerce modes will exploit the best of technology to deliver best services to the consumers and users.

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Do you love shopping? Whether it’s for Christmas or for a birthday, or simply window shopping, shopping is always fun and enjoyable, even though you may not buy anything. Every now and again, a bag, a dress or something that you have seen just won’t leave your mind. You’re too busy to get back to that shop, it just isn’t convenient and that is where our technology comes in. Our business can help you. With the World Wide Web, the internet has become a friend which can bring the world to you.

Online shopping was born in 1990 and is growing stronger day by day. It is known by many names; e-commerce, e-store, webstore or simply online store, online shopping has entered our lives with a vengeance. It represents the shop or company online and brings those products directly to us with full descriptions and visuals. You can shop without leaving home.

Today, a considerable number have access to the internet and most have a credit card. This is in order to help us prevent internet fraud, but also categorises people who are genuine buyers. In the early 1990’s, our shopper’s were mainly in the educated, higher classes who had access to the net. Today, those barriers are down and everyone has some level of computer knowledge and savvy, meaning that online shopping is available to all.

The introduction of up to date technology of Secure Pay, PayPal, Moneybookers and Internet Banking, everyone is able to buy goods through a secure gateway. For those who are still doubtful about the security aspects of credit online, banks are now providing cards for single transactions. Customers can now keep their original account numbers private, which further increases security.

The technology behind the online shopping varies depending on the type of business and the type of technology used by the company. Some may use Business-to-Business (B2B) and some may use Business to Customer (B2C) type of technology. Today; most of the online stores are using B2C type of technology where the products and services and their description are given on their website, or an online catalogue.

Apart from getting various product descriptions and company information, the users are able to compare the prices from one product to another product, which are all available online. With a good understanding of the product features, and the price comparison, the users can grab the best offer within their budget.

Finally, online users are able to ensure that the online shop will provide security and privacy and that their transaction is secure.