When generating high-quality B-to-B (business-to-business) leads, your goal is to get people to raise their hand and say they are interested in your product or service. You do this by offering prospects information, a premium, or other incentive to respond.
Consequently, many companies spend thousands of dollars creating glossy four-color or dimensional mailers in an attempt to get the attention of prospects – and then wonder why response is so poor. And yet, the secret to increasing B-to-B response is so simple, many people can’t accept it. What is the secret?
A “plain” #10 business letter.
“Nah! A plain #10 business letter to maximize B-to-B lead generation?” “You’re kidding, right?” “Everyone knows creative is king.” “Not so,” says expert B-to-B direct marketer Liz Taylor of Liz Taylor Marketing. “Testing has consistently proven a one-page business letter with a compelling offer out-performs a glossy self-mailer by 100%.”
One reason one-page letters are so effective is because they appeal to the target audience. Says Taylor, “Think about it. If you’re selling high-end products with long sales-cycles and/or multiple decision makers, your audience is most likely decision makers or people in management who are strapped for time. You have seconds to tell them what they need to know. A one-page letter respects their time and their intelligence.”
One page letters also reduce financial risk for marketers. For example, testing is the heart of the direct mail process. Without it, marketers have no idea if another offer, a different list, or a slight copy change will generate better response. One-page letters allow B-to-B marketers a fast and cost-effective way to test these components. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand testing various versions of a four-color mailer can be cost-prohibitive.
Bob Derr, director, Industry Marketing for Microsoft Business Solutions, concurs. “We always strive to make our budget work as hard as possible. Creative executions simply consumed too much budget and time and were never able to beat our control package (standard business letter). Even with increased budget, we stick to the business letter control because it is a consistent winner.”
This is not to say creative isn’t important. Indeed, it takes a great deal of creativity and excellent writing skills to say what you need to say in one page. And, creative is especially important for follow-up response. Once you’ve qualified your B-to-B leads, then you send them the snazzy dimensional mailing or glossy four-color brochure. You’ll not only save money, you’ll also know you’re sending the right information to the right prospect.
Keep your audience in mind.
The most effective letters offer prospects information, a CD, or other high-value premium and they allow prospects to respond – instantly. When writing direct response letters, keep in mind the following:
- Don’t entertain your reader. Keep your letter short and to the point. Your reader wants to clear through her mail fast.
- Keep response forms simple. Make it easy for your reader to respond by asking only a few questions. Allow various methods of response including fax, postal mail, online, or a toll-free number.
- Don’t include a brochure. Testing has shown that anytime anything is added to a business letter mailing, response goes down.
- Keep the envelope professional looking. A “live” stamp or indicia and a laser printed address (versus a label) can improve response.
- Use envelope teaser copy with care. Teaser copy, while effective for consumer marketing, can work against the B-to-B marketer as it says to the reader, “Throw me away.”
- Use simple language. Use compelling, easy-to-understand language to spell out your offer and its benefits.
If you’re interested in learning more about how a one-page letter can improve response for your next B-to-B lead generation campaign, contact Invenio today. We’ll help you achieve outstanding results.