Planning a wedding and making a B2B purchase are pretty similar... If you are writing business to business copy, or running a B2B company that needs copy, there is one important thing you need to know. A B2B sale takes longer. There are more factors at play, the customer has to consider a lot of factors other than his or her personal preference, and the marketing pieces that you write need to address the needs of the customers at all the different points in the sales cycle. For example, at the beginning of a sales cycle some customers may not even know that they need to buy something. They are only vaguely aware that they are dealing with a problem. That is why at the beginning of a sales cycle, when you are generating leads, a problem/solution piece can be helpful. Then in the middle of the sales cycle, customers are looking for a solution and know that they will have to make a purchase, but they are in major info gathering mode and they want to compare their options. That is why a numbered list is a good choice to attract people at this stage. The numbered list can show features to look for, or must-have qualities, or outdated trends to avoid. Finally, there are people that are ready to buy right away. And the thing to understand about customers at the very bottom of the sales funnel is that they do not want to waste money or time or make a costly mistake by buying something that will not fit or will not meet their needs. I went through this whole process while buying a wedding dress As you may know, I am engaged to be married to Seth Sanchez on October 22. (Visit www.sethandmandy.com). I started out my dress buying journey gathering up my friends and discussing ideas like the fact that it is a fall wedding and would they like to have a nice outing with me to Albuquerque to check out dresses. (That is roughly the first step... although the first step is the least applicable in this example). My biggest problem is that I am short and curvy and 41 and the models that are in the photos of wedding dresses are like six feet tall and 17 years old and so it's hard to tell what will look good on me. My friends had some theories and started texting me pictures. Which led us to step #2, comparison shopping. Next, we started sending pictures to each other and comparing dresses and looking at what different stores had to offer. This is definitely a fun place to be. But the thing is, it's not very helpful until you get to the next step where you start talking about the specifics. In B2B it could be the specs of the project and measurements and budget.
In the case of buying wedding dresses, it was measurements and budget. You see, when you go into a store (in my opinion) they ask the wrong question. They ask whether you have "inspiration photos" and they want to know what your style was. The first place we went we looked through the dresses and chose all of them that were pretty and that we liked. But we hadn't talked about the measurements and so the woman who worked there brought me several dresses that were too small. And that's where the Bridezilla came out... because there is nothing more frustrating than trying on a gorgeous $2,000 dress and not being able to zip it up!
Anyway, I was mature about it and did not have a fit. But I did not buy anything.
Then, last week, I entered the third phase, where I was ready to buy NOW.
The week before, I sold something and therefore had a significant wad of cash in my purse. Enough cash that I could designate it to be "my wedding dress budget."
I went into the store, and I did not want to have a repeat of the last shopping trip. I told them my size and measurements and asked them to show me all the dresses that would fit me now.
They brought me five or six dresses and I chose my favorite. There was another one that I liked, but it showed too much cleavage. They overcame that objection by saying they could sew in some silk to cover that part.
While I was in the dressing room, I saw two little girls' dresses that looked like they would fit my daughters. I bought those too. And a veil, and some hair jewelry.
When all was said and done, it looked like I was playing a game of monopoly as I happily handed over all of my money.
If you want to make the sale, your marketing materials need to be useful for people at every stage of the buying process.
If you would like a consultation where I analyze what you are doing and make suggestions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set something up.