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A few years ago, “cold” prospecting consisted of visiting potential prospects without a prior appointment to present products or services.
This field prospecting was carried out by technical sales representatives who crisscrossed their area in search of new business opportunities.
The disadvantage of this in situ approach was that it was costly and time-consuming. Still, it enabled sales reps to engage in direct conversation with their prospects, creating the initial contacts essential to any prospect of closing.
But the arrival of digital prospecting in the 2010s, followed by campaign automation around 2014-2015, has completely changed the rules of the game.
And while it’s now easy to automatically send hundreds of messages to targeted prospects, it’s much harder to open up a conversation from a distance.
And if you’re in the business of prospecting, you’ve probably experienced that creating impactful messages that help you achieve your business objectives requires a certain amount of mastery.
Yet writing good prospecting messages isn’t that complicated, as long as you follow a rigorous and organized methodological process.
And that’s exactly what we’re going to look at in this article.
What is copywriting in prospecting?
It’s often said that copywriting is “the art of selling with words“.
But this definition is too often taken literally when it comes to prospecting.
Literally applied, it means writing and sending sales pitches to prospects in the hope of triggering a direct closing.
Unfortunately, in reality, this approach doesn’t work because at this stage, the leads we’re soliciting aren’t yet ripe for closing.
And yet, most prospecting messages sent out resemble sales pitches.
Example of a sales pitch message:
What B2B prospecting copywriting really is:
So if good prospecting copywriting isn’t about writing a sales pitch, what is it?
In digital prospecting, copywriting is about writing personalized, contextualized messages that generate engagement with targeted prospects.
Good prospecting copywriting therefore relies on a suitable framework including :
- A relevant Icebreaker
- Clear, concise development
- An impactful call to action
Correctly articulated, these 4 pillars will enable you to deliver prospecting messages that generate business opportunities.
Why copywriting is an essential component of B2B prospecting
Copywriting is a serious matter
In 2023, competition in the B2B ecosystem is increasingly intense, and automated digital prospecting has become a commodity for companies seeking new customers.
This competition leads to over-solicitation of prospects, generating numerous reactions of rejection and annoyance.
Among the most common returns are the following:
- Untargeted message / Off-topic value proposition
- Generic and impersonal message
- Message too promotional
- Stale arguments / without impact
In short, good copywriting can make all the difference, but bad copywriting can quickly discredit you. So it’s best to treat the subject seriously and methodically.
Some good reasons to take your prospecting copywriting seriously:
1. Getting the right message across
As the old saying goes: “What is well conceived is clearly stated, and the words to say it come easily”.
Many of the prospecting messages we send out aren’t clear enough and don’t allow recipients to appreciate their relevance.
By learning how to structure your prospecting messages effectively, you’ll give your prospects more opportunities to understand.
2. Get more responses
One of the main frustrations of digital prospecting is the lack of response to messages sent. By writing messages that hit the nail on the head, you’ll get more responses from your prospects.
3. Get ahead of your competitors
85% of prospecting sequences sent are poorly written. By understanding how to write impactful messages, you’ll stand out from your competitors.
How to implement the right copywriting approach
To write good prospecting copywriting, you need to make sure you have :
- A clear and precise prospecting objective
- Well-defined targets
- Contextualized information about your prospects
- A suitable editorial framework
- An optimized automated prospecting tool
One of the most common mistakes in prospecting is failing to define a clear objective.
By setting a single, precise objective, you can structure the content of your message sequence to ensure that your message is understood.
List of the most common prospecting objectives:
Once your objective is well defined, you need to ask yourself which of your target companies is the best target to contact first.
Because if 90% of campaigns focus solely on making direct contact with decision-makers, this isn’t always the best strategy to adopt.
Here are the 3 main approaches to targeting:
DDM targeting (Direct to Decision Makers)
This involves contacting the decision-makers of your target companies directly, to detect their interest in your solution.
This approach can be highly relevant if you’re targeting solopreneurs, freelancers, and small businesses in which the final decision-maker controls all purchasing phases.
Bottom Up targeting (Prescriber profile -> N 1)
This involves contacting intermediary profiles within your target companies who can act as prescribers of your solution to the final decision-makers.
This approach is particularly suitable if you’re targeting large companies, where decision-makers are difficult to reach or don’t manage the intermediate purchasing phases.
Top-to-bottom targeting (N 1 -> Collaborator N-)
This is the opposite strategy to the Bottom-Up approach. It involves contacting the N 1 profiles of the employees you really want to reach. They’ll be more likely to put you in touch with your final targets.
It’s very instrumental if you’re looking to reach “employee” or “intermediate” profiles with little presence on Linkedin and whose emails are difficult to retrieve.
Use contextualized information.
Now that your target is well defined, it’s time to identify which of the contextual information at your disposal will enable you to write the most relevant messages.
What is contextual information in prospecting? 🤔
In prospecting, contextual information is strategic information about your target prospects/companies, enabling you to identify a hook to use when writing your sequence
Types of contextual information useful in prospecting
- Technologies used
- Event participation
- Event organization
- Member of a specific group
- Recent job change
- Recent or current recruitment within the company
- Publication of content (blog articles, Linkedin posts, etc.)
- Social interaction (likes, comments, shares, republications)
- Fundraising, merger/acquisition, subsidiary opening, internationalization
- Relationships with 1st-level contacts (matchmaking).
Once you’ve identified and selected the right contextual information, you need to develop the scenario that’s most likely to achieve your prospecting objective.
To do this, you can choose from various copywriting structures, also known as “frameworks“.
These frameworks are designed to create an editorial canvas for each of your messages. There are dozens of them, and each one corresponds to a distinct copywriting strategy whose aim is to provoke a specific reaction in the reader.
Here’s a list of the main prospecting copywriting frameworks :
AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
This framework is effective for various types of marketing communications, including cold calling. It aims to create a persuasive message that grabs the prospect’s attention and prompts them to take action.
- Attention: Start with an eye-catching subject line to arouse the reader’s curiosity.
- Interest: Provide relevant information to arouse interest in your product or service.
- Desire: Use emotional triggers to help the prospect visualize the benefits of your offer.
- Action: End with a clear, concise call to action.
PAS: Problem, Agitate, Solution
This framework allows you to connect with your audience by addressing their pain points.
- Problem: Identify a common problem your prospect is facing.
- Agitate: Highlight the negative consequences of not solving this problem.
- Solution: Present your product or service as the best solution.
BAB: Before, After, Bridge
This framework is a powerful storytelling technique that highlights the transformative effects of your product or service.
- Before: Describe the prospect’s current situation.
- After: Present a clear picture of the future situation thanks to your product.
- Bridge: Explain how your product facilitates this transformation.
QUEST: Qualify, Understand, Educate, Stimulate, Transition
This framework enables you to demonstrate a deep understanding of the prospect’s needs and encourage them to take action.
- Qualify: Make sure the prospect is a good candidate for your offer.
- Understand: Show that you understand their specific needs.
- Educate: Inform the prospect about your solution.
- Stimulate: Highlight the benefits of your solution.
- Transition: End with a call to action.
ACCA: Awareness, Comprehension, Conviction, Action
This framework focuses on raising awareness of a problem or opportunity, helping the prospect to understand the situation and your solution, reinforcing their confidence in your product or service, and prompting action.
OATH: Oblivious, Apathetic, Thinking, Hurting
This framework targets prospects according to their level of awareness of the problem: oblivious, apathetic, thinking, or hurting.
4Ps: Promise, Picture, Proof, Push
This framework involves making a promise, describing the result, providing proof via testimonials or case studies, and pushing the prospect to act.
IRDC: Icebreaker, Reason for Outreach, Teasing solution, Call to action
This framework is particularly effective if you want to obtain a quick, concrete indication of interest in a specific point (pain point, solution, etc.)
For effective copywriting in prospecting, it’s essential to understand the sequence as a whole.
This is because a digital prospecting sequence is made up of an introductory message and follow-up messages, commonly known as “follow-ups”.
This is why your copywriting strategy must take into account both the overall objective of the sequence and the intermediate objectives of each message.
The importance of the introductory message
As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Prospecting is no exception to this rule.
In other words, your sequence’s introductory message is of paramount importance. You need to take particular care with it!
Here are a few good copywriting practices to follow:
Add value to your follow-ups
Follow-up messages shouldn’t be seen as simple reminders.
These messages should be an opportunity for you to add value or test other hooks if you haven’t received a response to previous messages.
Example of a type of follow-up message to avoid:
Instead, take the opportunity to share useful content, provide additional information about your intentions, test a new icebreaker, etc.
In prospecting, every message that arrives in your inbox should be seen as an opportunity to start a conversation and generate interest.
Don’t waste these opportunities!
Thanks to the multi-channel magic of The Growth Machine, you can address your prospects across multiple channels within a single campaign.
But to make your campaigns even more effective, you can also juggle the types of messages sent to these different channels.
By varying the type of messages sent, you’ll give your campaign more depth, and at the same time be able to identify which type of message works best with your prospects.
Message types used in The Growth Machine :
Tips and practical tools
To help you prepare your prospecting copywriting, here are a few tools to help you write optimized messages:
1. HemingwayApp – The best way to structure your messages
2. Grammarly – For error-free messages.
3. ChatGPT – For inspiration and/or message generation
It’s up to you!