Best Practices for Improving Business-to-Business Message Appeal

Welcome to Part 2 of the “How to Build Ads that Compel Your Target to Respond” series. It’s great to have you back!

Monday’s “How To” report covered five specific copy writing steps to turn poorly performing Business-to-Business ads into supercharged response-generating power tools that kick-start new business flow into your company.

As you may recall, the report emphasized using your product features to help determine three levels of substantive customer benefits. Successfully doing this improves the effectiveness of your ad copy and its ability to relate to the target in more personal and intimate ways. This results in an ad with greater relevancy to the target’s immediate concerns, professional goals and aspirations.

If you missed the report, you can review it by clicking here.

Today’s “How To” report addresses Best Practices for Improving Message Appeal.

In other words, how to construct an ad the target can’t ignore.


The 3 P’s – Promise, Picture, Proof         

You can improve the appeal of your advertising message with exceptional control over the attention-grabbing power of your ad.

That can be really tough to do. Observe the hyper-competitive arena that is every significant industrial trade publication and you’ll understand why.

So, switch roles. Look at this from the perspective of your target.

Imagine you’re reading the prime industrial trade publication serving your industry today – the “Numero Uno” info source almost every customer you will ever have depends on. But now you’re the customer and you’re looking for solutions to a vexing problem.

Are you going to read every article and ad the publication has to offer?

The answer is: probably not. You work for a living, you haven’t got the time, and even if you did read the publication “cover-to-cover” your workload dictates you’d need days, maybe weeks or more to do it.

So, you automatically economize. You look at the cover for an “In This Issue” list of articles; you review the table of contents, perhaps the list of advertisers at the back of the publication, looking for a glimmer of hope, a familiar name, any clue that will lead to something that hints of the solution you need.

You find nothing. You roll up the magazine, stick it back into the handrail on the wall and leave the restroom to go back to work.

Now, imagine you’re the advertiser. Imagine you realize yet another window of opportunity just closed.


The Promise

Remember the three benefit levels covered in Monday’s report. Remember the “Third Level” benefits that require real digging and are often too personal, or too dramatic to even mention in the ad.

Within these benefits (NOT product features), particularly those well-defined “Third Level” benefits that grab your target where they live, you will find a promise your target will value above all other competing messages.

With this promise, you grab and hold your target’s attention.

You weave the promise into your headline, lead-in and body copy. Your promise becomes an unbreakable stranded steel thread that grabs and pulls your target to their solution.


The Picture

So, now that you have your promise, how do you thread it through the message? You paint a picture that can’t be ignored.

Color the picture with benefits of what you’re offering. Emboss the picture with tasks and responsibilities your target takes on every day. Polish the picture to reveal the gleaming end results your target will achieve with your solution.


The Proof

Now comes the hard part: Proof of your solution’s effectiveness.

          WARNING – This is where most B2B advertising fails!

You can’t paint the most beautiful mental picture for your target and then leave it there. You must give some kind of proof your offering delivers on the promise.

This is where too many B2B advertisers cop out. They use statistics, performance data, or bullet lists of product features as “proof” for the target to justify taking the desired action (i.e., “Go to our website,” “Call for more information,” “Place an order,” etc.).

The data, charts, bullet features lists alone aren’t sufficient proof. Whatever you use as proof needs to include the weaved-in promise you make in the headline, lead-in and body copy. Cite your track record, include a testimonial snippet, or a list of satisfied customers all tied together with your promise thread.

Finally, strengthen your proof by including assurance of your promise in your Call for Action.

Echoing your promise in the Call for Action (for example, “Your toenail fungus becomes a distant memory with your order today”) reminds your target why taking action is vital to their interests.


In Summary (ATTN.: Shameless plug follows)

Formulating the 3 P’s of Promise, Picture and Proof is a stratagem uniquely viable for B2B advertisers.

The 3 P’s build on a benefit-oriented approach that plays up the motivational interests of the target while presenting formerly sterile product/service/technologies on a more personally relevant and appealing level.

Weaving the promise thread throughout your ad – headline, lead-in, body copy, Call for Action – conveys a quality of uniqueness most of your competing advertisers don’t know how to achieve.

If you need help in doing this, contact me. I do this sort of thing a lot. I can do it for you, too.

Want proof?

You’re the proof. I’ve just used the 3 P’s with you. Go to the beginning of this message and you’ll see them. I grabbed you, held you and here you are at the end.

What do you say we start producing your improved, more effective 2nd half of the year ads TODAY.

Go to my contact page on my website, fill in the form and describe an overview of what you want to get done and when you need it.

I’ll follow up as quickly as possible, review your situation with you and provide a project proposal with a guaranteed quote.


*Next Time *

             – Sculpting Words that Compel Action –


In Service,

Steve Culpepper, B2B Copywriter/Producer


P.S. Your feedback helps me more than I can say! Email me directly at to tell me what you liked about today’s message and what B2B communication challenge you’d like me to address next time.


P.P.S. As always, please forward this to anyone you know who could benefit from it.




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