B2B landing page and email copywriting tips to improve your writing skills, part two

August 1, 2022 | 21 minute read
Michael McNichols
Senior Content Manager
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Get more B2B landing page and email marketing copywriting tips for non-writers.

  • Learn how to properly write emails, landing pages, social copy, and ads.
  • See how mobile changes things.
  • Know when you can break the rules

 In part one of this post, I went over:

  • The differences between content writing and copywriting (which I also published another article about)
  • Why good marketing campaign management needs good copywriting for emails, landing pages, ads, and social media
  • General rules of B2B copywriting thumb for tone, writing style, creditability, and mistakes to avoid

Now for the exciting sequel.

Copywriting and content writing for non-writers

You might be a campaign manager, a marketing ops person, or another B2B marketing position that isn’t a content marketing role or a copywriter.

Still, you might have to write copy for marketing campaigns, specifically emails and landing pages.

What do you do? What do you do?

Don’t freak out. I already provided some general writing tips in part one. Now I’m here to help further.

Just call me little sunshine.

Now let’s get into how email and landing page copywriting differ and what they have in common.

Then we’ll address how the mobile channel changes how you should write your copy.

Strap on your helmet. We’re diving deep.

Get B2B marketing copywriting tips

The anatomy of an ideal marketing email: copywriting tips

According to our friends at Litmus, as of 2021, every $1 spent on email marketing gets $36 in return.

That number could be increasing to 49$ for every $1, a 4900% ROI!

No other channel can match it for return on investment.

Many marketers view email as being synonymous with digital marketing itself.

Take my word for it. I manage a marketing blog. I receive far more submissions about email than anything else.

(Cross-channel marketing blog submissions, I miss you).

Consider these benefits of email marketing.

  • It has a considerable reach and combines well with other channels (such as text message marketing, social, events, the web, etc.).
  • Many people prefer email over another channel and expect brands to contact them using it. The world has more than four billion email users. So, people are used to email marketing.
  • It provides metrics that give you the pulse of your audience, like the open rate (which can still matter despite Apple Mail Protection Privacy), conversion rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, unsubscribe rates, and so on and so forth.

So, you better get those emails right. And copywriting plays a vital role in that.

How long should a B2B marketing email be?

Audiences don’t expect one to be too long. From my experience, emails that do the best range from about 50 to 125 words.

If you don’t have as much to say, if you are letting visuals or a video do the talking, you might try for even fewer words.

Remember: people skim. You should expect someone who opens your email to only really pay attention to the subject line, headline, and CTA. They might see the subhead or bullets as well.

So, you should take especial care with these elements. Whatever story your email is telling, your subject line, headline, and CTA (s) should communicate it without any other needed text.

The rest of the email aligns with this story and supports it. After all, maybe you use linked text or a design element that gets your audience to read more of the email. Perhaps they do anyway.

Concentrate on the most vital elements, but don’t skimp out on the rest.

One email= one offer, one message, one action

Think of an email as an argument or promise.

Your subject line and headline state the argument or promise. The rest of the email then makes the argument or shows someone how you fulfill that promise.

You want to stay sharp and focus on that one argument or promise, the one story you’re telling, and the one action you want a reader to take.

So, every email? It tells one story, one message, and makes one offer, whether it’s a piece of content, an event, announcement, product update, or something else.

That keeps it simple.

Sample scenario: Gain registrations for an event

If you want someone to register for Oracle CloudWorld, you only talk about why someone should attend and how they can sign up. The subject line, headline, and CTA all lead someone step by step to performing this one action: registering.

Include a single CTA (which can be repeated and use different phrasing) and any linked text go to the same place: the registration page.

If you try to drive someone to take more than one action, it clutters and confuses your messaging.

Now you’re probably saying, “But, Mike, I have two offers! I have two actions I want someone to take!”

You want them to register for Oracle CloudWorld.

But you also want them to learn about the different sessions taking place there. You want them to click a link to the pdf that lists them.

Relax, mon ami. I’ve got you.

Think of a newsletter. It’s an email, right? It offers and promotes different items.

There’s one subject line, which encompasses the value of the whole newsletter, but each item gets its own headline, body text (if you use any), and CTA.

You can do that with any email. Put your different items into their sections. 

Which item should go first? Which should the subject line emphasize?

That’s up to you. The different sections can have different lengths, too.

Use this as an example.

Learn from America’s best loyalty programs

The days of discounts for loyalty points have passed. Now the best loyalty programs go beyond transactions and add value all along the customer journey. See how Oracle CrowdTwist helped three businesses achieve deeper customer engagement and make Newsweek’s 2022 list of best loyalty programs. 

Learn lessons

 

How Meineke kept customers loyal by offering more than points

Find out how Meineke used Oracle CrowdTwist to offer personalized rewards for drivers. Read their story about earning a spot on Newsweek’s list of America’s Best Loyalty Programs 2021.

Read their success story

Are you worried about length? I did say earlier that most of the effective emails I’ve seen ranged from 50-125 words.

But that was only for an email with one promotion

Should an email with two (or three) promotions stick to that total word count for every section?

I can’t say. I’d tell you that you shouldn’t go over 125 words for each section of an email. But less can work too.

For a newsletter, people tend to expect blurbs for each item. And if you have that many promotions, you might as well make it a newsletter or something like one.

Try emails with more than one promotion and different lengths for each item. See how they do.

Speaking of newsletters:

Get up to speed on the latest trends and technologies to make your marketing personalized, relevant, and impactful. Subscribe to the Inside Modern Marketing Newsletter.

How long should your B2B emails be?

One note of caution: Someone might only read the top section and not any others.

So, give them a reason to scroll down. Use a design element (such as an arrow), ask a question and promise the answer at the bottom of the email, or start the second headline before the fold to ensure the reader sees it.

Maybe the subject line can even state there’s more than one offer or promotion.

Mix and match. The world of email marketing and copywriting is your oyster.

As long as you follow the right structure and framework, there are possibilities galore.

Within that framework, you have a lot of freedom, but first, you know to know the framework.

Which I’m about to get into.

Email copywriting essentials

The essential elements of an email include the:

  • Subject line
  • Preview text
  • Headline
  • Subhead
  • Body text
  • CTA

Let’s break down each.

Your subject line

The subject line matters more than any other part of an email. There isn’t any debate or discussion.

Why?

Because it’s what gets someone to open your email. Everyone who receives that email will see it, regardless of whether or not they open it.

Really, every line of copy should compel someone to read the next. But with the subject line, it’s even more so. A bad subject line dooms the likelihood of someone opening that email and seeing what you’re offering.

A good subject line gives you a chance. It creates an opportunity for the rest of the email to win its recipient over.

What is a good email subject line?

It’s anything that gets someone to open that email.

It can:

  • Ask a question or pose a challenge
  • Offer value up front that you can’t say no to
  • Strike a chord
  • Intrigue, tantalize, and provoke
  • Hint at something you feel you could need or can’t live without

A good subject line is emotional. It gets the reader thinking.

They can’t just skim over or ignore it. Not when it offers useful information, a solution, or something that will help make up the reader’s mind.

Want some examples?

  • Is your marketing overcomplicated or overly expensive?
  • The latest service technology trends to save on costs
  • How to close more deals more quickly

If it’s an event, or the email links to an infographic, trends report, or case study, you might mention it in the subject line. That way, the recipient knows what they’re getting.

  • Customer success: How Bonnier News increased its lead quality
  • Five tips to get started with agile marketing [Infographic]
  • What’s a marketer to do in a cookie-less world? [Trends report]

How long should a subject line be?

You only have so much space. So, you need to be punchy and make an impact.

Generally speaking, you have around 70 characters. From what I’ve seen, the highest-performing subject lines tend to be about 50 characters (and sometimes even less).  So, if you’re around 70 characters to make your point, I say you’re fine. If you can make the subject line sharper and punchier, go ahead.

I’ve heard the argument that you can try making your subject line longer if only to stand out more from other email marketers. Try it if you like. Learn from your marketing measurements and analytics.

Use A/B testing to compare how your audience responds to a longer or shorter subject line.

I like to use a specific brand name as the sender. That means rather than saying “Oracle” or “Oracle Advertising and CX” is the sender, you say “Oracle Marketing,” “Oracle Eloqua,” or “Oracle Moat” is.

Why? It could save you some space in the subject line and help build your brand.

Rather than a sender and subject line that goes:

“Oracle Advertising– Customer update: New Oracle Moat product features”

You can use:

“Oracle Moat: Customer update: New product features for ad-spending measurement”

More space might equal more value in a subject line. That might better the chances of an email being opened.

Newsletter subject lines

On another note, some folks claim that you shouldn’t mention that it’s a newsletter in the subject line for a newsletter. You might not even mention the date or month it’s sent in.

Instead, you present a value or benefit. Someone clicks through. Then they see your headline and know it’s a newsletter.

So, rather than “Marketing World Newsletter July 2022,” you write something like, “New lead generation tips and AI updates to email.”

However, I’ve also heard people say that you should mention it’s a newsletter and the date/month because not everyone is doing it.

See what works best for you. Every audience is different.

69% of people would open an email if the subject line were funnier. Find out why humor makes a difference in marketing copy and content with the Happiness Report.

Preview text

What is preview text?

It’s the bit of text next to or below the subject line of an email in your inbox.

  • Gmail calls it a snippet
  • Apple Mail refers to it as a preview
  • Outlook calls it a preview message

Some marketers ignore preview text, but that’s wasting an excellent opportunity to support your subject line and give the reader more reason to open the email.

If you leave the preview text blank, some email clients will pull the text from the first few lines of your email or the alt text of an image in that email. That copy then could appear out of place and not make much sense.

It might also repeat something in the subject line, which is, again, a waste. The preview text lets you entice the recipient with more value.

In years past, 24% of recipients said the preview text factored into their decision of whether to open an email.

It’s only a short line but can make a very significant difference.

Headlines

For an email, the headline is the second most valuable element (second only to the subject line).

Why?

Because if someone opens the email, you know they’ll likely see that first. Even if they skim the rest, the headline can communicate the main value of whatever you’re promoting.

So, as I said in part one, strive for clarity and value but not cleverness.

I’ve heard some people say the perfect headline is about six words. Why? Because people tend to focus on the first three and last three words in a statement.

However, the thought or value you’re trying to express might need more than six words.

How long is too long?

That’s up to you.

  • Do you get your point across?
  • Does the headline look good visually in the final version of the email?
  • Does it encompass the main value and why someone would want to click through?

Here’s an interesting tip.

Sometimes, you can write our headline much like your subject line. If you do A/B testing, you can try the same copy as the subject line in one version and the headline in the other to see what works better.

What do you think of these headlines?

  • Webinar: The latest SMS marketing tips to reach more audiences
  • Grow your business with B2B ecommerce
  • The top 7 technology trends reshaping marketing
  • Simplify and streamline your B2B marketing campaigns
  • How to understand and anticipate customer needs

They could work as subject lines, too. If you use the same copy for the subject line and headline, I think you’re okay, but it’s repeating the value you’re already stated. With a different subject line and headline, you can add more value to what you offer.

Subhead

The subhead supports and adds to the headline. If your headline doesn’t mention something you feel is crucial, the subhead is the right place for it.

I prefer always writing the subhead like a CTA. 

Headline: Attend the Marketing Summit at Oracle CloudWorld

Subhead: Join us in Las Vegas this October for product updates and specialized training

 

Headline: The new Oracle Eloqua Benchmarks report

Subhead: Compare your numbers to your competitors’ CTRs, COTRs, and bounce rates

 

Headline: The top marketing trends for 2099 (and beyond)

Subhead: Find out what solutions help with personalization, adaptability, and managing customer data

 

Subheads will stand out more than the body text, but you don’t necessarily have to use one. Your headline might make its point and not need more details or specifics.

 

If your email is really short, you might not want to add a subhead. Sometimes, short is better, as long as you make your point.

Depending on your email template and how everything looks visually, you might want a subhead so there isn’t too much white space.

I suggest trying a subhead, seeing how it looks, and if you think it will work. Also, look at the metrics. Many subheads will have a CTA right after them. The click-through rate there can give you a strong indication of whether the subhead works or makes any difference.

In the CTA section, I’ll get into why you might want a CTA after the headline or subhead.

Body text

This refers to the body of your email. It goes into further detail than the subject line, headline, and subhead.

It’s also the part most people will skim over. You never know, though. Someone might read it. Plus, you can make the body text stand out more with:

  • Linked text - The link should go to the same promotion as the CTA, but the linked text will stand out amongst the rest.
  • Bullet points – They’ll break up the text, and the bullets will draw the reader’s eye. As a sidenote, odd-numbered lists tend to draw the eye better than even-numbered ones. If you only have an even number of bullets, I wouldn’t worry about it.
  • Images, graphs, visuals, gifs – Use instead of or along with your text.

If the headline and subhead are enough, maybe you don’t want to use body text at all. Again, the choice is yours.

If you use body text, keep it brief. Most of the time, a couple of short paragraphs will do. Body text should have:

  • The pain point. The problem the reader is experiencing and why they want help. It doesn’t have to be a huge pain but a statement about why the reader should care about what you’re offering.
  • What you’re promoting, an ebook, webinar, infographic, etc. Say what it is, why someone would want it, and how they can get it.

Check out this sample.

Body Text:

The pressure’s on for marketers to produce more value, generate more leads, and do more thorough reporting. Do you have the right tools and data to help?

Download our new infographic, “What’s giving marketers FOMO?” See what your peers and competitors think about the best solutions for managing customer data, personalization, and collaborating with sales.

CTA: See what they think

Call to actions (CTAs)

Make your CTA clear and have it stand out as much as possible. It should tell the reader to take the action you want them to, such as:

  • Download benchmarks report
  • Register now
  • Read the blog

Whenever possible, add urgency to your copy and CTA. Tell readers to meet the deadline. Say they have to subscribe or sign up now!

If the copy is clear about what you’re offering, you can get creative with the CTA. If you’re offering a benchmarks report, your CTA might be “Get benchmarks.”

For an event, rather than “register,” you could try “Save your seat.”

Graphics and buttons can help ensure people see them.

And you might want to have more than CTA. It doesn’t have to just come at the end.

You can also put one after the headline or subhead.

Why? Because it will teach you things. If someone clicks on a CTA after the headline/subhead, it might mean the subject line, headline, and subhead was enough to compel the reader to take action.

If more people click on the CTA at the bottom, it could show that your audience wants more detail.

Or your audience could be responding to the type of copy you have around each CTA or maybe a visual element.

It could be the CTAs and how they’re written.

You might even choose to put a CTA after the subhead and not at the bottom. You have more options than you.

Remember, though: if you use more than CTA, they don’t need to all have the same wording. However, they should amount to the same thing and telling someone to take the same action.

As in the example of the benchmarks report above, both these CTAs could work:

  • “Read report now”
  • “Get benchmarks”

What wouldn’t work? Something like “Check out our email marketing platform.”

It’s driving readers to take a different action than checking out the report. As I suggested above, if you want a CTA like that, make another section for your email with its own headline and that CTA. You might or might not need body text, depending on if you made your point well enough with just the CTA and headline.

What should a B2B email look like?

B2B email sample

To give you an idea of what an email should look like:

 

Subject line: What can marketers learn from Marvel movies?

Preview Text: Get tips on giving audiences what they want

 

Headline: 7 lessons on personalization from your favorite superheroes

Subhead: Check out our new tipsheet about using customer data, creativity, and experimentation

CTA: Get tips

Body Text:

Today’s customers expect a lot out of you. If you don’t serve them the type of content they want on the channel they prefer, they move on to the next competition. But fear not, true believer.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has shown us all the way.

Download our new visual tipsheet, “7 marketing lessons learned from Marvel Movies” to see what we mean. You’ll learn:

  • What making Spider-Man an Avenger shows about building demand and anticipation
  • How doing TV series on Disney Plus expands and keeps their audiences engaged
  • How consistency across different movies and productions creates a unique experience marketers should strive for across channels

CTA: Learn your lessons

Need help with copywriting and creative for your campaigns? See how the superheroes at Oracle Marketing Consulting can guide you toward tighter, better copy and improved campaign planning.

The anatomy of an ideal B2B landing page: copywriting tips

Emails, ads, and social media posts can all direct someone to a landing page. On a landing page, you provide:

  • More information than the emails, ads, or social could offer
  • A smoother customer journey than slamming a promotion in someone’s face by adding another stop to it
  • More of a preview of what’s someone getting by clicking through

Landing page and email copywriting have a great many things in common.

Landing page vs. email copy

First, let’s dispense with the obvious: Landing pages are longer. They offer more specifics and details that you can’t fit in an email (or ad or social post).

And they don’t have a subject line or preview text. No, the essential elements of a landing page are the:

  • Headline
  • Subhead
  • Body text
  • CTA

So unlike an email, the headline is the most important thing. But as with an email, you could try more than one CTA. You can try more than two, depending on the length.

You could have more than one subhead. The body text will likely run longer as well.

But how long is too long?

From a writing viewpoint, the length shouldn’t matter in copywriting or content marketing. Not if your copy or content is:

  • Easy to read and understand
  • Formatted and written well
  • Continues to provide value rather than wasting a reader’s time

I can’t tell you what length would work with your audience. You have to A/B test and try different things to see. I’d say however long it takes to make your point (or points) is the right length.

Multiple CTAs, subheads, and longer copy do give you more of an opportunity to test and determine more about what your audience wants.

But since a landing page is online, SEO comes into play. It doesn’t with an email.

As I always tell people, don’t let SEO override your common sense. Still sound human and natural.

Mainly, you want the right keywords in your headline and subhead. Metatags and meta titles are important, too, but they also should sound natural and get your point across.

Once again (for the thousandth time), keep it simple.

B2B landing page sample

To give you an idea of what a landing page should look like:

Headline: Webinar: How to build your own customer-service robot

Subhead: Join us November 32, 10:00 a.m. for the first step toward more service efficiency

CTA: Sign up today to play mad scientist

 

Subhead: Increase customer satisfaction with service that exceeds human limits

 

Body Text:

You offered your customer around-the-clock service. But they’re too demanding. They want answers and information right away.

If they don’t get it, they cancel their subscription. They move on to your competitor.

Sadly, your agents are only human. They need to eat and rest. They also don’t have a whole databank in their minds they can access right away for any customer query.

But what if you had robots doing your customer service? Robots with Wi-Fi that can look up any answer to any question?

Join us for this 45-minute webinar on boosting your efficiency and customer satisfaction. Hear from robotics expert Doctor Van Robo-Smith about building a functional robot to replace your measly human agents. Then learn what steps to take to mass-produce.

  • Get the details on how to program a robot’s AI so it won’t rebel
  • Find out how to program customer service best practices into their databanks
  • See how to offer better, quicker service 24/7 now and forever

CTA: Save your seat

Consider mobile

The number of smartphone subscriptions now surpasses six billion globally and will probably climb higher and higher over the next several years.

About 52% of adults in the US own a tablet, and roughly the same percentage own an e-reader.

The world has gone mobile, but it’s not only iPhones. People own different devices with different screen sizes.

Which makes mobile marketing more difficult.

You don’t always know what type of screen someone will read your copy on.

Remember what I said earlier about length not always being a concern?  It comes into play with mobile.

Many marketers still care about the fold.

The fold in mobile marketing

The fold is the point on a screen where you have to scroll. So, many marketers prefer putting the most important bits above the fold, just in case someone doesn’t care to scroll down.

But if the copy or offer is good, will they keep reading?

What if you add a design element like an arrow to draw the reader’s eye down?

What if the fold is in a different place for one reader and another and another for others?

All good questions that don’t have easy answers.

You could:

  • Create an email, landing page, ad, social post, and another piece of marketing that could work for a multitude of screens and devices
  • Optimize every piece of marketing, so you have different versions for each channel, screen, and device
  • Use your testing, customer data, and campaign results to determine what optimization, devices, copy, and design your audience responds to the best

All that could work.

But everything I mentioned earlier in this post and part one? It all matters even more with mobile, so let’s review. Your copy should.

  • Use short, sharp sentences and paragraphs
  • Make subject lines, headlines, subheads, and CTAs stand out and tell the full story
  • Use visuals if appropriate
  • Break up text with bullets

Take these other tips into consideration as well. After all, you want your copy and marketing, in general, to be as easy to consume as possible, especially on mobile.

  • Use a large, readable font
  • Make the email, landing page, ad, or whatever easy to read and navigate
  • Offer actual value

Also, bear in mind, what looks good on a desktop might not on a mobile screen.

So, send a test email or review the landing page while it’s staged and still unpublished. Check how it looks on multiple screens.

That way, you can make adjustments if needed before your email or landing page goes out or live.

When to break the rules of copywriting

A while ago, I worked on an ad campaign comparing Oracle to competitors. I wrote a CTA that went, “See why Oracle.”

Two editors from brand reviewed it. One didn’t like it since it wasn’t grammatically correct. The other thought it made its point clearly and approved it.

If you’ve heard it before, you’ve heard it ten thousand times. I’ll repeat it because it’s important.

People skim, especially on mobile. So, sentence fragments can work in your copy if you get your point across.

Copywriting is about ideas and clarity. It doesn’t have to adhere to strict grammar, so long as you’re clear and compelling.

That’s one exception to the rules.

There are always going to be others. You can break every rule.

BUT!

Do it for a good reason. Test something out or have the numbers to back yourself up.

If metrics indicate something, give it a whirl. A/B test to compare if you like.

I’ve trained for years in martial arts (both karate and Muay Thai). I tell people you have to learn the basics: stance, strikes, footwork, etc.

Once you know the framework, you’ll see you have more freedom than you thought. You can add things to that framework and experiment.

Sometimes, you can go entirely outside the framework, but only if you have a sound and compelling reason.

Otherwise, you’ll get hit, kicked, and maybe knocked out.


Check out these further resources to help with your copywriting:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 [MM1]Link

Michael McNichols

Senior Content Manager

Michael McNichols is a Senior Content Manager for Oracle Digital Marketing. He has over ten years of experience in professional writing and has been widely published.


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