Selling Yourself to B2B Marketing Directors

Selling Yourself to B2B Marketing Directors

February 7, 2019 | By Steve Slaunwhite | 2 Comments

As you may know, there are three categories of clients that you’ll likely work with as a B2B writer or a copywriter.

The first category is business owners. The second category is what I call agency directors. And the third category, the category we’re going to be focusing on today, is marketing directors.

Now, let me go through each one very briefly so you understand what they’re all about…

Business Owners

If you get hired by a business owner, then likely that business is not large enough to have a marketing director on staff so the business owner is taking care of all the marketing. It’s likely she’s looking for a lot of help with her marketing. I know a lot of B2B copywriters who work directly with small business owners, and do very well.

Agency Directors

Another category of clients is what I call agency directors. These are owners and directors of creative agencies that do marketing and creative work for their own clients. They may or may not have writers on staff and are a very good market for freelance writers because most use freelance help on a regular basis.

Marketing Directors

The third category of clients is by far the most common, and that is marketing directors.

Selling Yourself to B2B Marketing Directors

Now, when a business becomes big enough that they can hire a marketing director, then the marketing director oversees all of the marketing for the business.

If you’re targeting companies that are mid-sized or larger, then chances are they have a marketing director on staff. In fact, a company may have an entire marketing department with dozens of marketing directors all in charge of various aspects of that company’s marketing.

So, how do you sell yourself and your copywriting services to these marketing directors?

Well, one of the principles of copywriting that we all learn is that the more you know about your prospect, the more persuasive your marketing copy will be.

And that’s probably the number one most powerful technique in copywriting.

So when you’re marketing your own B2B copywriting services to marketing directors, you want to know a lot about marketing directors.

You want to know who they are. What is their typical day like? What are their common challenges? What prompts them to hire a copywriter? What do they look for when they’re hiring a freelance copywriter? What turns them on and what turns them off when it comes to working with copywriters?

The more you know about marketing directors, the more persuasive you’ll be when you’re marketing yourself to them.

So let me share with you six things I know about B2B marketing directors because I’ve worked with dozens of them over the years.

#1. B2B Marketing Directors Know a Lot About Marketing

Chances are they have a college degree. They’re pretty sharp and creative people. They probably have a very good general marketing education. They might even have an advanced degree in marketing or business.

Now, don’t let that intimidate you. Just because you’re working with a marketing director doesn’t mean that they know more about copywriting than you do.

Never forget that you’re a copywriting specialist. So even though they’re well-educated in marketing, they may not be experts in copywriting.

Now then, what’s the best method to approach marketing directors?

Well, what you want to do is to approach marketing directors as a fellow professional. Marketing directors want to work with other professionals. The more you position yourself as a marketing colleague, the more likely they are to want to work with you. And you’re more likely to be treated with respect.

Keep in mind that as a copywriter, you are a marketing professional.

I find it really effective to position myself as a fellow marketing professional just like them.

Position yourself that way on your website and when you have conversations with marketing directors who are thinking of hiring you for a project.

You’re not an underling or a temp employee. You’re a fellow professional. And treat them that way and they’ll be much more likely to try your copywriting services.

#2. B2B Marketing Directors Are Under Constant Pressure

I had a meeting not too long ago with a marketing director of a software company. They were launching a new product. During our meeting, she handed me a long list of marketing pieces that needed to be done in the next eight weeks so they could launch this product on schedule.

I could see the stressed look in her eyes because of all of the work that had to be completed in such a short period of time. And that is the new normal for marketing directors.

Companies are doing so much more marketing these days with all types of media that they’re under constant pressure to get stuff done.

Now, how do you use this insight when marketing yourself to marketing directors?

Well, I like to position myself as a copywriter who can take a project off their shoulders and relieve them of stress.

I’ll say to the marketing director, “Don’t worry about this email campaign. I can take it completely off your shoulders. I can strategize with you about the message for each email. I can write the emails for you. I can send you a draft of each email well before the deadline. You’ll be able to go over them. And then I can revise to your specifications until we’re done. Don’t worry. I’ve got this.”

And that’s the tone I use when I’m talking to marketing directors. I want to give them the sense that I can relieve them of this stress.

Because when it comes to marketing, the biggest chore in getting most marketing pieces done is the writing. Especially these days where there’s so much content that needs to be produced for marketing campaigns — articles, white papers, and case studies. It’s the writing that holds everything back.

So when you’re talking to marketing directors, give them a sense that you’re going to make things easy for them. You’re going to take the ball and run with it. They don’t have to worry about it.

If you can leave them with that impression, then they’re going to be inclined to want to work with you because they’re under pressure to get a lot of stuff done.

#3. Don’t be a Copywriter Horror Story

Every marketing director I’ve ever spoken to has some horror story about dealing with a freelance copywriter who has let them down. Every single one.

I’ve heard marketing directors talk about copywriters who submit copy that was just a mess. Or they found out that a copywriter wasn’t really a copywriter at all and had no training or experience.

The most common story I hear from marketing directors is about the copywriter who missed a deadline and had all kinds of excuses.

Marketing directors hear this stuff all the time from freelancers. And as a result, they’re very skeptical of freelancers in general. Because they’ve been burned by a freelance copywriter in the past, they’re very nervous about hiring a new freelance copywriter.

Remember, marketing directors are under pressure to get their projects done. So when they a hire freelancer who lets them down, it just creates more stress for them.

In fact, it can put them in a very difficult situation. If they don’t get their projects done, it may impact the launching of a campaign or a new product. The marketing director could face serious consequences for causing a delay.

They want to know you are a copywriter who is reliable and who is good at what you do. So when you’re talking with a marketing director, make sure you get across that you’re a reliable professional copywriter. You don’t miss deadlines.

In fact, when I’m working with a new marketing director, I’ll think of something that I can deliver very early in the process.

So let’s say a marketing director wanted to hire me to write a couple of articles for their blog. What I’ll often say is, “Hire me today and tomorrow I’ll send you a quick outline of the article and some ideas. So you can go over it and decide if it’s the right approach. And then I’ll go off and I’ll write it.”

Now see what I’m doing there. I’m letting them know that I can jump on this right away. I’m giving myself a deadline that’s easy for me to meet because I’m just sending them some ideas.

That flags to the marketing director, “Hey, this person not only is going to jump on this project right away, but he’s going to send something tomorrow.” And when I do send them something tomorrow, then that lets them know I’m the kind of copywriter who meets my deadlines and does what I say I’ll do.

So don’t be a horror story for a marketing director.

#4. Marketing Directors Need to Get Results

Marketing directors are under pressure to develop marketing campaigns that are successful. When a marketing director develops winning campaigns, emails that generate responses, web pages and landing pages that work well, webinar promotions that fill webinars up, she looks good to her superiors, and especially, to the CEO.

But then, of course, the opposite happens if she develops campaigns that do not work well and do not get the results that the company needs.

So they’re under pressure to develop marketing campaigns that are successful.

Now, how do you use this insight when you’re marketing your own copywriting services to marketing directors?

You want to get across that you know some tips and best practices for getting good results from whatever it is that the marketing director needs written. And you want to get that across early on when you’re talking to a marketing director and she’s considering hiring you.

What I like to do in my initial discussion with a marketing director is to share some ideas and strategies right away. For example, I had a client not too long ago who hired me to write a lead generation sales letter that’s going to be sent in the mail.

And as we’re talking about the sales letter, I gave her some tips and ideas immediately. I said, “You know in my experience, a two-page sales letter tends to work better than a one-page sales letter.” And I gave her some other tips and ideas on how the sales letter could be structured so it gets the best response rates.

Now, she hadn’t hired me yet. But I was sharing ideas with her. By doing that, it let her know I’m going to be helpful.

So try that when you’re talking to a marketing director about your copywriting services. Let them know you have tips and ideas that can help them make their campaign successful.

#5. Marketing Directors Are Used to Seeing Agency Quality Work

They’re constantly pitched by design firms and ad agencies who are showing marketing directors their great designs. So, marketing directors are accustomed to seeing very good creative work.

Now, how do you use that insight when marketing your own copywriting services to marketing directors?

Well, you want to make sure that everything you do looks good. You want to make sure your website looks good. Your website doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does need to be clean and professional. It needs to look good because marketing directors are used to seeing good-looking design work.

#6. Marketing Directors Are Working on Their Own Portfolios

Every piece that you write for them is something that’s going to go into their portfolio. If you create an email campaign for them with some emails and landing pages, and it’s successful, that marketing director is going to be thrilled.

She’s going to put that into her own career portfolio that she may use to get a position in another company or to get promoted within the company she’s working for.

Now, how do you use this insight when marketing your services to marketing directors?

Well, one thing I do is to acknowledge that fact. I’ll often say to marketing directors, “We’re going to create a great piece together that’s going to look great in your portfolio and look great in my portfolio.”

I think it’s something a lot of copywriters miss when they’re dealing with marketing directors. It’s an important insight.

So those are the six insights that I want to share with you about selling your services to marketing directors. And hopefully, they are going to help you when you market yourself to marketing directors. Because if a marketing director finds a writer she really likes, she tends to be loyal and use that writer for almost everything. And you want that writer to be you.

About the Author


Steve Slaunwhite

Latest in B2B Copywriting


  • Hi Steve, Very insightful article. However, a good proofreader could have made it better. I noticed a couple of items where a word was missed or flipped with the one next to it, or put in the wrong place in the sentence.

    For instance, Tip #3 last paragraph, first sentence….. “Hey, this person not only is going to jump on this project away, but

    Should be “Hey, this person is not only going to jump on this project “right” away, but

    Keep the information coming, I’m learning a lot from you!!

    Thanks, Liz Nellis

  • Steve,

    Your timing and insights are great. I’m building a pipeline now focused on marketing directors in companies I really want to work with.

    The “agency quality” visual reality is going to be my challenge now. I really like the new visual focus of the “cool” agency sites, but that production value doesn’t come cheap.

    So thank you! And my landing page and mail campaign will thank you. Hope all is well!

    David Pederson

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