As consumers we expect to be engaged by highly personalized marketing right from the start of our journey with a brand. Targeted emails, relevant product recommendations, customized video messages based on what we are looking for, when and where is a standard given. As a result, building a connect with the reader via relevant, engaging and consistent content is very much the need of the hour. Using emotions to build this connect is far reaching and impactful. Hence, stories play an important part in building trust, driving deeper connections and hence positively influencing our decision making.
When there is trust, there is an important emotion that impacts decisions; like why do I listen what you have to say, or why should I buy from you? Sharing your company’s narrative after building trust forms part of an effective B2B marketing strategy. Especially because this allows you to differentiate your USP to your audience in a manner that resonates with them.
While story telling is critical, it certainly feels harder to story tell in a B2B setting but, can be hugely beneficial if done right. In order to build an emotional connect with your audience it is fundamentally important to truly know your audience at a deeper level – this includes their needs and wants, pain points, habits, interests and more. For customers and prospects to feel your offering is the best choice for them, they will need to find that you are authentic and be convinced that you truly understand them and hence are committed to solving their problems.
So, how can marketers build a compelling story?
• Begin with humanizing your content and bringing out your authenticity – interact with your audience, share your values, address their struggles and speak in a language they understand best
• Have a compelling character that the readers can relate to – defining customer personas goes a long way here
• Collect information and use data to solve your target audience’s pain points
• Use the power of visuals/images and videos to make your content unmissable and engaging
Marketing can play an important role in building a compelling story. Depending on where your audience is in the buying funnel, you can build assets that resonate with their level of interest. For top funnel, build infographics, one pagers, cheat sheet, How-To’s that are heavily visual, interactive and easy to digest. For mid funnel you can have white papers, testimonials, eBooks which further interest readers to consume case studies, data sheets and research reports as they move from mid to down funnel. Interactive demos, ROI calculators can help weave a story encouraging readers to take further definite action.
Now that you have a compelling story, how can you execute a B2B campaign that narrates it?
• Identify key personas – a maximum of 1 or 2 and build a content wheel that covers every aspect of their interest
• Build new content while reviewing and auditing existing assets
• Build a content calendar that allows you to deliver content realistically and consistently
• Shortlist your tools to help deliver this content across multiple platforms
• Identify various outlets across multiple formats to distribute your content so it reaches your audience
• Collaborate – with subject matter experts, influencers to get more eyeballs
During the course of a campaign, it is important to check how it is performing. Keep a look out for the key metrics that showcase customer engagement, time spend across your channels, number of times an action was taken and more importantly any indicators to pivot in case the campaign isn’t doing well. Do avoid death by metrics though.
Storytelling is certainly harder to achieve in the B2B space especially since you are selling a fairly complex business solution. But according to B2Bmarketing.net about 50% of B2B buyers are more likely to part with their money if they feel an emotional connection to the brand that you are building. So go right ahead and don’t be afraid to use your emotions to build your story that’s unique to your audience.