A more human approach to B2B Marketing

Traditionally, simplicity and directness have been key to success in B2B messaging. Your prospects are busy people, who have little time to research, understand and see how your offering provides value to their business. However, this does leave the door open to B2B marketing becoming a little less humane.

In this information-age where buying habits have undoubtedly changed, a more customer-focused approach is required. Knowing how to connect with your buyer on a human level is crucial to unlocking the business issues and personal drivers of the buyer. A one-to-one connection is still required for buyers to make a confident buying decision.

With this in mind, adapting messaging to a more conversational approach while staying true to the traditional merits of simplicity is a good play, but it shouldn't stop there.

Here are some great strategies to implement into your B2B playbook.

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B2B Narrative Design

Competitive difference is no-longer enough to make your business stand out from the crowd. B2B Buyers are looking for something more, and for leading brands, this is the narrative behind their offering.

These businesses set themselves apart by offering a clear vision of a future state, something that is aspirational to the buyer but difficult to achieve without outside assistance. By highlighting an undeniable change in the world, they demonstrate how there can be winners and losers, thus raising the state, giving a sense of risk and urgency to adopt the solution. Product Features take a backseat and are wrapped in benefits that the buyer can empathise with.

Storytelling is in our DNA; it's ingrained in human experience and neurology. We have evolved to seek meaning and interpret our lives with a strong narrative. Human behaviour can be shaped through a connection to a story. Your prospects are waiting, isn't it time you told your story?

We explore Narrative Design further in this recent article.

The results of this process can have a huge impact on a brand's marketing; the narrative becomes your content strategy and should be felt through all communication. The benefits also extend internally giving alignment to teams, offering a rallying call that staff at all levels can get on board with.

B2B Content Marketing

B2B Marketing is experiencing a seismic shift, from leading businesses looking to drive sales, to them exploring avenues to educate their prospects and offering valuable content and advice for little or nothing in return.

This approach increases value for B2B buyers, and establishes your brand as the authority in your chosen space, firmly positioning your offering at the forefront of their minds.

B2B business has certainly wised up to this approach. So are traditional efforts in content marketing still enough to cut through the noise? When approaching content marketing, it's crucial to have your prospect mapped out, and conducting persona research here can help.

You need to understand their business pains and the personal drivers behind choosing products and suppliers. Once you have an improved understanding of these, you'll be in a better position to serve them content that they need.

Further to that, understanding how they choose to consume content, for instance, what medium they prefer or which social network they are most active on is all data that you can build into your ongoing content marketing strategy.

Meet your buyers where they are with offerings that meet their preferences, whether that be Whitepapers, Webinars or the key desirable, Video.

When published correctly, production of high-value content also helps your SEO efforts by offering content that is relevant to buyers' search queries.

Recently we have seen brands take content marketing and educational initiatives to the next level, offering brand universities to help educate their users, turning customers into experts.

B2B Social Media

Social Media Marketing is a core element of a B2B Brand's marketing plan. While it's often deemed difficult for businesses to engage and convert buyers with Social Media, it can be highly effective at the beginning, or awareness stages of your buyer's journey.

Social Media is a powerful tool to build brand awareness, authority, and amplify your content offerings. It also provides a fantastic opportunity to bring a more relatable and human element to your company.

Nurturing an engaged community of followers on social media has its benefits, with the added incentive that followers often will become leads and customers in time.

B2B Email Marketing

Email Marketing is a proven method of B2B lead generation.

While traditional B2B emails are focused on influencing business decisions leaning on metrics such as time, money and resource to demonstrate value, B2B buyers are becoming more susceptible to those brands that offer a narrative, as explained earlier in this article. While clarity of your messaging is crucial, providing the buyer with a narrative to get on board with can offer a more human approach to email.

Email is not only is it a great way to inform your audience on your solution, but it's also a fantastic way to amplify your content initiatives, turning subscribers into leads and, in turn, customers.

Here are some tips to take into your B2B Email Marketing

  • Tailor your email to a segmented audience
  • Write killer subject lines that increase Open Rates
  • Stick to one CTA (Call to Action) per email to avoid confusion
  • 80% access email via mobile, so make sure your emails are responsive.

Email Marketing is only effective with a list of subscribers to email to. You can build a contact list by having an opt-in on your contact form, gating your content offers with a form, or adding a subscribe button to your website. Continually nurture and segment your contacts for the best results.

PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising is a powerful way to reach out and connect with a targeted audience, and for B2B lead generation, it is often considered a crucial element.

The key to great PPC ads is relevance and consistency. Make sure your ads are highly relevant to a user's search intent. You have a limited space to engage and entice a user to click-through, so be clear on your messaging and offer a solution to their problem. Traditionally an ad will lead a user to a landing page with a conversion action such as a form. This is where consistency comes into play; ensure your messaging on the landing page is in line with that used on the ad. If the consistency between ad and landing page isn't there, you're likely to lose the prospect.

Top Tips for B2B Landing Pages

  • Keep consistency between ad and landing page
  • Optimise your landing page with your chosen keywords
  • Make sure the page loads quickly and is responsive
  • Solve the problem, show a clear benefit, and leverage urgency
  • Create a clear route to conversion

While Paid Advertising does naturally fit within the Inbound methodology, it can be deemed acceptable if you are using it as a platform to amplify free value offerings or educations material, rather than putting a solution or service in front of your audience.

Want to learn more?

B2B Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing is the term coined by HubSpot, for applying a methodology to a range of marketing strategies that attract customers through creating valuable content offerings and experiences tailored to them. As opposed to outbound marketing which interrupts an audience with unrelated offerings, inbound forms and nurtures connections, educating and offering solutions to problems they have.

Inbound Marketing

The marketing strategies we have explored in this article are all synonymous with an inbound approach: Understanding your audience; offering content of value that educates and has a positive impact or provides a solution to a problem; letting your expertise speak for itself and attracting customers; by firmly positioning your offering as the best in class.

However, to stay true to the Inbound methodology, your work doesn't stop there. Once you have attracted a customer, you need to continue to support and guide them on their customer journey, ensuring success, facilitating education and turning customers into advocates.

That's how to stay 'focused on growth.'

ExtraDigital are here to support your business in its B2B marketing efforts every step of the way. Call today and speak with one the team to learn how we can humanise your B2B marketing.

Wednesday 25th March 2020

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