I’m still seeing a real reluctance on the part of many B2B businesses to get human with their marketing and really tell their story. For too long, B2B marketers have put products and services first, believing that all they had to do was “build it and they will come.”
Buyers want more than a boring product or service. They want and expect an experience, not only with a brand, but with the people behind it. Because the buying cycle usually starts online (studies show that buyers are often more than 60% through the buying decision cycle before they contact your company), showing the “human-ness” of your company and brand online is critical.
Here’s what B2B marketers have to create in their online marketing to get more human.
Your business must show up consistently across online platforms, including your website and social media. An un- or poorly-branded company page on social media shows that you’re not consistent. When (not if) people follow you, you need to deliver content and information consistently. Your brand has one voice, one look and feel, one persona that comes across every time. Note that you don’t have to be on every social media platform, but you should be branded on the majors: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.
Don’t hold back your story. Tell it! Even the good, the bad, and… …well, maybe not the ugly. Find a way to explain the bad that is honest and apologetic if necessary. Show your company timeline on your website. Many B2B business have a long track record and much experience, and they are doing themselves a disservice by omitting this. Show pictures of the people who run your business. Companies are not operated by ghosts! People want to see from whom they are about to buy!
Just as you would return a friend’s phone call in a timely manner, you need to respond to inquires, comments and retweets. This creates engagement between buyers and your company. Engagement is what helps convince people to buy. But it must be responsive, genuine, conversational and helpful.
Great salespeople understand that people buy based on emotion, not on the facts. This has always been the case. Relationships make a difference. People buy from people they like. And now there are a lot of marketers telling great stories. They are reaching more people online and successfully convincing them to buy. B2B marketers may have good face-to-face relationships with prospects and customers, but they need to be human and engaging online, too.
Are you telling your great story? Engaging people with your human side in social media? Going beyond the boring product pages online?
Do you need help telling your story consistently online, engaging and converting customers? Contact New Incite today. We provide marketing analysis, strategy and implementation that gets client results.
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Photo by Graham van der Wielen on Flickr, Some Rights Reserved