Many B2B marketers believe they should use a logic-based, black and white detached approach in their marketing campaigns, but a recent study shows that tapping into buyers’ emotions increases conversion rates. In fact, crafting a connection with prospective buyers using an emotion-focused strategy has been found to have up to twice the impact of marketing campaigns that center solely on business values.
Research done by Google shows that successful branding strategies involves forging emotional connections. The following are six strategies for effectively using emotion in your B2B marketing plan of action.
1. Look at Emotional Marketing in a New Light
Many business owners and managers operate under the preconceived notion that emotion has no place whatsoever in a business to business setting. Although it’s true that overly sentimental gushing probably won’t work—it seems cheesy and reeks of manipulation—you can still use emotional marketing tactics without alienating your target audience with over-the-top gushiness.
Testing marketing campaigns on a small, select group helps define strategies that resonate with particular groups. Maximizing the emotional connection without going overboard should be your goal, and you can do that by simply steering clear of anything that feels too contrived or falsely sentimental.
2. Tell a Story
Every brand (B2C and B2B alike) should tell a story. Your story spells the essence of your business, differentiates you from your direct and indirect competitors, allows you to foster loyalty among your prospects.
Storytelling engages the target audience on an emotional level immediately. You can always provide prospective clients with a comprehensive list of the benefits of your product or service, but they won’t click with a list the way they will with a compelling story, particularly if it’s told from the point of view of likeminded clients with similar pain points they can easily relate to. Testimonials from other clients work well, especially those that include a problem-solving scenario. Having some kind of content that delivers your story will allow your prospects to self-identify and realize why your service may be a viable option for them. It also triggers emotional cues that can in turn, shape their preference.
3. “Game of Thrones” Your Marketing Campaign
Why are we all so drawn to Game of Thrones (book and/or tv) no matter our differences in opinion and preferences? Simple. Emotions. Game of Thrones plays with our emotions just like our middle school crush who made us feel all the feels and we are addicted to it (yes, you too).
Do the same to your marketing campaigns. Find what makes your prospects tick and hook them. Don’t rely on the generic not-so-adventurous tiresome topics and campaigns of your industry, and don’t shy away from the highly controversial. Talk about the funny, the sad, the annoying, the mysterious and the hopes in your industry. Learn how your buyer personas react to certain facets of your industry and utilize this to make your campaigns 10x more interesting for each persona.
4. Create a Positive and Active Social Media Presence
Almost everyone’s on social media these days. An engaging social media presence adds a human factor to an otherwise faceless businesses. Involving employees in your social media landscape is an excellent way to broaden the scope of your message as well as produce an approachable positive online impact. Beyond your service offerings, these decision-makers are also taking into account whether or not your values and culture as a company aligns with what they deem appropriate and ideal. Cultivating an active social media presence also lets them know you care and that you listen. It also enables you to position yourself as a thought-leader and the go-to source in your respective industry.
Hiring a professional to manage your social media platforms ensures that they present a timely, upbeat, and informative face to existing and prospective clients is an excellent investment. Keep active and engaged. Know that in our digital age, social media is too important (even in B2B) of a marketing tool to be allowed to simmer away on the back burner of the stove.
5. Promote Positive Emotions
Research found that B2B clients respond to positive emotions at higher levels than other consumers. Focusing on cultivating emotions such as trust and a sense of feeling valued provide a significant ROI in the B2B marketing environment. In fact, one of the main differences between B2B marketing and B2C marketing is that effective B2B marketing is more personal in nature, so it stands to reason that positive emotions play a greater role. Account managers, for instance, are working with other individuals during the sales process rather than dealing with a mass consumer base, and that requires a more personalized touch. Target emotions may vary depending on the nature of the individual businesses, but they most often include:
- A sense of safety
- A feeling of being cared for
- Authentic interest in the product or service
6. Cultivate Trust and Transparency
B2B clients are more likely to be influenced by skepticism than their B2C counterparts—after all, poor purchasing decisions potentially affect their careers and reputations. This is probably why a sense of safety is highest on the list of emotions that have been found to have the biggest impact on B2B purchasing behavior. Buyers want and need to feel as if they are making the right choice, and this is where a solid sense of trust and transparency comes into play.
Building a foundation of trust with prospective B2B clients and retaining existing ones can be achieved simply by using an honest approach in marketing techniques. Don’t make invalid claims about what your products or services can do, and create transparency by being open to questions and criticism. Be polite and highly responsive, even (and especially) in the face of criticism.
7. Use Marketing Automation to Capitalize on User Emotion
It’s not enough to tug on the pain points of your buyer personas and know what makes them tick. More importantly, you should learn when to strike—that is, strike when the iron is hot when your buyer personas are more likely to spring into action as triggered by the emotion you have captured. If you don’t do this, you’ll miss many a great opportunity to convert them into clients and advocates.
One of the best ways to capitalize on your prospect’s emotions in real-time is through marketing automation. Marketing automation is one of the best tools available for B2B companies. These software technologies are essential for properly identifying industry trends and for empowering marketers to understand the unique needs of individual b2b clients.
Create strategic workflows to send them the perfect piece of content once you have determined they are in the perfect, open state of mind to receive it. Whether it be offers, more information, and other useful next steps to push them down the buyer’s journey, you can “strike while the iron is hot” using marketing automation.
Remember, your B2B prospects are HUMAN too. Just like regular consumers, the decision-makers you’re targeting are also triggered by emotional connection. Don’t settle for the ancient industry lackluster campaigns. In an age where marketing is becoming more and more personal and intrinsic, it’s important to know who exactly your buyer personas are and strategize your campaigns based on their needs and triggers—both in terms of their industries, and emotions.