Why Is It So Hard to Start Conversations in B2B Marketing?
Creating genuine, real conversations in B2B isn’t easy.
Conversations between B2B buyers and the brands trying to sell to them often feel disconnected and awkward.
Often, B2B brands forget to treat the conversation like an actual conversation. Imagine walking into a party and just immediately telling every person who walks by how awesome you are. Also, do you want to buy some essential oils or haircare products?
It wouldn’t impress other partygoers. Most likely, nobody would want to continue the conversation. Why should your conversations with B2B buyers be any different?
TAILOR YOUR CONVERSATION TO THE PARTY
Know your audience.
That’s the key to ensuring the conversation you start will be effective. Make sure you know the needs of your customers and use that knowledge to make sure your discussion will win them over.
Let your audience see that you notice them, know about their needs, and want to help. This is how you build trust in a real-life conversation but also a brand.
DRESS TO IMPRESS
Make sure your design makes a positive impression.
Keep it mostly neutral-toned, with sections of color to highlight your most important/best features.
At a party, this would be key accessories like a scarf or shoes that give a pop of color to an everyday outfit.
In content and on your website, these would be your CTAs, which stand out over the authoritative neutrals of your background.
Make sure your audience knows what you want them to do by designing an easy-to-use, clear website. Do the same with your emails. Have users, that aren’t the creators, navigate your website, and read your emails. Then, give you feedback on what works and what doesn’t.
This outsider perspective is useful for troubleshooting and optimizing your design.
DON’T HOG THE CONVERSATION
Take a breath and let whoever you’re reaching out to talk back.
After all, that’s the difference between having a conversation and speaking to a wall.
Nobody likes someone that endlessly boasts about themselves. Interact with your audience, ask them questions, and encourage them to speak back.
In marketing, this is accomplished by asking questions on social, on your blog posts, etc. You can also spend time searching through relevant hashtags on Twitter, looking for meaningful ways to start a conversation with relevant readers.
Marketing and advertising used to be able to have a one-sided conversation with their audiences, simply broadcasting the message out to them, without care for how their audience felt. That no longer flies in today’s world. Conversations must be two-sided and personalized for customers to be satisfied.
Create content that educates.
In a conversation, if a person makes sweeping generalizations or doesn’t back up their opinions with facts, it tends to turn off the listener and hurt the speaker’s credibility. We’ve all met that person that won’t stop speaking like this at a party. It causes the listeners to casually excuse themselves.
Keep that in mind when you create content.
Use facts to back up your statements; it lends credibility to you and your brand. This will make your audience trust you.
BRAG — BUT ONLY A LITTLE
It’s okay to boast but only a bit.
It’s like telling someone a crazy story about that one wild night in Paris. You are boasting about this story and maybe even that you were in Paris, but it’s a good story. It could even be one that is worth others retelling about you.
You want to spread similarly compelling stories. It will be hard to tell a story that tops a wild night in a foreign land in B2B, but make an effort to tell stories that matter.
This could be in the form of case studies where your product helped another company do some measure of good in the world or simply solved one of their problems.
Storytelling is as old as language, so it makes sense that it would be of critical importance to creating meaningful conversations.
Remember, when you walk into a room(even a virtual one), you must work to create relationships with your audience. Engage them in meaningful, balanced conversations about the topics they are interested in. Don’t just blast them with your messages. Stoke the fire, get your readers interested in your brand. Just because the subject is B2B doesn’t mean there needs to be a disconnect in your conversations. You just tell stories a little differently to match the stories your brand played a part in.