B2B content marketing is known for being straightforward. This is a stark contrast to B2C content marketing, which is known for being more emotionally-driven. However, this assumption is simply not true.
By infusing emotion into their content marketing strategies, B2B marketers can connect with more prospects, attain more leads, and gain far more customers.
In fact, according to research from CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council and Google, emotionally-based marketing has proven to be more effective than logic-based marketing when it comes to driving B2B purchasing decisions.
The reasons are obvious. B2B decision-makers are, after all, human beings with real human emotions. They laugh, cry, and get frustrated. And, like everyone else, B2B buyers often make decisions based on their emotions, whether they realize it or not.
There are numerous ways you can use emotion in your B2B content marketing strategy, but the following content marketing checklist should help you get started connecting with your audience in new ways.
1.Tell a Story
Scientists have discovered that stories alter the way the human brain consumes and stores information. People retain up to 70% of the information they receive through stories.
Another important fact is that our brains activate the areas responsible for language processing, motor functions, and sensory information depending on what the story calls for. If the story involves running, that part of our brain is activated. Same with smelling or hearing something in a story. Our brains activate as if the moment is actually occurring in real life.
Essentially, storytelling in B2B content marketing can help you influence the ways in which your customers think about and behave toward your brand. When done correctly, storytelling can be a powerful marketing tool that can entice your prospects to take specific actions.
To tell a story, you should really know your audience, as well as what emotions you want your audience to feel. You’ll also need to make sure that your story includes these basic elements, in order for it to be effective:
The most important piece of a story is the character. The character will be the one to establish a bond between you and potential customers.
Your story will involve characters, such as a hero and villain. Your hero can be your buyer persona and the villain can be the problem your hero faces.
For example, your “hero” buyer persona could be the Chief Security Officer at a financial institution and the “villain” could be represented by the malware and viruses used by cyber criminals that threaten to steal personal information and vital revenue.
The scene is where your story takes place. The idea is to make your prospect place himself inside the story, preferably as the hero. For this to happen, you need to enable the reader to imagine where your story takes place. Doing this properly will bring your story to life.
The scene from the example above might be the office of a well-known European bank. The malware attempted to breach the bank’s network, and your hero had better act fast to protect the bank’s assets.
The stakes represent the elements that are most at risk in the story. This is what will happen if the hero fails to overcome the villain.
The hero in your story could be facing the loss of the bank’s money, reputation, and the malware is known for being extra nasty...
Drama is where the excitement comes from in your story. It’s the one or more elements of your story that make your audience’s heart race or worry about what will happen next. Without drama, you’ll lose your readers early on.
The drama in your story could be depicted by both the internal anxiety and external pressure your CSO hero is feeling to resolve the issue.
The resolution is where the hero succeeds in solving the problem. Ideally, you’ll want the hero to succeed while using your products and services to overcome the issue that has caused so much stress.
In your story, your cybersecurity software has thwarted the hackers and saved the day.
The conclusion is where you’ll wrap the story up and add your call-to-action. Make sure you’ve tied up all of your loose ends and maybe leave a cliffhanger or room for a sequel.
The conclusion to your story could highlight the money, frustration, and reputation that was salvaged thanks to your offerings. And, of course, you’ll want to end your tale by serving up a call-to-action for your reader to become the hero of his or her own story with your cutting-edge cybersecurity software.
The Golden Circle
The Golden Circle is a concept created by ex-advertising executive and author Simon Sinek. This model is a tool one can use to incorporate storytelling and emotion in B2B content marketing.
Using this thought model, you can simplify your job as a storyteller. According to Sinek, most companies have no idea why customers choose their products. Therefore, the golden circle asks three questions that solve the problem of why customers choose you over the competition.
The questions include What, How, and Why.
Sinek found that most companies start with the What question. Instead, Sinek suggests that companies start with the Why, which asks why customers choose your company over any others working in the same space.
The How represents the question of how the company does what it does, and the What represents the products or services your company sells.
These questions are good to ask so that your prospect can get as emotionally invested in your story as possible. By knowing the answers to these questions, you’ll understand your hero’s motivations, the problems he or she faces, and the solutions that will bring your story to a satisfying end.
Using our example above, the What is the threat of a security breach and stress your hero feels.
The Why represents the need to protect the financial institution’s data.
The How represents your cybersecurity software saving the day.
Use these examples to come up with your own stories that drive your audience to act.
2.Use Social Proof
Few elements help to sell products and services better than social proof. As humans, we like to do things that we know others have enjoyed. That’s why Amazon reviews work so well and why companies tell you that they have X amount of satisfied customers.
By knowing that the company serves others with a smile, it makes you want to become a customer, too.
Through utilizing social proof to enhance emotions in your B2B content marketing, you give potential customers a view of the assistance you can provide them.
When promoting B2B content, social proof can come in the way of testimonials, case studies and influencer support, for example, and these are perfect for evoking the very emotions that entice prospects to buy.
Testimonials are incredibly effective at swaying prospects who may otherwise remain on the fence about your offerings. Be sure to include photos of the individuals who left the testimonials to give them added legitimacy, as well as links to their LinkedIn (or other social media) profiles.
Spectoos make displaying social proof easy by adding attractive and authority-generating testimonials to your website and across all your online assets.
Case studies also showcase the effectiveness of your products and services. Instead of telling people that your offerings are worthy of their investment, you are showing your audience exactly what your products and services can do, along with the story of how your client went from frustrated to satisfied in a step-by-step fashion.
Influencer support can come from luminaries in your field, celebrities, or anyone else your audience looks up to, and who can deliver much more attention to your brand from far and wide.
3. Promote Exclusivity
A very effective way to infuse emotion into your B2B content marketing strategy is to make your prospects and customers feel as though they now belong to your “tribe.” Bringing your audience into the fold makes them feel special, as if they’re part of something truly spectacular.
Using this tactic, you can also succeed at making customers feel as though they have more of a personal connection to you. In other words, they’re not just another number or sale. Your prospects and customers are individuals, and people love to belong and feel special.
4. Use Color Theory in Your UX/CX
So far we have discussed how to evoke emotion using language. But colors can also be used to create an emotional response in people. By using different colors in your marketing campaigns, you can impact the emotions and moods of the individuals consuming your marketing collateral.
For example, yellow invites feelings of warmth and happiness while green represents natural and relaxing moods.
We have all seen these colors at work in branding on a daily basis, but we don’t quite realize it.
You can use colors in your content scheme by selecting images that showcase the colors above to specific effect. Just make sure that your tone and color choices mesh with the emotions you’re trying to get your audience to feel.
5. Become an Authority
One of the most important emotions to evoke in your audience is trust. You can build a trust bond with your prospects by publishing educational, valuable, and informative content your audience can use, such as a guide for building a content marketing strategy. Become a thought leader, and you’ll always remain top-of-mind whenever your prospects have a problem your company can solve.
Writing ebooks/guides, keeping up with a blog, and regularly sharing your content on social media and other channels, like email, can ensure your brand is viewed as an authority and is trusted, which will attract many more customers into your tribe.
The Power of Emotion in B2B Content Marketing
All in all, incorporating emotion into your content marketing efforts does not need to be challenging at all. Just by sharing your story, you open up the opportunity to build long-lasting relationships with customers, who in turn become evangelists on your behalf.