B2B buyers spend a lot of time researching products and services online. In fact, 71 percent of these buyers prefer to do research on their own, and only 12 percent want to meet with a sales representative. But just because the world has gone digital, B2B marketers should never forget that their prospects are real people. This means not contacting potential clients constantly with irrelevant content, and instead providing individualized customer experiences.
According to Demand Metric, 78 percent of consumers feel a relationship with a company that delivers custom content. By adopting a personal approach to marketing, B2B marketers have the opportunity to build trust and establish loyal relationships with clients over the years.
There are several ways to acknowledge that B2B buyers are real people. B2B marketers should take advantage of customer personas to create personalized experiences for leads. Connecting these personas to CRM data across the various marketing touch points along the customer journey is a great way for marketers to create individual experiences. In this scenario, quality content should be based on the individual customer’s pain points and delivered across channels be it email, mobile or social, depending on where your audience is interacting.
Just as events are great places to make connections in the real world, social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook are great venues to make these connections digitally. According to Base One, B2B buyers under 40 are almost twice as likely to use social media to gather information. In order to attract customers in the social sphere where attention is limited and content is plenty, marketers must provide valuable content.
Insightful social content is a great way for B2B marketers to demonstrate their expertise and show how they’d make a real partner. But remember, social networkers don’t have time for boring blasts in their feed. Use different mediums to draw attention such as graphics, videos and blog posts to keep the content lively and the prospects engaging. There is an opportunity to create great, insightful and entertaining content and then tag prospects in order to capture their eye. But beware that wasting their time won’t make you look good. Be sure to provide them with the value they need such as e-books, videos and articles that relate to your target.
Social networks are not only good for broadcasting content; they can also be used as a place to listen. Using social monitoring tools can give B2B marketers insights into what issues potential customers face and what they are saying about the competition. This is a great place to pick up the conversation that they’ve already started. Speak to prospects as they like to be spoken to. If you see a prospect sharing photos of teambuilding, then share photos of your team. If you see them sharing insightful articles, then link to interesting stories that might appeal to their business. Use this as the stepping-stone to have real conversations.
The best way to make sure that your marketing efforts are strategic is to ensure that you are reaching the right audience. Marketers should define a target audience and work on this list to distribute content and build relationships. This requires B2B marketers to determine which platforms they use most frequently and understand when they are likely to read and react to your content and how they search for services. Using this data, marketers can plan, execute, and refine strategic campaigns.
The digital world offers B2B marketers a world of opportunity to reach prospects, but it only works when done strategically and this means recognizing the people on the other end.