Early funnel and nurturing strategies for the brave B2B marketer
There is a problem in B2B marketing when it comes to lead generation and it’s purely and simply down to the fact that most of what we produce to entertain, inform and educate our prospects lacks that magical oomph and human touch.
We live in an age where it’s more important to be interesting than it is to be right. This grinds with many marketers and agencies who spend many hours, days and weeks trying to create content so profound and logical that it misses the critical human or empathy test.
Nothing new there Cashy. We’re all trying to be more human in our marketing, what’s the juice?
How do we become interesting to our audience? How do we get them to notice us? How do we get them to feel something positive about our company? How do we move them to action? How do we generate conversations and results?
My juicy hack: Play the Empathy Game
It might sound a bit old school, but I’m constantly amazed how many cold approaches lie at the heart of B2B marketing. From LinkedIn InMails to traditional emails and cold calls, the lack of intelligence and sophistication speaks volumes for the vendors and sales people who leverage the numbers game technique. In my opinion, if you’re selling valuable B2B services and solutions then you need to play ‘The Empathy Game’
Start each communication or campaign with your prospects with the following philosophy:
“Earn the permission to communicate with your audience before you try and force product and sales message down their throats.”
At the early stage of any prospect campaign (awareness/pre-awareness), it’s imperative that you try and build an emotional connection with your audience. Emotional connections can be built in several ways using different techniques but here’s my go to list:
(Remember, Google research states that if you lead with an emotional value proposition you are 50% more likely to get on a tender list)
Step in their shoes
I can’t overstate how important empathy is when trying to build a relationship for the first time.
- Empathy shows that you care about their personal situation (goals and aspirations)
- Empathy shows that you feel their pain (work challenges and issues)
- Empathy shows you’ve done your homework
- Empathy shows that you’re not just after a quick buck
- Empathy shows commitment
All of these are vitally important as when you leverage just the right amount of empathy, it builds trust between you and the audience.
Searching for empathy
Empathy is often a key factor missing in the development of personas and value propositions, but where do you get the levels of insight required to create highly engaging stories and messaging?
At the risk of sounding trite, there are so many powerful and reliable listening tools and techniques out there, that you just need to turn them on and tune in:
- Social listening
- Focus groups
- Speaking with customers (pick up the phone, crazy I know)
- Speak with sales people in your company (even more crazy)
- Audience reports / surveys
- Customer testimonials
Instead of starting your next marketing campaign talking about how awesome your product is, why not try a different approach:
Affinity: Talk openly about the world your product plays in and have an interesting perspective on your category or market. This is about establishing a higher level philosophical understanding that your views match and reflect the views of your customers.
Conflict: Talk openly about the challenges and issues your customers face – the ones you’re trying to fix. The one’s they care about. This is about ‘marketing the problem, not the solution’. It’s about a meeting of minds on a more human and emotional level. It shows that you’re on the same wavelength.
Credibility: Don’t be scared of talking about the significant outcomes and benefits that your product creates for your customer, but don’t go into the weeds of what you do, leave that for later. Leave them wanting more.
If you want to leverage higher levels of empathy and emotional intelligence in your content marketing, ABM or B2B lead generation campaigns then give us a call.