When it comes to B2B buyers, you may think that a more calculated, technical approach to content marketing should be used.
Is that true?
In this post, we'll check out why you need emotion in your B2B marketing, what types of emotional responses to elicit, and how to make your content more emotionally appealing.
Why B2B Buyers Need Emotional Content Marketing Techniques
The truth is, if ever there was an occasion to use emotion in content marketing, it's with B2B buyers. Why?
Because the sales process for B2B buyers takes 22% longer than it did seven years ago.
Is this because today's buyers are more indecisive? Not at all.
In fact, 82% of B2B buyers think that everyone is pretty much selling the same item. The competition is huge.
To not put too fine a point on it, all B2B suppliers look the same. At least that is the perception of buyers. To further complicate matters, buyers know that when they make a purchase decision it will be a long-term commitment.
What's the best way to cut through the clutter so that your brand stands out? Appeal to emotion.
How do you make an emotional connection with buyers so that they will become and stay brand loyal, all the while providing the technical factoids that are necessary to the sales process?
The best way to do this is by providing relevant, informational content that strikes an emotional cord with your audience.
Four Emotions and How to Use Them to Create Emotional Content
A couple of years ago, Buffer presented the article, The Science of Emotion in Marketing: How Our Brains Decide What to Share and Who to Trust. In the post, author Courtney Seiter, relates how different emotions affect our habits, as related to marketing.
We'll examine the same four emotions she mentioned, but also add how you can use them in your content marketing.
Think of what happens when you see a baby let out a hearty laugh. Your immediate reaction is to smile and laugh, too.
Happiness is contagious. In marketing terms, happiness makes us want to share.
So, if your marketing goal is to increase shares and followers, think (and post) happy thoughts and images.
"By the time the reader has experienced the initial emotional attraction, and logic is “kicking in” a bit, it is time to present the useful and practical aspects of your content." ~Jeff Bullas
We can hardly say that there are any "bad" emotions in marketing. Although most of us don't want to be sad, when we see something that makes us sad, empathy often wells up in us.
Not only that, but this kind of sadness results in an increase in a chemical called oxytocin, something that motivates us to be more trusting.
Therefore, if your goal is to create a positive, humanitarian persona for your company, create case studies that showcase how your brand has improved the lives (not the company as an entity) of your clients.
Did you help provide capital for a struggling business owner who is a single parent? Have you created a program to benefit the victims of poverty? Share this with your readers.
Of course, you always want your effort to be genuine, and not a publicity stunt. Tread carefully when trying to use sadness as a marketing emotion.
Why does watching a horror movie when you're all alone seem so much scarier than when you're with a friend? The main reason is that we are hard-wired to look to each other for emotional support.
Some studies have shown that in the absence of an actual person, audiences will look to a brand or object to alleviate their fears.
How does this work in B2B content marketing? Well, certainly you don't want to terrify your audience. However, you can present a fear-inducing problem your audience faces and show how you can help.
For example, are your prospects worried about their product becoming irrelevant? Share that fear and then show how you'll alleviate their stress.
While anger may not be the healthiest of emotions on which to bind a strong relationship, it does have its place.
For example, you may think that a blog post that presents an extreme view would alienate some of your audience. However, one study showed that comments in a blog post that were expressed as extreme and arrogant made readers dig in their heels to fight for what they already held to be true.
The point is that a piece of content that might seem strongly expressive is not necessarily bad. It may help to firm up relationships with those that share your view, as well as get a dialogue going, even with those who disagree.
Therefore, if your goal is to increase brand loyalty, go ahead and start a pointed discussion and see where it leads.
Best Platforms On Which to Create Emotional Connections
While new social platforms are born seemingly every other day, there are a few mainstays for B2B Marketers. Here are a few of my favorites (not in order of efficacy).
Twitter remains the go-to place for information sharing. Use this platform to direct the attention of your audience towards your owned content, as well as to inspire brand confidence by sharing industry-relevant content.
Although Facebook algorithms change frequently, this platform remains a front-runner, especially for engaging with industry leaders and customers alike.
Facebook is a great place to share emotional content, especially content that elicits compassion or humor.
LinkedIn is perhaps one of the most important platforms for B2B marketers, yet one of the most under-utilized.
According to Oktopost, 80% of B2B leads are generated through LinkedIn!
Want to get more leads? It starts with a stellar LinkedIn company page. If you're not sure how to get one started, check out my recent ebook, How to Create the Perfect LinkedIn Company Page.
Inside, you'll learn all about how to use images in the right place, how to write a killer description, and you'll get some pro tips from the big dogs.