“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” is a quote by Simon Sinek that is the basis of our content strategy work. It might sound crazy, but people really don’t buy products or fancy service packages — they want to know why you’re trying to help them solve their problems. They want to know why you’ve created the solutions you’ve created. And they want to know why they should purchase from you.
I get it. If you’re a B2B marketer, you might be thinking all this flowery-feel good language must only be for B2C marketers. But I’m here to very gently tell you, that’s not true at all. Businesses do need products, service packages, and software to be successful.
B2B marketing has been known for being slow, hard, and when compared to B2C marketing, pretty dry. But the ways of B2B marketing have begun to shift — and that’s because more and more people are realizing that B2B marketers are still marketing to humans. Companies don’t actually purchase from your B2B company; people do!
With new resources and technological developments available, marketers can now experiment and attempt new B2B content strategies to find ones that best fit their brand and their overall goals. And as B2B content marketing continues to evolve, that means your content strategy should be doing the same.
In this blog, I’ll be sharing my top 6 tips to help you humanize your B2B marketing efforts and create a content strategy that your audience can’t help but engage with.
How to Humanize B2B Marketing
1. Go beyond LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is great for B2B marketing, but you need to think about other social channels too. As humans, we tend to engage differently on certain channels, and your target market is no different.
They might be on LinkedIn to gain business insights to excel in their jobs, but they'll be on TikTok to unwind and have a laugh. Your business doesn’t need to have a presence on every social platform, but it does mean that you need to cater your content to the channels you do choose. We’re not suggesting you create an entirely new content stream for different platforms, but do consider how a little effort in versioning your posts could go a long way in extending your reach.
2. Show some personality.
If you want to connect with your audience in a consumer-empowered world, you need to know who your audience is and how to approach them. The key? Characteristics and personality that represent who the audience is or who they aspire to be.
Many B2B marketers forget that they're ultimately talking to humans. Brands today need to incorporate human-like personas and personalities in order to connect with their audience through human emotions. At the end of the day, it’s really about infusing some personality into the content you create can help audiences remember your brand and recommend your business in the future.
3. Create personal experiences for your audience.
No one wants a mass email that doesn't actually speak to their interests or pain points. A generic email is the fastest way to get someone to unsubscribe. (I can’t tell you how many email lists I’ve personally unsubscribed to because of this.)
So, if you're using email as a medium, you have to personalize it. You have to create a connection with your customers. The easiest ways to do this include using personalization tokens and automating the inclusion of their first name. But these are table stakes these days. Consider the personalization some B2C companies are using. You need to make a strong case for an ERP or CRM that is capable of tracking things like purchase history, contract expiration dates, and even birthdays or anniversaries (with your company—not their spouse). Your personal touch can get quickly overwhelming and have diminishing returns if your systems cannot store accurate and accessible data.
4. Write for them, not at them.
It’s absolutely possible to create a great piece of content, rich in keywords and primed for SEO success that doesn’t actually resonate with customers.
A big mistake B2B marketers make is assuming that customers are only looking for information —falling back on product sheets disguised as case studies, high-level white papers, and sales pitches masquerading as webinars in hopes of driving up engagement and drawing in business. This can often miss the mark. People aren’t looking for information, they need to be enticed and entertained. B2B is still human to human, so it’s important to ensure anything your team creates is direct, pleasant, and conversational.
5. Transparency is key.
Being transparent about how your business functions, how your product or service works, and what your brand values are will build a level of trust that people are craving these days. On top of that, people like to see who is doing the actual work. This is the perfect opportunity to showcase the employees who make your business what it is.
6. What’s your why?
And just like Simon Sinek said, regardless of the kind of business you do, people want to do business with you because they resonate with why you do what you do.
Customers don’t just buy products or services, they buy solutions to their problems that would make their life easier. They buy benefits, experiences, and pleasant emotions. People get attached to stories and often want to be part of something big. That means companies need to reposition their purpose to attract customers who share their fundamental beliefs.
The ways of B2B marketing are beginning to shift and with new resources and technological developments available, marketers can now experiment and attempt new B2B content strategies to find ones that best fit their brand and resonate most with their customers.
But it’s imperative that whatever strategy you create, you remember to communicate on the human level. By making your B2B marketing material easy to find, easy to understand, and above all, human-centric, you’ll find a higher level of engagement and interaction with your audience.