Creating Authentic B2B Conversations

I've been in B2B marketing for many years and have seen two extremes when it comes to customer engagement. First, there is the buzzword organization—the one that says a whole lot but a whole lot of nothing. Then there's the opposite—the company that meets you where you are because they are "cool" and they care. That response is too casual; it treats your business need from a consumer perspective, not a business perspective.

To drive conversation, both online and offline, with your B2B customers requires the right tone that is concise and consistent, while being respectful. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share these tips from Acadia Otlowski, editor and copywriter at HiP, on how to drive genuine conversations with B2B customers and prospects.

Imagine walking into a party and immediately telling every person who walks by how awesome you are. It wouldn't impress other partygoers and, most likely, nobody would want to continue the conversation. It's the same with your B2B conversations.

Know Your Audience. Make sure you know the needs of your customers and use that knowledge to make sure your conversation will win them over. Let your audience see that you notice them, know about their needs and want to help. This is how you build trust in a real-life conversation but also as a brand. This means your communication should address their pain points and provide some level of knowledge, insight and education.

Dress To Impress. Make sure your company's logo and graphics make a good impression. Keep the look mostly neutral-toned, with pops of color to highlight your most important/best features. In print content and on your website, these would be your calls to action, so they stand out over the authoritative neutrals of your background. Also, make sure your audience knows what you want them to do by designing an easy-to-use website and clear email communications.

Don't Hog The Conversation. Take a breath every now and then and let whomever you're talking to talk back. Nobody likes someone who endlessly boasts about themselves. Interact with your audience, ask them questions and encourage them to respond. In marketing, this can be done by asking questions on social media or in your blog posts. You can also spend time searching through relevant hashtags on Twitter, looking for meaningful ways to start conversations with relevant readers.

Create Content That Educates. In a conversation, if the speaker makes sweeping generalizations or doesn't back up their opinions with facts, it tends to turn off the listener. Keep that in mind when you create content. Use facts to back up your statements, it lends credibility to you and your brand. This will make your audience trust you.

Brag—But Only A Little. You want to share stories that are compelling. This could be in the form of case studies such as when your product helped another company do some measure of good in the world or simply solved a problem.

Remember, when you walk into a room, you must work to create relationships with your audience. Engage them in meaningful, balanced conversation about the topics in which they are interested. Don't just blast them with your messages—match your message to their needs.

Source: Acadia Otlowski is an editor and copywriter at HiP. She handles writing subject lines and email copy as well as contributing weekly to the blog. Otlowski is a journalism major turned marketing enthusiast with a strong background in research and writing. Outside of work, she is an avid reader and storyteller, as well as a fire performer.

filed under August 2018
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