Have you ever been to a conference or trade show and met someone that you just immediately felt in sync with? You felt as if you’d known them for a long time, and were all set to sign up for whatever they were offering.
You’ve just gone through two of the three major factors of Customer Engagement: getting to know, like, and trust someone. (You were liking and trusting them, in case you hadn’t figured it out.)
Your B2B marketing content must do the same thing, but obviously on a different level. You have to get readers to know, like, and trust you before they’ll recommend you to their Decision Makers.
They Already Know You
Introducing yourself to them and getting them to know you is the easy part. You’ve been working on that for a while now, writing great content for your corporate blog, curating content on social media, and interacting with your audience through those same avenues. Like Hubspot found in one of their surveys this year, you’re part of the 62% of marketers that are blogging this year. And you’re also part of the 14% of marketers who are using social media as part of your lead pipeline. You’ve also been building relationships with key influencers and other heavy hitters in your market. You may have even done a couple of guest posts on other blogs too. Well done! Keep up this work, as you’re on your way.
Next up is the Liking and Trusting part of Customer Engagement. Most B2B companies forget about this part, but if you’re able to do this part well, you’ll be well ahead of your competition.
They Like Me, Will They Really Like Me?
So, how do you build likeability online? It’s not like you can sit down next to your readers and charm them with your wit and compelling stories. Here’s a couple of tips to help you build B2B relationships and be well-liked in your community.
- Be authentic and real. Show your unique voice through your content and don’t just come across as a faceless large B2B company.
- Be passionate. Your passion for the topic you’re writing about will shine through every time, so try to include it as much as you can. Think of any time you’ve been in a group of friends, and how you all share stories and laugh with each other. You’ll believe any story they tell if they tell it with passion and conviction. (Not that I’m advocating lying at a corporate level, I’m just saying that the WAY you write can influence people a great deal. Remember the economics teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? It didn’t matter if he was reading the latest sports scores or the phone book, he sounded boring and lifeless. Don’t be like that.)
- Show your face! Make sure to include an actual picture avatar for your company on social media, or for the authors on your corporate blog. People want to know they’re dealing with humans, so put your picture out there.
- Be generous and pick up the tab once in a while. The old adage is right: share and share alike. You can’t expect people to share your content if you’re not sharing theirs.
In You We Trust
Finally, the Trust part. When people know and like you, they often trust you too. This will come into play when you’re finally ready to sell your readers on your products and services. You don’t do that with your valuable content, however you are laying the groundwork for the sale.
To gain trust online:
- Give people time to come to you. Readers will become prospects on their own, and they’ll become leads on their own too. You’ve pointed them in the right direction with your content, so let them take that last step alone. After all, nobody likes the greasy salesman who just won’t go away, right? To paraphrase Field of Dreams, “If you build it (right), they will come.”
- Eliminate all unnecessary jargon. Sure, you’re in the technology field, so you can’t escape it completely, but try to keep it to a minimum. Tossing around jargon unnecessarily makes you look silly.
- Ask for testimonials and publish them. This is a golden part of gaining your audience’s trust. You’ve demonstrated you can deliver a positive experience for an outside, third party, so why not for them too?
- Publish success stories and case studies of your wins. Giving example of real-world successes show how you deliver that positive experience to your clients. They’ll identify with your client, and hopefully start to think of themselves as one too.
- Be consistent. Whether that’s with your stellar quality, or your blogging schedule, if you say you’re going to do something, then do it. Breaking your word diminishes your credibility and shatters any trust in a heartbeat. Keeping your word and consistently delivering quality ensures that they’ll come to you first every time, whether that’s for a comment or question, or an actual purchase.
- Give it away for free. Yes, you read that right. Sometimes you have to give away your best in order to stand out. If you’re willing to give THAT away, your audience must wonder about the quality of the stuff you charge for.
You Ready to Engage Your Customers?
Incorporating the elements of know, like, and trust into your content takes time and effort. It’s not a simple thing to do, but once you do, watch out. Authority starts oozing out of every piece of content you create, and your audience becomes your “people”. They’ll be ready to become customers at any time.