Your business has its own character, just as a living person does. Your clients/customers have a character, too. And what’s behind the character? A story. Each character hides a great story. And each business. That’s why we’re talking about B2B storytelling.
When you’re describing your business, the way you tell a story is highly important. Probably crucial. It can be shaped by a number of factors including your founder’s vision, core company values, or simply the idea that you’re selling a product or service people want.
You get it. It’s about the good, old, storytelling, and telling the right story to the right people at the right time.
Messages delivered as stories are up to 22 times more memorable than just facts
Many companies are completely missing to capitalize on that approach. Everything is too general, boring, technical – a self-flattered approach built around your “perfect” product or service and its functionalities.
Sure, I understand why you are doing this. You spent money, time, and effort on your education. You spend additional time building the product or service you are selling, your reputation as well, and you want everyone to know about that.
Wrong. There’s a thing that often slips on our minds.
Look at your company through the eyes of the customer. Take a moment to really feel yourself in their shoes.
Think. How would you react to a company that talks only about themselves and their products/services? Would you even like the look at it?
Try to evaluate your content from such a point of view to gain a perspective about it.
Think about connecting and creating relationships instead of thinking only about selling. People buy from people they trust. It’s 2020, you must build their Zero Moment of Truth, first.
You must be mindful of your approach to the business. It doesn’t exist without a customer, and a customer doesn’t exist without a good relationship with the seller.
You know that, but yet, you forget about it often. It’s the fear of failure that prompts you to keep a proper distance from the public and be strictly business.
You cannot cut off of the customer the universal tendency to relate to those things that have a bigger meaning. “Well, they need my service, and so it has a meaning for them”, you say. Yes, but don’t you think a customer will go to someone who offers them the service and personal connection?
That is how you create content that converts.
Give the customer something to relate to. Make your company a space of conversation between you and the customer/reader, where mutual understanding and respect for their needs is the top priority.
No matter how brilliant you are, you have to build trust and to connect, and this is why you need to tell a story. Not any story, but your story.
Bear with me, this is crucial. Don’t tell the wrong story.
It’s not about you. It’s about the customer. The journey to connect with your audience must start by thinking about them, first. Change that, and you’ll see the results.
Your stories can blend the emotional and visual, creating a memorable experience.
Use Linkedin, tell your people to use it. Teach them how to use it. Your employees have a bigger reach of your LinkedIn Page. Amplify their voice to build trust for your brand.
Go beyond technology, facts, and traditional narratives.
Be ready to take a bold stance, to challenge the old.
People may forget what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.
To attract the right buyers, though, it’s not solely about telling your story, why you or your service/product is great, how well-educated you are, how many successful clients you served in the past.
It’s about crafting a narrative that revolves around your customers first, with your products or services as the supporting characters that help them get where they need to go.
In other words, your buyers’ motivations write the story — and strategy — not the other way around.
By using an avatar to define your target audience, you can hone in on the people who align with your business ideas and will want your offerings. It’s not everyone, just the people most likely to buy into your story and help make it a success.
This leads to a core marketing principle:
You can’t be everything to everyone, so focus on those buyers who most need what you provide.
To ease the process, you can find various tools or spreadsheets on the market, helping you define your ideal customer persona.
So, let’s start with the picture and understanding of your ideal customer. I’ll use the 7 questions method borrowed from Colin Cheriot. He used this method successfully so many times and described it as a lock and key relationship with your ideal customer.
1. WHO is the Specific Target Prospect?
Be specific: gender, education, employment, family, etc… What makes them DESTINED to suffer from the problem you solve?
2. WHAT is the nature of their specific problem?
Is it physical, mental, emotional, etc. Is it painful, annoying, bothersome, etc?
3. WHEN do they actually experience the problem?
How often do they suffer? How long do they suffer? What amount of time is wasted by this problem?
4. WHERE else does the problem affect them negatively?
Besides the actual experience… What are the ripples? What are the dominoes?
5. WHY Can’t they solve the problem themselves?
How has it never been their fault? Why does this happen to them vs. others?
6. HOW have they tried to solve it and failed?
What have they tried on their own? What competing solutions have failed? What are they afraid to try?
7. WHAT IF they could solve it?
What would life be like then? Reverse the ripples. Reverse the dominoes. Not just solved, but REVERSED.
Try to be as detailed as possible in the research. You know what they said, the devil is in the details. Be as clear as you can when you’re writing the copy. Cut all the fluff. There is no time for that.
Now that you have answered the questions, you think it’s easier now. You just need to define a sales persona and that’s it.
Just to remind you, it’s 2020 now. Marketing is aligned with sales and customer success.
All functions and processes tied to revenue.
The time of fluffy metrics is gone. Demand generation tied to revenue is killing the digital marketing stars of the past. Old school generalists will have to learn new skills and adapt at a fast pace.
The same is with specialists with outdated skill sets. Many companies will disappear.
The champions of the past will try to survive but without real engagement, it will be impossible.
Real trust and mutual respect between all functions in the company is a top priority. A personal branding approach, mixed with customer-centric storytelling. We learned that from B2C and put in place their short-term tactics in our long-term B2B solutions.
Content is still the king but the distribution is The Mother Queen. She doesn’t wear pants but she brings our best content to our ideal customers, again and again. Easy to consume, easy to digest.
With all that in mind, you realize you need to define marketing, sales, and customer success persona. And yes, they need to be aligned.
Luckily, we can use similar shortcuts and a similar set of 7 questions to define them.
1. WHO are you to have solved this problem?
What are your UNIQUE circumstances? Why were YOU, specifically, destined to be the person (or company) to solve this problem?
2. WHAT is the nature of your solution?
Describe the physical nature of it? What exactly does it do for the prospect?
3. WHEN can they solve the problem once they get your solution?
Is it instant relief? Will it require effort from them? Are the results lasting, or temporary?
4. WHERE else can they apply this solution?
Is there a benefit beyond simply solving it? Are there other possible applications? Again, reverse the ripples and dominoes.
5. WHY is your solution the best one available?
What makes it stand out among competitors? How is it not only BETTER, but really the ONLY sensible option for them?
6. HOW does your solution work?
How does it function? What is required to make it work? How do they get it and use it?
7. WHAT IF they decline your offer?
How does the problem get worse? Will they stagnate in frustration? Use “where” and “when” to paint a vivid picture of future pain and suffering.
Now you have almost the full picture. The lock & key method allows you to define yourself, your team and company, and your products/services in a way that deeply connects to the pain of the prospect’s problem.
Remember, the right person, right place at the right time can lead you to the right deal. It’s even better, they will usually think it’s their own idea. Can you imagine that? Mindfuck.
If everything is done right, they will approach when they are ready to work with you. Revolution has already begun, let’s burn the old playbook together.
And now you say – this guy has one of his research and found things he can use in the article. He doesn’t do this for himself.
So, how exactly do we practice what we preach here at Funky Marketing? In other words – how do we generate demand for a company offering demand generation services?
We start by building strong personal brands. By growing our personal brands, we’re growing the company brand, too. That’s the foundation.
We tell our stories.
We share case studies.
We build relationships.
In other words – we’ve adopted B2C tactics in the B2B environment.
The needle is moving forward with every single post, comment, a new connection we made.
We’re creating content for all stages of their buyers’ journey and talking with people no matter if they are:
✅ Unaware that they have a problem
✅ Aware that they have a problem
✅ Aware of the solution and are looking for help to solve it
When they are ready, they schedule a call. 📞
From random visitors to delighted customers, and a few steps further.
Yes, you need to define retaining customer persona, too.
Customer persona refers to the avatar or persona of the segment of people who have bought from you. As you want to retain their confidence and custom, and perhaps sell more and new products, it is to the customer avatar you will shape your after-sale services, instructions, post-conversion marketing, and surveys to appeal to your customer personas.
We want to keep them happy and engaged and it’s a 2-way street with busy win-win traffic. They’re becoming our brand ambassadors and further recommending us. All this makes our costs per acquisition even lower.
It’s easier to sell to a happy client than acquire a brand new one.
The way we achieve this looks easy. At least for us. But, it’s all about the willingness to go the extra mile, our personal and professional ethics alignment with long-term company goals, mutual respect, deep understanding of our client’s needs, readiness to go further and beyond standard professional relationships.
Always be original, be ready to challenge the old, don’t be afraid to take a bold stance.
Life is too short for mediocre results and thinking.
The world of marketing may seem like a really serious thing, and when trying to look smart and serious enough for your customers, you may trick yourself into using the same lines and tone as all typical websites in the niche. But for persuasive online copywriting, being average is a mistake.
We’re often afraid of expressing our own personal vision in a style that is inherent to our character. We find our own methods too quirky and doom them unsellable.
However, it’s oftentimes the approach that differs in some way and is unique that wins customers and becomes successful.
Don’t be hesitant to take risks that may pay off quite well.
Last but not least, learn to listen, remember, it’s not all about you. No matter how great you are.
It’s a long game, you have to stay humble in future winnings.
We encourage the use of social proof, but in a reasonable way. Use the customer feedback, like testimonials for a specific product or opinions on a general topic, statistics, and other official data, experts’ knowledge, and other references to the role your service plays in people’s lives.
All this can be smartly incorporated into your content and used with benefits, and its power should not be underestimated.
It’s your time to shine.