B2B brands have been reluctant in the past to use digital channels for marketing. However, later they realized how important the channels are. And now the industry is seeing a new trend - interactive content is gaining traction.
What factors accounted for it? How can interactive content benefit the B2B segment? Let’s find out.
Warm and cold calling
Warm calling may have a better success rate than cold calling (the latter has a 0.3% success rate), but business clients now wise up to understand there’s only one difference between the two - one is uninvited while another is not.
Other than that, there’s hardly any difference. Both take 10-15 minutes of their time (if the caller is lucky) and attempt to influence their buying decision.
Nevertheless, clients want a better understanding of the product/service, they are insisted on buying, it's USP, the idea behind it, and the vision of the company that is selling it to them. A 10 minutes call cannot satisfy their inquisitiveness.
But a meaningful interaction can.
Content and interaction
An interaction is a bipartite process. It always requires two people unless one of them is schizophrenic (pun intended). Incase of a full-fledged B2B interaction, the prospective lead gets ample information about the product or service.
F2F interactions are not always possible (or recommended). An interaction, based on content marketing can compensate for it. Content is the wild card that can have whatever color individual marketers want it to have. In 2016, the most popular content formats to affect the B2B sales funnel are:
The B2B industry may appear as a dull, dispirited and heavy-hearted domain, where numbers and statistical probability sideline interpersonal communication.
But in reality, the industry is more vivacious than you can imagine it to be. A research done by Accenture Digital and SAP Hybris revealed that akin to B2C buyers, B2B buyers also have high expectations for engagement. The study highlighted B2B buyers valuing personalized recommendations in an interaction only second to price and transparency of the product.
Personalized content can be instrumental in fostering an individualized and customized interaction. VentureBeat has done a study on personalization, which revealed that email, messages on social media and landing pages are the leading channels that trigger personalization.
How can a writer take help of these findings when drafting a copy?
He shouldn’t mention the brand name in his email marketing copy more than once. Or maybe twice but not more than that. He should rather concentrate on crafting a personalized message.
The same marketer should highlight the brand in his Twitter update or Facebook status message. On Twitter he can use the brand name as a brand hashtag in the message for better visibility.
As you take the interaction with the prospective B2B lead to a personalized level, he can be curious about the brand alongside the product.
How can you satisfy his curiosity?
By telling him a story about your brand.
He’d listen, provided the story is interesting.
Brands have been applying this technique. Most of them are B2C companies. Even though B2B brands are lagging behind them, there's no reason for them to lag behind - because the tips that make a brand a better storyteller can be followed by B2B brands.
In fact, they can excel in it if they follow the Do's and Don'ts that Neil Patel described in his blog. They'd be providing information, packed with ingredients that make up a good story.
Storytelling can be animated or non-animated depending on the product and the audiences. Animated storytelling is a better leverage for B2B brands. Motion graphic and animation are among the content formats that can render it. Explainer videos that blend humor and entertainment with information qualify as a powerful format. So do infographics as they can create visual stories. Some big brands have already been using animated storytelling for their benefit. Most of them are Silicon Valley-based tech companies.
It hasn’t been long since marketers have learned to look at webinars as marketing materials. The webinar opt-in page captures lead. William Johnson explained in his article how to increase the number of registrations via the opt-in page. He recommended listing all the benefits in bold, adding a CTA button and getting it noticed, etc.
A webinar is a live discussion with the help of documents, slides, graphics and software applications. For the success of a webinar, you need to communicate with your audiences. It won’t be a one-way communication because your audiences will get the chance to react.
Don’t pitch the product in a meeting. That’s a terrible idea. Always bear in mind that the session is for your audiences, not for you. Make sure the audiences get something of value out of the discussion. Clear their doubt, give them advice and be ready to answer impromptu questions.
In short, make the interaction successful and see more leads turning into sales. Don’t expect it to happen overnight, though. Clients want conviction that you can offer them the best service. Give them a hint that you are capable of that. For example, if you expect the potential lead to outsource IT works, highlight the benefits of remote working and back your claim with relevant data. Such purpose-driven interactions are very effective in closing sales.
Interactive content will continue to be relevant for the B2B segment. In the near future, more mediums will surface enabling marketers to better utilize digital channels and explore new formats to accommodate B2B marketing collaterals.