Have you ever watched an ad on social media or television that stuck with you for weeks? Perhaps it had you smiling the whole day or left you curious enough to find out more. And anytime you remembered it, you still smiled.
One that comes to mind is Shakira’s Waka Waka video for the FIFA World Cup in 2010.
Several soccer fans and even non-soccer fans worldwide thought it was the best FIFA had ever done. The video, which now has over 3 billion views, is still as exciting to watch today as it was 12 years ago.
You should check it out. I’m sure it would leave you with a feeling of nostalgic happiness if you watched the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Content and promotions that spark the right emotions in your audience tend to yield the most return in terms of sales and brand engagement. According to a survey on the role of emotion in B2B buying, 70% of emotionally engaged customers spend up to two times or more on brands they are loyal to.
The survey also revealed honesty and trust as having the greatest influence on brand loyalty.
A study also confirmed the role of emotion in B2B buying. 86% of respondents each identified confidence, optimism, and the feeling of assurance as the most effective forms of emotion to invest in.
Why Should You Connect with Your B2B Audience Emotionally?
Remember that your audience, although businesses, are owned and run by human beings who very much have emotions like you. Research shows that B2B clients and prospects respond better to positive emotions than when targeted at B2C prospects.
While B2C purchasing is targeted at individuals, B2B involves multiple stakeholders – decisions have to be carefully made and evaluated before operations are executed. Hence, B2B clients are considered more rational. However, that purchasing any product or service is usually driven by our emotions and subconscious mind.
B2B purchases come with some level of risk and expense, so pushing products and benefits in your audience’s faces is never the route to take. This could be a complete turn-off, and their defenses immediately go up.
However, triggering emotions like trust, reassurance, optimism, and comfort in your audience makes them more likely to open up to your ideas and eventually become business leads or even purchasing customers.
In an article published by the Harvard Business Review, consultants mapped out 40 distinct values that mattered most to B2B buyers on a five-level pyramid. While functional values like cost reduction or acceptable price sat at the bottom, inspirational and individual values such as hope, reduced anxiety, growth and development sat at the top of the pyramid.
How to Create an Emotional Connection with Your B2B Audience
The sooner you come to terms with the fact that there will always be products or services similar to what you offer – with similar prices, features, and benefits – the sooner you’ll work at winning the heart and trust of your audience.
There will always be similar choices for your audience to choose from, and most of the time, it is not a slight price difference or an extra benefit that does the trick. It is an emotional connection with your brand and your brand values that could win them over!
Here are ways to connect with your B2B audience:
Know that Your B2B Audiences are People and Not Just Decision-makers
From CEOs and CFOs to sales reps and CMOs, it is important to remember that behind these positions are people – human beings – and like other individuals, they have hopes, dreams, and curiosities.
Therefore, it is possible to communicate with them on a human level and appeal to their emotions in a way that resonates with how they feel.
Put yourself in their shoes and consider what personal obstacles they might be experiencing. Your content or brand should first appeal to them as humans before targeting their businesses.
Be Authentic and Honest
Genuity and sincerity can go a long way in connecting with your audience. In an age where we are used to things being over-hyped or painted in a different picture than what it is, authenticity has become a rare gem.
We’ve seen now with TikTok videos and YouTube Shorts that the importance of authenticity over super professional videos win the hearts of audiences all around. Knowing this should empower you to figure out ways that you can position your own videos to create meaningful engagements as well as conversations.
Further, showing the true personality behind your brand, being open about shortcomings and failures (instead of putting on the mask of over-exaggeration we see every day), and painting an honest picture of your brand helps inspire trust.
Feature the People Behind Your Business
Since B2B customers tend to be more logical and fact-based, this has led B2B marketers to strip all sense of vulnerability. But exposing the real side of your brand puts a face to your business.
Your audience can now see the personalities and people behind the scenes of your organization. This inspires connection and helps build credibility, as people tend to connect more with a brand when there is some level of engagement with the employees.
Ways to do this might include:
- Allowing your employees to share your company’s content by taking over your company’s socials or using their social media platforms
- Recognizing and acknowledging them on social media and in real life
- Getting them involved in the product launch and creating content with them involved
- Sharing the company’s flair
Appeal to the Personal Priorities of Your Audience
It is easy to get carried away by what you think your B2B audience’s business needs and forget that the individuals behind these organizations also have personal goals and aspirations.
A 2018 research from Google and CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council revealed that B2B purchasers are 50% more likely to purchase a product or a service when they see a personal value.
Values like career advancement, boosting their confidence in the work they are already doing, and showing them how they can be of more value to their organizations are things you should appeal to.
When personal values are present, your B2B audiences are 8x more likely to pay a premium for comparable products and services.
Provide Inspiration for Them
Telling your audience that your product complies with regulations and will help save costs is cliche, a bit of a bore, and hardly inspiring.
Focusing on immediate problem solving is a short-sighted strategy; instead, show them a long-term vision of how a relationship with your business can boost their careers and transform the status of their business in the long run.
In this way, you’d be helping to solve not just today’s problems but creating plans for the future as well. Doing this would reveal your proper understanding of their business dynamics and the industry – and they’ll be more likely to buy into your idea.
Do Not Neglect Empathy
In 2019, April Henderson broke some tables in her presentation, saying “B2B customers don’t want your company’s content…” From her perspective, there might have been some perceived lack of empathy on your path.
B2B customers want to feel like your brand understands their everyday needs and challenges. As a B2B marketer, there’s no doubt that lead generation and revenue is your sole aim, but shoving content and products down their throats is never the way to go. The only way to fill your pockets is by offering value and meeting their needs first.
“…they want your business to understand and share in their feelings. Why do they want that? Because business buyers aren’t buying your product. They’re buying into your approach to solving their problem,” said Henderson.
Use the Thought Leadership Connection
Creating thought leadership content is a great tool for building an emotional connection with your B2B audience. Content informing your audience that you deeply understand their challenges and have clear solutions to them are ways you can focus on driving value over transactions.
Mediums for Connecting with Your B2B Audience Emotionally
Due to the level of competition in B2B marketing, as a marketer, you might need to keep inventing ways to get your products and services to stand out, which will eventually result in business leads and, more importantly, sales.
Emotional or mood marketing is a kind of campaign that appeals to the emotions and feelings of your audience. This strategy has proven effective for B2C firms in capturing the attention of prospects and improving the chances of conversion.
You can apply emotional or mood marketing through these content types:
Emotional Video Marketing
The video marketing technique has proven to be the most effective for connecting with your target audience. This content type uses both visuals and audio, which is important for appealing to the emotions of your target audience. People’s emotions are mostly triggered by what they see and hear.
But it’s important to identify the purpose of your video marketing campaign before creating any content. Your content’s goal could be generating leads, creating brand awareness, or promoting a new product.
After identifying the purpose of the video content you want to create, you then decide on the emotion or feeling you want to trigger in your audience.
Storytelling in Written Content
Storytelling uses engaging narratives to communicate an idea to your target audience. B2B brand storytelling humanizes your organization and tells a convincing story about the real people behind your brand name, making your message more personal and relatable.
Written content, like blog posts, videos, and newsletters, can be used in telling a great brand story. Copywriting is a great way to convince your audience to take certain action using written words.
Ensure to highlight achievements, history, daily happenings, facts, and figures when writing your copy to tell a narrative. Like video marketing, it is also important to state the purpose of your copy before writing it.
You Can Tap into These Emotions When Creating Content for Your B2B Audience
Enough has been said about the importance of emotionally connecting with your B2B audience. Identifying the right emotions to tap into plays a major role in marketing. Triggering the wrong emotions can completely truncate all your marketing efforts.
These emotions should also be triggered based on the purpose of your campaign. Positivity is always the best vibe to associate with your brand, as people naturally like things that make them feel good.
Here are a few emotions to tap into to connect with your B2B audience emotionally:
An ad that puts a smile on your audience’s face or leaves them grinning from ear to ear is more likely to create brand awareness and business leads.
Showing your audience a bit of what you have to offer but not showing too much leaves questions in their minds. Including a simple call to action is a good way to satisfy their curiosity.
Nobody likes to feel left out. If your brand promotes a sense of belonging for everyone – regardless of race, size, or color – you’re most likely to gain several leads.
In a world where inclusivity is sung all the time but rarely practiced, welcoming diversity in your brand creates a warm feeling in the hearts of your audience.
How Can You Tell You’re Connecting to Your B2B Audience’s Emotions?
After creating and publishing your content – maybe a promotional video or copy – you would need to see if your marketing content has achieved your desired reaction in your audience’s emotions. Look at how well your content resonated with your audience and how they responded to it. Here are a few ways to measure the success of your content:
- Audience engagement through likes, comments, follows, and shares.
- Growth in subscribers
- Uplift in both direct and organic web visits
Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have analytics that can track post performances, ad success, and campaigns. From these reports and data, you’ll be able to filter out content that did not perform well and recreate better versions of high-performing content.