Are These 5 Kick-Butt B2B Marketing Tactics Missing From Your Arsenal?
Here are five proven, response-boosting B2B marketing tactics that, based on a review of current B2B marketing campaigns, the vast majority of B2B marketers either don’t know about or do not think to use:
Tactic No. 1: Urgency
The thing I see missing most often from B2B marketing campaigns is a sense of urgency, meaning a reason why prospects should respond today instead of later.
Some argue that B2B has a longer buying cycle than consumer. Others say that B2B products are bought only when needed (e.g., you don’t buy a pump for a chemical plant unless you need a new one) vs. many consumer items are bought on impulse (e.g., you see the TV commercial and then immediately order that new watch, ab machine, or drone).
Despite this, urgency works just as well in B2B vs. B2C. True, the prospect may not have a need or be ready to buy now. But in that case, we apply urgency to lead generation, lead nurturing, or whatever stage in the sales cycle we are in.
For instance, I virtually never see on download pages for white papers a single reason why the visitor would be better off downloading and reading the white paper today or, conversely, risk problems by putting off the download for later. The latter risks a lower conversion rate, because in our busy world, a decision deferred is usually a decision not made.
Tactic No. 2: Affinity
Affinity means establishing an empathetic bond or other connection with the prospect, usually based on a common interest, habit, belief, attitude, characteristic, like, dislike, or action.
For instance, direct mail aimed at doctors gets better response when the outer envelope comes from — and the sales letter is written and signed by — a fellow MD rather than by some company executive who is not an MD. The simple reason: doctors respond better to communications from other doctors, especially on medical topics.
Similarly, if you are mailing to a list of the members of ABC Association, have the person signing the letter join ABC first (you can usually join as an affiliate member if not a full member). Then, if you cannot personalize the mailing, you can make the salutation “Dear Fellow ABC Member,” which immediately establishes affinity and connection more strongly than just “Dear ABC Member.”
Tactic No. 3: False Logic
Clients sometimes object when I include a technical explanation, graph, or diagram that “this is too difficult for the prospect to understand.”
The secret of “false logic” is that it often doesn’t matter so much if the prospect understands; what matters most is that the information seems accurate and true to the buyer – and more than that, creates the perception to him what you know what you are talking about.
For instance, years ago I wrote an ad for a “venturi scrubber,” which is a pollution control device that cleans noxious gases and particulates from chemical plants emissions, by rapidly mixing the exhaust gas with water or another liquid.
In the ad, I said our scrubber used a unique “hydro-kinetic” design, and it worked, because it sounded scientific and advanced.
It was true, but the innovation was ethically exaggerated with false logic. All venturi scrubbers use water (hydro) with mixing motion (kinetic). So they are all hydro-kinetic; the only thing we originated was that technical-sounding term “hydro-kinetic.” As for unique, it’s true, as no two scrubbers have identical design.
Tactic No. 4: Core Buying Complex
The core buying complex is the primary reason why the prospect would be interested in your product and is composed of three elements represented by the acronym BDF: beliefs, desires, and feelings.
What does the buyer believe with regards to your offer, product, or technology? What are her emotions surrounding the issues the product solves? What does she desire most from your product or in general?
For instance, in a promotion aimed at IT professionals, the marketing team identified that one of the core feelings of software engineers, programmers, and system administrators was an adversarial relationship with end users.
For a training product teaching IT professionals how to interact more effectively with end users, the promotion was based on this feeling; and it had the headline: “Important news for every IT professional who has ever felt like telling an end user, ‘Go to Hell.’” It pulled six times more inquiries than a control with the headline “Interpersonal Skills for IT Professionals.”
Tactic No. 5: Resonance
By this we mean that the copy in your headline or lead starts off by addressing the dominant emotion the prospect has about the product and the problem it solves, or mirrors the conversation he is already having with himself in his own head about it.
For instance, a successful online promotion selling a course in how to make money with internet marketing in your spare time began: “Do you feel chained to your desk — at a job you don't like — by the reality of having to earn money?” The landing page had a 32% conversion rate for a $100 home study course.
Combining all five of these B2B marketing tactics can turn your promotion into a potential blockbuster. Adding just one or two to current or new B2B marketing campaigns can significantly improve your results. But if you’re not using any of them, you ignore them at your peril.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.