Crafting creating and engaging storytelling for B2B marketing. Part 3: Specifics of making your storytelling resonate.
In a three part blog series, agency strategist Rene Power looks at why storytelling in b2b marketing has become a go-to approach for so many marketers and how to start doing it effectively. In this third and final post, we offer some practical tips on making your marketing content more customer friendly by adopting sound storytelling principles.
As marketers we know that when you’re being entertaining, helpful, advisory and less salesy, you generate more interaction and engagement.
So in this post we’re going to lay out seven ways to improve how copy speaks to your audience.
- Know who you are writing for
Content and stories need to be locked into buyer personas and who you want to be talking to. Do the work to understand their needs/wants (personal and professional), how they think and what makes them tick. Crafting your copy around these elements will ensure they resonate much more than by colder marketing copywriting.
The reality is, people are very self obsessed. So put yourself in their shoes. What’s in it for them?
They don’t care about your size, scale, range, colours, weight, tech, support – but they will if you explain what it means to them. If you are perplexed that your customers don’t care about your new 25,000m2 facility, it’s probably because you haven’t clearly outlined what it means to them.
Start critically assessing all marketing communications by asking the question “which means for our customers” and fill in the gaps.
- Be really clear on problems / aspirations
There has to be something to overcome, something to improve or somewhere to reach.
So, products and service solution sells have to be anchored in a scenario that enough of a target segment can identify with.
It shows empathy and understanding and helps to produce communications that resonate.
There is still a huge advantage in industrial b2b to crack this. Thumb the trade press. Click on websites. It’s still predominantly cluttered by product and service focused content.
Ask leading questions. Use statistics.
- Be the guide they need
Show you understand their world. Show the way to transformation / improvement
If you want to climb one of the world’s highest mountains, you don’t go alone. You get yourself a sherpa who has safely got many people up and down before.
- Lead on emotion
Emotional resonates more than fact. Get their attention first. Use imaginative vocabulary, make claims that need further scrutiny. Be controversial. Be provocative. Then use facts, statistics and evidence to support the messages you are delivering. Focus on money and time saving or revenue generating benefits as these always resonate with people more than any others.
- Stop we-ing
The surprisingly simple act of changing the tone of your website and communications by talking to customers (the hero) rather than talking about yourself can be a hugely transformative.
Replacing as many uses of “we”, “us” and “our” with “you” and “your can make a huge amount of difference to how readers receive the information presented.
- Positive / negative
Stick to telling stories about problem resolution. Stories about how products and services improve the lives and fortunes of customers are critical.
We prefer to keep it positive, but it can be useful to highlight the risks of not taking the requisite action (step 6 of building a story brand in the second post of this series). This can influence some customer types more than success stories alone.
Is your marketing content truly customer centric? Or are you positioning as a sales led organisation? There is no right and wrong but if you want to be customer centric your positioning and communication needs to be configured in a more creative way.
If your content isn’t hitting the mark, you might need an intervention. Check out our approach to copy and content here or book a discovery call to talk about content strategy here.
Part 1: Understanding why story works
Part 2: The process of storytelling