The Art of Influence: Storytelling for B2B Marketing Success
Storytelling is a human universal. Throughout time we have been reciting stories, sharing wisdom and telling tales of everyday life with one another.
From myths and legends told around the campfire to watching the latest boxset on TV, storytelling plays an important role in our understanding of the world around us.
In advertising, there has been a pendulum shift towards storytelling over simply reciting facts. This more authentic, personal approach prioritises human experiences, emotions and relationships. And for B2B marketing? Well things have changed here too. Businesses are no longer influenced by rational thinking alone. Whilst product features and specifications still play an important role in decision making, storytelling lets you speak your audience’s language. In doing so you create a sense of trust and understanding. This is imperative to the high stakes decision making involved in B2B buying.
While it might be perceived as a challenge, effective storytelling in the B2B landscape can be incredibly effective when done right. For a simple way to get started telling your story, Bdaily Marketing can help. Harness content, email and display marketing options to tell your story to an audience of business interested readers via Bdaily News. And with our Black Friday week offers running until Monday 27th November, you’ll save £100 when you spend at least £250 on Bdaily Marketing services using code CYBERWEEK23 at the checkout.
Read on to discover more about the art of storytelling in the world of B2B marketing. We’ll delve into why storytelling works, how to incorporate a story into your B2B marketing and how to tell an engaging story to create a meaningful connection with new and existing clients.
Why Storytelling Works
We’ve all been told a story before. Some make us laugh, make us cry, leave us on the edge of our seats. And some simply bore us to tears. So what separates the good from the bad? Telling a story that connects with someone on a deep emotional level is a surefire way to be remembered. This emotional connection strengthens the relationship with your audience allowing you to subtly influence their behaviour.
To create an emotional connection you’ll need to speak the language of your customer. Understanding their individual pain points, needs and expectations is key to this. Moreover translating this information into tangible outcomes and improvements in their life is the way forward. To do so your content marketing must focus on the benefits of siding your products and services rather than just the features that it provides.
Some of the biggest brands in the world have been using benefit-focused storytelling to successfully sell their products. Apple’s original iPod advert exemplifies this perfectly. Whilst they could have told us it came with a 5GB hard drive, had a ten hour battery life and weighed 6.5oz they didn’t. Instead we were given the iconic ‘1,000 songs in your pocket’. The slogan created a switch in the tech industry, urging consumers to buy the emotion. It’s clear to see how putting yourself in your customers shoes can create empathy, influencing purchasing decisions and driving brand loyalty.
Incorporating a Story into your B2B Marketing
In the same way we’ve been telling stories for centuries to connect with others, when used effectively storytelling can grab the attention of new leads and drive business growth for B2B organisations. In this section we’ll take a look at how to approach storytelling when marketing a product to business buyers.
Understand your audience
As already discussed, understanding your audience is vital to telling a good story. In B2B marketing you need to decipher who it is in the business that you want to be talking to and what it is you can do to make their lives easier. Without this focus you’re simply shouting into the void. Telling the story of who your brand is and how they started is a great way to humanise your brand. However, what’s better is taking your customers’ stories and weaving them into the narrative of who you are. Looking for inspo? Take a look at customer testimonials, reviews and your social mentions to see exactly why people choose you.
Invoke emotion and focus on the human element
For B2B marketers there’s a subtlety in storytelling. By appealing to emotions rather than pushing self-promotional tactics you’re able to reach an audience without being explicit that a product or service is being sold to them.Even in a B2B context, decision-makers are influenced by emotions. Whether it’s the satisfaction of solving a problem or the excitement of achieving a goal, connecting with your audience on an emotional level can motivate them to take action.
Engage across a variety of content
From humble in person storytelling, to books, to films, the ways we tell stories has grown dramatically. Each of these methods can be translated directly to B2B marketing too. The following are just a few examples of different methods of storytelling for your business that can help you reach new audiences.
- Taking part at a panel discussion or presentation at a networking event
- Hosting a webinar
- Recording or being interviewed for an audio or video podcast
- Content marketing or guest posting on a blog
Through each of these channels you can make your audience play an active role in your story. Encouraging them to be part of the conversation through asking questions and engaging online is a great way to do this. In doing so you create a loyal community built on trust and understanding, making the B2B marketing process that much easier when they already have faith in your business.
Craft a compelling narrative
Just as all of the greatest stories of all time have a clear structure, so should the narrative you create around your brand. The following steps will help you craft your ‘hero’s journey’ from beginning to end…
Establish the hero.
This is where understanding your audience is key. You need to know what makes them tick to spur the narrative of your tale. A great way to do this is by creating audience personas. This identifies the different types of people you’re looking to target and lets you weave a narrative around their individual pain points, challenges, motivations and goals.
Introduce the problem.
Every hero has a call to adventure, a challenge to face and a problem to overcome. Now your customers won’t be facing a problem quite as spectacular as being swept away by a tornado to the magical land of Oz. However they will be facing struggles and pain points in their everyday working life that need addressing. This could be limited financial and human resources or staying ahead of industry trends and technology. When introducing a problem in business storytelling using case studies as an example can help put your audience in a relatable position. Using descriptive detail and active imagery can keep your audience hooked by allowing them to visualise themselves in the scene.
Offer a solution.
At this point your business takes centre stage. You’ve introduced the problem and now you shine a light on how your business can be the solution. Do this by highlighting the benefits of your product or service in a way that pulls at your audience’s heartstrings. By addressing your target audience’s pain points you show them how their lives can be made easier by choosing you whether that be through cost saving, increased efficiency or improved performance.
You’ve outlined how your business can help overcome the hurdle in their path. Your hero needs to act now to save the day. Emphasise the importance of choosing your business as a critical solution to solving their problems. And make it clear the difference it will make to their lives.
Provide a clear call to action.
This is the final, and most critical hurdle of your storytelling. Make it easy for your audience to take the next step and be the hero of their own journey. Simple, straightforward call to action statements such as signing up for a free trial, contacting your sales team or downloading a report give valuable next steps. Even better, these should be trackable and quantifiable to allow you to reach new leads.
Storytelling is an ancient human skill. Through connection and mutual understanding it can be effectively used to influence behaviour, particularly through marketing channels. Your customers are the lifeblood of your business and storytelling helps show you’re on the same page as them. Crafting your story means understanding the ins and outs of your audiences’ woes, worries and wishes and how your product acts as the magic wand to make their lives easier.
Looking to share your story and make a lasting impression with an audience of business interested professionals? At Bdaily, we’ve nurtured a vibrant community of industry professionals who are passionate about propelling both their personal and professional growth via Bdaily News. Through our commercial arm, Bdaily Marketing, we deliver regionally focused business to business marketing campaigns for our clients across email, content and display marketing channels as well as via social media. And with our Black Friday week offer you can save £100 when you spend £250 on any Bdaily Marketing products using code CYBERWEEK23 at the checkout.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get your business seen in and amongst the headlines of Bdaily News. Act now by visiting the Bdaily Marketing website and placing your order before the offer expires on Monday, 27th November.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Bdaily Digital Marketing Team .
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