For B2B brands, marketing in our current environment is, to borrow a timely phrase from Charles Dickens, “the best of times and the worst of times.” On one hand, technology has given us a wealth of tools that let us communicate with thousands of targets instantaneously. On the other hand, every other B2B vendor has the same box of tools, and they’re using them … and using them … and using them. The result? Decision makers at all levels of our targeted accounts are constantly bombarded with marketing messages, most of which dissolve into a droning hum of white noise, preventing them from making clear decisions.
To make our point even clearer, take a moment and scroll through your own email inbox. How many of those emails are marketing messages, and how many of them have absolutely nothing to do with issues you’re currently facing? How many times does your internal dialog go something like this:
And then think: those are just the messages you bother to read.
Yet, despite the veritable buffet of email you receive, some communications manage to get through and deliver results. Why? Because the brands behind them have discovered the key to making themselves heard: messages that resonate with the recipient. If we can match our messages with the problems, concerns, and questions that are actually on our targets’ minds, we can achieve resonance and make ourselves heard.
Here are just a few ways savvy marketers are delivering messages that resonate… and reaping the results.
1. Create Powerful Personas… and Use Them
Resonance is a two-way interaction, involving not only the message, but the interests, preferences, and aspirations of the recipient. We need to know exactly who that person on the other side of the screen is before we can create messages designed to strike a chord with them.
To build your personas with the most accurate and current information possible, consider the following resources:
Once you have your personas in hand, use them! Far too many marketing teams put the time and effort into creating detailed personas, only to stuff them into a drawer, where no one will ever find them. Consult your personas for every decision you make, and every message you create, to keep your marketing on track.
2. Go Where the Action Is
Find out where your targeted prospects like to get their content and where they like to engage. Do they read blogs? E-newsletters? Are they active on social media? If so, which networks do they spend the most time on? Customize your style and your message to the norms of each venue, and remember to track your results, so you can see which methods deliver the most engagement.
3. Start With Your Marketing Goals
Every message that resonates with your audience begins with a good strategy, and every good strategy begins with goals. Decide what you want to accomplish — what success will look like — and work backwards from there to determine when, where, and how to best approach your target(s).
4. Understand Your Brand
Your brand encompasses much more than your logo. It touches everything your marketing team does, from the topics on your editorial calendar, down to your photo captions. When every communication is branded consistently, the people in your audience have a chance to become comfortable with you.
Think about the process of getting to know a person. If their appearance, speech, and behavior are more or less consistent every time you meet them, you can say with confidence that you’ve gotten to know them. But, if they show up differently in every interaction, they leave you with no idea of who they really are, even after having met them numerous times. And if you don’t know who someone is, how can you maintain an active interest in them?
It works the same way with brands. When you show up consistently every time you interact with your target audience, they can get to know you. And once they get to know you, your messages can really start to resonate with them.
5. Leverage Your Thought Leaders
In his groundbreaking book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini cites authority as one of the six principles of influence, noting that people tend to follow the lead of recognized, knowledgeable experts. If your company has in its ranks thought leaders who are well known in your target clients’ industries, invite them to contribute to your content marketing efforts. Your prospects will sit up and take notice, especially when they see the person’s name associated with your content, and your message will be much more likely to get through to them.
6. Be Relatable
While expertise, authority, and credibility are important in achieving resonance, so is relatability. Your target prospects don’t want to feel as though you’re talking down to them. They want to relate to you; one living, breathing human being to another. Look at your custom content and identify ways to introduce personal stories, and other elements, that put a human face on your brand.
It’s a crowded, noisy world out there for today’s B2B marketer; if we’re going to be heard above the din, we have to be creative and strategic. By seeking out and acting on points of resonance — those sweets spot where what we have to say strikes a chord with those we’re trying to reach — we will get our prospects’ attention, begin to earn their trust, and start building the foundation for relationships that can last a lifetime.