The Trust Imperative, part 2
Research from Forrester last year reveals that B2B buyers are frustrated by what they perceive from vendors as an utter lack of understanding regarding their business context. Instead, buyers lament that vendor communications are too narrowly focused on their own solution, without first gaining an understanding and appreciation of buyer needs and challenges.
Clearly, in order to begin building that vital element of trust, what is needed is a deeper understanding of the complete buyer context from the buyer’s perspective. Such an approach allows marketers to build trust through understanding and insight, by crafting content that reflect these through their relevance and credibility.
In the first blog in our 3 part series on The Trust Imperative, we identified 3 keys to success in developing a sense of trust with your reader:
- Context matters, so know your buyer’s context
- Use active, ongoing research to identify relevant drivers and challenges
- Own the role of trusted advisor
In part 2 of our 3-part series on the buyer-centric formula for creating trust-building content, we address the need to frame your message so that it resonates on a deep and personal level
Connect with the human touch – make it personal
Explicitly define your audience & understand how they think
To know how to affect your audience, you need to first understand precisely who they are and what matters most to them – and not just as a functional role within a prospective business, but as people. Focusing on personalization renders your content more meaningful and relevant. To be most effective, build buyer personas and determine your buyer’s ultimate goal, while prioritizing their primary concerns on both the business and personal levels. Learn which are motivating influences and how you can leverage these insights to craft messages which resonate and connect profoundly. And truly listen to what your audience is telling you, both explicitly and implicitly – as the influential psychologist Carl Rogers once said, “Man’s inability to communicate is a result of his failure to listen effectively.”
Go for the gut – connect emotionally
Traditionally, creating emotional connections with customers has always been the purview of B2C marketers, whereas B2B marketers have catered to the rational and value-driven needs of level-headed buying committees focused on business benefits and outcomes. Yet integral to that very process is the weighing of risk and reward, where key decision makers often place everything on the line, most notably their credibility and their job. Consequently, B2B buying is, in actuality, highly personal and fraught with emotions – and much more so than B2C buying due to the level of personal risk involved. Explicitly addressing this volatile, emotional component by reassuring prospects of the personal benefits your solution provides, renders your offering significantly more attractive and trustworthy. In fact, a Google/CEB study found that “personal value has twice the impact of business value across a broad range of commercial outcomes.”[i]
Craft content from your audience’s perspective
When shaping text of any kind, storytelling’s greatest commandment must always be adhered to: “make me care.” Or, phrased more directly, the text must address the all-important, self-serving interest of the reader by answering, “What’s in it for me?” From your audience’s perspective, you’re selling results, not a product or a service. Granted, it’s a nuanced difference – two sides of the same coin – but the framing is vital. Lead with the results that matter to your target audience and you’ll be far more likely to engage them to read further. But understand which of their values or motivations these results tie into, and you can hook them emotionally, while instinctively gaining their trust.
Renowned advertising executive Eugene Schwartz advised that content writers tap into one overwhelming desire. In his book, Breakthrough Advertising, he stated, “Copy cannot create desire for a product. It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears and desires that already exist…and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product.”
To learn how prospect surveys are exceedingly effective and efficient at gaining the buyer context, read here.