Lane and Shelby play chess

Here’s How to Make Your B2B Digital Marketing Awesome

My older son unknowingly loves to play hide-and-seek. OK, so it’s 100 percent hide and zero seek. He typically spends most of his free time in his room either sleeping or playing video games.

The only time he leaves his room is when his stomach commands it. He’d probably like for us to move the kitchen into his room. Sorry, son, the food stays in the real kitchen.

Occasionally, he comes to me when he needs something or wants to steal the four-legged office mascots. Most of our interactions only last a minute or two. That’s about the extent of Lane’s involvement in the house.

Catching a unicorn

One day, Lane walked in my home office and started talking. And talking. And talking. Who knew the boy could talk? We must’ve chatted for a record-breaking 30 minutes.

About a month later, my younger son Zachary showed his big sister how to play chess. He needed to teach the game to meet a requirement to earn his Boy Scout chess merit badge. (He just finished his Eagle project! Hallelujah!)

At the time, Shelby was a junior at St. Edwards University. (Fear the Goat!) She got the hang of it after a few games. Eventually, my husband Paul played against our daughter. I’d like to say it was a battle for the ages. But considering Paul had years of chess experience, and Shelby had only a few hours, it wasn’t.

Here came the unicorn moment. I walked in the family room and saw all three children in one room. I found Shelby on the sofa playing chess. Zachary sat on the adjacent loveseat buried in a computer game. Wait a minute. If he’s not across from her, then who’s that other kid on the other side of the chess board from Shelby? (See photo as proof. FYI: He got over that long-hair phase. Thank goodness.)

Yup! It was Lane. I couldn’t recall the last time he played a game with the family that didn’t involve a screen and buttons. I also recall the last time all five of us were in a room together outside of Grandma’s house. (Remember, Shelby lived in Austin.)

How did Lane end up in my office? Or — more miraculous — battling Shelby in chess?

When he arrived home from anyplace, he knew we were there. He saw me in my office through the glass double-doors. And he couldn’t get into the kitchen without walking through the family room and seeing us.

Being present, or top of mind, comprises one part of the “getting your content marketing noticed” equation. That’s where email marketing nurtures leads. The other part is interest.

Smile, personality … charm, personality … talk, personality

You don’t need to learn chess to stir up interest in your business. A good start is to send emails on a regular basis. This keeps you top of mind. But how do we get people to read ours with all the content out there?

Make it personal. Tell stories.

How many companies do you know that open the curtains and share what happens behind the scenes or get personal? Yes, it works for B2B.

A lesson from reality TV

Whenever I want to look up a movie or TV show, I go to Internet Movie Database aka (Stick with me here …) Entries have ratings on a scale from one to 10. Most of the time, I agree with the ratings, or come close.

One night, “The Bachelor” popped on. (OK, OK … I admit it. I tuned in like the lemming I am.) It compelled me to look up the show’s rating.

Guess what it was. Come on … if you guess within three stars, I’ll give it to you.

Three point one stars. Yes … as in 3.1.

It flabbergasted me … and yet … it didn’t.

Really? A show with high viewership barely gets three stars? It’s not easy to find shows rated that low. (“The Bachelorette” doesn’t count. It’s 3.3, by the way.)

Why is “The Bachelor” a low-rated reality show that people can’t help watch?

The same reason social media is hot stuff. We humans are a naturally nosy, social bunch. People’s person lives and stories suck us in. I could quote you all those psychology studies from the likes of Robert B. Cialdini and Dan Ariely, but I won’t. I think we all know this.

Standing out with stories

Telling stories and getting personal is how you can make your B2B company sound more interesting and relatable. It also appeals to buyers’ emotions. A Google and CEB Marketing Leadership Council study has found that 50 percent of B2B buyers are more likely to buy when they see personal value.

Stories don’t have to be from your personal life. They also don’t have to be funny. You can provide a peak behind the curtain on your company and reveal the fascinating stuff behind it. Just be human.

Stories could be about …

  • A mistake your company made. (I see ’em all the time. Great reads that earn respect.)
  • Helping others.
  • Surprising a coworker.
  • An employee’s memorable trip.
  • A recent celebration.

Would you rather be boring and forgettable or personal and memorable? #NoBrainer

Personal + digital marketing = awesomesauce (Read: More leads and revenues)

The more successful B2B companies implement a multichannel marketing strategy. This involves communicating targeted messages to your audience across multiple devices and platforms. Social media is one of them. And when you include it to your email and digital marketing efforts, you’ll reach more folks.

Whenever a new email goes out, mention it in social media. Skip the boring “Here’s our latest email newsletter. Enjoy!”

Instead, catch their attention with a personal touch or a value-oriented note. “What does it take to double your leads? Find out.” Or “How my kids’ chess game grew traffic by 20 percent and it can work for you too.” (I can hope!)

Combine digital marketing tactics

Remember to include links to your B2B company’s *active* social media accounts in your email newsletter. (Don’t list all the accounts you have. Focus on the important ones where you’re active.) And those social media accounts should give people a way to sign up for your emails.

Do you use marketing automation to send “welcome” and other automated emails? Have confirmation emails or pages on your website? If so, put the social links and email subscription information there, too. Hosting a webinar? Put the URL on the slides and mention it.

Email marketing and social media play well together. A winning content marketing plan combines multiple tactics. Add a heaping spoonful of personality, and your content marketing efforts will checkmate often.

“We need to realize that b-to-b customers are people. They go home and watch ‘American Idol’ [and ‘The Bachelor’] and they sit in traffic on the way to work,” says Adam Kleinberg, CEO of Traction.

“Choose your passion, protagonist, antagonist, revelation, and transformation,” writes Gini Dietrich. “If you include those five things in all of your brand storytelling, every person in the world is going to want to know more, no matter if you sell oxidizers or software or chair rollers. The world is your oyster.”

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When you need a friendly, dependable, left-hand gal to help you tell your brand’s story with digital and content marketing, please step right on up and drop me a line.