3 ways to use the “familiarity bias” for maximum B2B engagement
How can you get in front of prospects so you'll be top of mind when they're making their purchase decisions? Columnist Matthew Barby has tips.
B2B marketing is undergoing a great deal of change, one aspect of which is a dramatic growth in B2B ecommerce, which Frost & Sullivan projects will reach $6.7 trillion in annual revenues by 2020. If you want a piece of that pie, you’ll need a whole lot of engagement.
Typically, those in the B2B space prefer to do business with someone they already know, with a company they already have a connection to, or with someone they have an “in” with. Approximately 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of senior-level executives turn to social media to support their decision-making, according to IDC research (PDF) sponsored by LinkedIn.
This is why you need to make the most of what psychology-minded marketers call the “familiarity bias,” which says that people are more apt to buy or invest in what they already know.
Here are three ways you can make it work for you.
1. Maintain an active organic presence wherever your customers are
Make sure your ideal customers see you wherever they like to spend their time. The inverse is solid advice, too — make sure you don’t waste your time and money on platforms where your audience isn’t active. Put some significant time into researching the blogs and communities where you might find relevant customers, and look at the social channels where they’re most likely to be.
For instance, if you’re a construction material supplier, you’ll want to connect with builders and designers. You’ll likely find them on Facebook, of course, as 50 million small businesses (PDF) have pages on the network, but you’ll also want to include a strategy to address more niche networks and websites like Angie’s List, Houzz and Porch. I’ve used this tactic within a ton of SEO campaigns to get results in the past.
It’s also a good idea to use Mention to set up alerts for the top keywords related to your prospects’ industries and pain points. Over time, you’ll see patterns emerge that you can use to tailor your strategy to better address the needs of your prospects.
2. Identify and reach out to your customers on social media
Through your active presences on various online channels, you’ll be able to find your prospects and reach out to them directly — especially if they’re on Twitter, where it’s largely acceptable for anyone to initiate a discussion with anyone else. Offer free advice, based on what you know about them and their interests.
Don’t resort to spamming them, and avoid pitching them right off the bat. First, you need to establish trust and credibility to engage them with a bit of information about you. Ask questions. Keep the conversation going.
Leadfeeder is an extremely useful tool in this context. You can learn the companies associated with the IP addresses of your site visitors, so you know more about the companies taking a look at what you have to offer. Research who the visitors are to determine the best way you can help them. Engage with people from the company as appropriate, and tailor your pitch specifically to their needs when the time is right.
Reaching out on social media to a relevant prospect who doesn’t know you can be tricky, but when they’ve already been on your website, the familiarity bias kicks in.
Of course, you’ll want to spend some time actively using the social networks themselves so that you can address questions, add followers and so on, but the right social dashboard and integrated CRM can help you maximize both the strategy and the time investment to connect with a higher number of prospects.
As the conversation advances, you’ll know the right time to make your pitch.
3. Retarget with banner ads to remain fresh in prospects’ minds
Retargeting your website’s visitors on other websites they visit is key to keeping your brand fresh in their minds.
Use a tool like AdRoll to set up sequences of ads that can follow individuals across multiple websites, social networks and devices. While it’s more expensive to book ads on this platform instead of directly through the networks themselves, AdRoll’s cross-channel, cross-device capabilities are worth the spend.
The company’s new email product, SendRoll, looks promising, as well.
This way, your message “follows” your customers wherever they are online, and they’ll be more apt to return to ask for more information.
Though there’s not a concrete number of impressions that works in every industry, research shows buyers need multiple exposures to a brand before they’ll consider buying. Retargeting makes those exposures easier for you to accomplish.
Staying at the top of their minds
Getting your prospects’ attention won’t be all that hard if you develop and execute a strategy based on providing information that your ideal customers are looking for or would otherwise appreciate.
You’ll struggle to get on solid ground if all you’re doing is tweeting your own horn and hard selling.
It’s time to think about social selling as a psychologically oriented discipline. Focus on spending time where you know your customers are, connecting with them without the pitch and retargeting them to keep your brand fresh in their minds.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.