The best advertisements make us feel. According to Fast Company, an overwhelming 92% of consumers prefer ads that stir up emotions and “feel like a story.”
When it comes to business-to-business marketing or B2B marketing strategies, the same thing holds true: stories are the most effective way to get the message across. Here are five ways marketers can use storytelling to optimize their B2B content.
1. Look For The Story
Presenting products, local events, or content creation with a story makes it more memorable. According to the New York Times, our brains release dopamine whenever we read an emotionally-gripping tale. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that famously makes us feel good, but it also makes us more alert, heightens focus, and improves long-term memory.
Similarly, a story activates more regions of the brain than simply listing or rattling off facts. By engaging multiple areas of the brain, possibly including the frontal cortex, sensory cortex, and motor cortex, stories and storytelling in B2B content marketing once again make for a stronger form of advertising that is much easier to recall.
That is why it is most effective for Google, for example, to tell the story about its humble beginnings, with co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin starting out in a garage. Similarly, the story is what makes Elon Musk’s equally modest start sleeping in the conference room and showering at the YMCA compelling. In these examples, highly successful business moguls share their unlikely stories to market themselves as down-to-earth and relatable.
2. Maximize Visuals’ Potential
Complement engaging stories with appropriate images and videos. The adage “a picture is worth 1,000 words” is especially true in storytelling. To return to the example above, to show what it was like for co-founders Page and Brin to work out of a garage, Google released a virtual tour. The virtual tour included several 360-degree images entitled “Susan’s Garage” (the name of their friend who rented them the garage space at that time).
The fact remains that we process images 60 times faster than words. That means your B2B content–however attention-grabbing–needs images and video to back it up, to make it more easily digestible, and to make it that much more memorable.
3. Learn About Mirroring
Ideally, the consumer of B2B marketing campaigns will feel a personal connection to your content. Storytelling accomplishes this goal in two different ways: mirroring and neural coupling. Mirroring involves listeners or readers putting themselves in the shoes of the storyteller. Similarly, neural coupling entails processing details and images and viewing them through their own personal lens or more directly relating them to his or her experiences.
Although these processes are often unconscious ones, stick to stories with universal themes to invite consumers and clientele to make connections. Universal themes include happiness, belonging, family, compassion, leadership, and overcoming hardships.
4. Allow Clients To Play An Active Role
Invite your target audience to be a part of the story. Share a story, and invite others to share theirs using a public platform like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. This engagement can involve asking customers, clients, or target audiences to share their stories along with a catchy hashtag. Another option is having a discussion, video contest, or offering to enter clients into drawings for discounts or promotional items if they share a story, image, or relevant comment.
5. Storytelling Fosters Trust
Nearly three-fourths–72%–of consumers reveal that positive reviews build up their trust of local businesses. What else builds trust? How can this trust be nurtured in a B2B marketing environment?
The answer is storytelling! “Authentic storytelling is key to gaining consumer trust,” according to Forbes. By telling even short but honest stories, you build trust between you and your target audience. Stories make you human and make connections seem more genuine and real.
Storytelling in business–and particularly in B2B content–is an excellent way to build bridges and create lasting impressions, personal connections, and a trusted brand. For the best results, keep stories genuine, clear, and to-the-point with a linear point A to point B structure.