If your content objective is to build a strong, long-lasting and trusting relationship with your audience, then it’s important to remember that your audience are humans first and customers second.
So, whether you’re marketing to a B2B or a B2C audience, take one thing from this post:
‘People buy from people.’
We often forget that, even in the B2B space, companies are made up of real people – which means the buying and selling process is human, too.
Human-to-human (H2H) marketing needs no extra investment or resource. It simply requires one set of humans to connect with another. Since most organisations have teams of people working behind their marketing and communications, this should be straightforward.
Once you accept that applying a human-centric filter to your marketing is the best way to engage your audience, it helps to delve deeper into the psychology of how people consume content.
- Cognitive overload. It’s staggering how many micro decisions are made throughout an average day. A recent study found that new visitors judge a website in 0.05 seconds – faster than the blink of an eye. And according to Microsoft, our attention span has narrowed to eight seconds. With so much content competing for our attention, our brains now unconsciously avoid complex information. (It’s one of the reasons everyone loves emojis.)
- Social proof. When deciding to buy a product or service, none of us rely purely on the seller’s information to inform our decision. We’ve all become used to reviews and recommendations from friends or other customers. This is because of the psychological principle of social proof, which means people are more likely to act or trust when they see that others have done so too.
- Habitual behaviour. Humans are creatures of habit and will subconsciously look for patterns or common elements across the content they consume. Curiosity drives the audience to continue down a path until they achieve resolution. From a marketing perspective, going too far beyond expectation could be risky – whereas creating a logical flow and an obvious call to action, and keeping the content intuitive, help to satisfy the audience’s curiosity.
- The power of persuasion. To persuade people to convert, you need motivation, understanding and a trigger. To motivate an audience and encourage them to believe you, the content needs to contain strong, relevant messages that are easily understood. In a world of information overload, people tend to take shortcuts when making buying decisions – so building a trusted brand based on sincerity and authenticity is essential.
- The psychology of colour. A recent study suggests that people judge something new or unfamiliar within 90 seconds of seeing it – and up to 90% of that assessment is based on colour. Colour has the power to evoke emotions in a way that most other content elements do not – so use it wisely and with intent to improve your audience’s response to and perception of your brand.
Many brands – both B2B and B2C – will be following these principles already even if they’re not conscious choices. But upping your H2H game by using human language, being more empathetic and authentic, applying personalisation, and leveraging user-generated content will help you sell more, strengthen your brand and generate more value.