Some of the insights at Domino are, hopefully you’ll agree, well crafted. Others, like this one, are more of a stream of consciousness. And that’s OK, content doesn’t have to be perfect all the time, sometimes you just need to get some helpful thoughts out there.
In our post on B2B digital marketing, we talked about how the sales process is now really a buyer’s journey and that, for our target market, outbound marketing is pretty much a fool’s errand and that we (you) need to focus on inbound marketing to create awareness and generate leads.
That said, you can still influence the buyer throughout that journey and you can do that much more effectively if you understand the psychology of persuasion and how the limbic system of the brain functions. Wow, if I could then overlay that on a quadrant comprising the buyer’s awareness of whether or not they have a problem, and whether or not they know solutions to that problem are out there, we’d have a killer post.
Like I said, sometimes it’s best to just get some helpful thoughts out there (while we compose the above post).
The two important principles you need to be aware of are:
1) People make emotional decisions and then use logic to justify them.
This is the limbic system of the brain working. If you’re skeptical, think of some real world examples of your own – maybe when you bought a house or a car that you couldn’t quite afford. The initial decision will have been based on the ’emotional’, i.e. how you would feel living in that house, or driving that car (Sunday afternoons driving to a country pub with the wind in your hair), with the ‘logical’ justification following afterwards (e.g. how you could cut back on certain other things once you went through with the purchase).
That’s not just something that happens in our personal lives, it happens in business too. People buy from people they like. We all want to feel (there’s that word again) comfortable that we’re doing business with people we can trust.
What does that mean from an inbound marketing perspective? It means that when you’re creating top of funnel content you need to help the buyer with that emotional decision. If they use you/your product to solve their problem how are they going to feel, what’s it going to do for them, what does the end state look like? It’s not feature/function type content.
Assuming you capture the buyer’s interest at that point, as they move forward to more of an evaluation stage, then they want help with the logical justification. This could be case studies (preferably from people/businesses just like them – see 2) below), or ROI calculators etc. The type of content you need for middle of the funnel is very different to that at the top of the funnel.
Once the buyer passes through the evaluation stage, the ‘close’ is again much more of an emotional touchpoint.
2) People are busy and they need/use shortcuts in their decision making.
This is the psychology of persuasion or the science of influence and was authored by Robert Cialdini. His research showed that in today’s busy world people need/use shortcuts to help them through the myriad of decisions they need to make.
Cialdini netted these down to his six principles of influence:
- Social Proof
His book ‘Influence’ is easily the best book (not just marketing book) I ever read and, for a psychology book, was a remarkably easy read. The point here is not to go through each principle but just to point out that we, as marketers, can use these shortcuts to influence our buyers at each stage of their journey.
As an example, we already mentioned using case studies for logical justification. This is very much aligned with the Social Proof shortcut, “We will use the action of others to decide on proper behaviour for ourselves, especially if they are like us”. The case study provides that social proof (and a shortcut in their decision making) but will be more powerful if it is from someone just like your buyer. Same sector? Same unique problem?
At Domino we live and breathe these principles in delivering for our clients. To see how we can help your B2B tech company grow please contact us.