The Do’s and Don’ts of B2B Risk-Taking

Risk is innovation. Without risk, humanity would not have progressed to the point that it has. That has been the case with everything from humans launching the first manned mission into space to tech leaders who launch startups that end up changing the way we interact with each other.

With all the benefits there are to taking risks, there are also many who are afraid to take the plunge. This is especially the case with B2B marketers it seems.

It’s understandable. B2B is based heavily on trusting, long-term relationships. Any risk that could threaten these relationships is naturally intimidating.

B2B marketers need to carefully consider risks and take only the ones that make sense. Weigh the risks. What risk do you take and which ones do you leave to the amateurs?

DO Be Negative

So many marketers are afraid to be negative because they are afraid their audience will respond, well, negatively. While it might feel worrisome to be negative in your content, the truth is (if done correctly) audiences respond well to it.

In a study of headline superlatives, it was found that negative ones like “never,” “bad,” and “worst” outperformed positive superlatives by 30%. Isn’t that astounding?

Embrace the negative. Use it to your advantage. Play off your customer’s pain points, address their fears, then offer a solution to their problems.

You might turn off a reader or two, but it will be minimal. The reward is that your customer will know you understand them and their needs, which will result in a boost in business.

DO Have a Content Strategy

Blindly trying to market without a strategy is an exercise in futility. It’s like having a team of horses all pulling in different directions. You’ll never reach your destination, and your team will soon tire from the effort.

Don’t resort to creating content, then distributing it according to a spray and pray method. This will not result in a successful marketing campaign. It’s about what you create and when. There should be a logical audience-centric reason that you’re making something when you’re making it.

Sound familiar? Learn how to make a successful B2B content marketing strategy in this post.

DO Follow a Strategy

These points needed to be put together because there are SO many companies that make these beautiful content strategies, then just let them sit and gather dust.

There isn’t much to say beyond that. Don’t ignore your content strategy and constantly try tactics that don’t further the strategy. That isn’t to say don’t experiment, just make sure that you aren’t getting too off your current plan.

Frequently reevaluate that strategy and make sure it stays on track and relevant.

DO Use Humor

B2B marketing is stiff. If B2B marketing were at a party, it would be that uncomfortable-looking guy in a suit who refused to stick around past having a drink or two.

Let your hair down! While B2B is often serious business, there is no reason to let any and all traces of humor go to the wayside.

Not all your content has to be preaching the benefits of whatever you’re selling. Sometimes your content has to do more than just inform; it has to entertain.

DO Use Social Media Marketing

Honestly, if you aren’t doing social media marketing, I’d wonder if you’re even serious about marketing at all. If your business isn’t promoting itself and its content through social, you can forget about building a strong brand.

Like a content marketing strategy, a social media strategy is critical. There are some tips here.

Social media is rife with risk. If you don’t pull it off effectively, you may lose stakeholder buy-in, limiting your ability to do it effectively in the future.

Another risk is having a single person in charge of your accounts. This person set it up and is the only one that has access to the accounts. If that’s the case, you better hope they are still with the company. Make sure your company, not an individual, owns the accounts. Otherwise, when that person disappears, so does your whole social strategy, along with the followers they’ve gathered. Make sure there are copies of the login information and that lots of people have them. This will help avert disaster when your intern or some other sort of social media manager moves on.

DON’T Have One Person Be the Face of Your Marketing

On that same note, make sure a singular person doesn’t become the face of your marketing. That is just a recipe for disaster. Again, like if one person is the only one with access to your accounts, your company will be left with nothing, not even a following if that one person moves on.

The exception to this is the founders of the company being the face of the company. They (likely) aren’t going anywhere. This is the only way a single person should be the voice of your company.

Split it up between people and make sure an individual’s name is not the primary voice for your organization. This is why company accounts exist. Utilize them.

DON’T Be Afraid to Send at Off-Times

If you look into the research of when you should send out email and content, you’ll hear almost every time in the day listed as “best.” As soon as a new study comes out regarding when you should release content, you’ll find that everyone sends out emails or schedules social media posts at those times, thus making them ineffective.

That is why you need to test. Find out what time works for your own audience using metrics and analytics. And don’t release your results. Then everyone else will send out their content at the same time as you.

There is one time you should not send out content, though, and that is in the very early morning hours. Unless you have evidence that your list gets up at 4 am, which could be the case, then do not send out content at 3 am. It will be long buried in a feed or inbox by the time your audiences gets up and looks at it.

DON’T Ignore Your Data

So you’re collecting data. Cool.

Are you doing anything about it? Your content has analytics monitoring it: you know what your audience clicks, you know what they open. You might even know what sorts of things cause them to convert. So why aren’t you doing anything with it?

Learn what is successful and repeat it. Try new tactics just for the purpose of finding out whether or not it works.

Take risks. Just make sure they’re calculated. No business got started without risk. No business becomes successful without risk. Risk has its place in B2B.

As peace activist William Sloane Coffin said,

“All of life is the exercise of risk.”

So is all of marketing. So quit playing it safe. Get out there and take some (calculated) risks!


 

Let us know what you think: 

  • Are you a risk taker?
  • Where do you take risks?

 


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