Story-Based Emails Don’t Work in B2B. True or False?

So this “build a relationship with your list” stuff is all well and good for B2C products like a learn to rock climb class or a Hollywood actor workout program…

But what about so-called “boring” business-to-business products and services?

That’s what subscriber Steve wants to know:

Have been following you for a month, I am selling IT HR solution, is that workable if I use narrative story, storytelling to sell the IT products? Could you give me some feedback on this ?

So Steve, I like the way you’re thinking here.

You’ve come across a new marketing tactic, and rather than rejecting it out of hand and assuming it would never work for your customers, you’re weighing whether this approach makes sense for you.

The knee-jerk reaction for a lot of people in a business similar to Steve is to say, “That will never work in my market.”

Well, let’s think about that for a minute.

Take a second and Google “IT HR software,” and scan through the results.

What do you see?

For me, the first screen of results is crammed with “me too” ads touting free demos, 24/7 monitoring, etc.

Very straightforward, basic stuff.

Now imagine you’re the CEO of a 20-person IT company, and you’re fed up with all the busywork you have to plow through every two weeks just to run payroll.

You’ve talked to sales reps at a few of the companies we just Googled, and now you’re getting emails from all of them.

And those emails look just like their ads and websites:

24/7 monitoring, web portal access, blah blah blah

What do you think would happen if Steve comes along and launches into a story about a recent client of his who was buried under so much paperwork, he couldn’t get any ACTUAL work done?

And how this guy tried to shuffle all that misery off on his assistant who didn’t know the first thing about any of it and naturally made a bunch of mistakes…

And now the paychecks are all screwed up, the employees are up in arms, and certain government agencies are sniffing around and starting to ask questions?

Think that might get Mr. CEO’s attention more than, say, an email about a whiz-bang reporting feature?

This is a great illustration of email list relationship secret #3:

Talk about THEIR problems, not YOUR solutions.

And yes, storytelling is an effective way to do that in many, many markets.

Just make sure the stories hit on the pains, frustrations, fears and uncertainties that keep your ideal customers awake at night.

It works when you’re selling parasailing lessons to adrenaline junkies…

And yes, it can even work in “boring” B2B markets like HR software.


Originally published at joshuaearl.com.