The True Importance of Transparency in B2B Marketing
Digital marketing has become the primary type of advertising. While there are many different suggestions about digital marketing best practices, one thing that most marketers can see eye-to-eye on is the importance of transparency. Fortune magazine defines transparency as:
“making the practices, policies, algorithms, and even code, operating data, and future plans available to customers, employees, or business partners — runs counter to traditional business practices."
To put it simply, transparency is opening your company’s proverbial door to clients, prospects, vendors, and anyone else who cares to learn about you.
Why is it important?
People want to buy from brands that are relatable and trustworthy. Especially when it comes to their technology support options, B2B decision makers have a lot of choices. Studies have proved that transparency results in improved lead generation. Website users like to feel like they are part of an authentic experience. To stay relevant, you should seek to position yourself and your brand as a go-to service provider that greatly benefits a market’s needs and eases their pain points.
Examining your marketing initiatives is the only way to know if your company is transparent. Here’s a few of the most common transparency mistakes:
- Deliver on Marketing Promises: When you’re using calls-to-action to encourage a prospect or lead to move forward in the buying cycle, it’s important to establish and maintain a trusting relationship. If they don’t trust you, then they’re certainly not going to buy from you. One of the most common ways to lose that trust is by offering something and delivering, and in some cases, not delivering, something else. An example of this would be offering an immediate whitepaper download that is not immediate, but requires the user to attend a webinar to get access to the download. With the popularity of inbound marketing, delivering on promises is important because losing trust in the preliminary stages means you won’t get the opportunity to nurture and develop that lead. They’d be gone before you even knew they existed.
- Educational Content Has Little-to-No Value Information: Have you ever decided to bite on some click-bait just to find the article was NOTHING like you had expected? Instead of ‘5 Tips the Pros Use to Reduce Costs of IT’, you end up with a few vague references and unactionable items that are mostly commonsense. When it comes to marketing content, you never want to have a reader walking away from the article feeling like you’re not actually an expert in your field and their time was wasted.
- Faking Positive Comments: There is a rather well known story of a company that fabricated social media accounts and began making comments and engaging with their own posts. Long story short, a disgruntled ex-employee outed their dirty little secret on social media. The company’s reputation was irreparably damaged. Staking your company’s reputation over a few likes is not worth it. Another example of a fake comment would be anonymous clients that give your company testimonials raving about your IT solutions. If they’re so pleased with your services, odds are they’d allow you to mention their name. Anonymous testimonials may end up hurting your company’s credibility.
Let the “Why” Have a Little More Freedom
When we talk about transparency, we’re talking about opening up to your audience and showing a little bit more of your personality. It’s your personality and experiences that are going to make your product believable. Answer questions like:
- Why did you start your business?
- Why should they choose your MSP?
- Why are you still striving for excellence after your years of operation?
Tell your target why your MSP can meet their needs…and don’t make it the used car salesman version. You probably started your business for a reason. Tell them about it.
Genuine Social Proof
When it comes to transparency, prospective clients often find social proof from their peers to be a valuable resource when considering a relationship with a managed IT service provider. Effective social proof commonly found in MSP marketing include testimonials, which can be written or video, and case studies. Both testimonials and case studies are generally approved by a current or past client that found your services and solutions met, or even exceeded, their expectations which is the essence of transparency marketing.
Talk to Your Audience, Don’t Pitch to Them.
Think about when you’re face-to-face with a prospect. Do you just list off a bunch of facts and statistics? Do you cover the technical features of a service? No. Odds are you are talking to your prospect, adding stories, listen to their pain points and responding to them. That is just being a good salesman. So, why does it seem like such an unusual concept to be more conversational and informative when you’re creating content? Tell your story and watch the positive response!
Education. Education. Education.
When a user looks at your content they’re probably looking for information. There is nothing wrong with mentioning your solutions here and there, but content should focus on offering valuable information to your clients. Show your audience that you’re an expert in your market. Help them, give them the information they’re looking for, you’ll have plenty of time down the road to sell them your services.
Because of the increasing knowledge and empowerment of decision makers, transparency in a company is vital. Your target audience will more than scout several different managed IT solutions before selecting one. To effectively reflect that your MSP is an open, trustworthy organization, you need to put honesty first. Would you like a few more pointers on making your business more transparent? Our team can help! Contact us today.