We talk a lot about the Battle for Attention in B2B and about Buyer Attention Deficit Disorder and the relentless Mississippi of info-dreck that gushes through us all every hour of every day and about how the best-laid campaigns of the humble B2B marketer doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in Haiti anymore.
But we haven’t yet talked about one of the most important implications of all this; the new challenge facing every B2B marketer: the need to create urgency.
In today’s multi-threaded, multi-tasking multi-verse, it’s no longer good enough to make a clear, compelling case about why someone should do something. You have to make a case about why they have to do it NOW.
It’s no longer good enough to change someone’s mind (difficult as this is); now we have to change their very next action. We need the click NOW or we’ll never get it. We need the download NOW or the chance is gone. We need the engagement NOW or they’re off into the ether (or to a competitor). And ultimately, we need the sale NOW or we have to start all over again.
Of course, part of this is about identifying the people most likely to be urgency-sensitive — the ones who are ready to move to the next stage but need a nudge (or, let’s face it, a kick). If we’re talking to a tire-sniffer with a 3-year timescale, no amount of urgency-injection will make a difference (that’s where lead nurturing comes in). But if we’re talking to someone already leaning forward, already swaying back and forth to our plaintive ballad, already tripping towards the next step in the rocky road to revenue, then a sense of urgency really, really matters.
Here are five ways to inject urgency in your B2B marketing, starting, well, now.
1) Make the cost of delay tangible
This is probably the single most important thing you can do in the urgency-injection process: show people how much their dithering is costing them.
One of our clients, Reevoo, can show exactly how much a prospect is wasting every month they delay their decision. Their service improves conversion rates for e-commerce sites. They know exactly how much that means to each prospect, based on their traffic, current conversion rate and average transaction value. So they do the math(s) and show how delay is quite simply burning money. They can make powerful statements like “If you do this now instead of in three months, the extra profits you make will pay for the whole service. It will be free.”
Every B2B marketer needs to do these calculations. If your product or service saves people time and money, then delaying the purchase loses that time and money. If you can help people seize profitable, new opportunities, then delay means losing those opportunities and that profit.
You can’t be shy about this. If you believe in your product, you can look anyone in the eye and show them the cost of delay.
2. Drive down the sense of risk
People won’t overcome their inertia if they feel they might get a smack in the head for doing so. It’s safer staying on the sofa. Part of injecting urgency is reducing perceived risk. And that means leveraging all the risk-reducers and credibility-builders in the B2B kit-bag: killer testimonials, great cases, awards, reviews, analyst endorsements… (we list 17 of them in this B2B credibility-builders blog post).
3. Turn the big leap into mini-steps
Instead of asking for one big jump into a new world, ask for a step. Instead of asking for a 10X-sized commitment, ask for a 1X-sized one.
One example: we helped App-DNA create a Launch Pad product that lets prospects taste their fantastic application compatibility software on a few apps instead of the entire estate. It’s a hit.
4. Create a time-limited offer
Creating artificial scarcity is an oldie but still a goodie if done properly (and crass as a brass bidet if not). The key is to have a good explanation for why the offer ‘must end by December 21st’. If it’s just an artificial, marketing-driven offer, the B2B buyer will just roll his eyes and make that vulgar hand gesture that refers to self-abuse. He knows he can get the deal on December 22nd too. But if you’re about to do a major product release, offering a discount on the old release, and time-limiting the offer, makes sense.
5. Show how fast your solution gets to payback
It’s easier to delay things that you feel will take a long time to deliver benefits. If your marketing says, “Get on the 90-step, five-year road to salvation NOW!” you’ll be on the list called ‘One Day, Maybe’. If you can say, “Start now and be swimming in money in two weeks!’ you’re in with a shot.
So when you right the next piece of content or design the next campaign, ask yourself: have you done enough to add urgency to your story? To make people act NOW?
Any thoughts about how you do this are most welcome.