Move over, B2B and B2C marketing, and welcome to H2H marketing – human-to-human marketing, that is! It’s a type of marketing that emphasizes making real, human connections and building genuine connections with your prospects. When so much of marketing is automated these days, it’s essential to consider the human you’re connecting with.
This is especially important in the insurance industry, as so much of business development in this industry is based on trust and relationships. If anything, human-to-human marketing is perfectly suited to our industry.
H2H marketing can be effective in both B2C and B2B spaces. Here are a few tips for integrating these principles into your marketing campaigns.
Talk like a real person (not a perfect marketing robot)
People don’t relate to perfection. You don’t have to be flawless in your communications or marketing. If you’re relatable and transparent, that helps build trust – and the insurance industry is built on trust.
This could mean being more human and direct in your communications with customers. For instance, engage with your audience by answering questions and comments on social media and other publications you have. Avoid pre-written responses and always be genuine.
It can also mean occasionally straying from “strictly business”. Every so often, give your audience something personal – a picture of you and your pet, funny memes, employees having fun on the job, or other content that’s a little more personal.
Embrace active listening!
This is the foundation of all marketing efforts from an H2H perspective. Remember that your marketing is not about what your business needs – it’s about what your customer needs. Before planning any marketing initiative or message, consider what your customer wants, what they fear, what their aspirations are, and what keeps them up at night.
It isn’t unusual for companies to think of their own needs more than they should when designing marketing messages, even when they don’t mean to. And it’s not unusual for companies to develop a customer profile and stop at that, without making real connections with actual humans.
But listening to your customers – really listening to them – can help you develop the most profound and effective marketing messages.
Ask open-ended questions
The trend these days is toward automation. Chatbots are taking the place of in-person customer support staff, and most email and other outreach is personalized but still automated. Personalization, however, can’t replace real human interaction and connection.
Of course, it can be difficult to have one-on-one, deep personal conversations with every prospect you reach out to. If you did that, you’d have a hard time marketing at scale. However, you can incorporate H2H principles into your outreach efforts in various ways.
For instance, surveys and polls are often a mainstay for marketers in gathering customer feedback. However, many polls and surveys offer multiple-choice options, which may not describe their feelings on any particular topic.
Instead of multiple-choice, incorporate more open-ended questions into your surveys. Design questions with an aim toward deepening your understanding, rather than just moving the customer down another step in your funnel.
When conducting personal interviews, broaden your focus. Instead of asking participants what they think about your product or brand, ask them what their challenges are within the insurance industry in general. Cast a wider net to understand their daily challenges and how you can better help them.
Go where your customers are
One key to H2H marketing is to meet your customers where they are. If your target demographic spends a lot of time on Instagram, for example, then consider how you can be accessible to them on that platform – even if it means changing your strategy.
Nobody’s perfect. Authenticity often means admitting your flaws. Doing this can inspire trust, especially when someone leaves a negative review on social media.
Occasional negative reviews are inevitable for anyone running a business these days. How you deal with them can reflect very well on you, though, and inspire trust in both the person leaving the review and the audience reading. Where possible and appropriate, the H2H ethos suggests you honestly admit your mistake before offering to make amends.
Transparency can mean other things as well – such as personally answering questions on social media or an occasional livestream so you can interact with your audience more directly.
H2H marketing is not always the easiest method. But when done right, you can foster deeper connections that benefit both you and your customers. Actively listen to your prospects, develop a deep understanding of their opinions and challenges, put their needs first in all your marketing – and generate fantastic results.
Curious how this process would look for your business? Email Kristen Nevins at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 707-410-7254.
Kristen Nevins, CDMP, has over a decade of experience in marketing and communications. She joined Direct Connection in early 2018 and leads the team with her extensive digital marketing expertise. You can follow Kristen on LinkedIn for more.