Let’s call a spade a spade. Loss aversion may bring a temporary boost in sales, but B2B content marketing that is peppered with scarcity tactics can also make your brand look shady — which can be detrimental to your reputation in the long run. Now, we’re not saying that loss aversion does not have a place in B2B content marketing or B2B copywriting. What we are saying is that it’s important to tread lightly when dealing with human emotions, especially negative ones.
To understand how scarcity tactics became so popular, we’ll have to rewind to 1979, when Nobel-Prize winning psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky first formulated the Prospect Theory. Their hypothesis suggested that consumers are more averse to potential loss than potential gain. Since then, businesses have leaned on this theory in their marketing strategies to justify limited-time discounts and offers. The idea is to instil a FOMO within customers so as to spur them into purchase before they can deliberate on their decisions. That doesn’t exactly scream ‘trustworthy and reliable’ in an age where information is widely accessible.
That said, there’s nothing inherently wrong with scarcity tactics if handled tactfully. Here’s our take on why B2B companies get scarcity tactics wrong, and how loss aversion strategies can be artfully weaved into your content marketing strategy.
Don’t hurry B2B buyers, they will buy when they’re ready
B2B buyers have been empowered by the internet. They know that the information they need is out there, and are much less willing to settle.
- More than half of B2B purchases are finalised before demos even begin
- Nearly 7 out of 10 buyers learn about all the product information they need from digital sources.
Screaming “Last chance sale!” often backfires because consumers view this as an attempt to wrestle the luxury of making an informed decision away from them. Even if they do make a purchase, the sense of annoyance that B2B buyers feel during the process means that they are unlikely to stay as long term customers.
Also, expect B2B buyers to have done their research on all of your claims. For example, if your content marketing ads have the words “best in market” written on them, you should be able to substantiate that with evidence. Because buyers can, and will catch your bluff. Today’s clients are more worried about losing out on the best deal instead of trying to grab what’s directly in front of them. The more you try to force their hand, the more reason they’ll have to search into your competitors to cross check your claims.
Write differently – B2B buyers are tired of the boy who cried “limited offer”
According to science, businesses that over rely on loss aversion might be barking up the wrong tree. The scientific journal by the University of Malta states that youths are the demographic that are more susceptible to feelings of FOMO induced by scarcity ads, compared to older folk who block them from their psyche altogether. So don’t expect experienced C-suite executives to be hoodwinked by the alleged “once-in-a-lifetime” offer that they’ve seen one too many times.
If you must employ scarcity tactics, use them sparingly like you would apply marmite or fish sauce. Sending out “last day sales” emails consecutively is a surefire way to land yourself in the spam folder or blocked list. For the sake of business legitimacy and efficiency of your marketing campaigns, scarcity tactics should only be deployed on occasion as part of a series of campaigns.
Create a positive B2B buyers experience with feel good loss aversion
Free trials are a good way to counteract scepticism and create positive experiences with your clients – an experience that they’ll have to forgo if they decide not to go forward with purchase when the trial expires. The free trial period also gives you a window of opportunity to leave a good impression while you still have your clients’ attention. This is when you can highlight the benefits of your solution by framing it in positive terms, such as the time and money clients can potentially save.
Storytelling makes all the difference between coming off as a slimy snake’s oil salesman or owner of a boutique business with trustworthy services. It’s what draws people in to follow you on your journey. That’s why real-life, everyday talk, rather than generic articles stuffed with overused phrases, are so important. Sprinkle in a bit of humour and you’ll have long-lasting B2B marketing content that can double as client pitch decks. Just think of witty copy as the digital version of ice-breaking small talk in big business meetings.
You now know a thing or two about the essential ingredients of good copywriting.
If you can’t instinctively spot nuances and tone subtleties, leave the lead-converting, sales-generating copywriting to word geeks like us. Just tell us what you want to achieve by sending your business enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get started right away!