Creating persuasive content is a perennial challenge for B2B marketers. Producing engaging content has been one of the top three challenges identified by respondents in all five of the annual B2B content marketing surveys by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.
Because B2B buying isn’t totally rational, marketing content that relies only on logical arguments and credible evidence will not be as persuasive as content that also appeals to the intuitive aspects of human decision making.
Research from both psychology and behavioral economics has produced several insights that B2B marketers can use to improve the persuasiveness of marketing content. One of the most important concepts is cognitive fluency, which is the term scientists use to describe the ease with which our brains process information. It turns out that we humans have a strong affinity for things that are easy for us to think about. Psychologists say that cognitive fluency signals familiarity, and familiarity makes us feel comfortable.
Cognitive fluency shapes our thinking in many ways. For example, numerous experiments have shown that cognitive fluency:
- Makes us more inclined to believe a statement is true
- Causes us to believe that the author of a statement is more intelligent
- Makes us more confident in our judgment about the truth of a statement
- Use easy-to-read fonts and contrasting colors for text. (For an authoritative discussion of font “power,” read this article.)
- Do not use complex language when simple language will suffice. We actually view the unnecessary use of pretentious language as a sign of poor intelligence and low credibility.
- Whenever possible, use images and simple diagrams to anchor and illustrate complex concepts.