Customer loyalty isn’t something only B2C companies should worry about these days. Marketing has become more customer-centric than ever before, and this trend is extremely relevant for the B2B world, as well.
I am not saying that your B2B SaaS company, for example, should offer a “buy 1, get 1 free” coupon (that simply wouldn’t make any sense). What I am saying is that B2B companies should make efforts to delight their customers and show appreciation for their loyalty, as these customers can become repeat customers in the future as well as evangelists.
Customer acquisition can cost up to 7 times more than what it costs to keep an existing client happy and loyal (not the mention the huge amount of resources it takes). But not only does focusing more on client retention save resources, it is an activity that can even increase revenues. Only 20% of your existing customers will generate 80% of your future profits, according to the Gartner Group.
However, due to the misconception that customer loyalty is a goal only for B2C companies, many B2B marketers don’t take it into consideration when developing their online marketing strategy.
I’m here to set the record straight, and to show you that you can (and should!) easily incorporate customer loyalty initiatives into your marketing plans.
There are three main ways you can use the inbound marketing methodology to strengthen customer loyalty:
1. Create a Buyer Persona that represents your existing customers
If you are not already familiar with the concept of Buyer Personas, these are fictional identities that you create that are based on the qualities shared by segments of your ideal target audience. In order to attract your ideal clients in the first place, you need to create content and gated content offers that provide information that helps them solve their problems and answer their questions throughout the Awareness, Consideration and Decision stages of the buyer journey.
But once a prospect becomes a paying client, the job doesn’t end there.
You should focus on how you can delight them further and keep them engaged with your brand and build their loyalty, giving your sales team the opportunity to upsell and get referrals.
Create a new buyer persona that represents your existing clients and what their pain points and goals are. Ask your sales reps or account managers what some of the more commonly asked questions are from existing clients. What are some of the issues they have during onboarding? What new challenges are they facing now, after your solution helped them solve their original problem?
Create content, such as blog posts, webinars, videos and ebooks, that can help answer their questions, reinforce your brand as a knowledgeable authority in the industry, and strengthen their trust (and thus loyalty) in your company. This is also a great opportunity to produce content that drives your existing clients’ interest in other products or services that you provide, which could help them with their “post-prospect” problems, and turn them into repeat customers.
2. Personalize the customer experience on your website
Once you have converted prospects into clients, don’t give them the same user experience that was designed to guide them towards the initial conversion. Delight them by personalizing the experience according to their new status and unique needs with smart content.
Smart content is content that you can provide for your clients that is specifically tailored to them. It can be based on whatever information you have about your clients.
For example, let’s say your company targets clients from the Finance, Telecommunications, and E-commerce industries, and one of your prospects from the Finance industry converts into a paying client. The next time he visits your website, he should be presented with content that is relevant for his specific industry, and the content should be customized for visitors that have already converted into customers – not for brand-new visitors to your site who know little-to-nothing about your company.
This may sound complicated, but it is actually easier than it seems. There are companies out there, like HubSpot, that provide platforms enabling companies to easily publish smart content and delight their customers.
3. Use email marketing and social media to communicate with clients
Email marketing, which is used for lead nurturing, is an important activity for you to communicate with your prospects, guide them through the buyer journey, and provide them with useful, valuable content that will eventually help them convert into paying customers.
But once they take that step and become a customer, it doesn’t mean you should stop communicating with them by email. Just as we discussed creating content for your “existing client” buyer persona, so should you create emails specifically for your different types of existing clients, which should be segmented according to their specific industries and unique needs. It is a great opportunity for you to continuously provide education about your products and services, as well as keep your clients up-to-date on industry trends.
However, email marketing is usually a one-way conversation – you communicate with your clients, but the only ‘response’ you get is seeing if they open your email or click on a link inside it.
To have real communication with your clients, you must be active on social media.
Being active on social media (on whichever platform is most relevant for your industry) is an integral part of any inbound marketing strategy, even for B2B companies. Being present where your customers are, participating in conversations, and engaging with them are all actions that help build customer loyalty.
Social media is highly important avenue for constant and consistent communication and engagement with clients. 60% of B2B consumers are more likely to purchase from a company that they feel a “high brand connection” with (and are even willing to pay more). Meanwhile, 74% of B2B decision makers use LinkedIn to help them make purchasing decisions.
Leverage social media by sharing your expertise, discussing industry trends, sharing your content, and answering any questions that your clients may ask there. Joining and participating on forums and industry-related groups is also an important social activity, as 81% of B2B buyers say that blogs and online communities play an important role in their purchasing decisions.
Focusing on customer loyalty should be a fundamental aspect of every B2B marketer’s online strategy. It not only delights your customers into becoming repeat customers, but it also leads them to becoming your biggest advocates and bringing new clients to your virtual door.
Contact us at KeyScouts, today, to find out more about how using inbound marketing can help you build customer loyalty, increase your profits, and take your business to the next level.