Customer loyalty is more important than ever. You know it. I know it.
Consider the following:
- 68% of B2B executives say that clients are less loyal than they used to be.
- 54% of B2B marketers reported that increasing customer loyalty was a leading business challenge, a 10% increase from 2015.
- A 2015 study found that the average medium sized B2B company earns 30% of its revenues from existing customers
It’s definitely no surprise then, that B2B companies need to focus on customer loyalty now more than ever. However, you must have the numbers to back up this claim. You need to be able to justify continuing to invest your time and resources into building customer loyalty more than on new client acquisition. Any efforts you make must have proven results and have monetary value.
But how can you measure and maximize your B2B customer loyalty ROI?
The best way to get started with customer loyalty marketing is by linking your customer loyalty to your customer experience. If you make an effort to improve the customer experience you’ll improve customer loyalty and create new, measurable business opportunities, helping you achieve your bottom line.
Linking Customer Experience & Customer Loyalty
The customer experience can’t be measured in a vacuum. You must focus on both your business and experience metrics as well as the customer’s current and past value, so that you can predict their future value.
Too many B2B companies struggle to quantify this value because they’re locked into a narrow view of what “value” means. What you need is a clear view of what matters to your customers, so you can figure out where to focus and how to keep the customer experience high on your strategic priorities list.
Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty metrics, such as retention, word-of-mouth, and referrals, go hand-in-hand. It’s a positive association whereas a satisfied customer is more likely to repurchase and perform other loyalty actions. The key is to customize your customer loyalty metrics for your company.
For a B2B software company, loyalty might be most valuable because it means more subscription renewals. For a service company, it might translate best into willingness to purchase solution upgrades or add-ons. No matter the case, this customer loyalty can be linked directly back to satisfaction with their experience.
Once you follow your customer’s satisfaction over a period of time, you can begin to quantify the economic outcome of different experiences and how to maximize it.
Measure Customer Loyalty
The first key to determining B2B customer loyalty ROI is by measuring their behavior in direct relation to your business outcomes. You must begin by building a customer-level data set with results of past website actions, surveys, etc. You’ll want to review two to three months of data—at least—to determine the cost and revenue of a satisfied customer versus a neutral or dissatisfied customer.
How much less subject to churn are satisfied B2B customers? How much less likely is a dissatisfied customer going to make a return purchase?
Identify specific attributes of customer satisfaction and loyalty that are actionable. For example, it’s not enough to know that reliable and fast service is important to customer satisfaction. You need to know that “reliable and fast service” means hearing from a support representative within 12 hours, so that you have a specific, measurable, and thus actionable item.
Remember, not all attributes are equally important. Determine those that have an actual impact on your bottom line for the best ROI. You can then turn these insights into action in order to monetize the customer experience and customer loyalty in marketing.
Develop Customer Loyalty Marketing
Customer loyalty marketing is the concept of spending your marketing dollars on the customer experience values that have the biggest impact. For example, by capitalizing on the wealth of technology and insights available across every touchpoint with your customers—from your website, social media, and email—you can develop a comprehensive analysis about what customer experiences generate the most business value.
For customer loyalty, trust is everything. Your customers need to feel confident in your ability to deliver a great product and experience every time. You have to live up to their expectations. To do this you need to adapt your online marketing strategy to the different stages of the customer relationship.
At the beginning of the customer journey, your marketing plan may need to be most focused on showing trust and building confidence, but as a customer moves forward and becomes loyal, you’ll need to shift your marketing to efficiency, delivery time, add-ons, etc. Addressing these time-sensitive changes in your customer loyalty marketing will allow you to strengthen your relationships for greater long-term ROI.
Here are a few strategies for better developing customer loyalty marketing:
Produce valuable content
Nobody wants to read about how great your product is. Instead, provide your audience with content that provides them genuine value and connects with them on an emotional level.
This means content that answers your readers’ questions, provides solutions to their pain points, and helps them achieve their goals. Not only will this type of content establish you as a thought leader in your industry, it will also make you more trustworthy in your audience’s eyes.
Create deeply personalized content offers
Successful B2B companies are now utilizing predictive analytics and vast amounts of customer data in order to create what’s known as “smart content” and deeply personalized content offers.
Instead of promoting generic one-size-fits-all content to your entire audience, you should customize your content and offers to the specific interests and issues that each individual client segment is dealing with. This type of personalization will make your audience feel like you know them and truly care about them—increasing the likelihood that they will become loyal customers.
Use your customers in case studies
Another way to develop customer loyalty is by using your customers in case studies you publish. Sharing your customers’ successes makes them feel appreciated and as if they are a top client.
Host events geared towards education and training
Hosting events that are geared toward educating your clients is putting your customer’s needs before your own promotional interests. This builds a strong sense of loyalty among your customers because they feel their concerns are truly being listened to and needs met.
Use Your Website To Build Loyalty
A great way to create value is to consistently deliver a flawless customer journey on your website. And it’s the end-to-end customer journey that is most valuable when building customer loyalty in marketing—not individual touchpoints. This means that your website needs to be modeled based on the journey of the customer.
What pain points or opportunities will help you most differentiate your B2B company’s online presence?
What part of the journey is most likely to create a satisfied customer? A dissatisfied customer?
Use site visits, surveys, and mapping to determine the potential impact on your bottom line of every page of your website. You should also use customer experience analytics software, like Clicktale Experience Cloud to track and quantify your customer experiences and read your customer’s digital body language so you can react accordingly. This will enable you to improve experiences and thus build loyalty.
Maximize Your ROI
Customer acquisition costs are typically lower for companies with loyal customers, since new customers will show up on their own through positive referrals and word-of-mouth. The higher your customer retention, the greater your base of customers will be, the more frequently you’ll sell more products to those same individuals, and the less maintenance will be required.
Smart firms link their customer experience strategy to their customer-lifetime-value metrics to determine the best balance between high acquisition premiums, marketing costs, service costs, etc. Once you tie the customer experience to satisfaction and loyalty, it will be far easier to maximize your ROI.
Want to learn more about tactics for building B2B customer loyalty? Download our free ebook, here.