Does your B2B business have a strategy to reward customer loyalty? In the B2C world, customer loyalty programs are a must for many businesses; the same does not hold true for companies with B2B customers. I've never heard of a machinery manufacturer, for instance, offering a "buy ten, get the next one free" punch card. And more likely than not, your supply chain software company isn't offering a rewards point system.
But that doesn't mean delighting your customers and honoring their loyalty is any less important in B2B sectors. The tactics are just a little different.
Customer Loyalty Deserves a Front Seat in Your Marketing Plan
I recently read a statistic from Bain & Company that acquiring a new customer can cost 6 to 7 times more than retaining an existing company. Considering the amount of work it takes to acquire a new customer, that makes sense. Especially in the world of B2B sales, the sales cycle can be a long process, and it often requires many resources.
There’s plenty of supporting evidence (like this article from CMO) on the benefits of customer retention versus customer acquisition. Not only does a focus on customer retention cost less than acquiring new customers, it can prove to be even more profitable with sustained revenue and upsell opportunities. Businesses that improve customer retention can see significant increases in profits.
So why is it common for customer retention to take a backseat to customer acquisition in B2B marketing plans?
Marketing & Customer Loyalty Programs Don't Need to Be Separate
Here’s the good news. If you are using inbound marketing methodology to attract and nurture leads to grow your business, you may just have the most powerful customer loyalty tool right in front of you. But if you haven’t built a strategy to use the inbound methodology to retain and upsell your existing customers, you’re likely missing out on business growth opportunities and increasing the risk of losing your best source of new revenue.
Here are three ideas to leverage your inbound marketing program to help keep customers with you forever:
1. Remember Customers in your Inbound Marketing Editorial Calendar
Your customers were once prospects and found your great content online. Your content answered their questions and helped solve their problems because your priority as a content marketer was to write for your target “persona” (your ideal potential customer). Content offers got them thinking of you and demonstrated your expertise, building confidence in your brand and your business.
When building your editorial calendar, don’t stop at what questions or problems your best prospects have. Also consider your customers as another target “persona.” Once they’ve purchased your products or services and become customers, what new questions and problems come up in your conversations? Record these and incorporate answers in helpful blog posts, videos, and webinars, for example, that can instill further confidence in your ability to grow with them. Help them with best practices for your products and services and introduce them to new products and services that will produce even greater results for them. The more knowledge that is transferred to your customers, the more successful both parties will be in the long-term.
Looking for brownie points? Mention them in your blog posts or social media to really show you care. Follow and engage with them on LinkedIn and twitter.
2. Use Promotional Emails and Newsletters to Communicate Consistently
Email marketing is an integral part of your inbound marketing approach to reach your prospects, promote your content offers, and attract visitors to your website.
Consider guiding your customers through their journey as users of your products or services with a different, customized set of promotional emails and newsletters. Encourage your customers to keep visiting your site and consume your content to stay on top of industry trends and provide continuous education on the best ways to use your products and services.
Also consider separate nurturing workflows and campaigns for your customers, engaging them with the content most relevant to take their business to the next level with you.
Interesting in even more brownie points? Email surveys are a great tool to solicit feedback regularly. Just don’t forget to follow-up with them on the results!
3. Create a Personalized Experience on your Website with Smart Content
Now that you have your customers visiting your website as a helpful resource, delight them with an experience customized just for them. Contextual websites adapt to each visitor’s unique needs. If a visitor to your website comes from the manufacturing industry, for example, you may only choose to show content related to their industry. If your website recognizes that a visitor to your site is a customer, you can tailor the content they see just for them as well. This type of “smart content” can boost your conversion rates and results in a more positive experience for your customer. If you are curious about how the HubSpot platform can be used to personalize your website, click here.
Don’t let retaining customers take a back seat in your marketing plan. Providing value to your customers by becoming their most trusted expert and knowledge source can go a long way to engage and retain them. Treat customers as a very important target persona within your inbound marketing program and give them the front seat they deserve!
Posted by Nicole Mertes As Weidert Group's lead salesperson and business development strategist, Nicole heads up the agency's new business strategy and provides sales consulting services to clients.
Prior to her role at the agency, Nicole was an advertising manager at Gannett, one of the nation's largest media companies. With 10+ years of experience in advertising sales, she understands the complex relationship between marketing and sales within organizations.