As a B2B company, you probably have a lead generation and customer acquisition system in place for growing your business. However, are you unknowingly neglecting the "fastest path to cash" by not having a loyalty marketing strategy for improving customer retention and increasing customer lifetime value (CLV)?
B2B marketing is competitive. Coupled with the lengthy sales cycle, the investment you need to make in acquiring a new customer can be quite high. On the other hand, the cost of retaining an existing customer is often much lower.
In addition, it's usually more efficient to get your returning customers to spend more and increase purchase frequency than to drum up new businesses.
Here are 11 things you can do right away to increase customer retention and boost loyalty:
1. Surprise and Delight with Gifts and Swags
Corporate gifting isn't just for the holidays. In fact, many holiday gifts sent to B2B buyers tend to get lost in the clutter.
Get creative with your gifting schedule -- for example, you can send gifts on birthdays, anniversaries, or other less-celebrated holidays when your gift will stand out -- and make
sure to personalize the gifts based on your knowledge of each individual customer (e.g., their preferences, ethnicity, interests etc.)
In addition, you can consider gifting unique "experiences" to high-value customers (e.g., hard-to-get tickets to a concert if you know a customer likes a certain performer) to foster relationships and make your brand more memorable.
2. Feature Customers in Your Content
Create a win-win situation by featuring your high-value customers in testimonials, case studies, social media posts, and more. Your customers will gain publicity while you can showcase the effectiveness of your products and accelerate the "like, know, and trust" factor.
By associating your brand with industry influencers that have high credibility, you're not only augmenting your brand image but also increasing the likelihood that they'll stay with your company while referring others to do business with you.
When you have published the content, ask your customers to share it with their community, because it will likely consist of your ideal customers.
3. Build Trust With Transparency
Loyalty is built on trust and trust is fostered with transparency.
Gathering customer data to help you deliver personalized content and offers is a great way to boost loyalty. However, in today's B2B space and with all the news about data breaches, customers need to feel safe about providing you with their personal information.
4. Improve Customer Experience with Marketing Personalization
Personalization works for many aspects of B2B marketing and it's no different when it comes to building loyalty and improving customer retention.
In fact, in one research, 44% of the participants indicated that they'd return to a business that delivers a personalized purchasing experience.
B2B customers expect more than just an email with their names. To fully leverage the power of personalized marketing, segment your list so you can offer the most relevant content and offers based on each customer's preferences, order history, industry, etc.
Such high degree of personalization can be made possible by using a customer data management (CDM) platform that supports the creation of a single customer view and integrating the CDM platform with your CRM system so all customer information and communications are updated in real-time.
5. Offer Exclusive Perks to High-Value Customers
Reward long-standing customers with high customer lifetime value (CLV) by offering them exclusive access, "first dibs," or special discounts to new products, services, bundles, or events.
Doing so will not only show your appreciation but also encourage these customers to continue buying from you so they can maintain their "VIP" status for continual access to these special perks.
6. Develop a Loyalty Program
A loyalty program builds advocacy from your best customers by encouraging them to refer others to your business. At the same time, you can use points and rewards to entice them to purchase more from you.
A loyalty program is only as good as the participation from its members so it's important to build awareness and keep nurturing the relationships.
Offer periodic training and updates to educate members about your products or services so they're enabled to better promote your offerings. You can do so by providing resources in the members' area (e.g., graphics and pre-written promotional content,) creating onboarding tutorials, and sharing new features through emails and webinars.
7. Make Referral Easy with a Mobile App
As the new generation of B2B customers are inseparable from their smartphones and using their mobile devices for work every day, you can make it more convenient for them to participate in your loyalty program by offering a mobile app so they can refer others to your business while on-the-go.
Promote your mobile app to your loyalty program members and encourage usage by offering extra points when customers download the app.
8. Develop a Customer Onboarding Process
Your customers are more likely to return if they can maximize the value of your products or services. You can help them do so by offering effective post-sale support and a customer onboarding program.
The design of your onboarding process should encourage adoption and usage to help your customers experience all the benefits of your products and maximize their ROI so they're more likely to keep purchasing from you.
Your onboarding program should involve multiple tactics and touchpoints, such as video training or tutorials, live chat and phone support, Q&A webinars, personalized follow-up emails, and more.
9. Re-Engage Inactive Loyalty Program Members
Customers often get quite excited about a loyalty program when they first sign up but their enthusiasm may wean over time. By understanding the loyalty lifecycle of your customers, you can deliver the appropriate content and incentives to keep long-standing members engaged so they'll keep promoting your products or services.
In addition, you can leverage AI-based segmentation and targeting to analyze members' involvement so you can fine-tune your communication and rewards.
10. Focus Your Resources with Account-Based Loyalty (ABL)
Similar to account-based marketing, which is highly effective in the B2B space, an ABL strategy helps you focus on cultivating loyalty in high-value customers. In addition, you can promote your loyalty program to customers that exhibit characteristics of developing a profitable referral relationship.
With this approach, you'd be designing a customer retention strategy for each specific account using customized high-touch sales and marketing tactics as well as intelligent personalization technologies to maximize the lifetime value of each account.
11. Offer Payment Options to Increase Purchase Volume and Frequency
To entice customers to increase their purchase amount and frequency, make sure you're offering a variety of payment options that will enhance convenience while lowering the cost of financing for your customers.
Even though credit and debit cards are common forms of payment, they could increase financing cost and therefore deter your customers from keep purchasing from you in the long term.