Top Ways To Transform B2B Prospects Into Loyal Brand Advocates
Customers are your business’s lifeblood, but do you think it is a good idea to focus all your efforts on acquiring new customers?
The simple answer is ‘No.’ Yet, most businesses tend to focus their engagement strategies on acquisition without stressing on post-sales customer engagement that can drive your growth at a faster rate.
For instance, research shows that return customers spend 33% more per order than new customers. They are also highly likely to recommend your brand to others, creating a positive image and driving more revenue.
Turning your customers into brand advocates
It is a fact that most people trust personal recommendations over paid advertising. This also means that word-of-mouth marketing through loyal customers is one of the fastest ways for growing your revenue and customer base.
Customer engagement marketing can identify and engage passionate customers, and use post-sale customer experience to outdistance the competition.
If there’s growth on your mind, it is high time you focus on returning customers and turn them into active brand advocates by using these four strategies focused on thoughtful engagement and outstanding customer experience.
1. Develop a seamless onboarding process
First impressions matter; that’s why your onboarding process significantly impacts your customer retention rate. For instance, about 75% of customers are likely to drop off if they don’t see value in your product within a week of using it. Additionally, 86% of users are likely to stick longer with your product and even pay more for it when accompanied by an engaging and educative onboarding program that helps them use the product optimally.
Furthermore, once customers understand your product and derive the maximum value from it, they are more likely to spread the good word about it.
However, beware of information overload or burdening your customers with excessive information when developing an onboarding program. Rather, develop an easy-to-use, step-by-step onboarding email sequence, preferably with video tutorials and in-product guidance, to engage users and have them using your product’s core features without any hassle.
2. Integrate Live Chat Software On Product Pages
A Gartner report points out that over three-quarters of customers prefer live service channels, like phone, live chat, and email, and a majority expect you to deliver good or excellent service. The report goes on to say that customers are significantly more loyal when their expectations are met.
However, if you wish to convert customers into loyal advocates, you need to give them something extra; that is, you have to go beyond their expectations to curate highly personalized shopping experiences that keep them returning for more.
Integrating live chat on your product pages can help you achieve this by creating seamless customer service experiences for users. For instance, if a user lingers on a page for some time, you can send a proactive live chat notification to address their concerns. Besides, advanced live chat software comes integrated with co-browsing and screen sharing facilities, making it possible to give on-screen product demonstrations, explain complicated features, and resolve user queries in a seamless manner.
Unsurprisingly, the American Marketing Association found that B2B companies using live chat saw, on average, a 20% increase in conversions!
Clearly, live chat is a great tool for understanding your buyers’ needs and providing them with the solutions they need. Furthermore, live chat also helps you understand users better by gathering Voice of Customer data.
For instance, you can review chat transcripts to gather the words, phrases, and questions commonly used by your buyers to optimize your content and marketing strategy. This helps you place your customers at the center of all your business activities, from marketing to product development, potentially leading to a significant increase in revenues as well as user satisfaction.
3. Mobilize existing customers with affiliate marketing
Customers don’t really trust marketing advertisements as much as they trust reviews from real users. As a result, affiliate marketing has proven to be extremely useful in building user trust and nurturing loyal customers through word-of-mouth publicity and referrals.
The best part about starting a referral or affiliate program is that it turns passive, satisfied customers into active marketers for your brand, especially because they get rewarded for their hard work. The advantages of an affiliate program are manifold. You not only mobilize customers to engage with your brand actively but also benefit from exposure on their personal websites and social media handles.
There are many ways in which you can use affiliate marketing to grow your business. For instance, you can use software like Tapfiliate to give personal referral links and coupons to your network and create shareable social media posts for affiliates on the fly.
Of course, the way affiliate marketing works for B2B is much different than how it started decades ago. A more recent and successful example is that of Cisco. The IT firm wanted to encourage its brand advocates, or Champions, to spread the word about various social and professional networks.
The content created by these Champions was featured across Cisco’s blogs, video series, and podcasts. In return, Cisco gave its advocates special privileges, like recognizing them in exclusive content, providing early access to new features, inviting them to attend exclusive events, etc. Over time, the firm was able to generate massive amounts of authentic and engaging content. According to a source, the Champions created 55,000 tweets about the company, wrote over 200 posts on their personal sites, and 100 posts on Cisco’s blogs. This resulted in over 44,000 hits and 8,000 social mentions.
Another interesting example is Marketo that decided to drive 50 genuine reviews every quarter for its third-party websites by incentivizing its loyal customers to submit reviews.
Booker offers yet another example of referral marketing for B2B. Booker, a business management software, started a referral program for business owners. With a simple creative, and exciting incentive, like an iPad Mini, it encouraged small business owners to refer the software to other business owners to grow their user base.
4. Run a Loyalty Program
This one is a no-brainer – you build loyalty by running a loyalty program! But what does it mean to run a loyalty program for B2B?
Speaking generally, a loyalty program is a strategy that encourages users to engage with your brand in different ways. This could include buying new products, purchasing add-ons, sharing your content on social media, leaving a review, referring new customers, etc., to earn loyalty or reward points for privileges or discounts.
Creating a loyalty program is easy enough. Tiered incentives, member-only events, transactional discounts are simple examples of the types of programs you can run. However, just creating a loyalty program isn’t enough to drive loyalty. It is also important to keep your program easy to use and understand and market it well for wide publicity and adoption.
Know Your Customers To Drive Advocacy And Results
Not every satisfied customer will be a brand advocate. That’s why it is important to identify and engage repeat customers by understanding what drives their advocacy to build a loyal user base that doubles up as your organic marketing team.
One of the simplest ways of finding this out is by running on-site surveys. For instance, you can ask a question like, “Based on your experience, how likely are you to recommend XX product to a friend?” You may even include some space for comments to understand what’s making your customers happy or unhappy. Additionally, it is always good to connect and ask for feedback from repeat customers and those who are likely to churn, to understand your successes and failures. You may also invest in social listening to keep a tab on the people who speak favorably about your brand and what they say about it.