Measuring customer retention is quickly becoming a top priority when setting B2B marketing goals, but many businesses don’t have a coherent plan to reach those goals. B2B companies should take a look at the tactics B2C businesses have long employed to engage and retain their customers. It isn’t all coupons and giveaways, either. There are a few basic rules B2B companies should follow when trying to cement customer loyalty.
Follow These 3 Steps to Improve B2B Customer Retention
Make a plan
According to Convero’s 2016 Customer Engagement Study, B2Bs that have a formal customer engagement program rated their company’s retention efforts as “very effective” compared with those without a program in place. Customer engagement is key: Today’s consumers are looking for positive customer experiences, not just good prices. Start by analyzing what your customers experience, including branding, content, sales pitch, and digital/web. B2B buyers want personalization from their suppliers, so make sure your plan delivers on that expectation.
Invest in customer retention
Historically, B2B companies tend to spend most of their marketing budgets on acquiring new customers instead of retaining them. If that sounds like your business, make room in your marketing budget for:
- Marketing automation: Although marketing automation sounds like the exact opposite of offering a personalized experience, marketing automation programs actually help deliver personalization by keeping track of customer behavior, demographics, interests, interaction, and social media engagement.
- Business website: Like their B2C counterparts, B2B customers first turn to the internet to research the products or services they’re considering buying. They expect your website to be easy to navigate and the information easy to find. Hire a website designer experienced in B2B website design—and make sure your design is optimized for mobile viewing.
- Social media: Like it or not, social media is a key component in influencing B2B customers. Do you have a social media plan? What’s your social media reputation? Invest in your social media efforts by using social analytics and other tools (they’re generally not expensive) and assign the responsibility for social media to a staffer who understands the various platforms’
Provide expert content
Today’s B2B customers aren’t just looking for a price list. Buyers want to do business with a partner that informs and educates them on a variety of industry topics, such as the latest innovations or emerging markets. Whether your content offers solutions to specific challenges or general advice, your customers expect you to provide the expert information they need, in addition to selling products and services.
B2B content differs in one important way from B2C—your customers speak the same industry language you do, so your content should not be condescending. Consistently providing informative content gives customers a reason to return to your website. In addition to blogs, you can offer other forms of content, such as white papers, infographics, video blogs, and podcasts. All will help increase your customer engagement.
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