Contrary to popular opinion, what makes a B2B company successful isn’t how many leads it can attract. It’s about how many leads you can convert into long-term customers.
Unfortunately, low retention rates are an issue for many businesses in the B2B sector.
The good news is there are ways you can turn first-time patrons into long-term customers. If you can reduce churn by 5%, you can boost profits by 20% to 125%. So by focusing on customer loyalty, you can increase your revenue and expand your operations.
The question now is, how do you do it?
Let’s take a closer look at what customer loyalty is and how to build it effectively.
What is Customer Loyalty (& Why is it Important)?
Customer loyalty is a metric that tracks ongoing positive relationships with a business’s customer base. It’s vital for driving repeat business for many years (if not a lifetime).
So, the better your customer loyalty, the more profitable your organization will be. The key is finding ways to build customer loyalty, which you can do using a variety of strategies.
But before we dive into that, let’s take a look at stats proving why loyal customers are essential to B2B:
- It’s 60% to 70% easier to sell to existing customers, compared to 5% to 20% for new accounts.
- 59% of loyal customers are willing to refer your brand to others they know and join loyalty programs. And 36% spend more with brands they’re loyal to.
- Brands spend up to 11x more to attain new customers.
Not only are you generating more revenue with repeat business, but you’re also saving money.
When it comes to measuring customer loyalty, you’ll need to look at metrics like:
- Retention and churn rates
- Engagement with your brand
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Loyalty Index (CLI)
- Repurchasing levels
- Multiple product purchases
Let’s take a look at customer loyalty models you can use for your B2B accounts.
Connect with Your Customers (Literally and Figuratively)
What creates loyalty between a customer and a brand?
It’s several factors: quality, value, price, and benefits/features.
But the most important thing to focus on is building trust with your client base. You can do this by connecting with your customers. When regularly communicating with them and finding ways to connect on an emotional level. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to create tear-jerking content. But it does mean you need to have a message that resonates with your customers deeply.
For example, rather than focusing on your incredible prices, you should hone in on how your products or services are helping businesses achieve their goals. It’s also worth noting that 95% of customers say they’re looking for some degree of proactive communication with the companies they purchase from. So they’re inviting you to reach out.
This is what makes social media and email marketing must-haves in your customer loyalty strategy. With these, you can keep in touch with your audience, share stories, promote deals, and even receive valuable feedback.
Opening up two-way communication is an efficient way to build trust because it tells customers you want to hear what they have to say. So don’t treat your marketing campaigns as megaphones. Make sure to offer helpful content, not just promotions.
But which channels do B2B prospects and customers prefer the most? Here’s a quick look:
Be sure to offer multiple communication methods so your customers can choose whichever is convenient for them. 5 communication methods are below:
- Use automated email campaigns – it can make 50% more sales-ready leads (at 33% lower cost).
- Host Q&A webinars with subject matter experts – it can drive more revenue for B2B companies.
- Build an online community – it makes customers feel valued and 86% of Fortune 500 companies use it to identify customer needs.
- Offer live chat – 75% of those surveyed say they prefer live chat
- Add a contact form – 55% of respondents say not having one hurts a brand’s credibility.
Next, let’s delve into how you can use loyalty programs to build trust.
Provide Value for Your Loyal Customers
Sometimes, having the best product and price isn’t enough to build customer loyalty. Today’s consumers care more about their interactions with a brand, which can spell trouble if you ignore offering a great customer experience. One way you can avoid this issue is to offer value to customers. We also found several intriguing stats proving incentives work:
- 33% say incentives often persuade them to choose a certain brand
- 45% of consumers purchased 1 to 3 times due to incentives (within the last year) and 22% made 4 to 6 purchases.
- After receiving incentives, 40% follow the brand on social, 30% subscribe to their newsletter, and 15% attend brand events.
On that note, here are a few ideas you can try with your B2B customers.
1. Create a Referral Program
What’s amazing about referral programs is that they create a win-win-win situation for everyone. You get a stream of new (hot) leads without the vetting, leads feel confident in buying because of a trusted recommendation, and your customers receive incentives for making a referral
To put together a referral program, you need a simple way for customers to send referrals. And you need to track where leads are coming from so you can give rewards to the right customers.
You can use automated tools to handle the tracking of referrals, which may use unique checkout codes.
To make your referral program a success, you need several essential ingredients like:
- Quality products and services
- Strong relationship with existing accounts
- Simple way to refer leads
- Enticing rewards for referrals (discounts, freebies, gifts, etc.)
It’s also vital to ensure you ask for referrals. Sometimes, customers need a nudge to make the effort to recommend others to your brand. You can do this by sending an email with a quick link or code to share with people they know.
2. Offer Free Trials to Customers
This is something you can do for both your new and existing accounts. Allowing prospects to try before they buy is an excellent way to earn their trust. During the trial, they can solidify the value of your product or service and commit to buy.With existing customers, you can cross-sell products and services by offering a free trial. This way, they can determine if it’s a solution that’s right for them (instead of taking your word for it).
Now, the goal is to turn trial users into paid customers. And currently, the conversion rates for free trials look something like this:
- 2% to 10% for nearly half of businesses
- 11% to 30% for a third of businesses
- 31% to 50%+ for one-fifth of businesses
We also see a difference between the type of trial being offered (for SaaS):
- Freemium offerings tend to have single-digit conversions
- No-card-required trials can see conversions as high as 25%
- Card-required trials can see conversions up to 60%
If you’re getting at least 2% conversions, that’s a great start. You can use the following methods to optimize for higher conversions in the future:
- Make it easy to use your product/service (offer self-help tutorials)
- Send emails triggered by user activity (if they’re stagnant, offer help)
- Send an email at the end of the trial to nudge a conversion
- Create an onboarding email campaign
- Offer personal support during the trial
- Limit the features users have access to
- Or provide all the features, but limit the time frame
- Create a sense of urgency (shorten the trial from 30-days to 14 or 7 days)
- Offer a personalized demo
- Ask for payment information to start trial
- Give a discount at the end of the trial
- Have a no-hassle cancellation policy
- Reengage non-converting users
- Make it simple to switch from premium and free accounts
Try different strategies to see what works and what doesn’t.
3. Send Corporate Gifts
Corporate gifting isn’t new — in fact, it’s gaining traction because it’s a solution that works. Everyone loves a free gift and when it comes from a brand, it helps that company stand out in a good way. So if you want to make a good impression, then this is one way to go about it. What’s great about corporate gifts is you can brand the product so it acts as a reminder of where it came from. This can also trigger the customer to convert now or even later down the line. Think of it like a pest control magnet you put on your fridge — you may not use it right away, but when you encounter an infestation, you’ll go straight to the magnet and call the number.
Choosing the best gift to send depends on who you’re sending it to. For instance, if you’re wooing a decision-maker, then send a cool mug for deal champions.
You can use corporate gifts for different occasions:
- After the completion of a project
- During the holidays (or birthday)
- After the customer reaches a company milestone
With the right service, you can personalize branded gifts and have it packaged and shipped for you.
4. Offer Early Access to Your Customers
Giving VIP access to an exclusive event is (and likely always will be) an exceptional way to dazzle customers. So if you’re planning to launch a new product or service, then extend an early-access offer to your existing customers. This will show you value them, and if you ask for feedback, it’ll do two things:
- Show you care what they think.
- Provide insights you can use to improve your product before launching.
Just be sure to give your customers a heads up about the upcoming product. For example, create an email campaign revealing details about what your new product or service will offer and who it’ll benefit. This way, you’ll have better success with customers signing up after the launch.
5. Create a Points/Rewards System
If there’s anything we can say about gamification in marketing it’s that it works.
People like to collect points and retrieve rewards for them. There are different ways you can build a points and rewards system for your customers.
For example, HP decided to reward customers who recycle their empty printer cartridges to them. The more they turned in, the more points they received to redeem a free HP Gift Voucher.
What’s genius about this reward system is that it allows HP to reuse cartridges (save money) and it helps to keep waste out of landfills. This is something that’ll attract environmentally-conscious customers.
So you don’t have to do the typical scenario where the more a customer spends, the more points they earn. Try to get creative with your program so it’s attractive (and fun) for your customers.
Quick Tip: Allow customers to manage their rewards via mobile — 70% of consumers use a mobile app to manage reward accounts.
What Are the Benefits of Customer Loyalty?
Frankly, there are several key benefits of building customer loyalty for your business.
Let’s review the top advantages you’ll get when you implement the right strategies.
You Can Generate More Reviews and Testimonials
Why’s this important? Because it can help drive more prospects to your company. One of the first things consumers do when researching a brand is look for social proof. This may be in the form of reviews on Google, Yelp, or Angie’s List. Or it can come from testimonials found on the brand’s website, YouTube, and other platforms.
To help prospects find them, you can turn reviews and testimonials into marketing material. For example, including customer reviews and ratings at the bottom of your email campaigns. Or placing testimonial videos on your website and YouTube channel.
You Can Increase Customer Retention
When you build trust with customers, they’re more likely to stick with your brand. This is why creating an incredible customer experience is critical. By connecting with and incentivizing your customers, you can build long-term loyalty. In turn, you can retain more of your customers, which can boost your revenue. Studies show that a 5% reduction in churn can generate 25% to 95% in added profits. Plus, it’s easier to cross-sell to customers who already know and trust your brand.
You Can Improve Your Customer Service
Having long-time customers gives you access to invaluable feedback about your products and services. But it’s up to you to take advantage of this resource.
Create a feedback loop that allows your customer support team to hear from your best and worst customers. Learning about their experiences with your business will enable you to make improvements where needed, and to invest more resources in whatever’s already working.With excellent customer service, you can keep your existing customers happy and with your brand longer.
The Benefits of Using Sendoso
Curious about that corporate gifting idea? Then you’ll be interested in learning about Sendoso and the services it offers.
Sendoso provides a range of solutions that make it easy for B2B companies to wow their prospects and customers with gifts.
This includes sourcing products, handwriting notes, creating branded packaging, and mailing it off. It’s a done-for-you solution that’s helping businesses win-over leads and woo customers.
Plus, you get access to a platform to monitor the success of your corporate gifting campaigns.
Ready to learn more? Then schedule a free demo with Sendoso today!