While your customer engagement strategy may be different if you are running a B2B business in comparison to a B2C business, this does not mean that it should be overlooked.
If you do not actively seek out ways that you can engage your customers, you are naturally going to find that you start to lose business to your closest rivals.
With this in mind, in the following blog post, we are going to focus on a few of the ways that you can engage your B2B customers. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Encourage Direct Referrals
When businesses are looking for other businesses that they want to work with, they often go to a trusted third-party company for a personalized recommendation. So, you should aim to do everything that you can to encourage direct referrals from your existing clients. This way, you have someone vouching for you and the way in which you do things. Word-of-mouth is still highly important – even in a heavily technology-driven world such as ours.
How do you encourage direct referrals? Well, there are all sorts of systems that you can put in place in which you offer the referring company a reward of some description for spreading the good word about your business to another enterprise that is close to them. It could be through a discount or a special bonus of some kind.
When you implement such a system, it is highly important that you are proactive in monitoring its effectiveness. You should also aim to get as many positive testimonials as to promote on your website and offline marketing materials. This way, you can demonstrate your customers’ satisfaction with your product or service offering.
Essentially, this refers to the process of selling more to the clients and customers that you already have. This makes sense as a strategy as your existing customers are already converted to how well you do things (as long as you have maintained a good relationship) and are much more likely to buy more from you as a direct result.
Ultimately, you need to keep a close eye on your customers’ business trends to ensure you’re providing them the most appropriate goods and services. Capitalizing on the cross- or upselling opportunities is more cost-effective than relying on the new business development cycle. Ultimately, you are making the most of the assets that you already have, which is always going to make sense as a strategy.
Form a Community
The biggest brands are trying to be more than standalone enterprises and become free-standing communities. There are plenty of different ways to achieve this through user groups, events, and activities. If you continue to think of new ways to engage your customers, they will see you as an innovative business committed to servicing their accounts.
Account-based marketing also has an external benefit to promote your brand among new businesses that are part of the community that you have worked so hard to cultivate.
Track Customer Satisfaction
Businesses need to be adept and ready to deal with customer satisfaction. Ultimately, if you do not know how satisfied your customers are, it is more difficult to make the necessary improvements along the way. Plus, if you find out that a huge number of customers are coming to you with the same problem, it should be clear that change is needed to prevent competitors from stealing your business.
There are many different ways you can trust customer satisfaction, as well as various tools available that can make it a lot easier to do.
One of the best ways is to try and get customers to complete anonymous reviews at the end of a transaction. With this, you learn about your process, what they liked and didn’t like, and then make improvements from what you learn. It’s a good idea to offer incentives to customers who complete a review, as it will make it more likely that you’ll obtain this crucial piece of feedback.
It is important to maintain more traditional tactics such as email marketing. Newsletters are useful to keep customers up-to-date on your offering and demonstrate your currency with the industry. Establishing yourself as a thought leader can be enormously powerful demonstrate your position as a front-runner in your field whose opinion and product can be trusted.
However, newsletters aren’t the only thing you can do via email marketing. To engage a B2B customer, you can also use this direct channel to offer personalized discounts or promotions, which could entice this customer to make a new purchase and, as such, become a more valuable client.
Email marketing is often overlooked, with social media and SEO being the primary focus of a business’s marketing campaign. However, when utilized correctly, it can become a vital way to gain attention and relevance.
Create Appealing Social Media Campaigns
Media sharing apps are a powerful customer engagement tool to help you step up the impact of your digital campaigns. While B2B businesses may not be considered as creative or engaging as those selling direct to customers, this need not be the case, especially when it comes to the use of social media. With the proper strategy, social media campaigns will position your business as an innovative and contemporary partner.
Effective social media campaigns rely on a thorough knowledge of your customers’ digital preferences and habits. Discover the types of social channels and platforms they use and explore how your competitors are using social media. While you do not want to emulate them directly, they can provide you a guideline for what works and what does not.
Once you have decided on a platform, experiment with developing a unique voice for your brand. Depending on your industry, it might fun and playful or authoritative and knowledgeable. You can then start to appeal to your audience in a bigger way by coming up with a brand ambassador who is always the person at the forefront of your brand.
Look Back at Your Branding
If you are not getting the type of customer engagement that you would like, it may be that your branding is off-mark. Therefore, review your message and positioning to confirm it captures the character and mission of your company. Remember, branding is more than your logo (though this is an important aspect of it). You are aiming to create a perception in the mind of your customers. All of your different channels need to be coordinated in this regard. In addition to the right color scheme, consider the tone of voice you use, as well as your fonts, graphics, the layout of your website, and other marketing tactics you have in place.
Look to see if all your channels have consistent branding, including your website, social pages, emails, and internal documents. One of the biggest turn-offs is when a business lacks this unity of its branding. To help ensure that everything within your brand feels the same, create a brand guide. This is a document that should be shared around your business to inform everyone how the company needs to be portrayed. Making sure that everyone is in tune with the desired brand voice will help your brand be more consistent.
Aim to Be a Thought Leader
When you are in B2B, other business owners put stock in trade publications and industry shows. Therefore, it is essential that your voice is among them. Be accessible and be prepared to comment on the latest industry trends and the role you play.
When prospects turn to you for opinions and insights, you will know you are on the right track. Having unique and interesting insight within your business’s niche will make you a more engaging business to be connected with, as others will find what you have to say useful.
To become a thought leader, it’s important to not regurgitate existing content but instead find something that hasn’t been considered before. This is obviously easier said than done, although if you’re passionate about the industry that your business operates within, it shouldn’t be unattainable.
One of the best platforms to share your insight is your own website, so be sure to post regular articles on these interesting topics to help build a following. Alternatively, you can also launch a podcast where you can be more conversational and bring in other thought leaders to talk alongside you. There’s also the option of hosting TED Talks and other events which can aid you in becoming a thought leader.
Engaging your B2B customers is as important as it is for a B2C business. Although the tactics are different, it is important to be proactive. As a B2B business, your customers have a higher value, so it’s important to do what you can to keep them engaged and interested in your brand.
Experiment with different strategies to determine what works best. Monitor your campaign’s success to redirect as needed or fortify its current strategy. No single technique is going to work for every business. That’s why it’s important to try many to figure out what works for you.