Loyalty Programs Benefit B2B Businesses, Too
a consumer, you know that customer loyalty programs are big business. That’s
why your mailbox is likely besieged by points programs for credit cards and
travel, and you probably have at least a couple of the most popular rewards
apps on your smartphone. But, as an integrated B2B marketer, have you thought
that a loyalty program could earn your business big rewards, too?
thoughtful B2B program can help boost loyalty, customer retention, and those
always-important word-of-mouth referrals. The premise is the same: offer
enticements to get customers to buy more or interact with your business in specific
ways. However, there are a few key differences that can help you fine-tune your
Who You’re Targeting and Craft Your Offer Accordingly
rewards programs go for broad appeal: if you’re Starbucks, you know that all of
your customers are going to respond to an offer for free coffee. B2B programs
must take into account different users with different needs.
some cases, you may want to target a purchasing or operations manager, whose
concerns will probably be related to the bottom line. If this is your audience,
your reward doesn’t have to be anything more complicated than cash or
you may also be addressing the end-users, who will be more likely to respond to
free perks, exclusive access to information and support, or swag.
you’re only equating a customer’s value with how much money they spend with
you, you could be missing out on some potent marketing opportunities. Obviously,
sales are important, but you should also look for ways to incentivize behaviors
that create real value for your business, such as:
reviews for your products
question in support forums
on social media
something else that’s important to your company. For example, the HP Planet Partners Reward Program offers points-based rewards for
businesses that help recycle HP print cartridges. The program not only rewards
customers for continuing to buy HP products, but it makes them allies in a
mission that has broad appeal and lets HP build a deeper connection by
marketing its principles.
the Most Out of a Referral Program
high-quality referral is worth its weight in gold: referrals from satisfied
customers drive as much as 84% of B2B purchases. Companies like Uber and Lyft have built massively successful
programs just based on B2B referrals, alone.
other types of referral programs, where you’re trying to coax your lowest-rung
customers up the ladder, you may get more substantial benefits (i.e., more or
better referrals) from clients who are already actively engaged with your
business. Conversely, it’s best to avoid advertising your program to new
customers, since this can feel transactional.
the program easy for your current customers: after all, they’re doing you a
valuable favor. Provide something of worth both to your existing customer and
the prospective customer: for example, an attractive discount, a few free
months of your service, or a similar reward shows legitimate appreciation for your
current client, and it’s a solid way to entice the prospect into the fold.
if your product requires a significant investment or an ongoing commitment,
consider rewarding the referring customer for providing the lead, and then
giving them a larger reward once you’ve closed the deal with the new customer.
Forget About Your Other Tactics
right, a B2B loyalty program is an effective way to drive sales and increase
retention. You should still strive to build meaningful connections with your
customers using your regular channels – content, social, and direct, to name
just the basics. In fact, when you launch your loyalty program, you can use these
tactics to announce its debut and generate real excitement.
We do it all: from attractive, branded swag and
premiums to marketing messaging and communications and even advice on database
upkeep and customer segmenting. Because a loyalty program is a nice extra, but
nothing replaces quality products and personalized service. Contact us to learn
how we can help.