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Why customer loyalty programs for B2B marketing are essential

Content marketing, social media, and integrated marketing are common practices in B2C markets, yet consumer loyalty programs lead to lasting results. Whether loyalty programs are on apps, store credit cards or paper punch cards, these programs entice the consumer to spend more and come back for extra bonuses. Many B2B marketers fail to see the value of a loyalty program for their own consumers since it is viewed as primarily a B2C tactic. However, loyalty programs can offer benefits such as long-term client and partner relationships, higher brand perception and good PR for both businesses. Is it possible to implement this age-old tactic in a digital marketing space? Loyalty programs for B2B companies can be effective by following these four steps:

1. Charge an opening fee for VIP rewards
Say for example a retailer wants consumers to sign up for its loyalty program. The store may offer a 30 percent discount if the consumer signs up for a loyalty card and it can charge a small opening fee of $15. B2C companies do this to pay extraneous processing fees and offer exclusive benefits to card openers. According to HubSpot, this tactic can be used to address typical cart abandonment issues (1). If your consumer base has a high rate of cart abandonment, include an offer for signing up with the loyalty card that day. As well, offer deals such as savings, free products upon signing and exciting promotions. This will give consumers incentive to look into your program and further online advertising.

2. Use a mobile app
Creating a small-business loyalty program doesn’t mean spending large amounts of time with databases. Instead, Digital Bridge recommends using a customer loyalty mobile app for frequent buyers and mobile marketing purposes (2). Apps and processing fees can vary across fields, so it is important for your business to analyze what the company can afford to use. Some bank institutions may provide loyalty applications while other more famous loyalty cards such as Belly work well in small retail settings. If possible, create the app in-house using a premade app layout and utilize responsive web design.

3. Track client interactions over time
According to Chief Marketer, tracking user purchase data over time to view their habits is essential to customizing the perfect loyalty program (3). Analyze which times of day a consumer typically purchases your product. Check if the product is purchased over phone or through email transaction. Include accurate dates from sales representative of how many purchases are made. Analyze this data and create a scoring mechanism to choose which customers are most valuable to target for your loyalty program. Say an ecommerce brand wants to target Etsy store owners to use their landing page services. The ecommerce brand can track the data of Etsy store owners buying their web pages. This information can help create specialized campaigns these consumers will want to buy into. It will also make them more likely to use the loyalty program.

4. Mix your perks
B2B loyalty programs should offer a wide variety of perks, according to Influitive (4). These perks should include a mix of material rewards, experiential benefits and customer recognition. For example, a material reward for a B2B brand that sells cloud-based databases could be a small plush doll of the company’s mascot. An experiential benefit could include a free IT consultation from the data company through email marketing. Lastly, a customer recognition award could include birthday-based discounts on their next order. Using tactics like these will gain consumer loyalty and retain their business.

(1). 7 Customer Loyalty Programs That Actually Add Value
(2). The Perfect Package: How to Deliver a B2B Loyalty Program
(3). Building a B2B Loyalty Program With B2C Tactics
(4). New Forrester Research: B2B Should Use B2C Customer Loyalty Principles

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.