For B2B enterprises, producing a great product or reliable service is not enough to succeed. Beyond the transactional experience, customers are looking for an emotional connection, an educational journey, or a unique memory. And now that over three quarters of B2B buyers and sellers say they prefer digital and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions, it's clear that the extraordinary digital shift that took place over 2020 is here to stay.
To navigate the unfamiliar territory of the pandemic, most B2B marketers in the middle market switched from in-person conferences—traditionally the most efficient way to generate leads—to webinars and digital summits. But many of those online debuts failed; it was an extremely competitive area. Audiences did not attend or refused to actively engage, resulting in lower conversion rates for B2B marketers.
Instead of waiting around for offline events to return, B2B marketers can roll out personalized webinars, hone their email marketing, and use live chats to build long-term relationships with their customers.
1. Ace your webinars
Promote your webinar effectively
During the pandemic, B2B enterprises were pressured into learning how to navigate all digital marketing channels simultaneously, which led to some businesses' failing to promote their webinars effectively.
To promote educational webinars, B2B marketers should focus on channels such as LinkedIn, where 46% of the social media traffic reaching B2B company sites comes from.
Look at thought leadership articles and referrals, and consider B2B influencer marketing, too. Examine the social influence of your business partners as well as people who follow your brand.
Include a brief Q&A at the beginning of your webinar
Fully 92% of webinar attendees want a live Q&A during a webinar. So why not begin with that?
Find out what your viewers' goals are and what unique takeaways they crave. If the Q&A is a live chat, write, What would you like to learn here? What problems are you facing?
If you make your digital event engaging and interactive through solving real-life issues, your audience will stay to learn more. Word-of-mouth communication is very effective when you listen to your audience, provide high-quality content, and represent yourself as a brand that wants to help people, not just sell a product.
Have a customer-centric approach
Picture this: You start your webinar, but you suddenly receive multiple questions from the audience.
In that situation, focus on your viewers and their questions rather than your product or the topics you had planned to present. People's attention spans are short, so get to the point quickly and be prepared to adapt. Personalization goes a long way in building relationships with customers.
Actively listen to customer feedback
Collect customer feedback from webinars and transform it into action. If your viewers ask for a certain product or to hear from a specific speaker, in the subsequent live video or webinar promote the adjustments made and share information about the event organized with the sought-after guest.
Deliver on promises, and your clients will stick around longer.
2. Conquer email marketing and communication
Sign marketing emails with a real name
Email marketing captures top-of-the-funnel prospects, and it is an essential part of lead nurturing. But many marketers write emails and sign as the CEO.
They're not fooling anyone. The potential or current client who receives that email will know immediately that it is an automated message.
Instead, the person who creates the email—the email marketing specialist or marketing manager—should sign it as himself or herself. That proves to current and prospective clients that your B2B enterprise values frontline employees and that there's a real human being behind the company emails.
Be conscious about what you can and cannot provide
If you are a B2B marketer with a SaaS product and you're responding to queries from potential clients over email, be honest about what solution the company is able to deliver on.
Helping a customer doesn't always mean selling your product. Sometimes you will need to say, "I know how to solve your issue, but not with our product."
Also, if you promise to develop a certain feature in your software within a particular time frame, don't break the implied contract. Keep to your word. (Tip: it's better to under-promise and over-deliver.)
3. Master live chats
Recognize the importance of human customer service
A customer support team or online chat function often defines how a customer journey with a company begins; both are invaluable. Customers want to be treated as individual people, and they detest being bounced across various mediums and departments.
Although chatbots are scalable and cost-effective for large companies, live chats with human agents offer a more customized and flexible experience that is often pleasantly surprising to clients. In 2018, around 40% of US respondents to a CGS survey said they'd prefer to speak to a person instead of an AI-powered chatbot.
That preference intensified during the pandemic as people craved human connection and the number of complaints about automated experiences with chatbots grew.
Get a conversation going right away
Instead of using "click here" on a website to lead people to buy something or read an article, use that call to action to open a channel for conversation: "Click here to talk to us."
When a customer is greeted right away with personalized, succinct, and transparent messaging, it helps build a long-lasting relationship. It also confirms that a chatbot is not behind the entire website customer service operation.
* * *
Securing long-term engagement in a remote setting became troublesome for many companies during the pandemic. As B2B marketers embrace an adjusted "business as usual," the move to digital interaction could mean less authentic communication.
Alternatively, if your buying experience is customized to meet individual needs, it can open doors to increased conversions and leads, as well as rebuild relationships with customers and earn back their trust.
More Resources on Building Customer Relationships
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