Proven strategies to convert B2B leads into customers

One of the key goals and also the challenge for any business is to convert leads into customers. Matt Conlin, co-founder of Fluent, has shared his proven strategies to overcome this challenge and achieve your goals.

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Successful lead nurturing for B2B companies
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Key aspects to a successful outcome are building brand loyalty and adding value.

The first question you should ask yourself is

How do you turn contacts into loyal customers?

The great experience of being your customer

It's no secret that business has always been based on a give-and-take relationship. Since business is not a non-profit organization, a business transaction always requires input for output. Accordingly, customers won't recognize value just because your product or service is the best available option on the market. One of the main reasons people decide to buy your product is usually because of the experience you provide to your leads. You need to be helpful and add value to your B2B leads.

The purchase decision process in B2B

Companies that know exactly the customer journey of their prospective buyers and accompany them on this journey in the best possible way can significantly increase their sales.

How you too can increase your sales
The purchase decision process in B2B

Since the pandemic, the engagement of potential and current customers has shifted even more from offline to online. Great buying experiences are by no means limited to offline. You can also quite successfully offer a great experience and customer journey online to improve engagement and loyalty with your (potential) customers

At the same time, due to the global pandemic, numerous companies and brands are struggling with reduced advertising budgets and shifting their focus to results-based marketing efforts. Results-based marketing allows resources to be invested in channels that guarantee the lowest risk and highest ROI. Examples of such channels are affiliate and partner marketing.

Affiliate marketing is the way to success

Affiliate marketing in particular has gained a lot of popularity. In the US alone, affiliate marketing grew by 31% in 2020. This being said, the golden rules to create long-term value through relevant experiences are as follows:

  • for advertisers → content + rewards = incremental growth

  • for publishers → unique content enables exciting and informative brand discovery

  • for the industry → value exchange is everything, good content is king

Reward a contact for being your customer

Once the rules are set, it's time to define what the corresponding rewards and content might look like.

Let's face it, we all love rewards and giveaways. That's exactly what you can and should offer your contacts. Customers are often not fully aware of their actual wants and needs. Therefore, the customer should be guided through the decision-making process. Rewards can be offered in the form of coupons, cash back, loyalty cards, price comparisons and review sites. Furthermore, last-click attribution and commission-based reward models can be established.

Rewarding contacts is the first step to creating value and building trust. Potential customers are more willing to offer their personal data in exchange for value offered to them. They believe the benefits they receive outweigh the risks. Furthermore, 81% of U.S. consumers are more willing to engage with a brand that offers an incentive. What's more, 61% of customers would switch from a brand they already use regularly to one that offers better incentives.

Quality over quantity of content - benefits of personalization

Meanwhile, the appropriate content offering enables shortening the customer journey by inspiring, informing, reminding, or persuading the consumer to buy a product or service while being directly linked to a purchase opportunity

Content can take the form of reviews and recommendations, roundups and listicles, and product mentions within blogposts or other articles. A great example of adding value in exchange for personal information is lead magnets. Again, make an effort to create a lead magnet with valuable information to avoid the exchange of information leading to a frustrating experience associated with your business

Attributions to such content offers have become more sophisticated with the use of multi-touch tracking tools in affiliate network platforms. These allow marketers to attribute sales across multiple publisher touchpoints.

Another finding from the same study is that 39% of consumers are willing to share their personal data in exchange for personalized offers. Marketing automation softwares can support this requirement very efficiently. While tracking the user's online behavior, the appropriate content is offered to the user through personalized emails, social media posts, and other online channels. This allows supporting a conversion when the contact is ready to make a purchase.

What are the benefits of a Customer Data Platform?

B2B companies that can handle customer data have a clear market advantage.

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What are the benefits of a Customer Data Platform?

Content and rewards are a dream team

This insight leads us directly to the next important point: commerce content.

Research has shown that customers are more likely to make a purchase when they find content that is valuable, interesting, and relevant to their needs

Therefore, content pages are extremely important, as creating relevant contextual content allows for the building of a value exchange. Nilla Ali, senior vice president of commerce at BuzzFeed, pointed out

People are now using content as a means to decide what they want to buy and from which brand they want to buy. The entire industry needs to embrace this concept of content and commerce

It has been shown that content pages generate four times as much traffic as reward pages. Reward pages should not be neglected because of this finding, but you should make sure that a combination of both types of pages is available for the potential customers.

Sales - online even more important than offline

Finally, omnichannel is the key to a seamless customer journey. Once the right content and rewards are prepared online, spreading the word is essential. Think of outreach like stock options. It's risky to invest in just one company. The better strategy is to diversify the portfolio and win at all levels. Similarly, an omnichannel approach is the best approach to get the widest reach for your content

In doing so, make sure you distribute your content on as many channels as possible, as each channel brings its own audience. A recent case study by Fluent showed that when a brand implemented a targeted cross-channel campaign (email, SMS, direct mail), conversions increased by nearly 7x compared to executing on just one channel

Preferred channels of US contacts are as follows:

  • Email 31%

  • Text 26%

  • TV 17%

  • Social media 15%

  • Direct mail 11%

  • Other 18%

Emailing campaigns are a traditional form of communication. It is still proven to be the most preferred method by customers. At this point, personalized newsletters are a great way to communicate with your customers and share the added value of your products and services.

The perfect tool for B2B lead nurturing

Email marketing is still very effective. Learn how you can use the medium specifically for your lead nurturing.

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In summary, the goal is to have high-quality data profiles of potential customers, provide them with relevant personalized information based on their profiles, and gain their trust in the added value of the company or product based on the content and rewards they receive

Or in other words:

Quality profile + viable channels = endless benefits for brands