Businesses are nothing without customers. That’s why customer acquisition is mission-critical for any company hoping to gain a competitive edge—or survive at all. So, what is customer acquisition?
Simply put, it’s finding, attracting, and retaining customers. However, customer acquisition in the B2B online marketplace has a unique set of problems. These businesses mustn’t only appeal to customers and impress multiple stakeholders to get a single sale approved. Needless to say, the sales cycle can be tiresome, long, and require a lot of specialized marketing and sales content.
Understanding the most effective ways to attract new customers to your B2B online marketplace—beyond traditional paid ads—can keep your business ahead of the curve.
Improve Online Customer Acquisition By Leveraging Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing can be used to outsource the online customer acquisition process effectively. It involves businesses offering a financial incentive for affiliates to facilitate new leads. Popular modern affiliate partners include social media influencers, online content creators, and notable industry figures. They’re well-positioned to direct potential customers to your business through links and referrals. Affiliate partners can be paid per lead, or they can receive a percentage of all commissions they assist in generating.
Referrals are a powerful force when attracting customers, as they are considered more trustworthy than traditional forms of marketing. This is even truer for B2B customers. Unlike regular customers, they can’t be swayed by emotional choices. They have people to answer to and long-term goals to consider. As a result, many B2B customers rely on trustworthy affiliate referrals when making purchasing decisions.
As tempting as it is for a business to take on as many affiliate marketers as possible, it’s an unwise, cash-burning strategy. Instead, you should select reputable affiliates best suited to reach your business’s niche. This, of course, requires research.
Content Marketing Is a Key Part of Online Customer Acquisition
Content marketing is a form of online customer acquisition. It involves creating online content to establish your company as a solution to prospects’ pain points. This content can come from blog posts, videos, articles, infographics, webinars, podcasts, etc. It’s a proven method to position yourself as an industry leader and drive customers to you. Research by Demand Metric has shown that content marking has the potential to generate 3x as many leads as traditional marketing—despite costing up to 62% less.
According to research by Gartner, company decision-makers spend 27% of the purchasing process conducting online research. The more your business’s content appears during this period, the more likely you will win them over. Furthermore, like affiliate marketing, content marketing can help foster a relationship between your business and potential clients.
Content marketing can give you a leg-up in the B2B marketplace, as it continually exposes potential clients to your offerings. The amount of content published will depend on the nature of your business, budget, and expected return on investment (ROI). For example, while smaller businesses may get by with weekly posts, bigger companies might find it necessary to post daily.
Improve Your Merchandising Strategy
Successful visual merchandising allows customers to find products, shopping carts, and checkout portals easily. The eCommerce realm also enables businesses to personalize the customer experience with tailored product recommendations. Additionally, keep complementary products in the same collections and utilize color schemes to create a cohesive interface. A sleek, intuitive interface is vital to visual merchandising.
Having a Rewarding Referral Program
Referrals are a form of online customer acquisition that relies on word-of-mouth and peer influence. It can be incredibly effective in attracting customers. Not to mention, implementing a referral program to encourage existing customers to refer your business is far more cost-effective than other forms of customer acquisition. Furthermore, customers gained via referrals have been shown to offer twice the lifetime value of those acquired through traditional marketing methods.
Referral programs work by offering incentives for customers to recommend your business to peers. Improving your business’s referral program can be done by implementing two-way referral incentives. That way, both the referrer and the referred are rewarded. You could even host contests to reward those who refer the most customers or meet a certain threshold.
Ambassador programs, referral challenges, and more could drive greater engagement within your business’s referral program. Whichever path you choose, commit to it. You can’t expect customers to refer new ones if the referral process is difficult or frustrating.
Get More Customers With the Right Merchandising Tools
Now that you’ve got the tools for stellar customer acquisition, it’s time to start building. Your competitors have likely already begun, after all.
Smart Merchandiser can help your business optimize its customer acquisition journey. Our online visual merchandising software will help you improve your B2B eCommerce visual merchandising—aiding you with visual catalog, analytics, and inventory management. With powerful tools like integrated social media tracking and sales catalogs built for different countries, your business’s online storefront stands to stand out! Contact Smart Merchandiser today to discover how you can take your online storefront to the next level and improve customer acquisition.