Customer acquisition is a priority for every business, but it’s challenging, competitive and costly. Marketers have endless channels to pursue new customers, while customers have endless alternatives at their fingertips. The trial and error of finding the perfect acquisition strategy frequently means wasted costs and focus.
Prospects and customers are fickle and quick to turn elsewhere. Accenture found 62% of buyers who make weekly B2B purchases have switched sellers in the past year, and 36% plan to switch in the coming 12 months. Additionally, customers’ heightened expectations add serious pressure. Accenture found that 1/3 of B2B buyers said their customer experience expectations have increased in the last year.
Episerver’s recent report B2B Digital Experiences Report 2020 mimics this challenge of balancing customer acquisition and elevated experience. Episerver found that 27% of B2B leaders say increasing digital expectations from customers or partners is their top external threat with an equal amount (27 percent) saying increasing costs to acquire new customers is their biggest external threat, followed by digitally native startups disrupting their industry (17 percent).
How can you win on customer experience, while reducing customer acquisition costs and keeping up with the competition? By taking an existing investment – your website – and have it pull double duty. With a few tweaks your website can be one of your most important sales channels and a customer acquisition machine.
Make It Easier to Buy: Self Service
Optimizing your acquisition strategy means understanding the makeup of your optimal customer. What are they seeking? How would they describe a great or terrible experience? Do they prefer in-person or self-service? Ask these questions frequently, as preferences change.
For example, traditional B2B sales cycles centered on buyers and sales reps, but today’s buyers are increasingly seeking self-service options. Episerver found that 38% of B2B leaders would prefer self-service for ordering products for the first time and 35% prefer self-serve for re-ordering products. Additionally, 39% of respondents wanted self-serve access to pricing without speaking to anyone.
By sticking to a business-as-usual formula, B2B companies relying on traditional sales rep buying cycle would lose revenue to competitors offering these self-serve options. Detail-rich product detail pages, accessible pricing, predictive search, product recommendations and streamlined checkout are all features you can incorporate into your website to improve self-service options for your B2B buyers.
Small changes can make a big difference. Study your website’s user experience (UX) and A/B test areas of improvement. For example, reduce steps in your shopping cart page to see if it reduces abandonment. By making it easy for buyers to find the right product, answer their questions, and complete a purchase, your buyers can easily convert.
Nurture Customers with Content
Content marketing is an effective way to nurture B2B buyers through longer sales cycles. Recorded product demos, how-to videos, whitepapers, case studies, and webinars educate your audience around your product or services’ use and advantages over competitors and can be created in-house at minimal cost.
Whenever possible, personalize your content strategy to different audience segments. Take an existing content piece and tailor it to suit different industries, geographies, or stages of the buying cycle.
Next, use social media, email, and pay-per-click advertising to share your content and drive new leads to your website. If the content is particularly compelling, hide it behind a webform to capture new email addresses.
Personalized content can motivate your customers, improve your website’s visibility in search rankings, grow your email list, and help guide prospects further along the buying cycle, without hefty customer acquisition costs. In fact, the previously mentioned report by Episerver indicates 93 percent of B2B organizations have increased revenue by personalizing content on their website.
Integrate Your Website with Sales and Marketing
To supercharge your customer acquisition efforts, integrate your website with your customer relationship management (CRM) platform and marketing automation tool.
By connecting your website, email tool, and CRM, you can share behavioral data to personalize communications from email marketing to your sales rep conversations. Common marketing automation features like lead scoring can track customers activity on your website and assign points based on actions indicating sales readiness, like visiting a webpage, submitting a webform, downloading a file, or submitting an inquiry.
Sales reps can receive automated lists of “hot” leads or lead alerts to prioritize follow up.
Proactive and cost-effective customer acquisition strategies require paying close attention to your customers preferences and their behavior and making impactful adjustments to your website and marketing strategy.
Continuously test meaningful ways to improve your customers experience by improving self-service capabilities, creating compelling content, and sharing data with your marketing and sales teams to improve your acquisition efforts, while eliminating non-essential marketing spend.