Five Important Digital Marketing Steps for your B2B Loyalty Program

We are living and operating in an increasingly digital world, and having to keep up with these technological changes and new platforms can be exhausting for a business. Digital Marketing is often thought to align with consumer marketing as B2B relationships are organisational or business based. This is simply not the case, as within every business are the decision makers you are trying to the attention of.

For B2B incentive and loyalty programs, digital marketing has untapped potential of promoting, acquiring and nurturing new and existing loyalty program participants to take actions – as long as your business can keep up with the developments.

In the past year, these are some of the big changes that we’ve seen:

  • ChatGPT and the rise of AI across content creation have had many organisations debating the impact while wringing their hands
  • TikTok surged to almost 30 hours of usage a month – 40% more time than users spent on Facebook, the second-place getter.
  • A series of new text-based social media platforms attempted to capitalise on smelling blood in the water at Twitter (now X), causing businesses to be unsure on which platform to align with.

These developments are directly aligned with the appetite that our consumers and customers have for a streamlined digital experience. Across Australia, internet use has risen to 96.2% of the population, 81% of Australians are active on social media and we spend more than 2 hours on it every day (up 5%).

Considering the amount of time that our digital lifestyles consume, it’s essential to include digital marketing in presenting and amplifying your B2B loyalty or incentive program. We’re going to take you through some of the ways to elevate your platform to consistently engage with your audience.

Digital Marketing Tip #1: Planning your Social Strategy

Generally, online marketing feels reserved for those in a B2C space, who can associate a product with a lifestyle or culture through brand presence and influence. While it may seem foreign and less defined for a B2B organisation, online channels can be equally as impactful – provided you’re aware of how to reach your audience.

If you’re able to provide a footprint for a like-minded community, utilising platforms like social media and the concept of influencers to your benefit, not unlike those within the B2C arena. Digital marketing on socials is a must-have for any business – this isn’t a secret, but what does it take to cut through and connect with your targeted base?

With online spaces continuing to be valued as reliable information-gathering centres, especially within a consumer mindset, the impact of a trusted influencer or community can do a lot of heavy lifting for the reach of your brand and your marketing.

This is supported by a recent study brand research on social media has never been more prevalent in Australia (up 7.3% year over year) and savvy brands can engage with these communities to build their own trust and influence change (We Are Social, 2023).

Generally, online marketing feels reserved for those in a B2C space, who can associate a product with a lifestyle or culture through brand presence and influence. While it may seem foreign and less defined for a B2B organisation, online channels can be equally as impactful – provided you’re aware of how to reach your audience.

So, to ride the wave to digital marketing success, here are some of our simple steps to develop a social strategy for your B2B loyalty program:

  1. What is your business objective? Consider what you want to achieve with your social media marketing. Awareness via reach and frequency? Awareness via video views? Consideration via traffic or a stronger conversion outcome? Make sure you align your marketing with the pain point your business is looking to solve.
  2. Who is your target audience? Develop key personas and identify where you can find these communities online (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter).
  3. Develop a customer-centric content strategy. By directly contacting and interacting with your target audience, you’ll build knowledge of their main uses for your product and their pain points, which will inform your content.
  4. Build out your content pillars. Arrange the pain points and editorial plans into distinct pillars and align these to different personas or segments.
  5. Create your content, using a variety of formats such as video, static imagery/infographics, articles, white papers, etc. Bringing in respected influencers and thought leaders within your field adds credibility authenticity to your content.
  6. Align your content strategy with your loyalty program. The two should interweave symbiotically – your content should draw people into the program, and the program should be kept front-of-mind by your digital marketing strategy.
  7. Develop your distribution plans. Decide which content will be paid versus organic; which will appear on the timeline or run as a dark post; and how much you’ll invest.

You’ll get the best social media outcomes from content that’s highly valuable at an almost individual level. Personalisation is a key lever for a positive customer experience – something that’s becoming increasingly important for brands.

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All digital marketing begins with social strategy

Digital Marketing Tip #2. Prioritising the Customer Experience

According to PWC, Australia, Millennials and Gen Z will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. These digital natives grew up with the internet and lived through the proliferation of mobile technologies, and therefore are more in-tune with digital marketing efforts.

With the saturation of these ideals within the workforce and eventually leadership positions, this will affect the way decisions are made within businesses – with an eye towards online systems and customer experience at the forefront.

This is cemented by a recent study by Gartner, who reported that 86% of B2B customers expect companies to be knowledgeable about their personal information during service interactions. The importance of product knowledge and experience cannot be understated – if your brand don’t understand how the audience is utilising your products or services, why should the customer turn to you?

Personalisation is the key to brand presence in online B2B channels. By creating personalised experiences adaptable to each customer profile’s usage, you will be more likely to create a lasting impression with the groups – and gain additional customer data which you can leverage into further refinements towards addressing your target audience.

Now, you might be hesitant to think about the time and money cost of creating such a bespoke environment for each customer – but that’s where your B2B loyalty program comes in!

Digital Marketing Tip #3. Using Loyalty Data to Power Digital Performance

The first two steps clearly rely on gaining additional personal data to personalise your experiences, and these two can be provided through the supplemental benefits of your own B2B loyalty program. Customers who sign up for your program provide their names, business, reward preferences, and more, which allows you to enter a cycle of more valuable information to refine your program, processes, and digital marketing directions.

This data does more than just guide your program. These entries into your database allow you to broaden your market communications and can be addressed through both personal and social media comms. The program itself also allows you to keep your business front-of-mind through program update comms, new prize offers, bonus points opportunities, and more via email as well as in-platform prompts or push notifications.

This provides you with a multi-channel approach to connect with your customers, while consistently engaging with them with added frequency through the benefit of consistent social media campaigns.

Digital Marketing Tip #4. Segmentation Provides Context and Depth

The context available for your communications is provided by the depth of review of your program data. A well-segmented database, utilising specific pixel and tagging infrastructure, will lend to the success of your program.

Some tips for segmentation follow below:

  • Segment participants based on points total. Offer different prize messages based on actual points totals – the most popular reward item from each category, new rewards that you know they can afford, or motivational rewards just out of their reach.
  • Segment participants based on points use. Offer different messages to participants who have burned points recently, compared with those who are hoarding points or have none at all.
  • Develop models to understand the potential of points. Segment participants based on turnover, number of sites, and staff. Create social communications based on potential and focus effort on the biggest possible upside.
    • Segment participants based on their customer lifecycle stage. Points strongly correlate with engagement and can help identify churn. Win-back messages or loyalty acknowledgment can also be used in a contextual way.

By segmenting your communications by points, you provide opportunities to create content for social media newsfeeds that are both relevant and valuable to participants. This will boost engagement with your traditional comms plan and offer new opportunities for your audience to further connect with your program. Finally, it will also encourage reward redemption, which is the pathway to true customer loyalty.

To find out more on how we can help with audience segmentation, keep reading or click ahead.

Digital Marketing Tip #5. Digital as an Acquisition Driver

We’ve already mentioned the most common reasons why brands engage in digital marketing. Building out your database, or lead generation, is the universal goal for B2B initiatives. However, strategies built around acquisition are incredibly complex. They require targeting, creative that will grab the audience, insightful messaging, and the ‘hook’ – the reason to be interested.

This can be the biggest challenge of grabbing your audience. There are many ways to try and provide value to your target audience, both from your products or services or additional information surrounding the goods themselves. That’s where your loyalty program comes in handy!

By creating a rewards system that benefits the customer simply for being in business with you, that provides additional value through aspirational rewards that are specifically chosen to connect with your audience, the hook is simple.

The basics of digital marketing are this – provide content that is contextually relevant to your audience, consistently and continually positioning your brand as front of mind for when that purchase inevitably rolls around. This is made so much simpler with the data gained from loyalty program subscriptions, but what about some other ways to recruit using contextual content?

  • Create context with video views. Share a strong video about the program. Lean into human-led narration to make it authentic and send the video to potential members. If someone views 75% of the video, they are probably interested and should be focused on. This prevents wasted spend.
  • Create context with search intent – targeted advertising can elevate your brand as well as program. Bid on relevant contextual keywords. These steps can ensure that the program is placed in front of the right people – those who are already looking for what you can offer.
  • Create context with their online activity. Do you have their email address? What do their email open rates look like? Who spends the most time browsing the site? Paying attention to these stats can make a difference when you’re creating acquisition strategies and targeting.

How We Can Help – Engagement Loyalty Model

We understand that these aspects of digital marketing ask a lot of your business. It’s a lot of planning, understanding and insight into so many aspects of your customer base, and predicting future trends. So, what can we do to help?

With our Engagement Loyalty Model (ELM), we help you build out your customer insights throughout the length of your loyalty program. We position your customers into loyalty cohorts based on behavioural and transactional metrics, allowing you to supercharge your loyalty program as well as flesh out your digital marketing strategy to better move forward and catch the engagement that your brand wants.

We’ll work with your business to deliver personalised, impactful communications and improve your B2B retention, meaning your digital marketing will hit harder and go bigger than you could before.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve (and likely will do so for a long time to come), it’s important for businesses to stay up-to-date with these ever-changing processes and trends for their digital marketing efforts. Using customer data, defining high-value segments and creating contextually relevant customer experiences that celebrate your program are some of the best ways to engage your customers and boost the effectiveness of your B2B loyalty program.

If, after this, you’re ready to take the plunge on creating a B2B loyalty program, reach out today. We’ve been doing this for Australian and New Zealand businesses since 1996 so you can trust that we’re effective in what we do!

This piece was originally written for Engage Magazine issue 4 by Brady Robson, director of RO Digital, a growth-focused digital agency based in Sydney. RO Digital is focused on returns – return on investment, return on ad spend or simply a return on your business objectives.

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