Don’t you just love it when your customers gush about your product or service? Maybe they’ve shared an experience on social media and online reviews, or recommended your company to other potential customers. Maybe they’ve even agreed to be featured in a compelling case study.
It’s this kind of delight that you want every customer to experience when dealing with your company. As it relates to traditional B2B marketing, the “delight” phase is often assumed to be the responsibility of customer service or those directly serving clientele. Marketing did their job, right? They attracted and converted a prospect into a sales qualified lead. Then, sales took over and closed the deal. Now, it’s up to the worker bees and customer service to fulfill expectations and deliver on the promises outlined in all those marketing materials and sales proposals.
Not so fast. Modern marketers know that each phase of the customer’s journey, pre and post-sale, contribute to their ultimate satisfaction, and all play a role in determining if they repeat as a customer. Whether it’s a first-time prospect who stumbled across your informative infographic or a loyal customer who’s been placing orders for years, it’s critical to provide a positive and delightful experience with each interaction. Here’s how.
1. Be a Problem Solver
Every industry has pain points; it’s what makes Google such a powerful tool. Need to fix a faucet? Ask Google and you’ll get more than 18 million results with insights on how to do it. Need to improve your supply chain reliability? You’ll find more than 13 million options to choose from there. The problem is that, even though you may have a keen awareness of your customer’s pain point and have written the perfect blog with all the answers to their query, if it doesn’t show up on the first couple pages of search results, chances are it won’t be found. Yes, you need to share expertise and help customers solve problems. To truly delight them, however, you need to make your expertise easy to discover.
This is where an inbound marketing professional can help by researching keywords, optimizing your site’s search engine rankings, using relevant alt tags and meta descriptions, leveraging analytics and a host of other SEO tactics. While there are no guarantees, and algorithms can change on a whim, following these types of best practices will certainly help your content rank more highly.
2. Be Relevant
Perhaps one of the most important elements for engaging and delighting customers is making sure your content is relevant. In fact, 72% of marketers said that creating relevant content was their most effective SEO tactic. When you regularly demonstrate that you not only know your customer’s issues and challenges, but have a deep understanding, experience and connection with them, you’ll show that you’re comfortable and capable working in their world, and that you get it in all the ways that matter.
3. Be Reliable
Once customers—current or potential—discover that you’ve got relevant content, it’s important to stay top-of-mind. Consistency and reliability are key elements to becoming a trusted resource. If you’re only blogging, posting on social media or connecting with customers in other ways sporadically and without any sense of purpose or plan, it will show.
If customers see that your last blog was published two months ago (and may already have outdated information), and that your social presence is intermittent at best, you’ll have a hard time being their go-to resource when looking to solve a problem (or to sign a contract).
4. Be Responsive
Having the most robust website, impressive analytics and killer content are sure signs that a company is making strides in attracting leads. But if those leads aren’t nurtured in their buyer’s journey and there isn’t a plan in place to engage sales and customer service early on, those leads could fall to the wayside.
To effectively nurture leads, it’s critical to have everyone in the company on board with an inbound strategy and to know how important their roles are to its success. If your company truly wants to delight customers, it may need to conquer the divide between marketing and sales.
5. Be Realistic
This one is simple. Does your company live up to the promises made by marketing and sales? Are your headlines riddled with click-bait, only to have disappointing content that doesn’t deliver? To delight any customer requires meeting customer expectations, and that can only happen when you’re realistic about the products, services and content you provide. I’m not saying you should underpromise and overdeliver, although some believe that’s a viable marketing strategy. Instead, how about if we all just do what we say we will? Brilliant, I know.
6. Be Human
People don’t want to do business with a business; people want to do business with people. Does your customer-facing content come across as sterile and contain a lot of industry-speak? While certain decorum is necessary and professionalism needs to be maintained, let your customers see your company’s human side — that behind all those pieces and parts you’re trying to sell them are real people with real families, real hopes and real lives. Find a balance that works for your organization and show some personality. A company that tries to portray a perfect image will usually come across as fake. And if there’s anything customers are seeking these days, it’s authenticity.
Yes, inbound practices such as instant downloads, scheduled social posts, tailored email campaigns, A/B testing and more all play a role in connecting with customers in relevant ways. But there’s one thing that can’t be automated...you. As has been true for millenniums, delight occurs as a result of relationships. Actual human interaction matters.