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Branding is the process of developing a unique name and identity for a product or business. It ensures awareness and credibility in the marketplace, and creates customer loyalty. A product, service, person or place that is branded automatically develops a personality as well as reputation.
The purpose of branding isn’t just about getting your target market to choose you over your competition. It’s also about convincing them that you’re the only one who can provide a solution to their problem.
Branding is important to your online B2B customers because it makes a memorable impression on them and also lets them know what to expect from your company. It’s a way of distinguishing yourself from your competition and clarifying what it is you offer that makes you the better choice.
How Branding Impacts Your Bottom Line
Branding is absolutely critical to your business: it can change how customers perceive your brand; it can drive new business; and it can increase brand awareness. Your brand is also an asset that has direct monetary value. In fact, numerous studies indicate that the strength of a company’s brand has a direct impact on financial metrics like sales effectiveness, market share and margins, according to Market Street Research. And according to research by Binet and Field, B2B brand building should, on average, account for 46% of marketing spend and 54% of lead generation.
Here are some of the ways the branding of your B2B business impacts your bottom line:
- Increases your ability to attract and retain high quality employees
- Boosts customer loyalty
- Decreases price sensitivity
- Increases market share and gives you a competitive edge
- Improves your ROI (return on investment)
B2B businesses need to remember that B2B buyers do not park their emotions and personality in a cardboard box when they go to work and buy products and services. In fact, the way people interact with B2B brands is very similar to how they engage with B2C brands. This means that creativity, storytelling and long-term brand building are just as important as a product’s features and price.
5 Ways You Can Use B2B eCommerce to Make Your Brand Stand Out
1. Know the buying patterns of your top customers.
Smart brands know when their B2B customers will run out of their products and when it’s time to remarket to them. Take time to map out the journey of your top customers to learn how they utilise your products. If they run out of your products every six months, you know that you’ll need to start marketing to them every four months, thus giving them a 2-month window to restock. In doing this, you’ll increase your revenue, while keeping your customers happy.
2. Keep the communication lines open.
The 80/20 Rule is just as relevant to B2B eCommerce brands as it is to those in the B2C world. In other words, your top 20 customers likely make up the bulk of your sales each year. But even if your B2B customers love your eCommerce process and are fiercely loyal to your brand, it’s still important to go the extra mile and check in with them in person once in a while. During these check-in calls, you can address several topics, including making sure they found everything they needed on your website, getting feedback on how they feel your sales process can be improved, and reviewing their recent purchase to see if there are additional complimentary items that might go with their current order.
3. Personalise the customer buying experience.
Offering a unique and personalised customer experience can go a long way in establishing and building your B2B brand. In fact, 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that provides personalised experiences, according to Epsilon. As you build your brand, give some thought to ways you can personalise the customer experience by aligning to your mission, goals and overall brand identity.
4. Establish a social media presence.
Social media is the simplest and most effective way of enhancing your brand presence. Social media platforms provide you with free access to a broad audience and are an effective way of showcasing your eCommerce brand. There are many platforms your B2B eCommerce business can use for advertising, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Regardless of which platform(s) you choose to utilise, remember to focus on consistency to effectively establish your brand by using the same logo, language and colours across all social media channels.
5. Offer detailed product information and features.
Striking a balance between selling your products and providing information to your customers online is key for an effective branding strategy. While you certainly want a developed sales funnel, you also need to know what it is your customers actually want when they visit your eCommerce website. Salesforce reports that 59% of B2B buyers conduct research online instead of contacting customer service because they want objective information rather than someone pushing a sales agenda. If your business is so focused on closing the sale that you’re forgetting to care about the needs and concerns of your customers by providing them with detailed product information (including key features and benefits), then you’re likely to lose them because they’ll bounce off your site and find a reliable source of information about their buying choices elsewhere.
6. Empower your top brand advocates through affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing involves partnering with your most loyal customers, who are advocates for your brand and enabling them to refer people in their network to your business. This is usually done by giving some kind of incentive or kickback to the referrer for acquiring new business.
To start an affiliate program, you typically want to have some kind of affiliate management software that allows you to manage your affiliates and track data to determine the ROI of affiliate efforts. OSI Affiliate can help you drive customers with their affiliate marketing software. It allows you to:
- Assign affiliates and influencers promo or discount codes to give out to their network, and track how many sales come through using their codes
- Enable social sharing so that affiliates and customers can easily promote on social media channels
- Reward advocates using commissions, coupons, discounts, gift cards, or any other method you and your affiliates agree on.
- So much more!
Check out OSI Affiliate to learn more about why an affiliate marketing strategy is right for your business.
Ready to get your brand to the top of the heap?
Great branding positions your business as an irreplaceable life-long partner to your customers, and in today’s online world, it’s more important than ever for B2B companies to ensure their marketing and branding strategies sync up.
According to Mohanbir Sawhney, Professor of Technology at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, “brands that deliver beyond the functional and economic levels with emotional benefits will command an incremental price premium and create strong competitive advantage and customer brand loyalty”.