B2B eCommerce is often considered the less exciting, less emotionally appealing sibling to B2C eCommerce, which is renowned for its flashy Instagram ads and dazzling sponsored content. Think of it as the difference between buying a new sports car versus buying groceries. The latter is necessary, but it doesn’t really solicit many conversations. This doesn’t have to be the case, though.
The truth is that B2B eCommerce can be highly engaging. It can fuel business just as it fuels the soul, all you need is the right marketing strategy. These tips can help drive engagement and make your B2B eCommerce business shine.
Turn Towards Video
We often see video used as an essential part of the sales funnel for direct-to-consumer retailers. It’s exciting, it’s highly shareable, and it offers a more detailed picture of the product at hand. The truth is that video is increasingly popular because it works, and the same thing goes for the world of B2B.
A 2020 report from the Content Marketing Institute found that 71% of B2B marketers used video marketing, and it has some major swaying power, especially when it comes to eCommerce. According to a Forbes report, 59% of executives claim they’re more likely to click on a video if both text and video are available on the same topic. Overall, 65% of executives have visited a company’s website after seeing a video, and younger executives are far more likely to make a purchase or further inquire.
On top of all that, video is overwhelmingly more shareable. Forbes found that more than half of all executives share videos with their colleagues at least once a week, and receive work-related videos often. In other words, video is one of the most engaging types of content, and it will bring you more eyes to your products, and thus, more conversions.
Give Them Something Free
One of the best ways to solicit engagement in B2B eCommerce is by offering up something for free — but make it limited. This lowers the typical barrier of entry for customer acquisition and makes people more comfortable with the idea of eventually paying for your service. This can be done one of two ways:
- A freemium model
- A free trial
With a freemium model, you give consumers some but not all of your services for free. The rest, they can get for a fee via various upgrades or subscriptions. Most often, the free service is the most basic service your company offers, the main draw. The additional services are the icing on the cake. For example: LinkedIn’s premium business insights or Dropbox’s increased storage. The freemium model gives you the chance to experience some features, but not quite the whole package. According to Harvard Business Review, this is a particularly successful strategy for B2B businesses, and it’s more successful than 30-day free trials or limited-term offers since customers are wary about confusing cancellation processes.
Similar to test driving a car before you buy it, most people don’t want to go into a costly decision blindly so trial models are the perfect way to give consumers a chance to experience your product or service before they commit. The free trial model gives consumers a limited time to use your service, which generally makes them much more likely to stick around when it’s finally time to pay. It gives people a chance to try out your product and see if it’s able to provide their desired outcome.
For example, Google offers a free three-month trial and $300 worth of credits to subscribe to their cloud service. Once consumers spend three months saving everything from family photos to important work documents to the cloud, they become reliant. Those users are locked into paying unless they want to deal with the hassle of moving all their data elsewhere or entirely losing the information they have stored.
Strike Some FOMO
In its most basic form, FOMO (or the fear of missing out), manifests itself as we watch our friends have fun on the Internet. Imagine looking at Instagram posts of everyone you know at an awesome party while you’re at home on the couch watching Netflix. Wouldn’t you feel a little left out? The same sentiment can be used in B2B eCommerce, and it’s a lot more powerful than you think.
According to some reports, between 60% to 66% of people make purchases because of FOMO, and most of these purchases happen within 24 hours. So, how do you manufacture that feeling for consumers? Use like-minded businesses to highlight social proof. This could be something as simple as displaying logos of current customers that are relevant to your target demographics on your website. It can be either companies they work with or companies they compete with. Most executives won’t want to miss out on something that may be helping the competition gain a competitive edge.
Cut The Clutter
Let’s face it – everyone has a lot on their plate these days and nobody has time to sift through clutter just to find the information they are looking for.
It’s easy to think that the more information you have about a product or service, the more useful it is to the customer, but that’s not actually the case. Too much information — no matter how helpful it seems — can actually reduce engagement. To avoid the pitfalls of TMI, you can consider the following:
- Highlight only the key benefits and features of each product or package.
- Highlight key competitive differentiators.
- Highlight the most relevant or popular packages
- Don’t offer too many purchase options, this can cause buyer anxiety.
All in all, clear CTAs and strong, pointed messaging is far more likely to solicit engagement than forcing your potential consumers to go through a laundry list of product information. You can always put all the details in a separate tab.
If you are concerned that too little information will leave your customers with questions and a sense of confusion, consider adding a chatbot or customer service number to your website. That way, if web visitors have questions they still have the opportunity to reach out but you can avoid adding any unnecessary clutter on your site.
B2B eCommerce doesn’t have to be defined by its informational nature. With a few small tweaks, you can come out on top with a marketing strategy that promotes engagement and keeps customers drawn in. If you follow the tips we shared, you will create content that keeps customers coming back time and time again.
Ryan Gould Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services
From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. He skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively aligns sales and marketing teams within organizations.