7 B2B Customer Marketing Tactics to Unlock the Full Potential of Your Customer Base [+ Examples]
When a new user signs up on your SaaS platform, the first few days are filled with excitement and anticipation to explore the product.
As days pass, the excitement starts fading away slowly, and before you know it—the honeymoon phase is over. Users may begin to lose interest or struggle to fully utilize the product. The result? Confusion, frustration, and churn.
Enter: customer marketing.
Customer marketing moves the needle for your users after the first few weeks, keeping them engaged in the long run.
A customer marketing strategy enables you to provide ongoing value and support, helping customers achieve their goals—ultimately leading to increased retention and revenue.
In this article, we'll share seven actionable B2B customer marketing tactics to keep users invested and excited about the product long after onboarding.
What is customer marketing?
Customer marketing aims to engage existing customers and retain them longer. Instead of building brand awareness or driving new sign-ups, your customer marketing strategy focuses entirely on existing users to remove any roadblocks, deliver hands-on guidance, promote new features, and boost engagement.
7 customer marketing tactics to delight and engage customers
Whether you’re building a customer marketing program from scratch or revamping your existing strategy, these seven proven customer marketing tactics will help you supercharge your efforts and elevate customer engagement.
1. Create personalized onboarding experiences for each persona
The onboarding flow sets your users up for success from the start. But a personalized onboarding flow makes them feel seen, draws them into the product, and creates a strong first impression.
Joe Portsmouth, a copywriter and buyer psychology expert, emphasizes the importance of personalization in customer onboarding:
The blueprint to take you from 0-80% customer retention rates:
0% to 30%
• A good product
30% to 50%
• A good product
• Personalized customer onboarding
50% to 80%
• A good product
• Personalized customer onboarding
• Be part of your customer's lifestyle
— Joe Portsmouth 🧲 (@joe_portsmouth) August 7, 2022
Here are a few SaaS onboarding best practices for customer marketers to welcome first-time users and maximize delight:
- Identify each persona’s unique needs: Create multiple onboarding sequences to speak directly to each persona’s specific pain points, interests, and goals. Design onboarding checklists tailored to each persona to familiarize them with the interface and basic functionality.
- Use the welcome screen to your advantage: You can also give a new user the lay of the land with a customized welcome screen based on the data collected during sign-up. This screen can include relevant messages, templates, and resources based on these insights.
- Automate personalized messaging: Customer marketers can streamline the longer onboarding flow by setting up triggered emails, tooltips, in-app notifications, and feature recommendations/explainers to take them closer to activation. Specific user actions or milestones in the onboarding process can trigger these emails or messages.
- Deliver hands-on guidance: Hand holding your first few customers can expedite onboarding. A high-touch onboarding experience can show them exactly how your product creates value. This can include one-on-one sessions, step-by-step guides, explainer videos, or interactive feature walkthroughs.
And that's how you can ensure your customers don't run for the hills!
Case in point: Hotjar
Hotjar provides a personalized onboarding experience that includes educational resources, interactive walkthroughs, and personalized onboarding checklists based on each user's specific needs.
2. Use customer journey maps to optimize the product experience
A SaaS customer journey map visualizes a new customer’s entire relationship with a product—from first hearing about it to becoming an evangelist—across multiple touchpoints. Mapping the post-purchase customer journey allows you to drive product adoption by eliminating problems and distractions.
Customer journey mapping can help B2B SaaS companies:
- Plan and optimize customer marketing efforts across their lifecycle to boost CLTV
- Find optimal opportunities to recommend subscriptions, upsells, cross-sells, and referrals
- Strategically prioritize product development to remove friction and streamline the customer journey for minimum churn
- Establish internal roles, KPIs, and metrics for each stage of the customer journey to ensure accountability and improvement
Tyler Tringas, a serial entrepreneur, highlights the need to map the customer journey for creating aha! moments:
Map your customer journey to “first wow”
Expose key milestones via API/webhooks
Trigger automated follow-ups for customers failing to hit each milestone.
Fallback to human help with automated notifications to support
— Tyler Tringas: The Calm Guy 🧘♂️ (@tylertringas) August 28, 2020
Case in point: Miro
Miro uses this customer journey map to identify actions, thoughts, feelings, and opportunities, among other things. The team also outlines the touchpoints and process owner to lead the customer marketing efforts.
3. Offer self-serve educational content to empower customers post onboarding
Empowering customers to maximize their product usage and achieve their business goals is a key goal of B2B customer marketing. By offering a wide range of self-serve educational content, you can help customers learn at their own pace and on their schedule.
- Tutorials and how-to guides: These can be in the form of videos, webinars, or step-by-step articles that provide customers with a detailed guide on using specific features or achieving certain tasks within the product. Here’s how WATI uses interactive step-by-step guides to answer FAQs:
Interested in doing something similar to WATI? Try Floik to create these guides in a few quick seconds!
- Knowledge base/FAQs: Companies can create a comprehensive knowledge base or FAQ section that covers frequently asked questions, troubleshooting tips, and best practices. Here’s how you can create a knowledge base article in a video format using Floik:
- Online training and certification: Online training and certification courses can help customers master the product and gain expertise in specific areas.
- Webinars and live sessions: Companies can offer webinars and live sessions to educate customers on new features, share product updates, or provide best practices.
- In-product help: In-product help provides contextual guidance as customers use the product. This can include tooltips, guided tours, and pop-up messages that explain the features or provide tips.
- User forums and communities: User forums and communities allow customers to interact with each other, share best practices, ask questions, and provide feedback. Companies can also have moderators and experts participate in these forums to answer questions and provide support.
Customer self-service content drives satisfaction and loyalty, reduces support requests, and allows the company to focus on more strategic initiatives.
Create interactive product demos and explainer videos in minutes
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4. Leverage user-generated content to establish social proof
In B2B customer marketing, UGC is like a potluck dinner—everyone brings something to the table, and together you end up with a feast!
Sharing UGC is an incredible opportunity to spotlight your existing customers while drawing the attention of potential ones. Not just that, but it drives customer engagement organically and adds more authenticity to your brand name. It can also become a collaborative exercise to make your customers feel special.
Follow these best practices to leverage UGC in your customer marketing strategy:
- Encourage users to share their experiences: Actively nudge or incentivize users to talk about their experience with your product on social media, communities, or other channels. Create unique branded hashtags to source all the UGC.
- Curate all your customer appreciation: Create a wall of love featuring your customers' content on social media. Add images, videos, tweets, TikToks, LinkedIn posts, and other content formats to highlight your product value—like Content Harmony. 👇🏻
- Share customer success stories: Use UGC to create compelling narratives that resonate with your audience—like Slack’s customer stories. Show how your product or service has helped your customers overcome challenges or achieve their goals, but with a flavor of storytelling in it.
Remember to make the most out of your UGC content. Send customers a personalized note to share their appreciation and amplify their posts across channels—website, email, ads, etc.—to increase its impact.
Case in point: HubSpot
HubSpot is known for its UGC customer marketing efforts. On top of highlighting customer stories on its website, the company also encourages customers to share their experiences using #HubSpotting.
Dear @HubSpot and @HubSpotAcademy ,— Olja 🇭🇷❤️🇺🇦 (@OljaIvanic) July 10, 2019
We believe @emilygailmorgan has done the most terrific job of #hubspotting us the last three days that she deserves the biggest raise you can give.
Your #QuicksilverScientific Team 🤓 @quicksci303 pic.twitter.com/OZzWU5ctm8
5. Host exclusive events for community-building and engagement
One of the biggest challenges for customer marketers is cultivating a thriving community and making customers feel invested in it.
Hosting events can be a great way to achieve this goal since customers can network and learn from industry leaders. Events can also boost user engagement and give them a sense of belonging.
Here are a few proven tips for customer marketers to build a meaningful community of customers through events:
- Quality > Quantity: Rather than trying to pack as many people into your event as possible, focus on creating an intimate and meaningful experience for a smaller group of attendees. This will allow you to foster more personal connections and provide a more customized experience.
- Make it value-packed: Nobody remembers an event where the hosts only talk about themselves. Instead of promoting your product too much, pack your community events with valuable content from keynote speakers. Add interesting panel discussions, workshops, and activities for attendees.
- Lean on technology: Use an event hosting platform like Cvent or Airmeet to make your events more interactive. Leverage features like live polling, gamification, and virtual breakout rooms to keep attendees engaged till the end.
Host exclusive events to build a sense of community and engage with your most loyal users. Whether it's a customer conference, a user group meetup, or a virtual event, providing opportunities for customers to connect and share best practices can go a long way in building brand loyalty.
Case in point: Adobe
Adobe MAX is a prime example of a successful event that fosters a sense of community and engagement among customers.
By hosting this annual conference, Adobe is able to bring together its customers—creatives from around the world—and provide them with valuable learning opportunities, networking opportunities, and inspiration.
6. Implement referral programs to incentivize customer advocacy
Dropbox achieved a 3900% growth rate with a simple referral program. That’s the case study all SaaS companies keep going back to when thinking about their referral program.
But how do you replicate Dropbox’s success to build customer advocacy within your customer marketing strategy? Here’s how:
- Define the referral program goals and incentives: Before implementing a referral program, define clear goals and incentives for both the referrer and the referred customer. This could include discounts, free products or services, or other rewards.
- Create a referral program landing page: A dedicated landing page for your referral program can help increase visibility and encourage more referrals. The landing page should explain the program and the rewards. It should also provide an easy way for customers to refer others.
- Promote the referral program: Use multiple channels to promote the referral program, including email, social media, and in-app messaging. Use persuasive copy and clear calls to action to encourage customers to participate.
- Leverage customer advocates: Identify your most loyal and engaged customers and invite them to become advocates for your brand. These customers can provide testimonials, share their positive experiences, and refer others to your product.
- Measure and optimize the program: Regularly monitor the referral program's performance and optimize it based on the data. Use analytics to track referral activity, referral sources, and conversion rates. Use A/B testing to experiment with different incentives and messaging to optimize results.
Case in point: monday.com
monday.com has a referral program where it invites partners to learn more about the product and bring referrals through social media. They’ve created a library of resources to teach referral partners about the product's capabilities.
7. Involve customers in the product development and testing process
An underrated customer marketing tactic is making customers a part of the product development and testing process. This collaboration can help teams look at the product from the customer's lens and facilitate a design that fulfills their expectations.
More importantly, it makes customers feel like a part of the company—paving the way for them to be brand evangelists.
Here’s how B2B companies can involve customers in the development process:
- Start by identifying the right customers to involve. Look for those who are passionate about your product, actively using it, and providing valuable feedback.
- Establish a process for collecting and prioritizing customer feedback. This can include customer surveys, user interviews, and user testing.
- Create a customer feedback loop. Keep customers in the loop by sharing product roadmaps, updates, and timelines. This helps build trust and transparency.
- Consider creating a customer advisory board. This group of customers can provide ongoing feedback and insights on new product features, testing, and development.
- Use beta testing to get early feedback. Beta testing allows customers to test new features and provide feedback before releasing a product. This can help catch bugs and ensure a smoother launch.
Case in point: Floik
At Floik, When we opened the doors for our beta users in March 2023, things started changing quickly. Constructive feedback, new feature requests, and customization from our first design partners added momentum to our development efforts and brought major changes to the roadmap.
Two months later, our product looks very different from what it was in March.
Maximize retention and advocacy with these customer marketing tactics
Effective customer marketing tactics are crucial for B2B SaaS companies to unlock the full potential of their customer base.
The key is to create an ongoing relationship with your customers that provides value and support beyond the initial onboarding phase. By doing so, you can build a community of advocates eager to share their positive experiences with others, resulting in organic growth and a strong brand reputation.
Remember: happy and engaged customers are the foundation for a successful and sustainable B2B SaaS business.