Content marketing is changing the way you talk with your audience. Through SEO, email marketing and social media, your content works hard to gather new prospects and bring them into your orbit. Where a lot of otherwise sound content marketing strategies fail is with retention, the ability to hang onto the customers you have and continue to keep them interested in what you have to say. It’s a real challenge, especially for companies that were early adopters of content marketing who find themselves reaching for something more to say.
If your recent SEO campaign brought in good traffic that has since leveled off, your content marketing team is straining for new ideas, or your customers feel as though you invest more in finding new business than in nurturing the clients you have, it’s time to focus on content marketing for customer retention.
Branch out with Topics
Sometimes, marketers are too attached to the “marketing” part of content marketing; they want every blog post to lead customers directly to a landing page or an e-commerce listing. While it’s a good idea to lead readers to a relevant page or product, most of your blog posts should be informative, not ad-heavy. That opens your content creation team’s horizons and lets them write about subjects that interest all your customers, not just your newest visitors who are more sensitive to sales techniques.
An Italian restaurant’s blog doesn’t just have to focus on pizza and pasta, for example. Going farther afield to talk about how Parmigiana Reggiano is made or how the ancient Romans opened some of the world’s first fast food stands gives your blog lasting appeal. For B2B businesses, it’s even more important to broaden your subject matter. You see it in this blog too as we discuss everything from quirky grammar to SEO content to reputation management. Build variety into your blog, and it becomes a destination, a place your clients check regularly to learn something new.
Loyalty programs are a proven customer retention strategy. Companies that give their long-time customers an occasional free gift or discount encourage repeat business. Your content’s valuable too, and it makes an excellent way to reward your brand loyalists. Giving them a free white paper, e-book or magazine subscription that your newer customers have to wait to see is a worthwhile perk. If you have digital content for sale on Amazon.com or books in print, you have an outstanding opportunity to give your best customers a gift without costing yourself much.
The only caveat here is that your content needs to be worth your customers’ time. No one wants to get an ad in book form, and if you’re handing out information that does you more good than your clients, you’re breaking one of the primary rules of content marketing. If your content creators are on the ball, you’ll amass a respectable content library of relevant information you can gift-wrap for your most valuable customers.
Create a Support System
When customers pop out of the narrow end of your sales funnel, receipt in hand, give them a soft landing. FAQs, how-to videos and articles with tips on using your products confirms to buyers that they’ve made the right choice. When they know they’ve picked well, they’re more likely to choose you again, especially if they know you’re still there for them with answers to all their questions. The more complex your product or service is, the more your customers rely on the content you give them. There’s no substitute for live tech support and customer service, but a great content library can head off many customer concerns even before they pick up the phone to call your help desk.
Establish Perceived Value
Even your best clients get value fatigue. When they first buy from you, they’re ecstatic – you’ve just solved a big problem for them and given them outstanding service. They can’t wait to tell everyone. After you continue to deliver, though, they tend to take that high level of performance for granted. The extraordinary has become everyday, and they no longer perceive the full value of what you give them. Content can change that by reminding them of what else you have to offer – your expertise, industry knowledge, customer support programs, loyalty benefits and access to your extensive library.
Email retargeting programs that maintain contact with your customers during those critical post-sale and between-sale periods are excellent for reminding your clients why you’re valuable to them. Marketing automation can orchestrate your retargeting efforts to ensure your customers get personalized information when they need it. For example, if you know your client places quarterly orders for supplies, your email marketing software can set triggers to send customized messages automatically. Establishing value isn’t something you do once but something you prove again with every contact you have with your clients.