Content marketing is not just meant to help you gain new customers. After all, there are only so many new customers you can acquire.
Instead, content marketing can be used to boost loyalty and retention.
And customer retention should be your number one priority no matter what type of business you have. Educating and delighting your customers is the key to building long-lasting relationships with them.
As consumers move online to look for solutions and ideas, you need to follow in their steps. If you’re not where your customers are, then you don’t exist.
And one way you can ensure you are seen is through relevant, top quality content.
Why should you create content?
As more and more consumers rely on information they find online to make decisions, businesses also need to transition from traditional marketing to digital marketing. That includes offline businesses, like restaurants and mom & pop shops.
But what if I can’t sell my products/services online? In that case, you can still educate your target customers while they’re looking for solutions and ideas. Or, at the very least, you can make your presence known when they’re looking for businesses in their area.
Content is also a key feature of keeping your customers happy and ensuring they’re successful when dealing with your product or service.
Online businesses may find that customer success and customer support are mistaken for one another. But they’re not the same thing. You don’t want to just solve your customers’ problems – which is what customer support does.
You want to proactively provide your customers with all the tools they need to become successful on their own. And that can be achieved through content.
That being said, content can also prove useful for your customer support team. By creating tutorials and knowledge bases, you can better prepare your representatives to answer your customers’ questions. And you also provide them with references they can use as part of your support strategy.
Next up, we’ll dive into how exactly you can use content marketing to increase customer retention and boost revenue.
How to use content marketing to retain customers
Content marketing can do wonders for retention, but only when used right. Depending on your needs, here are the 3 different types of content you can use:
- content for pre-sale;
- content for the onboarding period;
- content for after the onboarding period.
Content for pre-sale
If you want your customers to stick around, you need to make them happy before they even make a purchase from you. What does this mean?
Clearing up any questions and objections they might have regarding your product/service.
When you produce helpful content you’re actually making helping customers a lot easier – like FAQs where you include all the questions and objections your sales team repeatedly gets. Not to mention you’re helping your sales team close new deals a lot faster.
If there are any serious objections, you can address them separately, by writing dedicated articles or downloadable guides.
Here’s the most important part: the main purpose of pre-sale content is not actually to sell but to create trust, which goes a long way in building lasting business relationships with your customers.
This type of content isn’t always suitable for offline businesses, but potential customers will still have their curiosities and doubts, and addressing them will prove just as effective.
Content for the onboarding period
Once you close a customer, you should focus on making them successful as soon as possible. If they can’t see the value you’re providing soon after purchase, they’re going to stop doing business with you.
Again, content marketing can provide you with the tools you need for onboarding new clients. Education is crucial at this stage, so in-depth tutorials where you explain your product/service should be a priority.
But don’t limit yourself to just that; there are many other types of content you can use to educate your customers:
- how-to videos
- user groups
- consulting sessions
- knowledge bases
Any content you produce at this stage should come in different formats so customers can choose the one that suits them best. Variety is key.
Content for after the onboarding period
Once the onboarding stage is over, your focus should be on delighting your customers, providing ongoing value, and staying top-of-mind.
At this stage, it’s important to also consider the customer’s history with you. If they’re having trouble, you can step in and proactively offer a solution.
Segmentation also plays an important role as you want to provide relevant content, not just lump everyone together.
This is when customer success software can prove most useful. By analyzing your customers and seeing if, when, and how they’re using your product/service, you can come up with the right content that will help you retain them.
Let’s take a look at an example. If you know that using a certain feature is crucial for customers to keep using your product/service, but notice that not all of them are using it, you can create content that can teach them how they should use that feature and why it benefits them.
If you help them see the value of your product through content, they’re more likely to stick with you. Even unhappy customers can be turned into advocates with the right content.
What if you don’t have an online business?
Now, all this sounds pretty easy to implement if you have an online business, like a software platform. But what if you don’t?
Well, even if your business isn’t online, your customers are. And as marketing is increasingly turning digital, you should also follow the consumer trends in the same direction.
The most important thing for any business is to create engagement. When customers are engaged, it’s easier to remain top-of-mind. And one of the easiest ways to create engagement is through story-telling.
There are many content types you can use to tell your story: blog posts, interviews, videos, photos, visual graphics, etc. There’s really no reason you can’t use the same tools online businesses can and adapt them to suit your needs.
For example, if you’re a restaurant, you can approach subjects like:
- events happening in your restaurant (wine tastings or food tastings);
- interviews with your chefs;
- cooking shows and demonstrations;
- tutorials for your most popular dishes.
Another aspect that’s crucial for long and fruitful relationships with customers is being open and honest.
Think about how you can help your customers. Prove that your relationship is real and can add real value. Once they see that, they won’t want to leave you.
3 goals you should aim to accomplish through content
By itself, content is just that – content. It may be educational, it may be entertaining, but no matter how great it is, it won’t transform your business overnight if it doesn’t have a goal.
Here are the 3 goals your content should aim to achieve:
- Building trust
- Being relevant
- Delivering great customer experience
To give your content a purpose, you need to first evaluate your business and find out what you want to achieve.
Do you want to position yourself as a subject-matter-expert?
Do you want to help your community?
Do you want to raise awareness of important issues?
Once you figure out what your marketing and business goals are, you can go ahead and create content that will build trust, that is relevant for your customers, and that helps them have a great customer experience.
One more thing, though. For your content to be successful, you also need to understand how you can strategically and effectively place it in front of your audience. This is where a tool such as BuzzSumo can help, find out what your audience shares, what works for your industry and what influencers to collaborate with.
It’s not always easy to see what the best course of action is. So having tools that can help you create content that your customers resonate with and find influencers that can get your content further will go a long way into ensuring your customers’ success.