If you have been in the business or marketing world over the last few years, you may have heard buzzwords about content, content marketing, and content creation. You might think that content is the driving force of the entire internet, and you wouldn’t be far off. What you may not know is that content marketing should also be one of your core customer retention techniques.
Content is everything that is encountered as part of the user experience of online websites, and it can be overwhelming. For example, over 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute! You could try to watch it all and be weeks behind after only a few minutes.
With the immense sea of content out there, some businesses don’t see the point in adding to the noise. However, content and content marketing can actually be the key to building your business and a valuable customer retention technique. In this article, we are going to explore exactly how you can use content marketing to retain customers and stand out in the wide expanse.
Who is it for?
The number one question you should keep in mind when using content for marketing purposes is “who is this for?” Your target audience will drive your decisions in all aspects of your business, but especially your content. By creating tailored content for your ideal user, they will be far more likely to engage and stick around.
Once you have established who your content is for, now comes the matter of creating the content. Today we are talking about using content as a customer retention technique, so our target audience is current or former clients and customers. We’ll keep them in mind as we explore different ways to approach the content itself.
The next important step in creating content that will help retain customers is planning. By planning out your content, you can avoid mistakes weeks in advance and ensure that your brand message is on point.
Something you seriously want to avoid that can be helped with planning is inconsistent frequency in posts. Oftentimes you will see a company attempting to employ content marketing, but they only post when they remember to and it looks unprofessional. By creating a clear plan for your content, you can avoid this costly mistake.
By creating a content calendar for all of your channels, you are able to cut through the noise and deliver valuable content to your clients on a consistent basis. Along with this, tools such as Hootsuite and HubSpot can allow you to schedule posts out months in advance.
Use the tools you have at your disposal to appear professional and thoughtful. Having your customers think “I have so much content to choose from” over “When was the last time they posted something?” will do wonders.
Now that you have identified your target customers and created your calendar, it is time to start using your content to solve customer problems. Whether you answer frequently asked questions or highlight an under-utilized feature, providing content to your customers that solves their problems will leave them happy and keep them around.
Let’s take a look at a few different ways you can do this.
Bringing back “lost sheep”
When you are noticing that certain members or customers are not staying engaged, take a step to be proactive. By bringing back any “wandering” or “lost sheep,” you are able to reaffirm your value and might even have a more loyal customer afterward.
A helpful way to do this might be by sending them an email with a few articles related to their segment. Segmenting customers will make this easier for you and allow you to send content specific to their needs.
According to one study, 25-60% of your dormant customers will be receptive to your attempts to regenerate their business if you approach them the right way. These customers are ready to have their problems solved, so don’t wait for them. Make the first move and secure that customer!
Guide them on their path
Sometimes all that is standing between a customer staying and leaving is understanding. Whether it is understanding how to use your product, app, or what have you, offering them guides to help them understand your offering can be the reason they stay.
Work on creating content that walks your users and customers through how to interact with your product or service. By giving them all that they need, you aren’t leaving any gaps for them to sneak out through.
Customers are people, too
Another reason for consistently engaging your customers with content is that they might just need someone to show they care about them. Customers are people too and by reaching out to them and proactively solving their problems, your brand will be that much more trustworthy.
Types of content
There are numerous ways to approach content creation, but again, the target audience of this content is key. Do your customers prefer reading articles to watching videos? Or would an informational webinar be the best approach?
Finding the right type of content to get the most of this customer retention technique is very important, so let’s take a look at a few of the different options available.
Infographics get shared more, viewed more, and people love them. If you are able to distribute valuable information to your clients in an easy to process way like this, you might just score yourself a viral hit.
Keep in mind that infographics can be expensive and time consuming to make. However, if you have planned out your content and have a good use for an infographic, definitely take advantage of that.
Videos allow for a huge amount of variety in how you want to present your content. For example, a gym might use videos to walk through an exercise. While on the other hand, a tech start-up might use videos to showcase their app.
Regardless of how you use videos, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
- Videos aren’t supposed to be too long. Keep them to two-three minutes for best results.
- Making a video is also not the cheapest customer retention strategy. Start small and work your way up if you aren’t sure which direction you are heading.
Similar to guides, how-tos will allow you to identify and solve customer problems. By filling your website with various how-tos, whether it’s how-to make a recipe or debug your computer, your clients will praise you for the added value they will bring.
Remember that how-tos are like videos, in that the options are limitless. But, try your best to keep your topics specific. Thorough explanations will do much more for your customers than general tips.
A case study is a great way to show off previous customer successes. Nothing will solidify a customer’s confidence in your brand like proving that others have been there before and thrived.
When writing your case study, try to make sure it doesn’t come off as pure marketing. You need to tell an interesting story of how you helped other customers like those you hope will read the case study. Keep it interesting. Keep it real.
An eBook is the perfect format for presenting detailed, thorough content to your customers. Often exchanged for free (after joining a mailing list), eBooks will allow you to show your customers that you know what you are talking about and offer them more than a blog can.
Keep in mind that a good eBook needs a powerful title. Something that will prompt customers to want to check it out. Along with that, design is going to be the difference between a good eBook and a great eBook. Spend time with a designer to make sure your eBook is both readable and has good flow.
In 2017, the tools available to create meaningful content are just within your grasp. By employing this customer retention technique, not only will you have the means to answer your customers’ questions, but you will understand how to better solve their problems. Before we go, here are a few closing thoughts to reflect on as you start planning your content strategy.
- The most important part of content marketing is starting. Once you get the hang of how it works, it will be much easier. If you still aren’t sure of how to properly get started, check out this article on content strategy for tips.
- Think of content marketing as a savings account. While you are putting in the money it might not seem to be working, but over time you will start to see returns. Put in the work and trust us, you will reap the benefits.
- Ask your customers for help. Millions of dollars are spent every single year trying to get inside the minds of customers. If you can, avoid the additional cost and simply ask your customers what kind of content they want to see. You might find out things you never would have thought of yourself.
We hope that this article has helped you on your path toward retaining even more customers
Co-Founder, Gleantap & Mastera