Another great session at Content Marketing World in Cleveland:
Customer Retention: The Imperative for Creating Market Advantage
We’re probably all familiar with creating content designed to help find new customers, but what about content that retains customers? In this session, we’ll learn about why retention programs require a different strategy, how to align your strategy with your sales department, and why you should leverage your current customers to help set your strategy.
So, what is a customer retention content strategy anyway? Well, according to Ardath Albee, this kind of content is often primarily designed to help customers to:
- Gain expertise that helps their company succeed
- Become familiar with new products and features
- Learn more about using your products
- And, most importantly, it should be about helping your customers find even more value than what they originally purchased from you.
Content created for customer retention is often different than content that is created for lead generation, but in many cases there are similarities between what makes sense for both of these audiences.
In order to determine the best content, it’s important to work from buyer personas, and customer personas. Hopefully some of your audience will span across both audiences (i.e., the person who buys your product is also the user) but in many cases, the users of your product or service are different. And, as a marketer, your job is not done at purchase. You must also be involved throughout the entire process – selling, and retention. It’s also important to segment your audiences. For example, your product might span multiple markets or industries, and the content that would be helpful for one may not quite work for another segment.
Ardath provides this chart to help determine the kinds of things to keep in mind as you write for each audience.
|Customer Acquisition||Customer Retention|
|Status Quo: Why should I care?||Status Quo: My original problem is solved.|
|Priority: What do I need to know?||Priority: What else can I do?|
|Research: Best practices||Competitive Advantage: How can we gain more traction?|
|Options: Who can help me?||Renewal: Does staying move us forward?|
|Step backs: What if???||Step backs: What if???|
|Validation: Prove you can do it.||Validation: What else will you bring?|
Sales & Marketing Alignment
Ardath also went on to talk about how we need to help our sales team by giving them the content they need to come in at the right point.
How to do this? Solicit Sales feedback. Make them feel a part of the content process, right from the get-go, instead of providing them materials after the fact and hoping they use them. When you do provide content, find out:
- Did the content help them get what they needed the customer to do, say or give?
- Did they modify the content? If so, how and why?
- Did they use the follow on offer? Would they use it again?
Remember: If sales can’t be effective using your content, your prospects can’t use it either.
You should also use your current customers to help you figure out what your prospects look like. Because new customers look like current customers. So, use them as a test bed for floating new ideas – they tend to be more forgiving, and they’ll give you more honest feedback. And, if they love it, your prospects will also. Ask them what they’re trying to do today that wasn’t on the radar when they purchased from you? What are they still struggling with? Which new ideas are getting the most traction? Is there a new player in the picture? This also builds the relationship with your customers.
Happy customers become advocates, advocates result in referrals, and referrals help generate quality leads.
The probability of converting an existing customer is 60-70%. The probability of converting a new prospect is only 5-20%.