We’ve all heard that it costs more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one, so it surprises me that there isn’t more emphasis in Content Marketing circles about doing just this – using Content Marketing for Customer Retention.
Consider it like this. Getting a new customer is like finding a new friend. Once you’ve established a new friendship you normally work hard at keeping it going, right?
You get to know your friend over time. You find out about their likes and dislikes. You try and keep in touch. You make a note of birthdays and important anniversaries. That kind of thing.
In business terms, obviously the flow of personal information might be rather more restricted. You can’t possibly know all of your customers individually. Some might not be interested in a relationship with your business beyond the initial transaction, and some might be less than willing to hand over their birth date or tell you how many children they’ve got. However, the principle is the same. Every new customer has the potential to be a repeat customer, a friend of the business and even a loyal advocate.
Customer Retention is about maintaining a friendship and a two way dialogue between business and customer (or groups of similar customers), to whatever degree you are able. Using content to support this relationship is like your business saying to its customers……
I saw this and thought of you….
(Okay, so the strapline is stolen from the Royal Mail marketing campaign of the late 90’s, but the sentiment is bang up to date!)
Friends like these
Content Marketing is about finding, creating and sharing things that you think your audience will like. The difference between using content for acquisition and for retention, is that once a person decides to buy something from you, the relationship changes. They have told you something about themselves, however little that may be, and you can now use this information to start building the friendship. You may only know what they purchased from you and when, their name and location, but this is a good start. You can now talk to them on a more personal level.
What sort of content works for customer retention?
Email newsletters, blogs, customer magazines, member events, social media, FAQs, product specific user guides, member-only chat forums or online communities, and much more. The key is to remember that you’re building on an existing relationship, not talking to a stranger.
Engage > learn > retain
Here are some pointers on creating ‘retention’ content and a few examples of the type of content that could be.
#1 Tailor your content using the information you hold about your customers
For example, create a user guide specifically to help existing customers get the most out of the product you know they’ve just purchased.
#2 Use content to invite further involvement and get to know your customers better
For example, set up a ‘members-only’ forum where existing customers can share their experience of your product, make suggestions, or simply chat with other members about topics they have in common.
#3 Create content aimed specifically at birthdays, anniversaries or renewal dates
For example, create an email campaign to thank your customers for sticking with you for a year, two years, five years, whatever. Perhaps send them a birthday message via social media. Show that you have taken note and remembered, just as you would for a friend.
#4 Use content to reinforce that your customer made the right decision to do business with you and to encourage brand advocacy
For example, develop a series of case studies that show how other people are using your products or services and allow customers to review and rate your business.
#5 Acknowledge that your customers want to know you too
For example, create a series of ‘behind the scenes’ video diaries or ‘ask the expert’ webinars to introduce the people in your business and share their expertise.
#6 Use content to make your business useful beyond just the products or service you sell
For example, start an online directory that allows your customers to advertise their businesses to each other, or that highlights complimentary services.
#7 Keep in touch with your customers by producing new content specifically for them on a regular basis
For example, perhaps design a customer magazine using articles generated by your customers or send out a regular email newsletter with updates on the top five things you know your customers want to hear about.
The more you learn about your new friends, the better you can support them and the more likely they are to become your best advocates and most loyal buyers.
Well thought out content marketing activity will give your customers a reason to keep coming back to your business on a regular basis. An existing customer is more likely to buy from you again and to spend more than a new customer, so it pays to put the right effort into creating content specifically for the people you have already won over. Get to know them, listen to them and make your business useful above and beyond the initial sale. Do this and you’ll reap the rewards in the future.
P.S Want some content inspiration? Check out my list of 4 ways to generate good content.