5 Content Marketing Fixes To Retain Customers and Sales
Have you ever recommended content marketing tactics that would make you see red if you received them as a customer? (You do remember that content marketing shouldn’t be pushy–right?)
Don’t worry–it’s okay if you’re the only one who knows. It can be our secret.
The problem is that your prospects, customers, influencers and the public DO care.
Whether you realize it or not, they find aspects of your content marketing so annoying that some of them stop buying from you altogether.
In 2013, 8% of customers stopped doing business with a company due to a bad interaction. On average, each lost customer cancelled $1,506 of annual sales according to Thunderhead research.
But your business losses don’t stop there!!!
After a mistake, error or negative experience with a business, 19% of customers will never trust the firm again and another 20% say that it takes over a year for the business to re-establish trust.
- 25% of customers switch providers after only 1 negative experience.
- 45% of customers switch providers after 2 negative experiences.
- 66% of customers switch providers after 3 negative experiences.
Don’t forget the impact of bad word of mouth.
- 36% of customers will share a negative experience via online, phone or in-person with an average of 25 people.
So what’s the solution?
Provide prospects and customers with the information they want and need seamlessly to reduce poor customer experiences and retain customers (and sales!!)
While this sounds easy, it’s not. ¾ of senior executives interviewed didn’t know how to build customer engagement, according to Thunderhead since they thought in promotional terms such as special offers and deals. This is a slippery slope that leads to lower margins and profits.
5 Content marketing fixes to retain customers and sales
1. Meet customer expectations (or risk losing them!!)
For many customers, this means act like a boy scout and always be prepared to respond to your prospects, influencers and customers.
93% of customers say companies that fail to act quickly enough hurts their opinion of the business. Even worse, 13% of customers definitely would change providers and another 24% would consider changing providers due to poor response time.
Further, being slow when acquiring a customer causes you to lose the customer!!
Actionable Content Marketing Fixes:
- Knowing your target audience is the key to ensuring that you’re meeting and exceeding their expectations. Understand that, whether your firm is B2C or B2B, your customers are experienced social media and Internet users and they expect fast response on your part or they’re on to the next competitor.
- Create a marketing persona to inform your content creation. You must develop information that your prospects will need and want, whether they know it or not. (That’s your job!)
2. Tailor content marketing and communications to match your customers’ preferences.
Since most people have a smartphone or computer within reach, your target audience has the power to choose which company they want to do business with. Therefore, make it easy for them to select your firm by offering them the information they want and need in the format they prefer via the channels they frequent.
84% of customers have a positive impression of businesses that communicate with customers in the channel of their preference, according to Thunderhead.
When prospects seek help with a product or service, skip the in-person approach because customers don’t like it according to ClickFox’s 2014 Brand Loyalty Survey. (Note: Only 309 respondents were surveyed; this is a small sample size.)
- 64% of respondents want to be contacted via email or text but make sure that you have their permission to use their mobile phone numbers since many people consider this very private information.
- 15% of respondents want to be contacted via direct mail (yes you read that correctly!) My guess is that this is attributable to overstuffed email inboxes and the cost makes marketers more selective in their communications.
Further, allow prospects and customers to choose how they want to contact you.
- 35% of respondents prefer to engage with brands via email or text.
- 33% of respondents prefer to engage with brands via a website.
- 14% of respondents prefer to engage with brands via the phone.
Actionable Content Marketing Fix:
- Supply the 5 basic content types across channels and platforms to ensure your target market can easily find your information when and where they seek it. This is critical since prospects are over half way through the purchase process before they contact your firm.
- Offer prospects and customers the choice of how they want to engage with your business, where possible. Underlying this fix is the need for systems to collect and support the relevant data.
3. Skip the irrelevant communications.
While I appreciate the temptation to send one-size-fits-all communications because they’re cheaper and easier than creating quality content, they hurt your business in the long run. They cause related issues like burning through your email list.
- 82% of customers have a negative perception of your business due to a one-size-fits-all approach.
- 12% of customers would definitely change providers and 16% of customers would consider changing providers since they feel a tailored approach is critical.
Actionable Content Marketing Fix
- Adapt your content marketing to be contextually relevant for your audience based on the platform where it appears. This is much easier to accomplish than targeting communications that require back-end support and marketing automation.
4. Create value for your target audience.
Prospects and customers seek information that provides value in terms of answers to their questions, saving them time, and reducing prices.
- 82% of customers react favorably to offers and deals presented at exactly the right time. This is an important reason that customers follow brands on social media.
- 81% of customers are impressed by an on-going flow of useful customer contact.
Actionable Content Marketing Fix
- Offer a mix of useful content to your prospects, influencers, customers, social media contacts and the public. In addition to useful product information including how-to’s, styling and ratings and reviews, don’t forget to provide entertainment where appropriate.
5. Manage customer information across communications.
Present your target market with a consistent content experience. This means having the data to support your communications, both online and offline. Remember that your internal organization and silos are your challenges not your customers’ problem!
- 85% of customers feel negatively towards businesses that require they provide the same information multiple times.
- 27% of customers would consider leaving a firm for a competitor if they had to provide the same information multiple times.
Further, understand that your audience wants to receive something in return for sharing their personal information. (BTW—they expect you to protect their privacy.)
- 45% of customers would exchange email addresses for special deals or loyalty program. Where possible use this information combined with other sales history to provide more tailored content and communications.
Actionable Content Marketing Fix:
- Build your housefile of email addresses. This is one activity that you can’t start too soon since it helps you maintain contact with your prospects and enables you to nurture them into customers over time.
- Outsource or develop system work-arounds where necessary. It’s important to give customers the best experience possible.
Bear in mind that your customers control their purse strings and they want and deserve to be treated well. To this end, provide your prospects and customers with the best content marketing you can create. Supply them with the 5 basic content types based on your understanding of your audience’s needs and wants.
Not doing so will cost your business money in terms of lost customers and sales as well as bad word of mouth and eroded margins.
What other content marketing fixes would you add to ensure that you provide a seamless customer experience?
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According to research by Nielsen, 70 percent of global consumers trust online consumer reviews and rate reviews as the second most trusted form of advertising. And according to BazaarVoice, when it comes to trust, marketers may as well eliminate their own brand websites as a fountain of customer trust as only 16 percent of US consumers said they trust the content on a brand's website compared to the 51 percent who trust content generated by other users.
Today's digital currency is arguably authenticity, and what attracts customers - especially the digitally dependent, savvy millennial - is not just content. It is the delivery of authentic, unvarnished content from their peers.
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