Thank You Content Marketing: How To Build Customer Relationships

Show Thanks With Content MarketingThank you.

The small act of saying “thank you” shows prospects, customers and others you really care about them, not just their money.

Ann Handley expressed it best, “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.”

Contrary to what many marketers think content marketing works through the entire purchase process, even beyond the initial purchase.

Done well, thank you content marketing is the gift that keeps on giving. In most cases it’s evergreen information that helps your audience while keeping your brand visible.

Thank You Content Marketing and the Power of Reciprocity

In terms of human behavior, reciprocity triggers a sense of indebtedness in return for an unexpected favor regardless of the relationship with the person.

While reciprocity dates back centuries, research studies published by David Strohmetz in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology show its impact on tips.

  • Writing thank you or a happy face on the check yielded higher tips. 
  • Providing free candy with the check increased tips. Further, researchers found that the amount of the tip increase varied with the number of pieces of candy included.

Thank you content marketing taps into the power of reciprocity yielding improved results.


Thank You Content Marketing: 5 Ways To Build Customer Relationships

Beyond being good manners, thank you content marketing creates reciprocity that helps to build customer relationships over time and increase revenues.

Test the 5 thank you content marketing types to determine which works best for your audience.Show Thanks With Content Marketing


1. Write thank notes to express your thanks

Like the waitresses who wrote thank you on customer checks, increase customer and audience reciprocity with thank you notes.

Amazon has used this technique for years to build customer relationships while driving product reviews. As a result, it’s the first place 40+% of shoppers turn for product information.

Google VS Amazon Where US Customers Start Product Purchases - Chart


3 Types of Thank You Notes

  1. Thank You Page. Work for registrations, downloads and purchases on websites. Optimally, thank you pages should show users that their actions were completed. Unlike emails, you can track these pages in your analytics.
  2. Email message. Can exist on its own or in combination with a Thank You Page. Give the recipient information she actively seeks. Even better, it often goes to her primary email account (at least for purchases.)
  3. Hand-written note. Is personal. Yes, I’m talking pen and paper. At MarketingProfs B2B, Ann Handley hand writes individual notes to the speakers. In an era where there’s not much postal mail that’s not bills or junk, hand written notes stand out.

Actionable Thank You Content Marketing Tips:

  • Maximize your email thank you messages. Offer recipient additional related content with your download or receipt. Also make it easy to contact your firm if necessary.
  • Make the note personal (where possible and appropriate). Send thank you notes from your personal email address. This is important for high-ticket items and relationships. Be timely to show customers you really care.

2. Expand product instructions

Show your customers and others how much they matter to you with content that puts them in the limelight.

As Dale Carnegie taught, “A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

This year, Content Marketing World sent framed photographs of their speakers. Each photo included the Content Marketing World logo. It’s a content-based gift everyone is sure to keep (or at least give to their mother!)

Heidi Cohen at CMWorld 2017

Alternatively, give your customers a real time view via webcams or make them the focus of your communications. Roscoe’s Bed & Bark does a great job of this. (Hat tip: Laura Petrolino)

Content Marketing exampleLet your customers see their pets via webcams

Actionable Thank You Content Marketing Tips:

  • Spotlight your customers and audience in your content. Encourage customers to submit content to present on your owned and social media outlets. Spin Sucks’s Gini Dietrich does this with her shout outs and links to contributors to her The Big Question and Gin and Topics columns.

    The Big Question – Curated input from Spin Sucks Community

    Thank you content marketing links out to other people’s sites, Twitter and LinkedIn

  • Offer customers and visitors photos. I have to admit this is my favorite conference give away. It’s the gift that keeps on giving since visitors share them on social media. My favorite was from the Wall Street Journal at a past  Content Marketing World. Conference content-sponsor giveaway

3. Give Customers Thank You Content Gifts

Offer customers a gift that yields long term branding value by being something they want to keep in their office.

For authors this is easy, give new clients and others a physical or e-copy of your book. At one MarketingProfsB2B Forum, Ann Handley gave speakers copies of her book, Everyone Writes. Inside, Handley inscribed each book with a personal note. I still have my copy!

At The Economist I created promotional products for our sales staff. To keep our brand and offering top of mind I focused on items that customers would keep and use. One example was note pads with our pithy advertising phrases like “Everyone Likes A Think” printed across the top.

Actionable Thank You Content Marketing Tips:

  • Think beyond your content. Perennial favorite give-aways include calendars, pens and pads. They keep your brand and contact information top of mind.

4. Offer thank you content marketing in the form of recipes and patterns

 As a marketer and a customer, I love this type of content because customers feel they’re getting something of value.

Despite going through all of her papers, my sister couldn’t find her mother-in-law’s brownies recipe anywhere. Her mother-in-law was too methodical not to use a recipe.

It didn’t make sense until she cleaned out her mother-in-law’s pantry where she found the Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate. The mystery was solved. The brownie recipe was on the back.


Baker’s Chocolate Recipe via Kraft Recipes

I wasn’t surprised to discover the recipe is from Kraft Recipes, a Top 5 Food site. But I laughed when I read the notation:

“This BAKER’S ONE BOWL Brownies recipe is the one that gets handed down through the generations.”

Actionable Thank You Content Marketing Tips:

  • Encourage customers to buy your products. Examine how Kraft presents its recipes. Kraft uses other Kraft products. Follow Kraft’s example: where appropriate link to specific products on your website. Make it easy for readers to purchase.

    Content Marketing Spotlights Products

    Baker’s One Chocolate Brownie Shopping List Highlights Kraft Products

  • Give readers a reason to share their email address. Kraft encourages you to join their site to collect recipes and print out shopping lists. In turn, this drives retail sales and builds their email list.
  • Ask readers to share their comments and input. Kraft gets readers to comment and rate each recipe. This improves the quality of the content.

    Content Marketing To Thank Your Customers

    Customers Rate and review Kraft Recipes

  • Schedule content updates and promotion. This is particularly important for content that’s only used for a short period every year. For example, King Arthur’s Flour republishes its Irish Soda Bread before St. Patrick’s Day to maximize attention to this long tail content.Irish Soda Bread Promoted On King Arthur Flour Blog Homepage
5. Thank Customers By Teaching Them To Use Your Products Better

Don’t underestimate your buyer’s need for additional information to use your products effectively. Instead, educate your customers using content marketing. Give it away to thank them or offer it as a related product.

Actionable Content Marketing Tips:

  • Offer tips and tricks in either digital or paper format. B2B marketers call this “Best Practices”. It’s one of the top types of content B2B buyers actively seek.3 B2B customer-vendor disconnects
  • Write an activity or guidebook. Create quality content for which your audience would be willing to pay. Include exercises that get readers to use your products and/or purchase related products.
  • Provide a community discussion forum. Allow your customers to talk to each other.
  • Create an online course. Drip out your training materials via email. Include other content formats. Get recipients sign up to get more.
  • Present webinars and/or live classes to teach your audience. Don’t limit yourself to traditional topics. Have fun creating the content and your audience will have fun consuming it.


Thank You Content Marketing Conclusion

Use thank you content marketing to extend your relationship with customers and your audience to build reciprocity.

Continuing a dialogue through thank you content marketing with your customers enables you to discover how they feel about your company and products. As a result, you can respond to potential issues and fix them before they consider your competitors.

Many marketers underestimate the power of post-sales customer engagement to generate more profitable sales. Getting existing customers to purchase more from you is less expensive since you already have their contact information.

In the process, thank customers with content that delights them and leads them back to your offering.

How else can you use content marketing to thank your customers?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

Note: This post was originally published on November 23, 2011.

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