The 1 Element Missing At Content Marketing World
Content Marketing World 2014 was epic: over 2,400 people and over 40 amazing speakers (including Kevin Spacey). Yet everyone missed one important element: post-sale content marketing.
Why? The reason is simple. Taking their cues from their chief executives and sales team content marketers think their work is done once the sale is closed.
However the initial sale is only the beginning of the customer relationship. Check this McKinsey & Company chart showing the customer journey. That bottom loop is where this content matters! For most businesses, the initial sale only accounts for a small percentage of the customer’s lifetime value. The reality is that you may not even have earned back the money you invested to acquire the sale. Of course, it helps if you can increase your current sales.
Before a customer purchases from your company, it’s like dating. There’s lots of romance. You woo your prospects with lots of sexy, useful content.
But understand that once a customer’s purchased your product or service, you’re no longer dating. You’ve in a serious relationship. Instead of wistfully dreaming about your next date, you’ve got to keep your customer buying.
As a result, your content marketing is no longer as sexy or romantic as it was back when you were dating. Instead, it consists of text-dense boring product information, instructions, customer correspondence and newsletters.
While like a marriage, you’ve got to work to make to make your customer relationship grow and last, the problem is that you probably don’t have the marketing budget to create sexy content.
But you do. Chances are, you’ve been creating content that’s a yawn for both you and your customers. Re-imagine this drab information into effective content that supports improved customer relationships and yields increased sales. (Here are additional post-purchase content tips.)
This requires limited incremental cost and can often leverage the power of other sexier customer acquisition content.
3 Post-sale content marketing strategies
To keep your customer relationship alive, here are 3 post-sale content marketing strategies you need to craft with related content marketing tips.
1. Keep the sale.
Don’t laugh. Just because a customer’s purchased from you, doesn’t mean they’re happy or that they’ll keep your product and use it. Even worse, they may dislike your offering so much that they tell others about it either in person or more broadly on social media.
This is the second moment of truth, a phrase coined by P&G. Therefore as a content marketer, you’ve got make sure your customer not only keeps the product but also uses it because:
- Processing returns are expensive (unless they’re a necessity such as shoes from Zappos).
- Unused products that sit in the closet reduce the chances the customer will buy from you again.
Actionable Content Marketing Tips: Content marketing can be extremely useful to help customers use your product or service, fix any problems with it, or return it. Your goal is to make your customer happy with the least hassle for both you and them.
Remember, an angry customer can voice their discontent via social media and word of mouth. These messages are more trusted than your marketing and can tarnish your business reputation.
- Send follow up post-purchase emails. More than just confirming the sale, use this opportunity to ensure customers are happy or to uncover any problems. Understand that you must be prepared solve potential problems and process returns quickly and efficiently.
- Create user-friendly instructions. “How to” information is 1 of the 5 basic content formats consumers actively seek. Get extra bang by including videos posted on YouTube. Ask your customers for their questions as the basis for creating this information.
- Enhance related user guides. Take a page from Jay Baer’s Youtility playbook. Create content that users would be willing to pay for. Write them in plain English and use easy-to-understand photographs and diagrams. Think outside of the packaging. Useful ebooks and apps.
2. Retain the customer
Many marketers think that the purchase funnel stops at purchase. But the reality is that it’s the beginning of the next phase of your customer relationship.
You can’t just assume that past customers will continue to purchase from you just because they did in the past. You have to continue to delight them and provide them with reasons to buy again.
Retaining an active customer is where the profitability occurs because it’s less expensive than finding new customers. You can increase retention sales in 3 ways:
- Get existing customers to buy more of the same product
- Encourage them to buy related products
- Persuade them to buy a more expensive model of the product they currently own
Actionable Content Marketing Tips: Here’s the type of information needed to keep your current customers purchasing.
- Show customers how to style your product. Re-imagine content based on the products they bought.
- Offer patterns and/or recipes (where appropriate). Help you customers to use your products better. Use this opportunity to nudge them to buy more or related products.
- Build a customer forum. Let your customers help each other. You can also use your social media presence to accomplish this. Think of it as extending your customer service post-sale. Where appropriate recommend related products.
3. Share the love.
Pete Blackshaw of Nestle dubbed this the “Third Moment of Truth”. Your customer becomes a true product fan after having bought and used your product. They like your brand so much they become a walking endorsement in the form of word of mouth, ratings and reviews.
Due to the 90-9-1 ratio of Internet activity, it’s important to encourage your fans to support your products and services with content they’ve created. To increase the chances your customers will contribute, it’s helpful to provide incentives. Actionable Content Marketing Tips: Persuade your community of customers to show their love for you.
- Create opportunities for customers to share their product experiences. Make it easy with photos and limited text. One way is to feature your customers on Facebook and other forums. Here’s one of my favorite examples from the Barcelo chain of hotels: a Facebook posting kiosk in the main entrance.
- Encourage customers to rate and review your products. Realize that what they say may not be what you want to hear. Use this feedback to improve your offering and service. Include platforms such as Amazon, Yelp and TripAdvisor.
The bottom line is that content marketing doesn’t stop with the first purchase. It’s really the beginning of the next buying cycle where your firm starts to make a profit from the money they’ve invested in acquiring the customer.
Leverage your existing content marketing and marketing communications to transform them into high quality content that encourages customers to use your products more effectively so they continue to buy from you.
To this end, use all 3 of the post sale content marketing strategies: keep the sale, retain the customer and share the love.
What’s your favorite post-sales content marketing strategy and why?
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