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Creating Content for Customer Retention

Had the opportunity to attend HubSpot’s Inbound13 conference this year. Learned a lot about their platform and the inbound marketing methodology, and also got a lot of great ideas for marketing and measurement. One session that stood out for me was called Customer Marketing for Life Long Customers by Rebecca Corliss (@repcor). Here are my thoughts and notes from it…

Marketers spend a lot of time thinking about acquisition, engagment and conversion…but we often place retention in someone else’s hands. Once a prospect has become a customer, their continued happiness and buying tends to get seen as the responsibility of sales or customer service.

What I loved about Rebecca’s session was that it made clear how marketing can and should be part of the battle for loyalty. The benefits of this for your organization are pretty easy to identify:

  • Share of Wallet
  • LTV
  • Referrals
  • Happy Customer

But you need to be clear about what you can bring to the table. For that, there was a deceptively simple question that was asked and answered:

[box type=”note”]

Q: How do you develop marketing that keep customers?
A: Give them as much value as possible.

[/box]

Seems simple, but its actually a really great way to organize your thoughts around marketing for your customers. Something that dawned on me while I was in the session is that it might be easier to market to your customers. With prospects, you have to align your offer with their customer journey and there are usually a lot of holes in what you know about them. But with customers, you can know what they are doing, when and how. You can attach verifiable behaviors and metrics to them in order to figure out what they want from you.

Rebecca laid this out pretty succinctly with 3 key concepts.¬†As you’d expect, she gave a lot of advice that related to using HubSpot. I’m going to focus on the core ideas here rather than the tools, so this can be applied in any organization.

3 Key Concepts for Creating Content for Customers

1. Define Segmentations & Goals

Your customers will have different needs and levels of comfort with you and your products. You want to start by segmenting them, so that you can focus on what they will need.

HubSpot customer segment examples:

  1. Most successful customer, what do they do, how do they do it
  2. I’m just not that into you – lack of activity
  3. Wants extra credit – wants to do the best, advanced tactics, heavy use, successful

These may not align perfectly with your business, but they are a good start.

Questions to ask to identify your segments:

  1. What are key characteristics?
  2. What data can you use to recognize characteristics? Usage, counts, activity
  3. What support do they need?

Metrics You Might Look at:

  • Visits
  • Email opens
  • Feature setup
  • Videos watched
  • Reviews written
  • nPS score
  • Repeat purchases

Where to get the data:

  • Usage tracking software
  • HS event tool
  • Surveys
  • Account managers or customer service logs
  • Customer interviews

2. Content

Customer content has to be about them. Here are basic questions to ask. I’ll note here that this is a very inbound-y¬†perspective, but I think it makes sense for everyone.

  1. Is it Educational or Helpful?
  2. Is it Easy to consume?
  3. Will it really help your customer?

If you look around the web, you’ll see that having your content say “Yes” to all 3 questions can be difficult. You may write a great educational piece that puts people to sleep. Or, create a really cool infographic that doesn’t teach anything. If you don’t get #1 & #2 right, then you fail on #3.

Content Types to Use

You might have some tried and true content types that you produce at this point, but it doesn’t hurt to think about the full arsenal. Here are the ones identified in the session:

  • Ebooks
  • Webinars
  • Product or service video
  • Blogging

No real surprises in this list. The thing I’d emphasize is that you need to look at what your customers like to consume and what makes sense for your business. For example, an ebook might get downloaded but it might not get read by a less-engaged customer; Webinars are cool but only your most enthusiastic customers are going to want to give you an hour of their day.

[box type=”info”]If you are not a regular content creator right now, then I’d advise choosing 1-2 content types and practicing until you can produce regularly and efficiently.[/box]

3. Communication Channels- CTA

After you’ve created your super-useful content, you’ve got to get it in front of them. This may be the place where everyone has the most options to choose from. Your site alone gives you plenty of real estate and each of your marketing channels can provide additional support. Your customers will spot your offers somewhere, assuming they are not dormant.

Places to Promote Your Content

  • Homepage
  • Login screen? – cool idea
  • In-product call out – if you have dashboards or account profiles
  • Thank you pages – I should be doing this!
  • Blog Content
  • Email w/ Exception: use it only for important things to avoid fatigue or decline in open rates.

[box type=”note”]Take a look at your Site Content reports in analytics when thinking about placement of your offers. Your blog might be a natural place to put your materials, but you don’t want to overlook pages that align with how your customers use your site. In this list, the in-product call out is a really smart idea if you have a dashboard or profile page.[/box]

Conclusion

Here is what we’ve covered:

  1. Figure out what each segment needs to succeed
  2. Create custom content for segments
  3. Use CTAs to get them to use content and improve

This entire post is built off of my notes from a session at Inbound13. I’m not a HubSpot user or VAR. I just thought this was a really smart idea and something that I don’t see many companies doing. If this approach seems interesting to you, then I’d suggest visiting the HubSpot Blog to get an idea of how they put all this stuff together. I’d also suggest following Rebecca on Twitter (@repcor)

 

Published in Marketing Ideas Working Blog

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