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Customer loyalty is a fickle beast, with only 28% of customers loyal to brands, according to research from Accenture. As a result, marketers are left anxiously fretting over customers’ actions or inactions, much like a teenager trying to decide whether their crush is going to ask them to the homecoming dance.
Today’s average customer has high expectations of businesses. People are no longer loyal to brands simply because they have a history with certain products or services. Customers remain loyal despite the many other brands clamoring for their attention because a company has created strategies that build long-term relationships, promptly respond to customers’ needs and desires and also generate multi-touchpoint engagement measures with content marketing.
Customer loyalty is nurtured by increased positive engagement with a brand.
Build customer loyalty through engagement with content marketing
Every touchpoint between customers and a brand must feature a compelling business cause that provides customers a reason to engage with an organization. To truly be engaged and committed to a brand, customers require a reason to act. Content marketing crosses the boundary between pure education and promotional sales and provides customers a reason to engage before they are even consciously considering a purchase.
Content marketing is the gentle handshake — an introduction of an idea or brand instead of the direct sales pitch.
For example: A customer reads a blog post about improving business systems with a new SaaS solution technology and how they might be able to decrease operational expenses by reducing a production timeline. At that moment, the customer might or might not actually be in the market for a new SaaS product and is comfortably using a different provider’s solution. But if the quality of the content is there, that customer may just bookmark your company blog and revisit. Maybe next time that same customer downloads an ebook and soon they are looking at your service as a potential answer to this new SaaS need they have. A need the customer may not even have realized they had until your original blog post got them to start thinking about possibilities.
The time customers spend online can indicate their level of engagement and provide companies a strategic way to measure loyalty. The strongest measure of loyalty is, of course, purchase. However, customers are engaging with a brand far before they ever take out a credit card, and those interactions matter. Engagement is taking the form of reading blogs, submitting information for ebooks and participating in webinars. As Mark Johnson, a leader at a research consulting firm, told the National Business Research Institute:
“Customer loyalty is no longer just about points, discounts, miles and rewards; it is about the way processes, technologies, ideas, and interactions engage individuals with the brand. The only way to achieve loyalty is through deeper engagement.”
Deeper engagement means creating content that is worth customers’ time and energy by answering their questions and providing worthwhile information about a topic of interest that a brand can reasonably claim thought leadership over.
Smart content marketing strategies are more than a blog post. They are driven by a deeper understanding of customer engagement behavior, thanks to data and marketing automation technology. Let’s expand on this idea and create a picture using the previous customer marketing scenario.
Our example customer reads a blog post about improving production timelines with the use of a new SaaS product and goes on to fill out a form for an ebook download about a similar topic. Smart content marketing uses that data, those behaviors, to tailor a message to that customer by advertising further similar engagement opportunities with banner ads and email by offering assessments or new content downloads. The previously displayed customer engagement behavior gives a brand enough information to predict their needs and try to provide further helpful resources — earning the respect and loyalty of our example customer.
Capitalize on the new buyer’s journey and increase revenue with content marketing
People are, simply put, buying differently today than they have ever before. If your brand is able to capitalize on the total customer experience by engaging with buyers before they are even actively looking for a product, you will be able to claim a bigger piece of the available market.
The potential revenue up for grabs due to changes in consumer spending and buyers switching brands is estimated at $1.6 trillion — a 29% increase from 2010, reported Accenture. This increase in revenue availability is due to the 56% of customers who said that the number of brands they consider for a given product or service has increased significantly over the last decade. Not only are customers considering more brands than ever, but they are also more open to switching providers, with 46% of customers saying they are more likely to buy from someone new than 10 years ago.
See my point? The profits are there for the taking — if your brand is able to successfully engage with customers and nurture them along their buyer’s journey. On the flip side, this new buyer’s market means that if your company is failing to keep your customers actively engaged, you’re risking that someone else will come along and scoop them up.
Understanding the needs and expectations of customers drives retention. Smart content marketing strategies promote customer engagement opportunities that provide worthwhile value for long-term success. Don’t let your customers jump ship easily — keep them engaged with content marketing. If you’re looking to improve customer engagement to boost brand loyalty, contact Jacobs & Clevenger for a free inbound CRM assessment.
Topics: Content Marketing