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Many companies use content marketing as a lead generation strategy. However, content can also be used to develop and support customer relationships. Engaging customers throughout their journey is essential to building engagement and customer lifetime value. Content focused on supporting key stages in the customer journey can deliver value and provide key engagement points.
Lead generation versus customer relationship management
Lead generation is all about customer acquisition, whereas customer relationship management is about engagement across the customer lifecycle. Effective customer relationship management can bolster customer lifetime value and increase customer retention rates. Customer retention rates are a metric that can be influenced and it’s a proven fact that retaining a customer is less expensive than acquiring one.1 Despite this, about half of companies focus on retention compared to companies that focus on acquisition.2 A carefully constructed content marketing program can allow a company to focus on customer retention and customer acquisition, thereby stretching marketing dollars further.
Using data to bolster customer relationship management
Companies today collect a significant amount of user data – but how are they using this data? Many companies aren’t certain which are the best applications for data to increase relevancy or how to apply information to communications in a customer-friendly manner. Behavioral data based on a user’s interest can be used to tailor content to customers, thereby engaging the user through relevancy.
According to Inbound Content, 61% of customers feel better about a company that delivers custom content.3 Behaviorally based communications that apply data based on product ownership and website viewing are likely to be perceived as more relevant by customers. Increased relevancy is a proven technique to drive engagement, and the more often users engage, the more likely they are to remain customers.
As customers revisit a website, their digital behavior can be tracked via pages viewed, time spent on pages and other behavior. From there, the company can create tailored email messages and website content geared toward educating the customer further about the products and services they are interested in – or even giving customers incentives to convert or take action.
Content marketing can be used for ongoing education
Many marketers find that the more a customer engages with their products or brands, the deeper the relationship. For years, marketers have found newsletters a vital communications mechanism, a technique founded on providing information. An effective content marketing program takes this a step further by providing useful content when users are online searching for information. Bringing customers back to your website for repeat visits when they are searching for solutions is a winning strategy to drive customer loyalty. Customers will embrace content from a company they already do business with, and those ongoing brand touch points will likely result in improved customer satisfaction. Additionally, content can be promoted through existing customer channels to drive engagement and re-engagement.
Content can also be used to highlight new applications for products. Packaged goods marketers have been actively using this strategy for years by providing recipes and other “new uses” for their products. Retail marketers have also effectively been using content via how-to or fashion blogs to demonstrate how one item can be used in conjunction with other items to create an entire new look for a room, or new outfit. Content marketing is an effective technique to help customers visualize new uses and additional applications for a product.
Content marketing for customer support
Content marketing can be used to create and bolster self-service support for many customers, which can also improve customer satisfaction and positively impact customer retention. Digital marketing has made customers impatient. Self-serve capabilities help users perceive a company as “easy to do business with.”
Many customers want to find information related to products and services they use. Providing tailored content marketing for customer support allows the company to provide support with limited overhead while still improving the user experience. An excellent example of this would be software solutions and hardware tools. As customers use the software or technology, questions naturally arise on troubleshooting and other nuances. Blogs that are search engine optimized and address common customer issues will surface as a customer searches for answers online. And wouldn’t you rather bring users back to your website than have them end up on another site seeking out answers?
According to Salesforce.com, 89% of consumers have stopped using a business entirely after a negative customer service experience.4 Allowing for self-serve options not only increases customer satisfaction and reduces overhead, it also sidesteps the possibility of the consumer experiencing poor customer service.
Content marketing is often considered only for acquisition and lead generation. For many companies, building customer retention will significantly improve their bottom line. Content marketing can also be used to improve customer retention and lead generation efforts at the same time, creating a positive relationship with your customers from the very start.