How to use content to increase usage, satisfaction, and revenue.
Marketing and selling to small and midsize businesses (SMBs) is hard. Between identifying your best prospects across many different sectors, developing messages that work for each, and finding ways to reach them, the journey to an initial sale can be long and challenging. Yet, it is really only the start. The successful end to this journey begins another—where the buyer becomes a loyal customer of, and advocate for, your brand. This requires focused effort aimed at customer retention.
The economics behind retaining and deepening customer relationships are indisputable.
- It can cost 5 times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones. [Forrester]
- Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. [Invesp Consulting]
- A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10%. [customersthatstick.com]
Initiatives like adding a customer success function are becoming more common. Still, there are too many companies whose marketing doesn’t adequately emphasize retention. As a result, holes in the retention bucket can add up to real money, really quickly. I have heard too many B2SMB executives suggest that improving retention efforts is too challenging, given all the parts—support, product, marketing, and others—that need to come together. While not a panacea, a scalable, low-cost way to overcome this is with content targeted toward existing customers, focused on what happens after the sale. We call this lifecycle content. Here are some tips for creating and using it.
- Begin immediately after the sale
The first thing most new customers receive is a bill or some other dry acknowledgement of the transaction. This should be accompanied by a note of thanks or welcome, and clear instructions about how to contact your company with any questions or concerns.
This is also a great opportunity to provide information on how to get the most from your product or service. This will help the onboarding process and ensure a positive initial experience. Emails and other post-transaction content can include tips on product usage, best practices, or customer stories highlighting how others are having success with your product.
Personalization is important throughout the buyer’s journey, but it is critical once a prospect has become a customer. At minimum, product-related content should be about the product they purchased, instead of something generic.
To cross-sell to the customer, you can use some of the same content that you may have already created for prospects for the products you wish to sell. This should be content appropriate to the various stages of the buying journey for the product you next want to offer. But be careful—this content should promote products or services that represent a logical next purchase for the customer, based on their initial sale.
While successful customer retention has an enormous positive impact on the bottom line, it can be difficult to pull together all the pieces of the puzzle. Content is a scalable and relatively low-cost way to keep SMBs customers happy and coming back for more.
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