The end is just the beginning.
A completed sale is the end of one process and the beginning of another. Nowhere is this truer than in selling and marketing to small and mid-size businesses. A sale is the culmination of a sometimes- complex journey that ultimately leads an SMB customer to your brand and your product or service. Hopefully, it is the beginning of another journey as well – your company’s journey alongside your customer for the duration of a long-term relationship.
The right content can make the difference between a one-time transaction and a deeper relationship that produces a loyal customer and additional sales over time. Accordingly, lifecycle content is an essential component of your content marketing program, and here are some tips for making the most of it:
1.Start at the start
Lifecycle content should start at the very beginning of the customer relationship – the moment the sales transaction is completed.
- The first thing your new customer receives should not be a bill. Instead, it should be a note of thanks or of welcome, and clear instructions how to contact your company with any questions or concerns.
- This is also a great opportunity to send product-usage content to help in onboarding to ensure a positive initial experience.
2. Content for customers should be different than what you produce for prospects
- Customer emails and other post-transaction content should focus on helping the customer get up to speed and get the most from your product or service. This can include tips on product usage, best practices, and/or customer stories (see below) highlighting successful engagements or applications.
3. Feature your customers
- Peer-to-peer content is often the most relatable and credible content for SMBs.
- When you spotlight your customers, it gives them welcome publicity, encourages them to share your content on social media and promote your company to their friends.
- Case studies (we call them customer stories) are great for this purpose; so are social posts or long-form “feel-good” stories (with pictures) on your website.
4. Include content for cross-sell/up-sell
- If you are trying to cross-sell or up-sell the customer, take the same approach that you would for prospects, with content on a wide range of topics appropriate to the various stages of the buying journey for the product you next want to sell.
- While personalization is important throughout the buyer’s journey, it is critical once a prospect has become a customer. At minimum, product-usage content should be customized to reflect the product that they bought (not generic or for another product), and cross-sell content should promote something that is logical in that context.
Once the initial sale is closed, it is equally important to offer content to reinforce the customer’s decision to do business with your company, to keep them coming back, and turn them into long-term advocates for your brand.