In all of the excitement that accompanies the demand generation process and Sales pipeline, we often forget that a ‘Closed Won’ deal is just the start of the journey. What happens after is equally as important — if not more so.
There is a commercial imperative to making sure that customer retention is at the forefront of every business strategy. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, acquiring new customers costs six to seven times more than maintaining existing customers. This figure is supported by Market Metrics, who also identified that it is 60-70% easier to convert an existing customer than it is to convert a prospect. A recent study by Bain & Co found that a 10% increase in customer retention levels results in a 30% increase in the value of the company. Unsurprisingly, people are more likely to buy from a company or individual they have used in the past.
Content marketing is often lauded for its efficacy when it comes to audience engagement and conversion, however less is said about another useful function: customer retention.
There are numerous examples of organizations that use content to provide value to their users and customers. These include: Box is particularly industrious in their use of videos, especially to announce new products and features and explain how to use them; Evernote’s blog is filled with quick tips and community stories, designed to help users use the app more frequently — and become product evangelists; American Express has created Open Forum — a portal of helpful articles which cover issues faced by small business owners.
In all cases, these companies are delivering useful and entertaining content that not only builds a relationship with clients — thus keeping the brand front-of-mind — but also encourages them to keep returning to brand digital channels for more useful content, both before and after becoming a customer.
Beyond creating neat content-rich hubs, consumer brands and B2B organizations that are more data-driven are in a hugely advantageous position to retain customers by learning what their interests are from the content they consume.
As I’ve explained before, content isn’t just a conduit for a relevant marketing message or helpful information — it is also an incredible source of customer insight. Tracking customers’ content consumption exposes their current and future interests and needs, all of which can be fed into CRM tools. As Walter Mosley once said: “A man's bookcase will tell you everything you'll ever need to know about him.” Therefore, to understand what makes your new customers tick, look at the content topics which are most interesting to them.
In one study, 92% of consumers surveyed in a Customer Driven Quality Survey by Purdue University said that they form their decision to repurchase services from a company based on their call center experience. As such, interest data from content is integral for communicating with customers in a relevant way and delivering a more meaningful dialogue that culminates with a satisfactory conclusion.
Imagine how customer service would change for a retail bank if the reps knew that the caller had just become a first-time parent, or how a wealth management advisor could engage with current client if they knew what they’d been reading on the firm’s website.
Or, what if an agent was able to mollify an irate customer who had a product issue with tickets to see particular sports game because they knew the customer was an avid Cleveland Cavaliers fan.
None of these could be revealed by looking at purchase history logs or knowing their date of birth, but all of these would be revealed if brands were to understand the topics that each customer had been reading about recently.
Content marketing is an excellent way to attract, engage and convert your prospects. But we should also remember just how important content can be to retaining customers as well — particularly when we use that content to learn more about them and better service their needs.
Andrew Davies is the CMO and Co-Founder of idio, and helps leading content marketers maximize the value of their content marketing. idio's Content Intelligence platform analyzes your content automatically, understands your customers via the content they consume, and recommends the right content to the right person in real-time, on any channel. To find out more, please visit idioplatform.com and follow Andrew on Twitter @andjdavies.