The sales/inbound marketing funnel doesn’t end after the sale, so why does almost all content and inbound marketing advice focus on winning customers but not keeping them? Our job’s not done yet.
The funnel represents the customer’s entire journey, which includes being a customer, in addition to the process that got them there. After all, if you’re trying to get repeat business, current customers are also future prospects and leads. But so many of us are ignoring our current customers in the activation and retention stages of the funnel.
How can you avoid falling into that trap? How can you create content that empowers current customers and builds brand loyalty while meeting all the marketing quotas you’re still responsible for?
Why content needs to empower current customers
It’s no secret that brand loyalty is hurting across industries. There are surveys and statistics passed around frequently, and Forbes has even declared it dead. As it becomes easier to hop around to whichever brand best fits a customer’s needs at any moment, you really need to give them a reason to stick with you.
After all, it will always be more cost-effective to keep current customers happy than to go out and find new ones. Customer acquisition can be up to five times more expensive than retention.
So instead of delivering your product to a new customer and sending them on your way, you want them to stick around and build a relationship with you. Keep in touch to make sure their experience with your product and company is a good one.
This is usually known as the difference between customer success and customer service. Instead of traditional customer service, where the customer reaches out with a question or problem, you’re being proactive and anticipating problems before they happen.
You’re also building long-term relationships with customers while doing so. Let’s dig into some of your options.
4 types of customer success content to start creating
Here are a few content types that not only help current customers, but can still help prospects learn more about your company.
1. Long-form support content
Let’s just lay it out there: FAQs and support knowledge bases aren’t always the most helpful resources.
Even when they do answer all of a customer’s possible questions with clear explanations, many customers would like more in-depth help.
In addition to answering questions and explaining processes in a support section of your website, you can also do so in marketing content.
Expanding on your most popular or helpful support resources makes for great articles or blog posts. Whereas support usually focuses on what something is, or how to do something, going in-depth gives you the chance to provide a lot more context.
For example, instead of just talking about how to use a certain product feature, you can also write about when or why to use the feature for the customer to get the most out of it.
A great example is this keyword research guide from SEMrush. Instead of just going through how to use the keyword research tools, like a support entry would, it walks you through an entire process.
There’s a ton of context. If someone’s using SEMrush’s keyword research tools, it’s going to be part of a larger process, like keyword research for a new campaign or competitive analysis.
By helping readers with other parts of those processes as well, SEMrush increases the chance the customer will succeed using the keyword research tool for their desired goal.
2. Support videos, livestreams and webinars
Interactive and video content continues to lead marketing trends, and it just so happens to be helpful to use as a support channel. Especially when it comes to physical products, visuals provide help in a way that’s hard to accomplish through your website.
Using support videos can be as basic as providing setup or instructional tutorials, which can be easily filmed on a low budget and distributed on YouTube for free. You can then invest more in videos once they’re proving themselves as a channel.
If you’re ready to level up your video marketing to current customers, onboarding or retention webinars let you take them in-depth into your product. Here are some great examples from SurveyMonkey:
Training and information webinars for new customers helps make sure they understand their new purchase and helps you set them up for success in the activation and retention lifecycle stages.
And webinars/live trainings aren’t just for tech products, either. Your customers may not think of them as a webinar, but any live broadcast — even on Facebook or Instagram — can accomplish a similar goal. Also consider developing a bank of online courses.
3. Case studies and success stories
Showcasing some of your best current customers is also an excellent way to empower the rest of your base. They use real stories to show, not tell, how your product or business solves a solution in your audience’s lives. This post has detailed instructions on how to create a compelling case study.
Customer success stories not only provide actionable advice for other customers, but they can also be used to show others how to use the product in a new way as well as inspire and motivate them. Weight Watchers has been showcasing success stories for more than 50 years:
If someone feels stuck or is having trouble with their plan, seeing examples of others who found success can help keep them on track. And these videos have the added bonus of working well in other areas of the funnel, too.
4. Find unknown opportunities
One last idea for creating content that helps current customers is to show them “this is what you’re missing.” How can customers use the product better? What unknown opportunities lie in this product they already own?
To retain customers, you need to continually prove your product’s use and worth. By continually showing customers new ways to use and get value from it, you’re keeping their interest piqued.
One of my favorite examples of this is Zapier. On their blog, they’re always teaching customers new ways to use the product:
They create content that makes you say, “Oh, I was already using Zapier, but I had no idea I could do all this.” A customer following their content won’t run out of ways to use the product, and therefore will have a reason to keep renewing their subscription.
People want to be empowered
How often have you been the customer of a business that was clearly just after your money? That stopped paying attention to you once the sale was made?
Think about your feelings when faced with buying from that company again. You were probably more excited to find an alternative product, right?
Don’t let current customers fall out of your own sales funnel. Keep them interested, keep them engaged, and keep them empowered to keep them coming back.