These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn’t recognize that content marketing is a valued tool in the sales process. Content marketing is well known for shortening the sales cycle, warming up leads, and generating interest in a brand or product. But what happens after the sale?
Often, in the B2B industry, all of the content marketing focus is poured into the sale. After that, it’s up to the product or service to keep the client coming back. This system is flawed: even as your product delivers on its promises, there is still a real potential for customers to undergo the normal emotions and glitches along the way, including:
• Buyer’s remorse
• New decision makers added after the buy
• Resentment or devolving relationship
• Inadequate value-add
It’s a huge marketing mistake to constantly focus on the next buyer: considering it’s five to ten times more expensive to obtain a new client, and that repeat clients spend 67% more on average, business owners are wise to devote resources to supporting current clients with consistent communication as part of an ongoing content marketing campaign.
The value of content marketing after the sale is better demonstrated when one considers three categories of clients: New, Established, and Legacy Clients.
Category 1: New Clients (0-2 years)
New clients demonstrate the most obvious need for continued content marketing. In the business-to-business space, new buyers are usually handed from a sales representative to an account manager. The new client had a relationship with the sales representative, and had built enough sense of trust in this relationship to buy from the company. Now it’s on the account manager to try to quickly build a connection with the new client while also delivering on the promises made during the sale. Additionally, new clients are more liable to be confused with your processes or your product capabilities, and they’ll be anxious for results to prove the worth of their purchase.
Content marketing gives your business the chance to prove your customer service and build a connection with the account manager without eating into your staff’s time in providing personal attention. By creating an on-boarding process that includes sending items such as timelines, tip sheets on what to expect or have ready at what point in the process, bios and contact information for key members of the team, and video tutorials of what to do with the product or service, you can expect to minimize client anxiety in working with your company for the first few years.
Flesh out your content campaign to new clients, intersperse continuing education pieces so clients are sure to be getting the maximum value from their purchase. Rather than relying on an impersonal FAQ page on your website, use content marketing as an opportunity to turn frequent questions into infographics or dynamic education pieces that are sent to your clients before they have a chance to ask the question themselves.
Category 2: Established Clients (3-6 years)
It’s tempting to let communications drift after the first period of transition for new clients is over, but there is a huge opportunity to upsell current clients, as well as the general need to consistently remind customers of the value you’re bringing them. At this stage, clients feel they understand what they can expect of you, and they might start looking around to see if they can get more from another vendor. They are under pressure to continue to prove your ROI, and they are looking to define the value you bring their company.
With content marketing, you can consistently remind established clients of the value you’re adding to their business, as well as point out where you over-deliver on your promises. Point out your value—rather than waiting for clients to discover it—with webinars on how to get the most out of your service. Keep building a relationship of trust in your brand by sending case studies of success stories, posting reviews and advancements to your social media pages, and promoting articles about topics relevant to your products and services.
By this point, your established clients will also be out of the “honeymoon phase” of simply accepting your product at face value, and they might start finding product issues or limitations. Stay ahead of this trend by consistently sending clients content on how to work around limitations or how you’re improving the product based on feedback. Create a knowledge base of tips and How To’s clients can return to with questions, so they feel your company is proactively providing them with support. You can also establish community forums or feedback centers so established clients can help each other solve common problems together, educate the newer clients, and feel heard by your company’s support team.
Category 3: Legacy Clients (7+ years)
Legacy clients have proven their loyalty to your company over the years, but your complacency could leave them feeling ignored. Additionally, new decision makers and influencers could have come up the ranks, as well as new technology and services, which might weaken your bond with the client.
Keep your legacy clients feeling like priority customers by consistently marketing to them with fresh content. Send them information on what’s new at your company or with your services. This is a great opportunity to sell them new products or introduce them to longtail services they didn’t previously need. Point out how you’re consistently evolving to meet new needs as they arise and are keeping with the changes in the industry.
True loyalty is priceless, so in addition to any loyalty program you have in place, keep content in mind as a means to consistently reinforce your own commitment to your clients. Use personal touches, such as cards, video chats, and client-branded content, to remind clients you’re thinking of them.
Just as each stage of a buyer’s journey is marked by a different need for specific types of content, so is the repeat client’s journey filled with challenges, hiccups, and emotional needs which can be met by consistent branded content. For more information on how content after the sale can be matched to current client needs, contact us here at Nxtbook.