Using Content for Customer Marketing (And How We Do It)

January 12, 2017 Sam Brennand

Customer marketing

Our business is based on repeat customers and word of mouth. There’s a lot of value in building up our brand name and what it stands for. We view the money that we spend on customer service as marketing money that improves our brand.

- Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh’s one of my professional heroes. Over the last decade, Tony and the team at Zappos have built an innovative business by focusing on surprise and delight. By creating exceptional customer experiences, Tony’s built a billion dollar brand and turned Zappos into a famous example of how to develop customers into raving fans.

What is Customer Marketing?

According to Influitive, customer marketing “is built around activities designed to drive retention, loyalty, advocacy, growth and community participation for current customers. The strategy, which is different from marketing with the goal of acquiring new customers, relies heavily on maximizing strong customer relationships”.

But in order to maximize strong customer relationships, you first need to build them. And that’s where content comes in.

At Uberflip, we believe that content is the most effective way to ignite meaningful relationships –and we spend a lot of time creating content. The hard work that our marketing team puts in every month creating content is what helps to keep our funnel full of qualified prospects.

But we also spend a lot of time creating content that’s focused on building better relationships with our current customers. At Uberflip, customer marketing starts the moment that a prospect becomes a customer and continues through when that customer becomes an advocate.

Uberflipper Lifecycle

Customer marketing encompasses the onboarding, adoption, retention, expansion, and advocacy stages of The Uberflipper Lifecycle.

Customers are also a source of readily accessible growth. According to Gartner, 80% of an organization’s future revenue comes from 20% of its current customers. Each of your customers is a highly qualified prospect that’s primed to expand its relationship with your organization.

The activities that make up customer marketing can help at every stage of the customer lifecycle:

  • Demonstrating your value proposition

  • Onboarding new customers

  • Ensuring customer retention

  • Promoting account expansion

  • Encouraging customer advocacy

How Uberflip Does Customer Marketing

Uberflip’s customer marketing efforts revolve around using our own platform to create the kind of amazing content and content experiences that encourage adoption, retention, expansion, and advocacy. Typically, these experiences tend to live in the Uberflip Hub or our Knowledge Base and include webinars, customer profiles, case studies, best practices guides, coaching decks, infographics, and more.

Here’s how our own Marketing and Customer Success teams (as well as a few others) create content to fuel customer marketing efforts at each stage of the customer lifecycle.

Using Content to Facilitate Onboarding

Customer marketers have the opportunity to get started the moment a prospect becomes a customer. The process needs to start with an amazing first impression rooted in building deep and lasting customer relationships. The process starts with Onboarding.

During Uberflip’s onboarding process, we rely heavily on content to ensure that all new Uberflippers are well trained and able to launch their Content Hubs quickly.  

Content Hubs

Most of the content that our customer marketers create lives in Uberflip’s Knowledge Base in some way, shape, or form.

On every kickoff call, customers are walked through the Uberflip Knowledge Base and encouraged to explore it extensively during the onboarding process. The Knowledge Base houses all of the knowledge our team possesses, so it’s a great destination for customers.

Take the example below. This Stream of content, designed for Marketo users, contains everything you’d need to know about our Marketo integration. Technical documentation, best practices guides, how-to videos, and more.

Custom Stream

We also use content Hubs to showcase the work of our best customers. We call one of them The Hub of Hubs.

The Hub of Hubs is a custom-built content Hub that segments customer examples by industry, use case, integration, and implementation approach. It’s a great place for new customers to get inspired by what existing customers have done. During the initial stages of the onboarding process, we make sure that every new customer has the chance to explore The Hub of Hubs.

hub of hubs

Customer Stories

Our customer marketers also create content that helps set the right expectations regarding the onboarding process. We’ve found that the best way to do that is to give new customers something to strive towards. In other words, we try to give all of our new customers role models.

Lucky for us, we’ve got many to choose from.

Matt Davis, Director of Marketing at Allocadia, is a great example. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Allocadia is the leading budgeting, planning, and marketing performance management solution on the market. If you’re a marketer, I’d highly recommend giving Allocadia’s platform a look. Back in 2016, Allocadia decided to relaunch the Resources section of its website as a Content Hub.

Matt approached the onboarding process with enthusiasm, dedication, and creativity. He was able to launch Allocadia’s amazing Resources Hub in just a few weeks. Our team worked closely with Matt following the launch of Allocadia’s Hub to create a client profile that highlighted exactly what made Matt so successful during the onboarding process. Matt was even kind enough to share a template he created to make migrating content to his new Resources Hub even easier (a template that’s available for download here).

Allocadia

Customer profiles like these are a fantastic way to put a face to a process and get new customers into the right frame of mind while they’re implementing their content Hubs.

Automated Messages

Another incredibly valuable form of content we create for the onboarding process is automated messages.

We’re big fans of Pendo, an amazing tool that makes it easy to provide contextual help right within our application. The goal - make it easy for customers to answer their own questions.

Take the guide below, for example. Our platform integrates seamlessly with a number of powerful marketing automation tools, including Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua, HubSpot, Act-On, and Mailchimp. Integrating any of these tools isn’t particularly difficult, but it does require users to navigate a few different parts of the application and enter several pieces of information like API keys. To make it easy, we used Pendo to create a step-by-step guide right within our application to walk customers through the process from start to finish. It’s easy, intuitive, and contextual.

Integrating

Using Content to Drive Adoption

Successfully onboarding a customer is just step one of the customer marketing process. Once we set them up for success, it’s important for our Customer Marketing team to continue to drive adoption across all areas of Uberflip. We are constantly adding new features and enhancements across the platform, so it’s the job of customer marketing to make sure our customers are taking full advantage of them.

To drive continuous customer adoption, we use a number of customer marketing tools, Including automated messages, webinars, articles, and guides, customer stories, and email nurture campaigns.

Automated Messages

Contextual messages can be used in the onboarding process to encourage self-service and increase the time to first value for new customers. But they can also encourage product adoption once a customer has officially “gone live”.

We also use Pendo to create messages designed to drive platform adoption over time. Because Pendo messages can be targeted to specific users based on predefined criteria (for example, only users who haven’t yet adopted feature A or are only using 50% of feature B) we’re able to nurture our customers using contextual, in-app messages. We know that the more of our platform that our customers use, the more likely they’re going to see value.

A few months back, we released two of our most requested features ever — Customizable URL Paths and Redirect Rules. When we officially released the features, we created a Pendo message that advised users while they were in the application that they could start using both CUPs and Redirect Rules.

New Features

The in-app message also directed users to read more about why we developed the new features in the first place and gave them the opportunity to sign up for an educational webinar. As a result, we saw strong adoption of both features in a short period of time, making this an automated message with a strong ROI.

Webinars, Articles & Guides

Webinars, articles, and guides are also easy to create to encourage continuous product adoption. All of these pieces of content are always repurposed by our customer marketers in the Uberflip Knowledge Base. We always want to ensure that future customers have the ability to access valuable content on-demand.

As mentioned above, with the release of Customizable URL Paths and Redirect Rules, we hosted a customer-specific webinar to walk customers through how each of the new features works.

Once the webinar was complete, our team ensured it had a home in both our marketing Hub and our Knowledge Base as on-demand resources.

Webinar

Customer Stories

Another way that we encourage ongoing platform adoption is by showcasing exactly how our most successful customers became so successful.

This is especially important for our customers that use marketing automation.

We wanted to showcase how one of our most successful Marketo users, Naor Chazan at CRF Health, was making the most of Uberflip’s Marketo integration. That video turned into an ongoing webinar series that we call Get to Know an Uberflipper.

These short, webinar-style videos are relatively easy for us to create and deliver a ton of value to both our team (internal knowledge) and our customers (external knowledge).

Customer Video

Email Nurture Campaigns

Last but not least, our customer marketers encourage ongoing platform adoption through everyone’s favorite medium, email.

The Flipside, our monthly customer newsletter, is sent out in the first week of every month. It’s an easy and effective way for us to regularly touch base with all of our customers.

Flipside

While we’re constantly tweaking the design and content, The Flipside typically contains a recent piece of content from our marketing team, an interesting and relevant customer story, several new pieces of content from our Knowledge Base, and a call-to-action to join our Advocate Hub, the Uberflip A-List.

Using Content for Retention & Expansion

Retention and expansion are where our customer marketing efforts start to get really, really personalized. The content we create for use in the onboarding process and to encourage platform adoption is more general in nature. But when it comes to the topics of contract renewals and upgrades, our customer marketers create content designed for one-to-one or one-to-a-few interactions. Things like infographics, presentations, and reports.

For example, our Coaching team has developed presentation templates for monthly, quarterly and/or annual customer check-ins.

We use this template to facilitate regular reporting of a customer’s account performance, but also to ensure our Coaching team is able to educate customers on what our engineering team is working on, advise customers about new tips, tricks, and best practices, and ensure customers know about any upcoming events or webinars that they could benefit from.

metrics

If you’re curious, you can check out and download the check-in template that our customer marketers created here.

On a more regular basis, we also create smaller, more digestible pieces of content that we hope will give customers a quick glimpse into how well their account is performing, generate questions and spark conversation around their account. We use Canva to create fun infographics highlighting things like a customer’s top performing content, high-level Hub metrics and quick wins they can implement in their Hub.

Customer infographic

If you’re curious to see more, you can check out the full version of one of the infographics our customer marketers create here.

Using Content to Encourage Advocacy

At Uberflip, we use our Advocate Hub -- the Uberflip A-List -- to promote, encourage, and reward our advocate customers.

Our customer marketers create and publish challenges that are designed to harness the enthusiasm our best customers have for our platform. This includes product tips and quizzes, feedback surveys, industry education and even fun challenges to give marketers a well-deserved break in their day. The A-List also gives our advocates the opportunity to help us grow by sharing our content, taking part in customer reference calls and referring their friends to Uberflip.

a-list

Leveraging a platform like Influitive, we’re also able to call on our customers for content generation. Everything from testimonials, case studies and customer spotlights, to partner webinars and guest blog posts. These initiatives not only help us generate leads and close deals, they also help us build lasting relationships with valuable customers.

Content is the Most Effective Way to Ignite Meaningful Relationships

If you’re willing to invest in customer marketing and in creating amazing content experiences, you’ll find it easier to onboard new customers, demonstrate the value that your product, service, or platform provides, retain your customers, find expansion opportunities, and encourage your customers to become advocates for your brand.

Customer marketing is all about building lasting relationships with your customers. Content is the key.

Get an in-depth look at how to use content in your customer marketing in our eBook!

About the Author

Sam Brennand

As Uberflip's Director of Customer Success, Sam is focused on helping customers amplify their content marketing to tell better stories and generate more leads.

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