Nobody wants to keep on reinventing the wheel. Neither should you risk important, existing revenue streams by focusing solely on prospecting and closing deals. Acquiring new customers is costly, time-consuming, and not especially easy in uncertain times.
Doesn’t it make perfect sense to keep the customers you already have?
Preventing customer churn takes thoughtful planning. That’s why it’s important to develop a content strategy that educates customers on the use of your product. You can then use it to put your customers on the road to success.
In this article, we'll introduce you to the three pillars of customer retention and then give you a roadmap for developing a retention-focused content strategy. (You can always jump down to that bit if you're itching to put it into practice.)
Three Pillars of Customer Retention
Content is the best way B2B businesses can address the customer retention question. Quality content demonstrates your company’s commitment to the customer’s success. After all, whatever product or service you’re offering, customers will need to learn the ins and outs of it to use it effectively.
To improve customer retention, Uberflip’s customer success team focuses on three pillars:
1. Using real-life examples
There are few better ways to demonstrate the value of a product than to provide real-life examples of it in action.
By showing how another company uses our product, for instance, we enable customers who are considering canceling to see the value of the product directly without having to be "sold" on it. This takes the burden away from the sales call and puts it on the success side.
It can also serve as inspiration. Seeing what other people are able to accomplish with a product can often spark renewed interest and engagement. For instance, we created The Big Book of Personalized Marketing Examples to showcase many of the ways that customers use our platform to create engaging, relevant content experiences.
Finally, if your real-life examples come from customers, you're also strengthening those relationships. Customer stories can serve a lot of functions, but one really important one is to celebrate the achievements of teams who've used your product or service. We're genuinely impressed by the marketing chops we see on a regular basis, and this content helps us declare our feelings in a public space.
2. Leveraging existing content
Like many companies, we have lots of great content—white papers, ebooks, webinars, product guides, you name it. A lot of this stuff gets created for prospects, but it can be tremendously helpful when repurposed into content streams for existing customers, especially when paired with new material that puts it into context.
By showing our customers that we care enough to create educational content and provide video training walkthroughs and personalized consultations, we show that the value they get from working with us not only comes from the product. It’s also generated by the people behind the scenes who are determined to see them succeed.
3. Starting the retention process early
We've alluded to this above, but there's a maxim all customer marketers should live by—heck, it honestly applies to most human relationships:
Start the retention process when the customer is still open to staying and not after they have already told you they are leaving.
Always strive to prevent cancellations before they occur. At Uberflip, we hold bi-weekly webinars for training, send email blasts with offers for personalized consultations, and, most of all, we search for solutions to problems before they arise. Having to connect with support or pour through a technical guide can often be a point of friction—no matter how good your customer services teams are.
These three pillars all have one factor in common, and that’s content. Developing retention-focused content is a conscious choice that comes from setting firm goals and objectives to prevent and reduce customer churn. Drive product adoption, educate customers on best practices, and give your team the tools to deliver great customer engagements.
Much of today’s excellent content marketing is aimed at lead generation and conversion. This is unquestionably a primary benefit of strong content, but there’s a whole other facet that can drive outstanding results for your top line: customer retention.
Using your content hub for retention can help create a recurring revenue stream, depending on your business model. It also helps build brand loyalists who contribute to referral sales through their reviews, endorsements, and shared content. Here's how to get started developing retention-focused content for your customer base.
Step 1: Find out what your current customers want to learn
As with all good marketing, your content must say something your customers want to hear, and it should be delivered creatively and uniquely. This makes it vital to approach content marketing for customer retention in the same way you’d approach content for lead gen—by finding out what your customers want. Getting your hands on this information might require the following:
- Interviews: Do you have customers you interact with regularly? Interviewing customers one-on-one can give you great insight into what your customers want to know about your product and the market in general.
- Surveys: Asking happy customers to perform a quick survey is a tried-and-true tactic in the marketer’s playbook. You won’t get everyone involved, but you’ll get great feedback on what kind of content will perform well.
- Focus groups: Get a bunch of customers (or other stakeholders) together in a room. Prompt them to interact around their responsibilities and needs. Take notes.
- Independent research: Find forums, social networks, blogs, and other websites where your customers interact with each other or industry thought leaders. Find out what people are (and aren’t) talking about.
Step 2: Implement data-driven segmentation and personalization
Creating content specifically for retention can get tricky, especially if you have an active content program for lead gen. The best way to approach this is to analyze the different segmentations that make up your market.
Here are three customer segments you’ll need to build strong walls around:
- Audience: What content makes the most sense for your potential customers? Which information impacts current customers? Do your customers work in different industries, and if so, are you creating industry-specific content? Create and organize your audience segments diligently for a firmer grip on effective content distribution.
- Product relevance: Most of your lead gen content is product-agnostic. With current customers, there may be a greater need for product-specific content. Segment your product-specific and product-agnostic content where necessary.
- Channel segmentation: Which channels make the most sense for your retention-focused content? For example, you may have a knowledge base and forums that are separate from continued industry learning but equally important for retention. Or you may find customers engage with email content more often than they find your blog posts through LinkedIn.
Step 3: Get customers to opt-in wherever possible
Sometimes, you need to prompt customers to opt-in for continued learning or risk alienating them. Forcing content on your customers can have the opposite effect if you end up annoying rather than helping.
This could be as simple as asking your customer to check a box “yes” or “no” for periodic emails while they’re in the process of buying from you. Consent is already built into your social channels, of course, because customers choose whether or not to follow you.
Step 4: Gather feedback to measure consumption and retention
Do you think you can simply create content, publish it, and move on to the next thing? Think again! You need to measure whether or not your retention content pushes the correct customer buttons. For this purpose, you’ll want to look at surface metrics around consumption.
These might include:
- Social sharing statistics
- Whether visitors are bouncing or perusing other pieces of content
- Opt-ins and opt-outs
- Evaluating channels by finding out how visitors are finding articles
- How often individual visitors return to content pages
You’ll also want to dig deeper to determine whether your content is impacting retention and benefiting your ROI. These measurements might include:
- Who is consuming the content—non-customers or customers?
- Getting qualitative feedback from customers through surveys and direct channels
- Discovering whether customers interact in comments sections and forums
- Tracking the entire customer journey from initial purchase through content consumption
- Final purchase or end of the subscription
Pro Tip: Appoint a Customer Success Team
Customer retention has long been a critical issue for businesses. Many companies have found that whether they are small, medium, or large operations, a customer success team can solve this problem. But how does customer success differ from customer service, and what does it have to do with content?
The goal of customer success is not simply to answer a customer’s question and be done with it. It’s about keeping your customers happy by helping them achieve their goals and viewing their success as your own. It’s a one-on-one consultation that delivers personalized solutions demonstrating the value of your offering.
Boost Your Customer Success with Content
Organizations need to continually focus on customer happiness and not only ramp up efforts during times of economic uncertainty or when growth starts to plateau. When you keep customers happy and successful, two things will happen:
- Your bottom line will continue to improve.
- You’ll end up with more satisfied customers.
Facilitate your company’s transition from a “service” to a “success” mindset with a retention-focused content marketing strategy.
To learn more about how Uberflip’s content experience platform can help you develop the right assets to engage your customers and embark on content marketing to reduce customer churn, reach out and schedule a demonstration.