In my book social media done right is not about follower counts, it’s about REAL relationships. So when Jessica pitched this idea of creating great content to boost customer loyalty, I was all over it. I know I’d much rather create helpful, valuable FOR YOU than for a search engine or to get social media clicks.
So let’s get to it. Take it away, Jessica!
No matter what industry you’re in, what your niche is, or who your customers are, customer loyalty is a huge revenue-generator and cost saver for your business.
In a nutshell, customer loyalty is the likelihood of previous customers continuing to buy from you, choosing your business over your competitors, and recommending your products/services to their friends, family and colleagues.
Loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. Not to mention, it is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.
Boosting customer loyalty is a smart business move. And you can do it with a content marketing strategy that includes great content.
Great content can be in the form of blog posts, e-books, guides, checklists, webinars, videos — you name it. What makes it “great” isn’t the format. What makes it “great” is that it engages your audience.
Great content does the following:
- Informs, educates or entertains your target audience
- Is published in a format that your target audience actually consumes (Are they readers, watchers or listeners?)
- Positions you as an expert in your field
Content marketing isn’t just helpful for attracting new customers, it can also increase customer loyalty in three important ways.
1. Great Content Builds Trust
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again — but here it is. People buy from people they know, like and trust.
Great content helps with all three of those things — but it can especially inspire trust. And trust is by far one of the most important factors in customer loyalty.
Great content boosts your credibility and helps people see you as an expert. This is great, of course, for driving interest and desire with new customers — but it also reassures existing customers that they made the right decision when they bought from you, and it’s safe for them to refer their friends and family to you.
When someone engages with your content, it’s like a handshake. A firm, warm handshake (great content) instills confidence, while a clammy, dead-fish handshake (irrelevant, half-hearted content) can cause doubt. So here are three tips for turning your content into that firm handshake:
- Make the content specifically relevant to your target audience. A guide to local fishing spots won’t go far with moms of toddlers — but a kid-friendly recipe booklet might.
- Reassure the audience that you know who they are, you understand what problems they’re facing and you grasp the outcome they’re looking for. Here’s a trick that great copywriters often use: Use your previous customers’ exact words in your content. If a previous customer tells you, “Your business coaching helped me improve my sales process and boosted my monthly sales by 150%,” use that. Create a free guide to improving your sales process. Write a blog post with three secrets to boosting monthly sales by 150%.
- Spend the time to do it right. Produce professional-caliber content — well-written, neatly designed, seamlessly delivered. If you can’t (or don’t want to) learn to do this yourself, hire people who will do it for you. Your content represents your brand. When it doesn’t look professional, it can color how people see you and your business.
2. Great Content Gets People Coming Back for More
Happy customers don’t dine and dash. They check back in to see what else you have on the menu. Offering them great content is an easy way to satisfy their cravings and keep them coming back.
If your audience loves your content, they’ll want more. This is a great way to set a pattern with them that will then repeat with the buying process.
In Robert Cialdini’s book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, this is called the “Commitment and Consistency” principle. Once people have committed to saying “yes” to you once, or taken a stand that they like what you have to say, they tend to stay consistent with that commitment.
In other words, when you produce great free content, it makes it that much easier for your audience to say “yes” when you share with them an offer for a paid product or service. This is true for new and existing customers alike.
This repeat engagement is self-sustaining. The more you get them to say “yes” to you, the more likely they are to say “yes” the next time around.
Driving repeat engagement is great for repeat business, but it’s also inextricably tied to trust. To keep this cycle going and to reinforce that customer loyalty, you must be consistent.
Content consistency is a two-part issue: There’s quality consistency and schedule consistency.
Quality consistency means that you put the same effort into everything you produce. The downloadable guide you created this week should be just as expertly crafted as the checklist you put out last week.
Schedule consistency is something many businesses neglect (especially when they get busy), and it has a huge impact on customer loyalty. If you’re going to produce content as part of your marketing strategy, do it regularly. This is especially important with blog posts and marketing emails. Once you set a pattern of publication, your audience will expect your content on that schedule. If you publish a blog post each Tuesday morning, your loyal audience will be looking for that content each Tuesday. If it’s not there, the likelihood that they’ll check back again later is slim. Don’t let them down — don’t break that trust. Publish great content consistently and they’ll keep coming back for more.
3. Great Content Encourages Sharing
When you really love a brand or a product, what’s the first thing you do? You tell other people all about it.
Maybe you post a picture of your recent purchase on Facebook. Or you send an email to your sister about this amazing company that makes these amazing products that she just has to check out. Or you recommend the service to your own audience in a blog post or a newsletter.
A key factor in customer loyalty is the likelihood that the customer will recommend your product/service to their friends and family. Great content makes it so easy for them to do this. All they have to do is forward the content onward and voila, your customer is the hero for introducing their friend to your awesome product or service, and you are now in the inbox of another potential customer.
To make this even easier, do the following:
- Optimize your content. Make sure your PDF file sizes are as small as possible, your emails aren’t image-heavy and your e-book can be read easily on a mobile device.
- Make it easy to distribute with social media share buttons. Create a click-to-tweet link with attention-grabbing copy.
- Most importantly, nail the headline. Make the headline an enticing call-to-action. Make it so intriguing, and be so clear about the benefits of consuming the content, that it’s a no-brainer for your customer to share it — and it’s a no-brainer for the receiver to open it.
Your Business Wins When Happy Customers Become Loyal Customers
Great content helps build trust between you and your customers. It keeps them coming back for more, and it encourages them to share it with others. Great content can increase customer loyalty, which in turn can increase your revenue and cut your marketing costs.
You have a business to run. Maybe creating content is low on your priority list. Or maybe you hurry through the process, creating mediocre content, or publishing content inconsistently.
It’s time to put your content marketing at the top of your priority list. Great content goes so far in today’s marketplace. It helps you attract new customers, yes, but it also keeps your existing customers engaged and increases customer loyalty.