Better customer engagement and a long-term relationship with them ought to be the objective of any business serious about itself. Customer retention is not achieved only through incentives like discounts and free gifts. You want your customers’ loyalty, so that they don’t go anywhere else even when you are not offering anything extra. The typical customer looks for quality in service and support. The typical individual looks for free stuff. Your goal, as a business, should be to convert the individual into the customer, so that they have faith in you, and look for free gifts elsewhere
Even though we have used the word ‘customer’ in our article title, what we have in mind most definitely includes prospective customers as well. After all, you can always be in the good books of someone who has bought from you by following up in a non-intrusive and helpful manner to assure them of your presence even after the business has been concluded. Content plays an important role in creating relationships and engaging your prospects, to begin with.
On Content and Strategy
What is content, anyway? This would be every blog post you ever make, every social media interaction including what comes of participating in debates and discussions, every tweet that you make on your company’s behalf, and even advertisements that you put on your site, as well as the placement and look of the ‘support’ and ‘contact us’ buttons. Content is also your newsletter and your after-sales message – on-site or via email. It should be adequately clear that you do need a content strategy, and a well thought out one.
Know Then thyself – and others
The foremost part of your strategy ought to address the basic question: What do you want from your customers? Apart from buying things from you, that is. There could be a limited number of answers to that, but each has to be addressed separately. For example, you could focus on retention alone (unlikely) or word of mouth reference, or even active participation. All that will depend upon the type of product or service you are selling. But the measures are more or less the same in each case. The first thing that you do is ask another question: What do your customers really want from you? Ask this question in a survey, if necessary, and not just to your customers. If money is not a constraint, allot a portion of your budget to finding out both offline and in the virtual world what they truly want. Once you have that information, you can shape your content accordingly.
Create Compelling Content
You need to go extra miles to create compelling content. Just rephrasing content is not enough anymore. Google and other search engines have got way smarter these years and therefore, it is important for all content writers and marketers out there to come up with create and compelling content. You need to spend time to gather data and then use those data to create informative content.
This is helpful for both the search engines and the users. If the users find the articles informative and well written, more often than not, they will share the content with their friends and family members, and some people might even feel encouraged to add a link of that article from their website. You can also write an ebook or similar type of long-form articles and these articles tend to get links from reputed sources and that means, this will give a huge fillip to the overall visibility of the website. However, you should not rest on laurels rather you need to do more and come up with more powerful and authoritative content. This will encourage people to visit your website more frequently. “However, just because you are publishing articles on a regular basis, it does not mean that you should make any kind of compromise on the quality front. Nope, that would defeat the very purpose.” – says Danish, a content marketing expert at 3Leaps.
Divide and Rule
The second part is the way you design your content. Not everyone is equally good at everything or has the time for everything even if they are. It makes sense to create teams to handle different aspects of the overall operation. You could focus on types of content or types of engagement (or both). To elaborate, types of content would include where you are posting it. Maintain a team for social media and another for your blog. Hire writers if necessary. Further, create specialized teams for each social site you are going to make your mark on. This is not going overboard. Answering questions is an important part of making your content customer-friendly, and to do that in a timely many small light bulbs equal big one manner, you need dedicated teams.
Rules Of Engagement
As for the focus on the type of engagement, if we are to assume retention, referral and participation are your objectives, you could design teams to take care of each of them. Retention is normally made through carefully designed and regular posts and informative articles after knowing about what customers are looking for. Referral may require a different approach and usually, to encourage people to spread the word, social media tactics are best – a giveaway, or a daily column that may require visitors to ask questions to their friends and acquaintances (a column that asks questions like ‘ how many people do you know that use X brand of the toothbrush) are good examples. Participation may or may not require publicizing as well. Usually, contests or polls work just fine. However, it should be clear that to handle everything efficiently, you need a plan and you need dedicated teams.
Apart from what has been said already, the foundation of any strategy to use content effectively for better customer engagement and long-term relationships is a focus on quality. If you begin your strategy with an unwavering focus on providing quality content first and foremost, everything else that comes afterward ought to fall in place effortlessly and naturally.