Using Content Marketing to Drive Customer Delight
Your content may sufficiently answer your audience’s questions and help them solve their problems, but how much does it delight them — enough to have a measurable impact?
The better the content experience is, the happier your audience will be and the more likely their delight will continue after they buy. They could even become an advocate for your brand with people they know.
According to research shared by Harvard Business Review, it costs significantly more to acquire new customers than it does to retain the customers you currently have — up to 25x more, in fact. If the majority of your focus is on acquisition, then you’ll risk neglecting the happiness of your current customers.
Depending on your business model, the lifetime value of a customer could be exponentially higher than the initial sale. Due to the low cost of execution and deployment, it makes sense to shift your content marketing strategy to focus on providing more value to your existing customers. Delight them and their lifetime value can grow considerably.
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Principles of customer delight
Before I explore strategies, I want to address the principles of delighting customers. These principles should factor into every action, interaction, and piece of content you create. Missing even one will result in diminished returns, including a less-than-warm reception from your followers. To follow the principles, you need to say yes to these questions:
- Does this content solve a problem for someone?
- Does this content teach someone how to solve problems in the future?
- Is this content engaging and at least a little fun?
Delighting your customers is all about exceeding their expectations. When I look for an answer to a problem, I’m happy when I finally find it. My problem is solved. If that same source provides additional information to help me deal with similar challenges down the road, then I’m blown away. When that source does it with a smile and enthusiasm, it might as well give me a fanboy shirt.
A great example of content that strikes all three of these principles is the Buffer blog. When I read one of the articles, I know I’ll find the answer I seek and other useful information sprinkled on top. I also can feel the author’s enthusiasm and passion shining through the content. That excitement is infectious and it keeps me coming back for more.
Although Buffer already has me as a customer, it still provides content to simplify my life.
Buffer’s content marketing strategy to delight its customers is a smart move.
Does Your Content Answer Searchers’ Questions?
Customers want to engage with you
Loyal, happy customers are quick to leave social reviews, post to and comment on your social accounts, and tag your brand in their posts.
In virtually every instance, they want a response from you. On some level, they hope you’ll appreciate their comments enough to engage with them. This can be a great opportunity to leverage content in your responses. Here are some ideas:
- Share a helpful or relevant article from your blog.
- Pose a question to extend the conversation.
- Respond with images or videos even if just for entertainment.
- Create a short custom video response to stand out from the typical text reply.
Whatever you do, make an effort to respond to everyone who takes the time to reach out to or acknowledge your brand.
Customers want to know you’re listening
You encounter a wealth of feedback and opportunities for improvement from your customers, and not just the ones who might be irked over something. Pay close attention to catch phrases such as “I wish,” “I’d like,” and “Can this” in comments in social channels, forums, and support emails. That feedback can help your company improve operations, products, and services. It also opens up opportunities for your content
Answer promptly to take advantage of time-sensitive questions with your own content or curate the solution. In the long term, these replies can serve as fodder for topics to explore in depth with your content.
When I see certain topics come up frequently among followers and customers, I create content to address those issues. I save time because I don’t have to answer the same question repeatedly. More importantly, it shows customers that I’m paying attention to them. You can bet they’ll be delighted that you tailored useful resources to something they said or asked.
TIP: If feedback sparks you to create content, acknowledge those who shared the feedback as the impetus for your content whenever possible. Not only does it indicate your brand is listening to its customers, but the mentioned customers are more likely to share your content if they’re mentioned.
Customers want special benefits and fun
Email outreach doesn’t have to be limited to the acquisition phase. That same kind of relationship-building content also can be used to delight existing customers.
Segment your audience so you can target current customers appropriately and generate or share unique content with them. Some ideas include:
- Generate special offers based on their customer longevity or total spend (and when appropriate, acknowledge that relationship tenure or value).
- Create interactive content to solicit your top customers’ feedback for new or potential products and services, or entertain them with fun quizzes.
- Curate great content and share your newest content exclusively for your current customers.
Customers want to be valued
When prospective customers see glowing reviews or images and video showcasing your brand from your customers, they’re far more likely to make a purchase. That’s because over 90% of consumers trust the opinions of their peers over other kinds of advertising.
By incorporating user-generated content into your content marketing strategy, your customers (the content contributors) will appreciate that you’re sharing their content. Your fans love you for a reason, and when you make them a part of your brand’s story, it makes them feel truly valued. And because they love seeing their content on your social feeds, they’ll go to great lengths to see it happen more often.
If you really want to delight your customers, you need to give them an experience that exceeds their expectations, and that isn’t possible with “good enough” content. Your content should be great. It should have so much value that it completely blows your audience away.
For every piece of content you put in front of your audience, aim for the 10-times goal. Make it 10 times better than anything else they could read on the subject. Make it 10 times better than anything they expect it to be. Over-deliver with your content, and you’ll truly delight your customers.
How do you delight your customers with content? Share with me in the comments.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute