Why Inbound Marketing Should Not Take a Back Seat to Current Customers

Inbound Marketing is a valuable strategy businesses can use to obtain new customers. Inbound Marketing is defined as Marketing based on getting found by customers. It’s customer-centric. With Inbound Marketing, businesses create customer-centric content based on customers needs. Content could take the form of blogs, videos & SEO.

In a prior article, I outline the 4 Steps which are Attract, Concert, Close and Delight. 

image via hubspot.com/inbound-marketing

Why Inbound Marketing should not take a back seat to Current Customers

Recently, I read an article that advocated that Inbound Marketing should take a backseat to your current customers. While it is less expensive to keep, nurture and up-sell/cross-sell current customers, businesses need to always be on the hunt for new customers. Despite the fact that it costs 5 times the amount to acquire a new customer verses keeping an existing one, it is an expense that businesses need to take on.

This is because businesses will always lose a portion of their customer base for a variety of reasons as seen in this graph.

image via http://www.superoffice.de/blog-de/kundenpflege/

According to Marketing at Work, the average business loses about 10 to 25 percent of its customer base every year. 

What happens if businesses start Ignoring customer acquisition?

  •  If a business loses 25 percent of its customer base it will have no customers after 4 years
  • At a 10 percent loss rate it will have no customers after 10 years

Through great service, word of mouth, & customer referrals; businesses may be able to extend their life. This then becomes an issue of how fast they can replace the lost customers. Relying on these methods alone puts undo pressure on customers and they may get turned off by being constantly asked to refer people. This may result in more customer turnover.

The Solution

As we have seen, focusing only on customer acquisition and customer retention is a losing game.

Done right, Inbound Marketing should be combined with Content Marketing because current customers still need to be nurtured after the sale. Businesses can only expect referrals and repeat business if customers:

  • Feel valued & receive great service

Businesses can apply the principles of Inbound Marketing for customer retention in the following ways:

1. Create Blog content Specifically for customers

  • Supply customers with exclusive access to blog content with useful tips and tricks for customers to get the most out their purchase.
  • Offer customers discounts
  •  Make reordering easy
  • Make customers feel like insiders.

2. Get customers to opt into user specific content via email

  • Ask customers for this commitment right when they sign up and commit
  • Make sure to create valuable content as customer attention is a gift
  • Remember that the customer defines value

3. Create Communities such as exclusive user groups 

  • Groups can be created on Social Networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and specialized forums on a company site.
  • Use these groups to share content and invitations to customer only events.

4. Create free industry trends sites that don’t sell anything

  • This is a great way businesses can position themselves as a resource
  • These sites can be shared with both current customers and prospects.
  • Adobe does a great job with their CMO.com site which provides content and insights to CMO’s and marketing professions.

How have you used Inbound Marketing for customer retention? Share and comment.

Related articles

Inbound 101

Customer Marketing: What We Can Learn from Actors

Ways to Create & Execute an Organic Digital Marketing Strategy for Lead Gen

How to Integrate a Blog into an Inbound Marketing Strategy

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. He has worked on various marketing assignments that include a Start Up, Political Campaign & a Digital Marketing Conference.

Prior to Teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales & Marketing Representative in the Dental industry. In this role, he taught and trained Dentists on the  company’s products and services using a consultative selling approach. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows & in the field through lead generation of Digital Technology along with large Dental Equipment.

He writes and publish a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing & Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today.

Dan is seeking a full time marketing role in New York City. He is interested in roles in Direct, Digital, Content & Social Media Marketing. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.

 

 

 

How Brands can use Customer Service & Sales Teams to improve Content Marketing

image via Content Marketing Institute

Marketing is being disrupted by technology. The technology comes in the form of new social channels such as the internet, mobile, social media, publishing platforms, audio books and video on demand. All of these channels have the effect of giving consumers instant access to information about products and services.

Competition in every product and service category has never been higher. This marks a significant shift from the days of Mad Men where brands controlled information and the conversation. This marketing shift is known as information marketing through content or simply content marketing. As a result, Marketers and brands have to become the educators or teachers of consumers. To become the educators of consumers, brands have to become the industry resource to consumers; showing how their products can solve problems and improve the lives of consumers.

Once brands convert prospects into customers, they still need to focus on and support customers post sale. Here is where Content Marketing can help. Brands can use Content Marketing for customer retention, cross-selling and up-selling. To take advantage of this, brands need to involve both their Sales and Customer service team in their Content Marketing strategy.

Sales Teams

Sales teams can provide a lot of information about customers, product concerns or issues and objections they face. They are front line soldiers that have a direct line to customer intelligence.

Integrating the Sales Team to your content marketing strategy

Meet with the sales team and encourage them to compile a list of customer complaints, objections and questions about products that they face. Ask the team to create materials that address these concern that customers can access. This could take form of blog posts, Power-points FAQ’s, product demonstrations and tutorials.

If the sales team feels uncomfortable creating content, they could be interviewed by the marketing department. The marketing department could take content /basic materials, emails from the sales team and polish it up into visually appealing content that customers can access.

Customer Service

Similar to the sales team, your customer service teams are front line soldiers to help customers with issues they face at call centers or through social media. Ask them to write down complaints they get from customers with the answers. These complaints of FAQ’s could be put up on a web site via a PowerPoint presentation, blog etc… If this is not possible for the team, interview them, collect basic materials, emails, notes and create the content yourself.

Sales and Customer service team are an important part to using a Content Marketing Strategy for customer retention. The more products a customer uses from a brand, the less likely they will switch to a competitor. Remember it costs more to obtain new customers that it does to keep existing ones.

Cross-Selling & Up-Selling

Sales and Customer service teams can also help with cross and up-selling by sharing promotion and new offerings with customers. The Sales and customer service functions of brands are essential to creating a great experience for customers.

This is how brands can integrate sales and customer service teams into their Content Marketing strategy. How are you using content from sales and customer service teams to help your brand retain customers? What are the goals of your brands content marketing efforts?

Feel free to comment and share.

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. He has worked on various marketing assignments that include a Start Up, Political Campaign & a Digital Marketing Conference.

Prior to Teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales & Marketing Representative in the Dental industry. In this role, he taught and trained Dentists on the company’s products and services using a consultative selling approach. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows & in the field through lead generation of Digital Technology along with large Dental Equipment.

He writes and publishes a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing & Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today.

Dan is seeking a full time marketing role in New York City. He is interested in roles in Direct, Digital, Content & Social Media Marketing. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.

Poor Customer Service Costs Businesses Sales

Poor customers service costs businesses sales. I observed this first hand yesterday.

I was in the supermarket yesterday and I observed a man who was wanted to buy mussels (seafood). These mussels were packaged in bushels. As you can imagine, there were long lines in the supermarket. There were scales to weigh food items both at the Deli counter/Meat Department and at the checkout lines. After a long wait on the checkout line, the cashier was ringing up the items. When it came time to charge the customer for the mussels the cashier said, ” the mussels have to be weighted and priced by the Meat Department”. Mind you there was a scale right at the cash register!

As a result, the customer stormed out of the store in frustration leaving a large order behind. Clearly, the store should have done one of two things:

1 Have the deli counter personnel package and weigh all of the so the cashier could check customers out.

2 Train the cashier to weigh and price the mussels.

Also, the cashier should have had the store manager help this customer in this case.

Clearly the store should train it’s people better and have policies in place to prevent this from happening again. The store lost a lot of business from this order. It may seem small, but what if this would happen on a regular basis?

Lapses  in customer service add up to damage to brand reputations, lost customers and lost profits.

How is poor customer service impacting your business?

Customer Service Rules in the Digital Age

In my post Building the Brands of Tomorrow, I stated that one of the things that companies needed to do to build the brand of the future is to listen to their customers. This means handling customer complaints promptly. We are in the digital age. In this age, social networks are the wave of the future. Today’s consumer is an empowered consumer. A customer can quickly share their thoughts about a product or an experience on Facebook, Twitter, Google and many other networks. Brands need to be present on social networks to interact and engage with the empowered consumer. More and more consumers are consulting their social networks for product recommendations.

Many companies are not fielding the empowered consumers’ complaints on social networks. In other words they are not providing customer service on social networks. Whenever we have an issue with a product, we have to call an 800 number which makes you listen to prompt after prompt.  When you finally do get a person, you have to relay to them all of your information. Once you do this, they in turn transfer you another person who is either a specialist or the next person up the chain of command. It seems that no one can handle your issue.  Heaven forbid you are waiting for 20 minutes or more; there is a good chance that you would be disconnected. This practice is wrong because it frustrates customers and they tell every one of their horrible experience with your brand. More and more consumers are venting their frustrations on social networks. As I discussed before, local word of mouth marketing has become global marketing. A message shared on a social network can spread all around the world within a matter of hours.  Ignoring customer complaints is just bad for business and will destroy your brands reputation.

A Product’s quality needs to be top-notch to cut the need for customer service. However, we know that with even the best products; issues arise. Customer service needs to be transformed. This transformation has to take place at the corporate level because as I stated before, people see brands as one unit and as a result; companies need to take each one of their brands and create a task force. This task force should consist of members from top management, brand managers and members of the sales and marketing departments. Customer complaints need to be fielded in real-time on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Waiting time for customers on 800 numbers also needs to be reduced.

Remember that meeting the needs of your customers is critical to keeping them buying your product. It costs more to earn new business that to keep the business your current customer base generates today. Resolving customer’s issues can lead to up selling or cross selling of products and services during the exchange! By providing a customer service experience that makes a customer sit up and take notice, you help to improve your reputation in this new digital age. As a brand, don’t you want to reap the benefits or local word of mouth marketing or global marketing?

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