Is your content only doing half the job?

A case for content as service

You're probably familiar with the fact that today's businesses need to create content as part of their marketing strategy. Hopefully, you're blogging, posting things on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and maybe even creating valuable assets like ebooks, webinars, or white papers to attract leads and build your marketable list.

All of these activities are content marketing activities, and they're important for helping get leads in the door. But they are only one half of an effective content program.

Many business owners are missing out on a big content opportunity to drive their revenue and grow their sales. But first, let me set the stage.

What's your best revenue driver?

As the old adage goes, "The best customer is the one that you already have." Many times small businesses are so focused on getting new leads and customers that they don't allocate the proper resources and energy to retaining and growing the incremental revenue of their existing customer base.

I get it. There's only so much time and energy you can expend in a day. But it comes down to a matter of priorities, and as business owners and managers, it's always good to stop and assess how we're investing that time and energy. Are all your activities focused on things that will really drive growth? Here's a few quotes from an article on LinkedIn by Colin Shaw called "15 Statistics That Should Change The Business World - But Haven't":

The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60–70%.

The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5–20%.  -  Marketing Metrics

A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10%.  -  Leading on the Edge of Chaos, Emmet Murphy & Mark Murphy

It costs 6–7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one.  -  Bain & Company.

The point is a simple one. Focusing not just on marketing and sales, but also on customer experience with the same gusto, will lead to phenomenal business growth. And just like content is part of your marketing efforts, it should be part of your customer experience ones as well.

Content as service

Content marketing…there's a few hits on Google for it. But a thriving business needs not just content marketing but also content as service.

Content as service is things like articles, guides, webinars, and more that are made not for the purpose of attracting new customers but for educating and keeping your existing ones. It can also serve as a great revenue generator by highlighting other products and services that will compliment what your current customers are using.

The key is to truly understand the mind of your customer and what their pain points are, and then to intentionally build a library of content assets that can address those pain points, build trust, and further cement the brand/customer relationship.

Then, you must train your company to have the mindset of utilizing this content as the go-to for every customer experience interaction. Incorporate into newsletters. Send during support conversations. Use to drive customer marketing efforts. Sprinkle into your user groups. In every way, permeate your customer interactions with content made for your customers.

Ideas for knowing what to create

One of the hardest things about creating content is knowing where to start and what to talk about. Here's a few great ideas to find a starting part for your content as service program.

  • If you're logging your customer support conversations (and you should be!), there is a treasure trove of questions, frustrations, and ideas sitting right in those logs. Dig into those and you'll have more content ideas than you'll know what to do with.
  • Host frequent customer roundtables where you can spend an hour or so with customers to hear directly from them about their thoughts on your products and services.
  • Send out a customer survey to get a big picture view of what your customers want more of (and less of) from you.
  • Monitor what customers are saying on social media about you.
  • Reach out to customers that have churned out and ask them why they left. This honest feedback is invaluable.
  • Analyze what types of products and services are most frequently purchased together and what upsells are generally most effective, and then create a content program highlighting those benefits.

This is just a short list of the many activities you can do to build your content as service program, but it's one that will get you more than started.

As always, content is hard work, but it's worthy work. Think of your content library as an asset that once created will continue to work and provide returns for years to come.