Romancing the Customer: 5 Ways to Keep Long-Term Customer Relationships Alive

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The purpose of content marketing is to attract and retain customers by giving them exactly what they want—when they want it. You romance your prospects by providing the information they need, then building trust over time, so they’re inspired to do business with you. You win them over with your expertise, knowledge and helpfulness.

After putting in all that work to build those long-term customer relationships, don’t spoil it by taking your loyal customers for granted. Here’s how to keep the romance alive…

1. Anticipate Their Needs

The secret to knowing what your customers need before they know they need it is a matter of understanding their buying habits. Tailor your gifts—discounts and special offers—to match what they want, and not what you want them to buy.

It may work to put overstock on sale if you’re a grocery store…you can usually count on impulse buys. But online customers are carefully researching which businesses they engage with. They’re more likely to continue to buy from you if you’re offering exactly what they’re looking for.

How to Know What Your Customers Want and Need:

  • Listen to their questions and comments – ask for feedback. Ask how you can improve, what products they would like you to offer, and what they’d like to see from you. Find out what gives them trouble…and fix it.
  • Analyze buying patterns – it’s no accident Amazon shows you what other customers have purchased alongside the items you’re considering. Suggestive selling works, especially when there’s a social component.
  • Harness social proof – keep an eye on industry information shared on social media. If your customers are mentioning you and sharing your content regularly, you’re doing a great job. If they’re sharing information published by your competitors, they’ve lost interest.

2. Don’t Take Them for Granted

Keeping their interest alive for the long term requires relationship maintenance. Just like any long-term relationship: you need to show you care by doing something special. Remember their birthdays, surprise them with unexpected gifts, and delight them with exclusive offers, upgrades, or new products you know they’ll love.

3. Be Unpredictably Predictable

Consistency is great customer service. Delivering the excellent service your customers expect is essential to keeping their attention, but you also need to surprise them now and then with something unexpected.

Flowers and candy on every birthday or anniversary are nice, don’t get me wrong, but knowing exactly what’s going to happen can get pretty dull. Don’t fall into an advertising rut. Shake things up with something entirely new, like a contest with a big prize or a 10-year anniversary dinner for your biggest customers.

4. Show Them a Different Side of You

You’re cultivating a nice reputation: you’re knowledgeable, reliable, and consistent; a good provider. Use your social media and your blog to invite your customers into your processes. Show them your innovative side, your creative ideas, and your vision for the future.

5. Value Their Opinions

A partnership should never be a one-way conversation. Ask your customers for their opinions and act on their suggestions. Everyone hates being ignored. Ask for honest opinions and ideas, and incorporate the smartest and most popular answers into new offerings, customer service protocols, and service updates.

It’s always good to remember that, whether you’re dealing with consumers or business buyers, you’re in a relationship with a human being. Like every long-term relationship partner, your customers need to be nurtured, wined, and dined with appreciation, fresh content, and new ideas. Your ability to please depends heavily on how well you really know your customers.

 

Want to learn more about nurturing your customer relationships over the long term? Download this FREE guide: Side Door Thinking for more information about how you can use content marketing to build customer loyalty.

related-resources_01

Side Door Thinking: Learn the smart marketing tactics you need to truly engage with more customers.Stop banging on the front door of your customer’s mind …when the side door is wide open! Want to learn more about effective content marketing? Whether you decide to outsource content marketing or not, this eBook is chock-full of great information on content marketing. Download this FREE guide, Side Door Thinking, to discover how content marketing can help you ramp up your website and complete your marketing strategy.

You’ll learn how to:
  • Increase Your Referral Rate
  • Increase Your Social Media Reach
  • Leverage New Product Lines & Revenue Streams
  • Earn Your Customer’s Loyalty & Business
  • Position Yourself As An Industry Leader & Trusted Resource
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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Content Marketing: How Can My Business Create Great Content?

Creating content to back your content marketing strategy isn’t easy. Determining where to start can be daunting. Actually getting your company to create great content can be flat out overwhelming.

Don’t fret! We’ve got you covered. Here’s how…

Before you begin creating your content, you need to know two things:

  1. What your brand is all about, and
  2. What your audience wants.

Like so:
Content Marketing: Why & How to Create Great Content

About your brand: What is most compelling about your business? Consider what values you share with your potential customers. How does your business help and inspire more [insert value here] in the world? How does your mission impact the lives of your customers? Now you’re bridging the gap.

About your audience: Your audience is comprised of all the people who might buy from you, now and in the future. Think about all the consumers and business decision makers interested in your industry. They use the web to gather information before they buy. If you provide the information they want, they’re more likely to buy from you.

Find out what your customers want to know by paying attention to them. Ask for feedback. Hey, even log their complaints. Talk industry on social media and listen to other industry experts. Don’t guess. Learn.

Start by Working with Words

Great written content is a great place to start. Words are a wonderful double-whammy: they entice and inform your website visitors, plus they play a huge role in boosting your SEO. However, don’t underestimate the importance of eye-catching images. If you wed your words with compelling images, you’re well on your way to great content.

Study your customers and determine which subjects and formats most appeal to each market segment. Your customers might respond better to a video or a slide presentation than a wordy report, or they might prefer information delivered in a personable blog post. Use all the information you gather to produce informed content in the format your customers most enjoy.

Your best bet is to vary your presentation and monitor the results. Then, provide more of what they respond to best.

Feeling overwhelmed? Read this article to decide if outsourcing is the best solution for your company: To Outsource Content Marketing …or Not? 6 Questions to Help You Decide.

When executed properly, great content will pull in your people and push up your search ranking.

 

related-resources_01

Side Door Thinking: Learn the smart marketing tactics you need to truly engage with more customers.Stop banging on the front door of your customer’s mind …when the side door is wide open! Want to learn more about effective content marketing? Whether you decide to outsource content marketing or not, this eBook is chock-full of great information on content marketing. Download this FREE guide, Side Door Thinking, to discover how content marketing can help you ramp up your website and complete your marketing strategy.

You’ll learn how to:
  • Increase Your Referral Rate
  • Increase Your Social Media Reach
  • Leverage New Product Lines & Revenue Streams
  • Earn Your Customer’s Loyalty & Business
  • Position Yourself As An Industry Leader & Trusted Resource
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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4 Key Ways a Blog Boosts Your Marketing Strategy

A recent study showed that more than 75% of B2B marketers use blogging as part of their marketing strategy, and best in class marketers rank it as “most effective.” While other tactics continue to work their way into successful marketing strategies, blogging remains a vital piece of the content puzzle.

Here are 4 key ways your blog boosts your content marketing strategy…

4 Reasons Your Blog is the Epicenter of Your Content Marketing Strategy: #1 SEO!#1: Your Blog Helps You Improve Your Search Engine Ranking
Blog content provides a consistent source of new information for search engines to find when your website is crawled. Regularly updated sites tend to appear higher in search engine rankings because they have more current and relevant information, compared to those that are rarely updated. Search engines consider content “freshness” when ranking websites.

Blogs@Intel focuses on a variety of content, but the majority of it centers on conferences and events. Since customers need to find event posts while they’re timely and relevant, posting events is an effective tactic to keep up a steady drip of content and ensure your website stays fresh.

#2: Your Blog Helps You Drive More Traffic
In 2014, for the third year in a row, B2B marketers cited web traffic as one of their top content marketing metrics. Companies that blog at least 15 times per month can see up to five times more traffic compared to those that don’t. With more content out there working to improve your search ranking, you’ll drive more organic traffic to your website. With more traffic, you’ll get increased exposure to your audience. Increased audience exposure means you’ll have a better chance of converting website visitors into paying customers.

#3: Your Blog Helps You Become an Authority in Your Industry
When you fill your company blog with useful and credible content, you position your business as an industry leader. In other words, your blog becomes the trusted source of information on your products and services. You can pull a great deal of content simply by answering customer FAQs: How to Kick-Start Your Business Blog.

Cisco has more than 12 blogs geared toward each of their customer segments. Content is produced by company employees and covers everything from marketing tips to industry trade news. By addressing key topics in each industry segment, Cisco has positioned itself as an industry leader across multiple channels. The valuable information they share is available to anyone who wants to learn more, providing Cisco with a way to connect to potential new customers, along with their established customer base.

#4: Your Blog Helps You Engage Customers to Build Community and Strengthen Relationships
Blogs provide an avenue for you to connect and deepen your connections with your customers. Connecting with customers directly on your website allows your clients to get you know you and your business. When a customer comments on your blog post, take time to respond to what they have to say. It shows you value their input and want to know what they think. Unlike most social media interactions, the comments on your blog remain visible for other potential customers to see, long after the conversation takes place.

American Express OPEN Forum is a great example of a blog and social forum. It’s designed to educate small business owners on all issues they face, but also provides a place for readers to come together and share their thoughts with one another.

content-marketingYour blog is the epicenter of your content marketing strategy. Discover the insights you need to engage your prospects and customers in the content marketing guide Side Door Thinking.

Learn how to:

  • Position Yourself As An Industry Leader & Trusted Resource
  • Earn Your Customers’ Loyalty & Business
  • Increase Your Referral Rate

guide

Download our FREE guide, Side Door Thinking, to discover the insights you need to take a kindler, gentler — yet more effective — approach to your marketing. Stop banging on the front door of your customer’s mind …when the side door is wide open.

3 Types of Killer Content to Slay Your Competition

Online shoppers have one goal. To find what they want. Sure, they want a good price and good shipping terms, and a company with a solid reputation and the right range of services—but what they really want most is enough information to make an informed decision…you know, to find what they want.

The Google Gods understand this and that’s why they create algorithms designed to defeat terrible content and drive it off the top of search engine results pages (or SERPs).

As a business, your armor against the scourge of Google updates is high quality content.

Because high quality content is what users want, it’s what Google wants to show them…and if you’re smart enough to provide it, your website will never suffer the Google smackdown. (And, hey, it’s not just about Google—all search engines run algorithms written to deliver the best quality results.)

Is Your Content Killer?

3 Types of Killer Content to Slay Your Competition : As a business, your armor against the scourge of Google updates is high quality content.There’s no single definition for quality content. The definition changes by industry, niche, target audience, type of product, etc. Nevertheless, you can follow these basic guidelines to ensure your content is solid each and every time.

Killer content comes in the following forms:

  1. Stable, evergreen content that includes popular draws like instructional how-tos and in-depth information about your product or service, industry, and related topics.
  2. Fresh and relevant content like industry buzz, breaking news, and new ways to think about your product or service.
  3. Copy—your top-level sales pages that tell customers about your products and services, and about your company.

With a mixture of in-depth information and a constant stream of new angles and fresh information, you can cover a lot of bases.

The length of your content should correspond to the topic, but a good rule of thumb for average blog posts and articles is 550-850 words. You can also benefit from longer content in the form of eBooks, white papers, and newsletters. Length is a controversial subject, especially if your audience is largely mobile.

One way to address mobile users is to put a lot of information at the top. Make that headline count. In journalism classes, they call that impactful title and the first sentence “the hook.” The success of your written content (whether people care enough to continue to read) often depends on the quality of your hook. In a web search, users often only see a title and the first sentence. Don’t waste that space.

3 Types of Killer Content to Slay Your Competition : As a business, your armor against the scourge of Google updates is high quality content.

Fierce Fightin’ Tips for Wicked Content

  • Add Visual Appeal: Content is not limited to words. Graphics and videos add appeal and drive traffic. Visuals can be in any or all formats—videos and vines (micro-videos), slide presentations, infographics, product or user photos, and branded graphics. Visual content is popular and more likely to be shared than anything else. But more importantly, companies using visual content have 7x higher conversion rates.
  • Go Pro: Be sure to take your content seriously—every piece should be free of grammar and spelling errors.
  • Document Your Content Strategy: The Content Marketing Institute found that only 35% of B2B marketers have a documented strategy…and that those who do have a documented strategy are twice as successful.

Before you can start any successful marketing effort, you have to have a complete strategic plan working for you throughout the Growth Cycle Marketing process, from attracting the attention of potential customers to inviting repeat customers back with new offerings. That’s what creating quality content is all about. You can’t fake it or cheap out by hiring terrible writers to churn out terrible writing in volume. When it comes to content, quality is always better than quantity if you want to slay the fearsome beast that is your competition.