This is a guest post from Matthew Buckley, marketing manager at New Breed, an award winning marketing and sales agency.
The goal of business blogging isn’t solely lead generation. Viewing lead-generation blogs (even the highest performing ones) as a marketing asset alone greatly undervalues their true worth. In addition to blogging, any other content asset can be used in a greater context than lead generation. With 70 percent of B2B businesses creating more content this year than the year before, there is an immense opportunity for marketers, sales professionals and customer success managers to leverage content to meet their end goals.
While attracting visitors and converting leads is critical to business success, so is customer happiness and retention. Content can be an effective tool to educate, train and teach customers. Today’s post will review why that is and how you can leverage your own blog content for:
- Lead generation
- Customer success
Why customer success?
“You can grow through massive customer acquisition, but the best companies out there are growing through Customer Success.” – Lincoln Murphy
Customer success has been incredibly impactful on the growth of SaaS companies because it can help to:
- Reduce churn
- Impact new revenue
- Drive team performance
In fact, customer success is on par with marketing and sales as a growth driver. With buying habits shifting, and software companies adopting a subscription-based pricing model, building relationships and trust with customers has become a necessity. As a result, the most successful of SaaS companies have adopted a series of success metrics to help them understand their customer happiness and how it correlates to revenue. For example, churn—or the measurement of customers downgrading or leaving your service/product—is crucial to success.
As you can see below, the impact of negative churn can clearly be quantified over time.
To be successful as a marketing and sales leader, you must acquire the right customers for your business and effectively engage and delight them after the sales process has ended.
Using remarkable content to delight customers
Why limit your blog to just one goal — lead generation — when it can be leveraged for your sales and customer success? It can help enable your customers to self-educate across the four stages of the customer lifecycle, as well as provide valuable assets your team can share with customers.
Blog about the methodology your product enables
As a best practice, your business blog should be focused on the pain points and needs of your buyer personas. However, that doesn’t mean you stop educating them after they make a purchase. You should strive to create content that will continue to educate your customers over time. Focus on writing about the methodology that your product enables with varying degrees of sophistication so your prospects at the beginning of the journey can be educated in the same way that a customer can.
HubSpot is one of the best examples of this, in my opinion. A main goal of its blog is to generate new business (which it does amazingly well). At the same time, as a customer using the platform for years I still find myself going back to the blog to further my self-education on inbound marketing trends.
Write about API use cases
Customer Success is predicated on helping your customers use your platform to its fullest. APIs are not only a fantastic path to growth, they are also a great mechanism to help expand your customers’ use of the platform or open up new opportunities and ways to use your tools.
A recent example of this comes from Mention. It just published a fantastic piece on how it reduces churn and increase customer happiness. To do so, it is using five different software platforms!
This is a complex use case, and one that not everyone could come up with on their own. However, by educating customers about the use case and providing clear support on how it can be executed, Mention has enabled its customers to go and implement it.
Use online resources for customer engagement
Customer success starts and ends with top-notch customer support. Without relevant information, you shouldn’t be reaching out to your users. The goal of customer success isn’t solely customer happiness, but “[helping] them reach their desired outcome.”
This means it doesn’t have to be a support call or document to help solve a problem. By providing your customer success specialists with an inventory of marketing assets, they can expand the arsenal of content and information they have. That way, when they do reach out to customers they have all the tools to help a customer at their disposal.
Tinderbox is a great example of this. Throughout its blog content, it sprinkles in customer success stories, product-specific how-tos and updates to which they can direct customers when they have a question. From there, customers can educate themselves further. If the problem or question lingers, they will have a more specific understanding of the issue to help the customer success team find the best solution.
These resources can also be used to engage your existing customer base via email or social media to keep them coming back, logging in, and using all the features your product has to offer.
Fostering social dialogues with your customers
According to Nielson’s 2012 Social Media Report, nearly half of consumers use social media to ask questions, report satisfaction or complain. Additionally, one-third of social-media users prefer “social care” to using the phone. There are a number of different ways to foster happiness using social media such as:
- Creating unforgettable experiences by listening to your customers (good or bad)
- Being attentive and supportive through every situation
- Being an active member of the social community to inhibit trust
- Fitting yourself into customer conversations appropriately
- Responding to questions, comments and negative feedback
As content marketing investments continue to increase, it’s important your customer success team understands the impact of your content. It can be leveraged beyond lead generation to fuel increased platform engagement and dialogues between you and your customers. Don’t let this opportunity to delight go to waste!