Content Marketing and the Customer Life-cycle
A customer life-cycle is typically considered your prospects journey through the stages of the sales funnel before making a purchase and transitioning into a fully formed customer. The key to the customer life-cycle includes businesses constantly maintaining a relationship with prospect/customer, nurturing and catering for their needs in order to continue doing business. However, to earn a customer there are paths needed to be built in order to help them on their way and this can be done through the art of Content Marketing.
Content marketing allows marketers to provide and add value to a prospects experience through the journey of the purchase process. Carefully tailoring content to a customer’s buying journey and providing them with the information they want to hear is paramount in converting prospects to leads and eventually SALES. If your business can continuously maintain a friendly/informative dialogue with prospects through each steps of the buying cycle, there is more of a chance that prospects will purchase and remain loyal to the product or service.
However, content marketing is an ART and different pieces of content will be required for each stage of the prospects adventure through the sales funnel. Supplying the incorrect content at the wrong time can result in a wasted touchpoint, so you have to be strategic in knowing when, how and where to publish the content. Before any content marketing campaigns, it would be a good idea to consider the following stages and attribute them to the prospects journey;
At this stage it is exceedingly important that you’re constantly supplying small digestible pieces of information about the company and what you do on a multitude of different platforms. This will enable prospects to familiarise themselves with the brand and what products or services you have to offer. At this stage prospects are just starting to discover your business and its critical you highlight your specialities and expertise to fill them with confidence. Blog posts, LinkedIn updates, vine’s, YouTube videos, press releases, Facebook posts, tweets and infographics are the sort of pocket sized content you want prospects to find during the recognition stage. Strategically using all media channels will make it easier for prospects to find out more information about your business without having to do extensive research.
During this stage prospects become leads and as a business it is your duty to start to build a relationship on a personal level. The prospect has taken the time out of their day to familiarise themselves with your brand, services or product and are intrigued by what you have to offer. Offering more in depth pieces of information is perfect for illustrating how you can offer a solution to the buyers need. Podcast’s, vlogs, blogs, reports and online seminars are pieces of content ideal for educating your leads and reassuring them that doing business with you is in their best interest.
If a lead has reached this stage you have done everything within your power to sell your product or service. However, the reviews, testimonials, product/service demonstrations, proposals and price can be the selling point for your business. The lead is ready to make a purchase, but is comparing you against your competitors and the content that reviews your business should be able to reinforce their decision in doing business with you.
Satisfaction and retention
Once the lead has committed to making a purchase for your service or product, it would be within your businesses best interests to keep delivering the same level of knowledge and expertise to continue to keep adding value to the relationship. Creating FAQ’s and answers, offering support with the product and creating customer forums, creating customer newsletters and starting customer workshops are the best pieces of content to show you still value their custom. Making the purchase process as pleasant as possible should ensure existing customers to continue doing business with you. If you go the extra mile and continue adding value to customer relationships can result in extra reviews, testimonials and recommendations. According to the Gartner Group 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from 20% of your existing customers.
Tailoring your marketing efforts to each step your prospect takes through the customer sales funnel is key to gaining long term client relationships. So long as your content covers each stage of the entire life cycle you have the greatest asset into maintaining your client base and gaining new prospects.