First 30 Days Blog

27 feb

More Than “Just Friends”: Using Content Marketing to Take Your Customer Relationships to the Next Level

RobertCordrayCustomers are the lifeblood of any business. Whether you’re offering a product or a service, whether you’re the head of an international mega-corporation, or the single employee of a company that you run out of your garage, without customers, your business is really nothing more than an expensive hobby. As such, if you want to be successful, you need to know how to take your relationship with your customers to the next level. Gone are the days in which a few television commercials, newspaper ads, direct mailers, and a bit of space in the phonebook were all that you’d need to get a customer’s attention. The modern consumer tends to instinctively recognize and distrust any sales pitch that they can identify. So, in a world in which DVR allows customers to skip commercials, and years of training have turned most internet users into quick-draw experts when it comes to closing advertisement pop-ups, how is a modern business supposed to connect with the people on whom it depends? Well, the answer is a simple one: content marketing.

Today’s customers are more interested in discovering information for themselves, than in trusting a faceless corporation to supply them with the relevant facts that they need in order to make a decision. So, if you want to succeed in today’s market, you need to know how to help your customers help themselves. In the process, you’ll find that your relationships with your customers improve as well. Here are a few tips on how you can use content marketing to take your customer relationships to the next level.

1. Do your homework

If you want to improve your customer relationship, you first need to get to know the customer as an individual. What do you know about their interests, or about the kind of internet sites that they are most likely to visit? Do they have any particular questions that they want answered? What are their ages, social backgrounds, ethnicities, and incomes? What about personal beliefs? The truth is that any piece of information, no matter how seemingly insignificant, can be used to help you get a better idea of who your consumer is. Of course, acquiring and keeping track of all of this raw data can be difficult, so know what kind of tools you’ll need to get everything started. According to a survey of B2B marketers by TechValidate, 47% of companies said that case studies were very effective or most effective in acquiring new leads and customers. Likewise, a company like Salesforce has CRM tools that will help you organize and analyze your data, so that it will be available to you when you need it.

2. Give them what they want

Once you’ve taken care of the hard part of getting to know your customer, next you’ll need to put that knowledge to good use. That means that you need to start creating content that they will find useful. How do you go about doing that? Well, if you can answer that question for yourself, your content marketing problems will be as good as solved. Unfortunately, the only way to master this step is by seeing what works for you, but for starters you can check out successful company blogs and see how they handle the situation. For example, home automation company Vivint uses its blog to provide useful tips, ideas, and facts for homeowners on everything from security to decorating, and does so without overtly promoting its own brand. By focusing on giving helpful advice, rather than just another sales pitch, they manage to draw more interest from potential customers. Don’t discount the impact of social media and blog sites, as these reach 8 out of 10 of all U.S. Internet users and account for 23% of all time spent online.

3. Make it shareable

Hey, speaking of which, what’s the best way to promote your new content across social media sites? The answer is don’t. Instead, make your content useful, relevant, and interesting, and your readers will take care of promotion for you. Once readers who are not affiliated with your company start to share your content, then the mistrust associated with marketing and organizations becomes a non-issue. After all, it’s not some salesman interrupting a conversation between friends to push a product; it’s the friends themselves who are discussing the product. Half of all social media users under age 35 follow their online friends’ recommendations, which means that if you can get those friends to recommend you, you’ll be on the fast-track to success.

4. Focus on existing customers

“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and the other is gold.” This is a rhyme that many of us encountered in our formative years. However, by the time we reach adulthood and begin to deal in business relationships, we often forget this simple truth. Yes, we should be trying to find new customers, but not at the expense of the ones that we already have. It costs between six and seven times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to keep a current one. So, make sure that your future content is directed back towards those who have already shown an interest.

5. Don’t be afraid to take a chance

As we’ve already pointed out, there isn’t any mathematical formula that you can use to achieve content marketing success. The upside to this is that it gives you the freedom to try anything that comes to mind. So, go for it! Try to think outside the box, and come up with content that really touches your target audience. And don’t worry, with a bit of perseverance, creativity, and a little luck, you’ll be able to take your customer relationship to the next level, and beyond.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on February 27th, 2014 in Career, General | 0 comments

  • Add Comment

Share Your Thoughts

You must be logged in to post a comment.