After years of building customer success teams and programs, it seemed natural to take on my next challenge – build a global customer advocacy strategy. After all, who better understands customers than someone who has been working with customers from the moment they are in their final stages of purchasing a product, to onboarding and through expansion and renewal opportunities. Successful customer-centric content strategies foster brand loyalty and long-term customer relationships if they consider an outside-in approach. What content are your customers asking for when they come to your website or when they are talking speaking with your customer success and support teams? Are you capturing this data? If so, how are you acting on it? If not, what’s holding you back from these powerful opportunities to engage with your customers?
Where Do You Start?
Customer voice: Creating content through dynamic customer feedback and their perspective is the fastest way to successful content marketing. If you are not speaking with your customers while building content, you are missing out on relevant topics that matter to customers most! Use their in-the-moment experience to learn about their challenges and how they are leveraging your company’s technology to solve them. These real-life examples speak not only to other customers but also to prospects seeking a way to address their own company’s pain points.
So, how do you talk to customers if you are a content marketer?
The obvious answers are to pick up the phone and speak with customers, or consumers, or to visit customers in person. However, it’s not that easy! After all, marketers are not often well received or trusted by consumers. Don’t lose hope! You can still connect with them through technology. Today, chat apps, surveys, and community platforms allow deep insights into what your customers are talking about and want more of.
Chat: It’s obvious that when a customer reaches out for help, it’s because they can’t figure out the answer themselves. Chat is one of the fastest ways to get in touch with a support team and for a marketer, might be utilized to understand customer pain points. Why not use that opportunity after a chat interaction to ask the customer about what they would like to learn more about? Who knows, your customers may give you content marketing ideas you never thought of. With chat technology, you can also compile and analyze the most common reasons why a customer contacts your support team. Use that knowledge to build relevant, impactful content that will create customer experiences that matter.
Providing practical use cases for success and making them readily available through knowledge centers, communities, webinars, podcasts, and contextual guidance are all examples of how chat can be a powerful way to channel the voice of the customer back into your marketing programs.
Surveys: People are overtaxed with surveys these days so before you consider this option, get your executive buy-in to add a question about what customers want to learn about and then develop a strategy to review the answers regularly. Last, act on them with purpose and within a reasonable timeframe.
Opportunities to ask your customers for feedback include right after a support interaction with chat or your helpdesk, shortly after going live with your product, right in the platform after completing a task, and on a yearly basis with a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey. Wootric, WalkMe, and other survey platforms are great for this. Giving the subscriber an opportunity to share with you ‘what they wish they knew more about,’ makes the users feel important and allows them to give you valuable feedback while they are using the product.
A good example of leveraging customer feedback to drive your growth strategy is a series of articles I recently followed on “getting comfortable with SEO”. The author talked to low product usage customers and asked why they weren’t logging in. The general feedback was they needed a foundation for SEO. The author discovered that often the user isn’t the one making the buying decision for a product, but they are expected to use it without understanding the why or the “the basics” behind the need for a technology. The writer took the feedback and created a target audience blog series that taught customers the foundations while drawing in prospects who not only engaged in an SEO 101 series but also learned about the product offerings and the brand. The learning series doesn’t come across as selling. They are helping the customer, or as my friend, writer, and radio show host, Bill Cushard says, ‘selling doesn’t help, but helping sells.’
Bringing it all Together through Integrative Communication:
Customer-centric content marketing is more interactive than ever. Customer journeys and conversations are fluid and leverage many different kinds of communication and technologies. Some customers are invited to connect with customer managers through Slack, others sign up for communities (Marketo has a very very vibrant customer marketing community to model after) and others sign up for newsletters to keep up with the latest product features via MailChimp. All of these communication channels can include videos, customer stories, and findings from surveys. The customer feedback can be rolled up, analyzed and then more thoughtfully acted on with technology like Kayako for real-time context. Being able to quantify and understand what customers want and why helps product teams build the platform’s future, but is also a hot-bed for content marketers. What’s holding you back from leveraging these valuable customer voices – bring your customer activities together to build your next story!
Generating content that is initiated from what customers do and say is powerful. Once you have compiled these key ideas, include them in your customer newsletters, on your blog page, in your knowledge base, and your customer community. If you have a B2C site, include snippets of the customer’s voice right in the product description. Don’t assume your target audience will pick up your message the first time they see it or that they go to the same place for information each time. By offering different avenues to content, making it engaging with videos and humor, you will design customer experiences that lead to high-impact engagement with your product.