By Daniel Glickman
Yeah, the writers in the marketing department generate most, if not all, of your company’s marketing content—creating blog posts, white papers, eBooks, and other written materials in between their many visits to the office espresso machine.
But why should they be the only ones to benefit from it?
(Benefit from the writing, that is. You’re on your own with the espresso.)
If your business wants to attract, retrain, cajole, and please customers, it needs engaging writing on all ends.
Sales, on-boarding, support, and retention can all benefit from content that establishes your brand and solidifies trust with customers, wherever they are in their journeys.
As Kelly from sales said at my office’s espresso machine just yesterday, “Content marketing isn’t just for marketers anymore.”
I won’t tell you the other things she said.
Content Marketing for Sales
No offense to Kelly and others in sales, but customers don’t always take salespeople at their word.
Some customers have a hard time believing their own mothers, so why would they believe a stranger—no matter how well-spoken she is—describing the benefits of a product they know next to nothing about?
Prospective clients want to read something relatable, believable.
Strong content—stronger than Kelly’s espresso—will magically convince customers that this here is what they will get out of the deal.
If written correctly, the content will embolden customers to actually demand the product and allow your salespeople to say even less.
A sales team can spend as many as nine hours searching for relevant content for prospects.
When faced with this sort of pressure, many salespeople will grab the most convenient materials rather than the stuff that will answer customers’ questions.
Give the sales staff materials that will give them confidence and a new way of presenting a product they’ve run out of ways to sell.
Content Marketing for On-boarding and Support
Woe to the business that abandons its customers after the sale.
True, there are some products customers want to use all on their own.
They don’t want Apple reps walking them through which songs to stream on their new iPhones.
But not all technology is as easy or fun to use after a sale.
Most companies want to know everything they can after implementing, for example, a new SaaS program.
Training courses will go only so far; many employees will forget most of what they learn.
And that’s where content can save the day.
Instructive, pointed, and easy-to-read “how-to” guides capture and hold attention spans, and prompt employees to make the most of the new thing-a-ma-jig they now have to learn on top of their routine tasks.
If you’re the seller of such technology, consider the basics: How to Use Our Product Without Cursing, How to Integrate Our Product With That Other Product, How to Easily Explain How-to For Those Who Don’t Know How.
Also, regularly chat with your on-boarding and support teams (sometimes they’re one all-star unit) to learn what customers are saying and about their successes and struggles.
You can quickly produce blog posts, FAQ sheets, and even infographics that answer the most-commonly posed questions of customers.
Some of the dullest materials ever written are for on-boarding and support.
The thought must be that “We’ve won them over with sparkling content, so why do we need to expend any more energy now that they’re locked into a three-year contract?”
Well, you need to expend more blood, sweat and tears on on-boarding and support because someday that contract will expire and you’ll regret not trying to make things as customer-friendly as possible when they were customers.
The same type of exciting, informative material that seduces customers should also be used to satiate them once they’re on board.
Content Marketing for Retention
The retention phase can be tough.
If you throw every bit of content at customers, they’ll feel as if the sales job is always on.
So don’t sell.
Earn their trust.
Write content that makes them feel as if they’ve become part of a village they won’t want to leave when it’s time to hunt for a new product.
Have conversations with customers.
Offer content that solves issues not just for your technological niche but sparks conversations on subjects beyond your walls.
Target you finance customers with fun tips and useful advice on finance.
Even if you have one customer in the arts, find someone —anyone!—who can occasionally target this client with fun articles on ballet, jazz, or puppetry.
Relate to customers with not just long-form content (actually, don’t hit them over the head every week with an opportunity to read yet another eBook), but also quick-hit blog posts and infographics.
Give them stuff they can digest while they digest their lunch and be enticed to share.
Get Everyone Involved with Content Marketing
No matter which stage of the customer journey your content is targeting, the process is going to involve more than those marketers.
Salespeople, customer service reps, call center agents, on-boarding staff—anyone who directly connects with customers—should be part of the content marketing process.
If you’re a marketer—the one who does the content writing—meet with these people often.
They know more about the customer than you do.
With a team effort in writing, the espresso machine will become a popular meeting place, but your boss won’t even mind because you’re getting work done.
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