Where Content Marketing Works for B2B Customer Retention Little-known ideas to justify and fine-tune content marketing to existing customers

customer retention concept image on P5group.com

Marketing plays an important role in customer retention – creating loyal, repeat customers, the best kind for almost any business. Sales and marketing have done the hard work of winning the customer. Now, if we do a good job of retaining that customer we can reap the benefits. That is where content marketing comes in.

Existing customers have four kinds of value

Customers are valuable and expensive. The benefits of customer retention are many. Existing customers have four kinds of value, or customer equity, that make them worth holding onto.

  • Existing customers are more likely to adopt our other products and services. They know the company and have established a trusting relationship.
  • Satisfied customers bring in new customers by referral, bypassing some of the more costly stages of lead generation and nurturing.
  • Long-term customers are an indispensable to product managers as a source of new product ideas and feature suggestions.
  • Repeat business comes at a lower transaction cost per sale, with shorter buying cycles, because we don’t have to spend money to walk them down a long, leaky pipeline from the beginning.

Not much is written about business-to-business content marketing strategy in the customer retention stage of the customer lifecycle. It’s not as easily outsourceable as demand gen, it’s not as sexy as digital marketing, and the availability of precise metrics is damning of poor execution.

But for marketers savvy enough to leverage content marketing to activate customer value, the rewards can be substantial. To be clear, I’m not talking about retaining web site visitors for longer web sessions, or retaining prospects until they close by reducing pipeline attrition. Those are unrelated topics. I am talking here about how to justify and fine-tune investments in content marketing to existing B2B customers.

Customer bases are porous

Losing an account to the competition is a costly but silent misfortune. B2B software customer churn rates of around 5% annually are painful but typical in the mid-market. SaaS customer attrition rates in the 20%-30% range annually are not unheard of.

When a customer goes elsewhere, a vendor must spend more to win a replacement customer – 5X, 7X, 10X more by many estimates – than it would have cost to keep an existing customer. Since we also would lose that customer’s referrals, every lost customer could represent one or more lost future customers. Ouch!

content marketing to retain customers concept imageWhere content marketing works to retain and grow B2B customers

Customer journeys don’t end when we close the sale and deliver the product or service. Instead the post-sale customer journey branches into two concurrent paths – a service path and a sales path.

  • On the service path, a company delivers ongoing customer care – onboarding, customer support, maintenance and the like. We typically measure the success of the relationship by surveying customer satisfaction, monitoring Net Promoter Scores, and investigating changes in customer attrition rates.
  • The sales path of the journey is the beginning of the customers’ next buying cycle. The customer becomes a lead. Not necessarily a lead for the incumbent vendor, because any customer could make their next purchase from a competitor. It’s too soon to tell, but not too soon to lose the sale.

That’s why, in well-run sales and marketing organizations, someone nurtures that lead. Content marketing is a process designed to generate and nurture leads. That makes it a good fit for the post-sale stage of the customer journey.

What about using content marketing in customer service? Content marketing can work there, too. For example, reaching out to product users with content about troubleshooting can reduce costs by avoiding trouble calls, or by directing customers to lower-cost self-service channels instead of to the call center.

If you would like to talk about content marketing in B2B customer retention, or how P5 Group can help with any aspect of B2B technology marketing, direct your call straight to my desk.

 

Using the Ancient Bones of Story in the Digital Age How unconscious connections can double response and revenue

Hero Method story Kathryn Gillett marketing

It’s 100,000 years ago and a one-armed elder sits around an open fire, those mysterious lights twinkling above in the fathomless dark. He is recounting an old story of his near-death encounter with a lioness.  Continue reading

New Report Reveals How to Write Webinar Headlines that Pull Registrations Super-efficient writing tricks to get the job done

Webinars can generate leads and drive customers through the pipeline – only if your audience clicks through and registers. Here are 5 hot tips for writing webinar headlines that get clicked. Continue reading

Book: Eats, Shoots and Leaves You’ll laugh every time you type a semicolon (and you’ll use it correctly)

advice for nonwriters

Lynne Truss turns punctuation into entertainment. She delivers grammar rules wrapped in fun examples and witty commentary. Continue reading

Do business readers love click-bait blog headlines? The answer isn’t the least bit shocking Two tips for writing headlines that build a positive brand image

Business readers are smart, they’re onto the click bait thing. They’re not browsing to fill their idle time, they’re looking for value. Your blog headline should deliver it. Continue reading

On Writing Well Reading William Zinsser will make you a more efficient self-editor

One of my favorite copywriting instructors turned me on to this book in 2001. I enjoyed reading it even more the third time, for reasons I will explain. Continue reading

Resource: The Grammarist Good all-around reference (or is it all-round?)

If you Google a language question like “all-round or all-around” you’ll find The Grammarist near the top of your search results. Continue reading

Writing When You’re Busy How to find time to write great marketing content and still do the rest of your job

Photo: Flickr/Donnie Ray Jones CCBY

Today will be busy. So will tomorrow and every day. Writing is hard enough without continually explaining to coworkers that you have to push back the deadline again. Continue reading

Tell Stories that Transform Audiences Does your content tell, sell, or resonate with your audience?

Review Resonate

Marketing content and sales tools are about motivating audiences to change. As a writer you affect big changes like making buying decisions, and small changes like setting aside objections. Here’s a book recommendation to help you move your prospects closer to becoming your customers. Continue reading