The digital revolution is growing your customers expectations for immediate response and service.
You may not even realize it, but you have most likely already made some changes to the customer service strategy of your business.
Thanks to social media, customer service has been steadily moving into the forefront for businesses. Those who focus on it are seeing success over those who have opted to continue with the same policies of the past.
If you have been following the trend, you have likely already changed your marketing strategy and even implemented customer service training across all departments. The changes that we have seen as part of this trend are only a glimpse of what is to come in the future.
What does this mean for your content marketing strategy?
Of course, your content must match this new outlook on customer service. Your content marketing plan must meld into this focus on the customer and away from “telling” customers about your products and services. Your content will need to focus on engaging your customers and drawing them in with interesting information that is relevant to each customer at that very moment.
In short, content is becoming much more individualized and personalized in order to capture the frugal attention span of today's educated, digital customer.
This article will feature 5 ideas for changing your content to match the trend of customer-centricity.
1. Customize your content to be accessible to your customers
Forrester Research refers to this as the mobile mind shift, which is “the expectation that any desired information or service is available, on any appropriate device, in context, at your moment of need.” Your content must be accessible on any device at any time.
In 2015, Forrester research uncovered some very telling data on consumer expectations: 18% of customers expect immediate delivery of any requested information or services within context.
By the end of this year, that number will escalate to include close to half of all consumers. As smartphone usage increases across the world, this will continue as a global phenomenon.
What does this mean for your business?
It means customizing your content and making it accessible to your customers in the format they are seeking it. That means mobile friendly data and technology that accommodates your customers' expectations. This goes beyond just a responsive design, but also means a customization of the type of content based on the individual customer.
2. Make sure you are speaking to your customers
Use context to include and draw in your customers. Have a “you” mentality when writing rather than a “we” mentality.
For years now, writing with a “we” mentality has been viewed as condescending. Talk to your customers and include them. You already know from crafting email subject lines and blog post titles that the word “you” grabs the attention of the reader and is all-inclusive. Focus all of your marketing communications in that fashion.
Review your copy for words like “we” and “us” and make sure that if you use those words it is truly in the intended context and doesn't mean “including you, our customer”.
Besides being inclusive of your customers, always work with them and remember how much more expensive it is to acquire a new customer than to retain a current one. Instill excellent customer service policies across all departments in your company. This ensures that every interaction with a representative from your company will be a positive one.
3. Engage customers based on where they are in the customer life cycle
Just as I explained in item #1 about customizing your content, part of that specialized and targeting technology must include connecting with each of your customers directly.
Prepare to craft an experience – drive conversations dependent on where each customer you are communicating with is in their consumer life cycle process. Do not create experiences that blanket all of your customers into one.
Make them feel special and important to your company by customizing their experience in a way that makes sense for where they are in their journey as a customer of your company. A server wouldn't offer a customer dessert before they have finished their appetizers, so don't send automated communications to all of your customers, segment them based on actions or a time line.
You will find that investing in the technology to do so benefits your customer service skills, increases sales, consumer loyalty, and is even something that will become to be expected by consumers or they will flock to your competition that offers this instead.
As an important trend in the life cycle of the consumer, it is also important to remember that the “close” or sale isn't the end of the cycle and never treat it as such. Always gear your message as to “what's next” for each customer as an individual.
4. Listen to the voice of your customers
Turn customer data into information you can use to better market to them. With new technology and the entire new aspect brought about by the Internet of Things, listening to the voice of your customers' goes way beyond the traditional means of surveying and talking to them.
With all of the new data being collected by technology, you have to turn that data into insights about customer behavior, customer choices, and trends.
Education, explanation, and a gradual move into this new technology are all going to help ease your customers into it and give them a learning curve when necessary.
Ernan Roman is a leading expert of “Voice of Customer” research and marketing. He explains, “Our Voice of Customer research indicates that engagement/relationship strength has twelve times more influence on retention and repeat purchases than customer satisfaction does”.
In other words, customer satisfaction is expected, but knowing your customer's needs and delivering them on the platform they prefer is even more important. This applies in B2C and B2B business arenas.
5. Pay close attention to the dramatic changes in customer behavior
Dramatic changes are occurring as consumers become more digitally inclined and expect your business to advance at the same level.
Forrester Research shows that these dramatic changes in customer behavior, especially in regard to their expectations of digital advancements are leading us into a new marketing revolution. A new world for marketers where you must embrace technology and implement it to connect with your customers like never before. The more advanced your customers are technologically speaking, the more customization and specialization you can offer them.
How educated are your customers?
With the amount of data that is readily available. It is important to understand what information your customers have access to. This can help you have informed and honest communications with them.
According to CMSWire, “in order to put customers at the center of the design of a marketing strategy, marketers must adopt a customer-centric framework. This type of framework is how you can plan out your content and distribute it in a way that will reach your customers according to their preferred channels”.
Takeaways for your business
Besides investing in new technology and advancements, what can your company's marketing department do to stay on top of this changing environment?
The first thing you should reconcile immediately is the idea of “those aren't my customers”. If you truly believe your customers are not ready for this new technology and smart digital revolution, chances are you will be left in the dust by your competition.
Instead, educate your customers and take them on this new technological journey with you. Reduce friction between your company, your staff, and your customers, and instill confidence with your customers.
Form a marketing strategy that includes a mix of safe, moderately risky and high risk, complicated strategies. This will always keep you innovating and never stagnant in your industry among your competition.
Following this 70:20:10 rule will ensure you are always innovative, cutting edge, early adopters, open to exploring new technology, and never left behind.
Guest Author: John Wieber is Partner at Webmoves.net. John has 14+ years experience in web development, ecommerce, and internet marketing. He has been actively involved in the internet marketing efforts of more then 100 websites in some of the most competitive industries online.
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5 Ways to Grow Your Business With Customer-Centric Content