How to Use Content to Build Customer Loyalty and Retention

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By Craig Fitzgerald

Though con­tent mar­ket­ing is not a new con­cept, it’s now more impor­tant than ever for any com­pa­ny look­ing to build cus­tomer loy­al­ty and dri­ve deep­er engage­ment with cus­tomers.

Even as con­tent cre­ation tools and social media have sim­pli­fied the process, they’ve also changed the busi­ness land­scape. Com­pa­nies now need to embrace their new role as pub­lish­ers and act accord­ing­ly.

So how can you address those chal­lenges and imple­ment a suc­cess­ful pro­gram? By fol­low­ing these four steps.

1. Set pro­gram goals

Before kick­ing off your con­tent mar­ket­ing pro­gram, set spe­cif­ic goals out­lin­ing what you’re hop­ing to achieve. Those goals will begin to shape the types of con­tent you ulti­mate­ly pro­vide.

Now that you’ve iden­ti­fied your goals, you need to map the type of con­tent to the goal, just as a pub­lish­er would. If prospect engage­ment is a top goal, think about the top five ques­tions a prospect might ask you about your prod­uct, ser­vice, or com­pa­ny… and map the con­tent to those top­ic areas.

2. Opti­mize con­tent for mul­ti­ple chan­nels

Social media and blogs are two of the new­er con­tent mar­ket­ing chan­nels, offer­ing addi­tion­al touch­points for engag­ing with cus­tomers and prospects. Just as a pub­lish­er would, you should put a strat­e­gy in place to address each channel—including blogs, social media, web­sites, and email newsletters—to take advan­tage of the strengths that each offers in engag­ing cus­tomers.

Just as you would not devel­op long-form con­tent for an adver­tise­ment on an air­plane ban­ner, you should match the con­tent and mes­sages to the medi­um and audi­ence.

In addi­tion, be sure to spread out the tim­ing of mes­sages across chan­nels. If peo­ple fol­low you across dif­fer­ent chan­nels, you don’t want to hit them at the same time with the same mes­sage. Instead, you want to pro­vide them with some­thing dif­fer­ent to main­tain their engage­ment across mul­ti­ple touch­points.

3. Exe­cute your con­tent mar­ket­ing plan

To effec­tive­ly exe­cute your con­tent mar­ket­ing plan, devel­op an edi­to­r­i­al cal­en­dar, which will serve as the base of your pro­gram. This sched­ule of top­ics and themes that will be addressed via your con­tent helps to alle­vi­ate the pres­sures asso­ci­at­ed with pro­duc­ing a fre­quent sup­ply of con­tent.

The edi­to­r­i­al cal­en­dar will also out­line who will be respon­si­ble for each piece of con­tent and the dates for pub­lish­ing. Based on pref­er­ences, the cal­en­dar can be cre­at­ed for a three-month peri­od or longer, bro­ken down into weeks, with sea­son­al­i­ty tak­en into account.

4. Mea­sure pro­gram effec­tive­ness

Once your pro­gram is under way, exam­ine the goals you devel­oped in the begin­ning to help iden­ti­fy suc­cess para­me­ters to mea­sure the effec­tive­ness of a pro­gram. In addi­tion to your own mea­sure­ment, take advan­tage of the built-in mea­sure­ment tools across chan­nels to more effec­tive­ly mea­sure your suc­cess.

In the dig­i­tal world, mea­sure­ment is real-time and action­able. Google Ana­lyt­ics is a free tool that pro­vides insight about web­site per­for­mance and the con­tent dri­ving traf­fic to a web­site. Twit­ter and Face­book both pro­vide insights on fol­low­ers and fans—where they live and the con­tent that inter­ests them. A com­pre­hen­sive newslet­ter pro­gram will pro­vide met­rics on deliv­ery sta­tis­tics, open rates, when con­tent items were read and by whom, and the return path read­ers took to a web­site.

Know­ing what con­tent was read will help future offers and con­tent to be bet­ter tai­lored to spe­cif­ic cus­tomers and prospects.

Read the entire arti­cle by Craig Fitzger­ald, edi­to­r­i­al direc­tor of IMN.

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