It’s well-documented that it’s both easier and cheaper to sell to an existing customer than it is to a new one. Indeed, according to Gartner, “65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers, and it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one satisfied.”
Paul Farris et al’s book Marketing Metrics agrees, revealing that there is a 60-70% chance of a repeat customer converting.
With this in mind it of course makes sense for companies to concentrate just as much (if not a little more) on keeping their existing customers happy as they do on acquiring new ones.
And so indeed the challenge is set – improve customer lifetime value.
The question, however, is how?
The hourglass sales funnel
As marketers, we of course all use content to land new business. However, what fewer of us do is use content marketing to retain existing customers.
This is a shame, because great content is one of a company’s strongest assets at all stages of the sales funnel – from building brand awareness to driving traffic, and from generating leads to mobilizing promoters.
Indeed, the folks over at Content Harmony have even created a new version of the sales funnel to illustrate the point. They believe that the sales funnel should not be shaped like a funnel at all – more like an hourglass that widens again after conversion.
This model indeed makes sense. Far too many companies focus entirely on landing new business – but then, once a sale has been made, completely forget that those customers should be targeted for more sales.
What we need is to find a way to build loyalty, and if we were to use an hourglass funnel, then indeed we would be better at using content marketing to improve customer lifetime value.
So let’s now consider a few tactics that we can draw upon to start using some of our strongest content marketing techniques to improve our customer retention rates.
How to use content to improve customer lifetime value
Guides and tutorials
If you want to keep engagement levels high amongst your existing customers, then you need to work out what their pain points are, and then produce content that aims to solve them.
A great way to do this is through producing guides and tutorials for how to get the most out of the product(s) or service(s) that you are selling.
Your website’s blog, of course, is a great place to start in this regard. But by no means should it be the end of your efforts. In many cases, a great video tutorial can be the perfect and most accessible way to communicate some of the more intricate aspects of what your solution does.
For instance, here’s a short video from graphic-design tool website Canva, showing users very quickly how to start getting to grips with the site’s features and functions. Note that it’s useful for those who are already using Canva, and helps these users get the most out of the product, thusly mitigating the risk that they might switch allegiance to an alternative.
Your customers will naturally now be on your email marketing list – so don’t forget about them.
To start with, use your email campaigns to reach existing customers with exclusive offers and special loyalty discounts – this is great way to reward your valued customers and succeed in retaining them.
But don’t stop there. Emails are also great for fielding questionnaires and surveys, and for asking your customers if there is anything that you could do to improve your service.
Exclusive and gated content
A good content marketing strategy that has the explicit aim of improving customer lifetime value should include the production of content that is designed exclusively for your loyal customers.
This, indeed, should be your high-end output, offering real, in-depth analysis or industry reports that are the sole reserve of those that do business with you.
Offering this type of exclusivity adds real value to the prospect of continuing to do business with you. It’s also a great way to make customers feel special and valued themselves.
Remind customers of the benefits of doing business with you
Yes, this is really important, and another great use of email marketing.
Naturally, your business solves some sort of problem for your customers, and indeed this where your true value lies. So, send out weekly reminders of what you’re doing for them.
For example, if your business consists of a money-saving app, then use email to periodically remind customers of how much money your solution is actually saving them every week (or month or what have you). Indeed, no matter what product or service you are selling, you should remind customers (if it’s applicable) of how much money they are saving by staying with you compared to straying to competitors.
Another example might be if you had a fitness app – weekly reminders of how much your users’ health is improving is a great way to make sure they keep in mind the value your product is bringing to their lives. And while you’re at it, you could send them some healthy recipe suggestions, too!
Back to you
With so much revenue coming from returning customers, it’s essential that you focus on them. Improving customer lifetime value is the way to long-term growth, and content marketing can be used in all sorts of ways to help you achieve these goals.
What other content marketing tactics have you got up your sleeve to help improve customer lifetime value? Let us know in the comments below.