Gaining An Advantage Through Content: Marketing is not just about letting people know your company exists, or what your latest products or services are. It is a key component to building and maintaining a lasting relationship between your business and your customers.
In the past, most businesses’ primary point of contact between themselves and their customers was via their sales department. The flaw in this method is that the relationship and loyalty that develops was more about the personal relationship with the sales representative than with the company or brand.
As the ability to search for product information via the internet increases, sales departments become less and less the primary source of information for a potential customer. The alternative is now content. And, if your business is not providing content that is customer-oriented, and which your customers find valuable enough to seek out and read, you may be leaving an opening for your competition.
So, how to begin gaining an advantage through content? Two powerful ways to develop and maintain good communication with and a solid connection to your customers and prospects are through social media and email. In your goal to “meet customers where they are,” social media and email are your best bet.
Despite the technology involved, the thinking behind a customer-oriented marketing strategy is simple and old-fashioned. Create an ongoing conversation between your business and your customers. The avenues of social media and email are just the channels through which that conversation will flow.
Again, the basis of this ongoing conversation is content based on your customers’ needs – as opposed to more traditional marketing based around what your company can do for a potential customer. Content that provides helpful information that addresses your customers’ concerns will resonate much longer than something like an email newsletter with the latest discounts.
Where to Begin
Many businesses realize they need to engage better with their customers, but haven’t found a way to start yet. They know they need to produce content, but unsure where to begin. Gaining an advantage through content means utilizing content that is relevant to your customers. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that you already know what your customers want. Discovering what the top concerns of your customers are (which of course can be accomplished via customer surveys) can give you a “way in” towards building a base of helpful content to deploy. A well-curated piece of customer-oriented content will be key in keeping that conversation between your business and your customer moving forward.
Dr. Jeanne Hurlbert, President of Hurlbert Consulting, brings to her role as STAFDA’s endorsed customer service consultancy expertise in sociology and survey research. After spending more than 25 years in academia, she now uses her extensive behavioral science expertise to help companies like yours distinguish yourselves through customer service. What sets her approach to customer service apart is that she begins by helping companies meld research and marketing to find out exactly (a) what their customers want and (b) how well they’re succeeding in giving customers what they want. Jeanne provides STAFDA members with 30 minutes of complimentary consulting per year; please identify yourself as a STAFDA member when you contact her. You can schedule a consult with her by going to www.ConciergeCustomerService.com or you can call her at 888-590-9677. And, if you’d like to complete her complimentary assessment, just go to www.FixYourService.com.