To a certain extent, all businesses rely on happy customers returning to enjoy their products or services, with customer satisfaction becoming a key differentiator in the modern market.
Increasing that satisfaction has therefore become a greater focus of not only customer service teams, but of marketing and sales departments in businesses that embrace an inbound methodology. Retaining those happy customers and uniting all teams creates an army of brand evangelists that drives customer recruitment and continued business growth.
Start with marketing personas
All your marketing content should be written with a heavy focus on your marketing persona, or buyer profile. These cannot be put together using guesswork and opinions. They require adequate research with the goal of producing a set of ideal customers that reflect who will buy from you, who will benefit from your products or services, and who will continue to be a long-term source of revenue for your business.
‘To create successful customer profiles that will fuel future growth, businesses need to gain a full picture of their existing customer base,’ says Jon Pittham, ClientsFirst’s Managing Director. ‘That picture can only come together with full collaboration between marketing, sales and customer service teams as they can each provide valuable insight into customer behaviour at different stages of the buyer journey.’
Your sales team, for instance, knows the challenges that emerge during the purchase process and who the decision makers are, while your customer service team knows who is benefiting most from your products and who needs more support.
Having happier customers who find long-term success with what you’re selling isn’t simply good for your business, it also makes your marketing team’s job easier. This is because those customers are more willing to provide testimonials, positive reviews and case studies, thus becoming the evangelists that drive future lead generation, all of which started with well-curated personas.
Great content is attractive content
Determining who is a marketing qualified lead is about more than finding an audience that is interested in your product. Prospects need to be informed on how they will benefit from your product.
Bringing in high quality leads therefore requires the creation of attractive content, written directly for your marketing personas. That content can be used on your website and across all communications to ensure it resonates with the right people and is strategic about attracting the right leads.
All of which transforms the traditional marketing funnel into a flywheel marketing model which accelerates growth only when MQLs become SQLs.
‘Content is only great when it attracts the right customer’, says Jon, ‘if you’re attracting poor-fit leads and don’t disqualify them early on, then you risk selling to somebody who is likely to become unhappy with the product. This could spiral into a negative review and bad publicity, making your job as a marketer very difficult.’
That’s not to say leads that are neither great nor bad should be disqualified. They might not become brand evangelists but will instead enjoy short-term interaction with your business. That’s not, however, a long-term strategy securing long-term revenue.
‘Contributing to that long-term revenue,’ adds Jon, ‘should be a modern marketers primary KPI since customer retention costs far less than acquisition.’
So the days of marketers being known for having a monthly MQL target might be numbered…
Delight, don’t attract, your customers
Demand generation marketing and product marketing are both used pre-sale to attract customers. After all, you want to promote both the value of the product alongside the reason the prospect needs to buy it. However, once the sale goes through, there’s no need to send demand generation marketing to customers. Instead, they want more product marketing, to be told about how what they’ve just bought can continue to enhance their lives.
Many businesses focus too much on talking about their product when a focus on when to talk about it would be more relevant. Ensuring customers receive time-sensitive, personalised and contextually-relevant communications helps them gain more value from their engagement with your business.
Delighting customers with that type of marketing is where customer success managers (CSMs) come in.
CSMs take ownership of the feedback loop between marketing and customer service teams. They help marketing identify pain points, while delivering customers the right message through the right channel.
Your voice is your brand
Content attracts, engages and delights, but also impacts the bottom line as it drives the customer's perception of your brand.
It’s crucial that every piece of content created in your business contains the same tone of voice, whether that’s a blog, a service page, a 'contact us' page, an email, a social media update or a newsletter.
Off-brand communications can hurt your business’s credibility, a poorly written email to a customer can be shared and turn away future prospects.
Training your entire company with a 'tone of voice' document on your brand and how to communicate it through all channels will help maintain a positive customer experience.
The future of growth
Marketing teams need to work closely with Customer Success Managers to help retain and delight customers, while also taking care to target and qualify the right leads.
Those leads pave the way for (pardon the over-excited use of jargon here) the ‘brand evangelisation’ of customers that accelerate your business growth.