What’s the key to turning a one-time customer into your biggest advocate? Shower them with great content.
In my last two posts, we focused on using content to attract new customers. This week, we’re looking at ways you can use content to increase customer satisfaction and encourage repeat business.
For many retailers, the customer relationship ends once they make a purchase. But these retailers are missing out on an incredible opportunity to improve customer satisfaction and increase sales. You have the opportunity to build a relationship with every customer who makes a purchase, and those relationships can be valuable to both of you.
Here are some ways you can use content to provide value to your customers:
Create an Email List
You can’t send content to your customers if you don’t have their contact information, can you? Include a field in your checkout process where customers can register with your site by providing their email address. You can also add a signup field to your site so visitors can sign up even if they don’t make a purchase.
To encourage more people to join your email list, you can offer special product updates, sneak previews or even discounts (more on that later).
Never underestimate the power of the follow-up. You can create an automated message (check out one of our preferred autoresponder partners) that customers will receive after their purchase with helpful information like contact links, tracking information, FAQs or questionnaires. If you send the email after they’ve received their order, you can also include links to submit a review or testimonial. To encourage repeat sales, include links to recommended accessories, upgrades or other products that they might be interested in. And of course, don’t forget to thank them for their order.
By providing helpful information and asking for feedback, you can foster a sense of good will and encourage continued interaction.
Coupons & Discounts
Everyone loves a good deal. Give your customers an extra “thank you” by adding a coupon code to their purchase confirmation or follow-up emails, or even including the code on your packing slips when you ship their products. You can personalize their offers with discounts on specific products or accessories that go well with the item they bought.
Connecting your promotions to the customer’s tastes and needs not only shows personal attention and effort, it gives them a relevant offer that they’ll be much more excited about using.
If you offer specialty products or services, chances are you serve a niche market with an active and engaged base. Monthly newsletters offer you a chance to communicate with your customers on a deeper level than your website or marketing can. But be sure your newsletters are full of interesting and useful information. Include tips and tricks, customer profiles, how-to’s or product features that help your customers enjoy your products more. To build your list, include a link on your order confirmation page where customers can subscribe to your newsletter and receive product updates.
If you have a Volusion store, you can host, send and track your newsletters using one of our integrated email marketing partners.
You can take your “interesting and useful information” even farther by creating educational resources to help your customers be more successful. These resources could include supplemental instructions, ebooks, webinars or knowledge base articles to help your customers use your products to their fullest. You can even create an educational series, where customers sign up to receive monthly lessons, recipes or projects featuring your products.
Using our email marketing partners, you can even automate this content, so users begin receiving them automatically upon signup and continue to receive monthly emails until the series is over.
Blogs & Social Media
Blogs and social media give you more opportunities to interact with your customers than ever before, but you have to do it correctly or you risk turning off your audience and hurting your image. You can create Twitter and Facebook profiles for your store, but don’t use them for sales pitches. The most successful brands keep it personal, sharing tips and ideas just as a real person would. Same goes for your blog–use it to share customer success stories, helpful tips and thoughts on your products and your interests.
A great way to keep your blog and social media personal is to encourage your customers to share their stories and photos, which you can share with the rest of your audience. An active fan base is the best marketing department you can have.
Some Final Tips & Thoughts
These are just a few of the ways you can use content to increase customer satisfaction and encourage more sales. To determine which efforts are worth your time, choose the ones that you’re most comfortable with, and that serve your customers the best. Whichever platform or approach you use, follow these few simple tips and you’ll be well on your way to success.
- Make your content helpful. Customers can recognize a sales pitch, and they’ll quickly tune you out or, even worse, move on to another company. As content marketing expert Jay Baer says, “The biggest mistake is thinking that ‘content’ is just newfangled sales materials. Most content marketing fails on the utility scale. Content that is inherently useful is inherently successful.”
- Make it easy to share. Whether you’re sending emails, writing ebooks or posting content on your site, include links to help your customers email it to a friend, post to Facebook and Twitter, or link on their own blogs or websites.
- Remember, “content” isn’t just writing. Many of these efforts can be achieved with video, audio, images or illustrations, as well as writing. You don’t have to be a great writer to be a great content marketer. Choose the medium that works best for you, your products and your customers.
And remember, you created your online store because you’re passionate about what you do. Let that passion come through your content, and your customers will be happy to stay connected.
Clay Delk, Senior Content Strategist, Volusion
This post is part of our Method & Message series by Clay Delk, Sr. Content Strategist at Volusion. Check back every other Wednesday for the latest discussions on content, context and commerce on the web.