Customer success begins before they're your customer, if your content strategy is right.

How Content Marketing Ensures Customer Success

Wed Jan 22, 2014

Note: this blog post originally appeared on the Evergage blog

Your customers’ success with your product starts long before they are your customers. And it starts with you understanding their needs before they do and speaking to those needs. As a web content management system vendor, we know that our customers aren’t buying software--they’re buying the ability to produce website content to help them achieve their business goals.

Designing your content strategy around your customers’ needs will help lead them to you, help build a case in your favor, and give them a roadmap for successfully using your product. Tailoring your content and your website visitors’ experience to what you know about their needs also shows them a commitment to their success rather than just your sales targets. Tailoring your content and your website visitors’ experience to what you know about their needs also shows them a commitment to their success rather than just your sales targets.

1. Teach Them How to Do Something Well, With or Without Your Product

Knowing what business you’re in is a truism that still goes unheeded, and leaving that question unanswered can drive companies out of business. The business you’re in is not the product you built, but what your customers use it for. For us, it’s creating and publishing great content. Once you understand that what your customers want to do isn’t necessarily exclusive to your product, you can put down the megaphone see how you can teach them to do that thing better with any tool. We share content marketing best practices, curate great content marketing advice from other sources, educate about the value of various content types and how to best present your content on various devices. Knowing what our core subject is also allows us to bring in relevant topics that tie into it, such as SEO and understanding how to adapt to the standards set by Google, as well as website design and content governance.

For example: a college website can educate all prospective students about applying for financial aid, choosing a major, or deciding how far from home they want to study.

2. Give Them The Information to Make Better Buying Decisions

Informed customers are empowered customers, and empowered customers buy with confidence. Becoming a trusted source for the information prospective buyers needs will earn you a place on their shortlists, and will earn you respect even if you don’t make the final cut. It also gives you the ability to shape how a buyer will evaluate not just you, but your competition. Project planning tools, ROI calculators, and buyer’s guides offer the right language and criteria for asking the right questions to find the best mutual fit.

For example: a financial services firm can help create more informed buyers by providing the criteria for better comparing firms and financial products, empowering customers and helping them feel better about their choices.

3. Begin Their Training Even Before They Buy

Success with your product will require a successful adoption by its end user. The sooner you start teaching them how to use your product, the better. This could take the form of how-to content such as step-by-step guides or instructional videos. The documentation you provide will teach them a shared vocabulary and enable more fruitful communication with your customer success team. Understanding your product early on will also help manage the expectations of what you can deliver, and reduce adoption friction. With a lowered learning curve, your customer will be able to focus on getting better results, faster.

For example: home improvement giants Home Depot and Lowe’s both provide entire libraries of great how-to content using the materials and products they carry. Whether you choose oak or cedar for a project, and whether you go the DIY route or hire their teams, you’ll begin your home improvement project better informed and more comfortable planning and discussing it with others, with greater ownership of the end results. That is customer success in a nutshell.

It sounds obvious, but to make a customer successful, you have to understand how they define success. At Percussion Software, we consider a customer successful when they can use our product to help achieve their business objectives. Our goal is to provide them the content and assistance they need to get them there.

 

Karo Kilfeather, content marketing manager at Percussion Software
Karo Kilfeather
Content Marketing Manager | Percussion Software

Karo was born in Poland, and learned to speak English by watching "Saved by the Bell" reruns during her first summer in the U.S., which has left her unable to go through life without occasionally breaking the fourth wall. As Percussion's content marketing manager, she oversees and creates content that drives website traffic, engages followers, and helps fill the marketing and sales funnel. She writes about content management, content marketing, SEO, social media and web design, and how to make it all less complicated.

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