Flip the Funnel: Marketing for Retaining Customers: Part II

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In the first post on flipping the funnel we talked about identifying persona gaps and running campaigns to fill those. In part 2 we will delve into content strategy, social engagement, client testimonials and product or solutions case-studies.

Flip The Funnel

Content Strategy

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty tactical details it is important to take a step back and draw up or strategise your content framework. A key point to keep in mind while drafting the framework is to treat your customer as your audience.

In a recent post Asuthosh wrote about the lessons B2B marketers can learn from chefs. Taking some cues from his post the chefs focus is not only the cooking style or the recipe, presentation matters too, the little touches to customise and give each dish a chefs particular signature, and most importantly that they share it all with the audience. When a chef shares their recipe it doesn’t take away their business. It works instead to help them market their products better.

Treating Customers as your Audience

The first step to treating your customers as your audience is to avoid content that reads or sounds like a sales pitch. Focus on addressing the content category, the pain point of your customers, and their business context. Avoid putting all the focus on your products and solutions. For example, If you happen to be a technology company specialising in data centre cooling solutions you should create content about the best practices for data centres, environmentally friendly options, and costs savings your audience can have by implementing green data centre concepts. Such content is relevant to your product categories but does not directly talk about your product. Creating relevant content that is not restricted to our products and solutions enables us to cultivate an audience where we have active participation and attendance.

Mapping to Buyer’s Persona

Next stop will be mapping your content to the buyers personas you identified. This step is not specific to customer retention marketing, but is a basic step required for any marketing activity especially in the realm of B2B marketing.

Agnostic content

You need to have a good mix of product news, features and benefits of your solutions, and agnostic content. Try to convert your product features and fact-sheets according to your client’s business context that directly addresses your client’s business needs. Your customers want to find out how to solve their business needs and not read extensively about your product from the get-go.

Content for up-selling

Devote some attention to creating content for up-selling. Some customers are only exposed to a part of your product and solution offerings. Those customers need to be targeted with content on your other solutions and services which have relevance to them.

Social engagement

Social engagement has now become an intrinsic part of the marketing game and B2B marketers need to take it much more seriously. Identify and interact with your customers in their natural territory. Interaction may not always be possible as most people are not looking to interact with a marketer or get into a business discussion in their natural territory however you still need to identify your existing customers in social communities. Find out where they are and what they do.

Social CRM

Many different products are coming into play these days to help you develop your social radar for your customers. Traditional CRMs like Salesforce have also started moving in this direction with their purchase of Radian6, signalling that you need to add a social layer to the traditional dossier you compiled on your customers. In addition to their address, email and telephone you need to also know what they are saying on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etcetera.

This information correctly collated and added to your customer database can act as a social sixth sense for your business development team. Analysing the data also helps you decide where you should do your media buys and what channels and mediums you should use for maximum reach to your customers.

Turning Customers into your Brand Ambassadors

Testimonials are very important. Your most credible marketing channel is your existing customers and their case-studies and testimonials resonate the most with prospects – be it for new sales or up-selling existing customers.

Case Studies

Make sure to create case-studies on successfully completed and implemented projects. Try to add some video in the mix and avoid only written case-studies. You must remember that the attention spans of people are getting shorter all the time and they want the pertinent information delivered quickly and concisely. Rich media allows you to jam pack information into a short period of time and video also adds different dimensions to keep your audience engaged and interested in the information you are presenting.

Another plus point about video is that it lets your customers do the talking. They get to tell their own story about what they do, their value proposition and even what they are selling. Lastly beyond the benefit of making your testimonial client happy it lends your company and its solutions credibility to have a third party vouch for you.

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