In the latest episode of GET FOUND!, host and GinzaMetrics COO Erin Robbins speaks with Steveology Group CMO Steve Farnsworth about how to use a company’s full breadth of resources to create more effective content — and attract (and retain) more customers. Read on to discover the insights they shared, and to learn a few tips for how your brand can benefit from an innovative content strategy.
Bringing operations together: The power of a “working group.”
As every marketer knows, when a customer has an issue with a company, they don’t typically see the organization as being made up of separate departments — they see it as a holistic “brand.” Naturally, regardless of how good a customer’s experience is with one part of the process, if the “chain” breaks later down the line, it can tarnish a company’s reputation. For instance, if a complaint isn’t addressed in a timely manner by a customer service department, or if a buyer is constantly referred to different internal groups that don’t communicate with one another, they’re likely to become frustrated with the entire business — and take their money elsewhere.
The good news is that the same logic applies on the other side of the coin: if a company’s marketing, sales, and customer service departments work together on enhancing brand experience, it will thrive. Strong, well-connected businesses see concrete results in the form of customer retainment, referrals, lead generation, increased revenue, and more.
That’s why Farnsworth leads his content marketing firm with what he calls a “working group” mentality — he’s passionate about ensuring that every member of his business — from content creators, marketers, and sales execs to engineers and customer service representatives — understands the power of a connected workflow.
For content marketers, the “working group” is an especially exciting prospect; one of the key benefits that a collaborative team brings is a consistently fresh menu of hyper-relevant content topics. In other words, by understanding the concerns of consumers with a “360-degree,” multi-disciplinary perspective, marketers can cover the topics that are most interesting to their leads at every stage — taking what were once isolated customer service complaints and flat sales pitches and turning them into deeply engaging blog posts, e-books, and more.
Logistics: How does one actually use content marketing strategies for customer success?
As with many great ideas, implementing something like a “working group” isn’t always easy. Through her own experience with day to day operations, Robbins understands that it’s sometimes difficult or even impossible to implement a true “working group,” in which every member of a team is communicating along every step of a customer’s journey. Yet she also insists that doing so is essential to maintain positive momentum.
For many organizations, achieving this requires cohesion from the top of the organization, down, with a focus on bringing departments together to give customers a seamless experience. Below is a recap of steps you can take to use content marketing strategies to amplify your customer success and onboarding processes.
Create content and keyword groups
Regularly advocated for by GinzaMetrics President & COO, Erin Robbins, content and keyword groups are powerful tools for ensuring targeted customer interactions and better data analysis. Creating keyword and content groups around things such as features, products, campaigns, messaging types, audience personas, locations, etc. can give you a better handle on what types of content your users are consuming along their journey.
When creating keyword and content groups, which can be set up to mirror each other, you should consider what kinds of things your sales and customer success teams are encountering and how the marketing collateral you have is related. For example, if you you have customers who respond to marketing messaging around a particular feature and then sales leverages case studies or white papers related to those same features, but then account management or support notices customers are unsure how to actually utilize that feature once using your product – you could be creating better marketing, sales, and onboarding materials to alleviate those issues up front – before they ever become a problem.
Utilize UTM codes and tags
UTM codes or tags are an effective tool for tracking customer content interests. A UTM tag attaches code to a URL, allowing content marketers to track customer interaction and store information which can be used by Google Analytics to determine which strategies are working. With this information, Google Analytics can answer several key questions about your web traffic: Who is clicking on what? Where is my traffic coming from? Why is it coming to me?
By tagging the content intended for sales enablement, marketers can develop the most effective content marketing strategies. Using UTM codes to understand what’s working allows them to hone content strategies, working with customer service and sales teams to target consumers through stronger topics, headlines, or more relevant content.
Streamline content using smart SEO practices
When it comes to support and account management, content marketing has a large role to play in the customer’s experience. Grouping content around answers is a low-cost approach to creating a positive and seamless customer experience, giving customers what they want before they ask for it.
Farnsworth adds that pairing this approach with SEO compliance works to make content “findable” in Google results. You want your support resources to be something people can find when they are searching for solutions. Applying SEO practices only to “traditional marketing content” is a missed opportunity
“There are so many good things that can come from being able to actually find the answers to questions,” he explains. “Tracking common issues by using SEO to analyze the most common search terms helps marketers discover these topics.”
Understand consumer content preferences
In many cases, a piece of content’s effectiveness is also related to the form it’s delivered in.
“A lot of times, if you’re just looking at the content as a list of things, and not looking at what type of content it is, you’re missing a lot of information about how your customer wants to consume certain types of onboarding or general support issues,” explains Robbins.
For instance, some customers may prefer watching a video over reading a blog post, so content should reflect this variety of interests. By creating a variety of valuable content — such as videos, white papers, or blog posts — marketers allow customers to engage with the type of content that’s most consistent with with their preferred method of consumption. You can use the content groups initially created to understand if certain types of customers prefer one type of content to another, or if it varies based on location or other things.
Robbins and Farnsworth prove that the content you create doesn’t necessarily need to be “polished” or have a large budget and that a company’s full complement of resources can be utilized to do so effectively.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to bring the customers on board,” says Steve. “To make them grow, make them continue using the product or service.” Content can be created on a low budget or even for free. Using the free tools available to every marketer — from Google plugins to other third-party apps — it’s easy to make content more relevant for your customers. Ultimately, what matters is that the content you’re producing is valuable, educational, and informative — and that it can be “found” online in a variety of forms.