You are already convinced of the power and effectiveness of content marketing. You understand how it can be used to nurture leads and drive sales. And you understand that companies have to make sales if they are going to survive.
But here’s something you many not have thought about: the importance of going beyond making the first sale to a customer. Many in the world of marketing and sales fall victim to such short-term (and short-sighted) thinking, so don’t feel bad. But please consider the advice of legendary marketer Dan Kennedy:
I’ve long believed that, rather than getting customers to make sales, it is smarter to make sales to get customers. The first provides only income. The second provides income and equity. The majority of businesspeople think only about income every day. The exceptionally smart few who get rich from business think about both, every day.
It costs you a lot less to make a repeat sale to a happy customer than it does to make the first sale. It’s also a lot easier.
As is the case when you are nurturing a lead toward their first sale; persuasive, problem-solving content can help you lay the groundwork for future sales to happy, long-term customers.
This is a topic that would take many books to cover thoroughly. Here’s my take: don’t be afraid to sell, at the right time and in the right manner. And don’t do so apologetically.
Think of it like this: If your product will add value to your prospect’s life by solving a nagging, frustrating problem and making his life better, don’t you owe it to him to sell it to him?
Avoid the old stereotype of the sleazy, high-pressure used car salesman. Start thinking of sales as helping, listening, serving and solving problems.
To paraphrase Dan Kennedy, you want to be a welcome guest, not an annoying pest. The greatest, most ethical sales people don’t shove unwanted products down a potential customer’s throat. They seek to be perceived by their prospects and customers as trusted advisers, not pushy peddlers.
Apply this attitude to your content marketing efforts and, when the time is right, use content to persuade your customers to take the action of buying from you.
Here’s an example from the retail world you can apply to your post-sale content marketing, especially if you run a B2C e-commerce website.
Let’s say you run a retail store that sells men’s suits and accessories. A young customer who just graduated from law school with a new job at a prestigious firm walks into your store looking to buy suits. He’s excited and in the mood to spend money.
You take him at his word and offer him suits. He buys three. But for some reason, he never mentions shoes, belts, ties or shirts, even though he needs them all. And you, because you are afraid to be pushy, don’t offer him these accessories.
He gets in his car and spends time fighting traffic driving across town to one of your competitors. There, he buys all of these accessories that he would have bought from you, if you had only offered them to him. You thought you were being polite by not selling him things he didn’t ask for, but you actually did him a disservice.
What’s the post-sale content marketing lesson here? Immediately after your customer makes a purchase, send him an email linking to your webpage that offer products complimentary to the one he just bought from you. He’s already shown that’s he’s in “buying mode”, and based on this example, you could very well be doing him a great service.
Deciding to focus on building long-term customer relationships will lead to more sales down the road that will be easier and less expensive for your company to make. This relationship building process begins before the first sale takes place, but it needs to go into high gear after the first sale is made. A very powerful (but, sadly, often overlooked) tool for jump starting this process is a well-crafted thank you page.
Like this first-rate article from conversion rate optimization expert Theresa Baiocco implies, a great thank you page can help you combat buyer’s remorse. It can help you build strong relationships with happy, long-term customers who buy from you again and again in the future.
And it can give you opportunities to make additional sales. Think about it: Who says you can’t have a call to action in a thank you email that links to a relevant product page on your website?
Here’s another idea for leveraging the power of great thank you pages to combat buyer’s remorse: Use the content of the page to reinforce the wise decision your new customer just made and what they stand to gain from their purchase. Paint vivid “word pictures” of the benefits they’ll enjoy.
On the topic of buyer’s remorse, fight it further by sending your new (or not so new) customers fulfillment content that provides value by showing them how to get more productive use from your product.
Emails with links to “how-to” videos or articles are ideal for this purpose. This will help your customers get more value from their purchase, but also strengthen your relationship with them, making them more loyal to you and creating TOMA – Top Of Mind Awareness – of your brand.
This is important. When they’re ready to buy again, you want them to think about you first. And of course, you want them to do so fondly. Fulfillment content that helps your customers get more value from your product will help achieve this goal.
Build goodwill by occasionally sending emails that detail how much you appreciate their business. Make them feel important and involved with your brand. Request their feedback on their user experience with your product and emphasize how you want to use the feedback to refine your product and service to give them even more value.
Again, selling is not a dirty word. As you are distributing your post-sale content marketing through email, don’t be afraid to sell on occasion. Do you have a new product or service you think your customers would like? Send them an email telling them about your new offerings and include a call to action to a targeted product page on your website.
Content marketing is powerful. It can give your company’s bottom line a very nice boost. And it’s not limited to lead nurturing and helping to make the first sale. It can also help you gain customers for life.
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