Need Your Customers to Remember you? Try talking to them with a Content Strategy

Inbound Marketing | 4 minute read

Does your company have a Customer Nurture Strategy?

There is a good chance that as a company you have a strong list of prospects that didn’t quite pan out. For companies that have been around a decade or more, this is especially true. At some point in the past, you have had customers move on. While you have existing customers who know you excel in an area, they may have no idea about other products and services you offer.

How to Engage Lapsed Customers with Nurture Programs

The least effective way to engage lapsed customers is sending out blanket emails to your entire contact list with a line card.  This is intrusive to your audience. It is better to segment your customers into specific buyer personas and create an engagement campaign specific to their needs and habits.segment

Let's Explore an Example: F.M. Machine

F.M. Machine has been offering repair service and parts for the heavy equipment industry for decades. They run into two different problems.

  1. Existing customers tend to not know the entire range of services offered by F.M. Machine
  2. Fear of customer attrition due to new engineers being hired to replace previous engineers who were loyal customers 

Our content strategy is re-engaging customers who are no longer customers with F.M. Machine. Equally important is cross-selling existing customers and making them aware of additional products and services.

A simple customer re-engagement email was presented as a solution. Given the broad range of industries and products serviced by F.M. Machine, it was decided to break customers up into specific buyer personas. This made crafting an engagement strategy more focused.

For this example, we will look at two buyer personas.

  1. Old Engine Ed- Past customer who has worked with F.M. Machine.  He has stopped using F.M. Machine consistently for a reason other than a bad experience.
  2. Engineer Erin- A newly hired engineer who is unfamiliar with F.M. Machine. She may see them on a list of vendors the company does business with but has no experience working with them directly.

Pro Tip:

Learn more about what goes into an effective buyer persona at Make My Persona.

The initial goal of the company is to define each contact in the CRM who best matches these two personas. It doesn’t matter if they are inactive subscribers or actively engaged subscribers. The important thing right now is to define the audience.

Audiences can later be segmented into existing customers, past customers, and prospects. If your CRM is up to date and robust it likely already has a great deal of segmenting options.

The campaign we create may be a bit different than a traditional inbound marketing campaign, but the core principles are the same:

  • Attract Visitors 
  • Convert them to Leads
  • Nurture them into Customers
  • Delight them into Evangelists

Related Reading: How to Run an Inbound Marketing Campaign.

With our buyer personas set, we have an existing group of contacts that we can work to nurture. Typically we would also work on new lead generation but for now, let's assume we are only concerned with existing customers.

The attract stage now is designed specifically to get them to engage with the website. The website is your #1 marketing asset and your best sales tool (at least it should be). We can do this through engagement email campaigns and even social media. Our goal should be providing relevant information to the Buyer Persona.

What content is good content?

Break your content ideas down into three groups:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Decision

Awareness stage content is designed to bring awareness to your company by providing valuable information to your audience.

Awareness Stage Blog and Email Combination:

  1. Old Engine Ed- 7 ways to revitalize older equipment to squeeze out a larger ROI.
  2. Engineer Erin- 6 services offered by F.M. Machine that makes your job easier

This is just the first step in our awareness stage content. Not everyone will engage with it so a content strategy should be developed to produce different pieces of content for different customer pains.  

With Old Engine Ed, we just want a simple way to get our name in front of him again. Likely, he knows the services offered and just needs a re-introduction. Engineer Erin does not know what is offered, is a new engineer and will be looking for a way to make a mark at the company. So developing a cross-selling strategy with this persona is important.

Consideration Stage Blog and Email Combination:

  1. Old Engine Ed- F.M. Machine's Part Life Calculator for Used vs. New Part Replacements
  2. Engineer Erin- How XYZ Company Leveraged F.M. Machine’s Custom Manufacturing to Save 1000 hours of downtime

Consideration content is designed to give specific aspects of how F.M. Machine works with clients or how their products compare to similar products in the industry.

Decision Stage Content Blog and Email Combination:

  1. Old Engine Ed- Save 10% on our Parts Hot Swap Program and Reduce Downtime.
  2. Engineer Erin- Schedule a Free Onsite Assessment 
    What an Onsite Assessment will Teach You About Your Processes

By the time the nurtured leads hit the decision stage content, they should recognize your brand as an authority and have a measure of trust in your company. The decision content is giving them the opportunity to make the final decision in your favor.

Pro Tip:

Sales and Marketing should be working hand in hand during this process,  if your CRM offers lead scoring, sales may want to reach out during the lead nurturing and offer a consultative sales call.

Super simplified lead nurture example

Yes, the above example is a super simplified lead nurture strategy.  A complete strategy would be much more detailed and intense. It does serve as a basic guide for working your own content marketing strategy.  There are also amazing marketing automation tools available like HubSpot that is designed to make this work - if not easier - more manageable.

Go dust off some of your old email templates. Work on your email design and subject lines and start working that segmented email list.  You can turn inactive users into customers again.

Re-Engaging customers with a strong cross-selling strategy should be a priority for your sales and marketing team.

 

Robb Luther

A lifetime resident of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, Robb joined Pittsburgh Internet Consulting as an Internet Marketing Consultant in September 2007. Robb’s work experience covers a full range of website design and development, marketing (both online and off), and training responsibilities.