The essence of customer support is knowledge.
When you want to truly help your customers, you dig into years of experience with your product or site.
However, what if that knowledge can be transformed into educational resources that would work as proactive customer service? What’s more, what if you could use them as part of a marketing campaign that will help convert people into your customers?
Here comes content marketing.
Bill Gates once said:
If people are to be expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will.
Now, keep in mind that this is the idea all the way from 1996!
Following this idea, Joe Pulizzi began the revolution that we know as content marketing:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
As these quotes and ideas began sweeping across marketing campaigns, many forgot one major factor behind content – education. And we can’t forget about it because it’s a tool that can make a customer support proactive like never before!
Proactive content as a result of proactive customer support
A while back there was a great post about why proactive customer service is good for your business. Its conclusion was that once you will make the first move, you can build customers’ loyalty, find a source for valuable feedback and find a way to make your website easier to search.
This is where the content marketing becomes part of that strategy.
You take gathered data and feedback to prepare content that will answer, teach, and prepare customers for interaction with certain aspects of your product.
Collecting data is actually pretty easy!
There are a couple of simple things that you can do:
- Surveys – from Google to Survicate, there are a couple of tools that you can implement to ask a question on your site, in your panel, or after purchase.
- Questions – If a customer reaches out to your support team, have them answer a question at the end of the chat, call or email. Furthermore, a simple question like “what did you like about our store” at the end of the purchasing process can bring in a lot of valuable feedback.
- Emails – Follow up with a satisfaction questionnaire after a purchase (an eBay or Amazon favorite). Send an email after a month or two of using (or not using) your product to see what your customer likes and doesn’t like.
- Content CTA – Did you notice that most blog posts end with “what are your thoughts?” or that most whitepapers and webinars ask for your feedback? These simple CTAs for feedback are a perfect way to get people talking.
- Data Analysis – Google Analytics is a pretty obvious candidate here, as it shows you what converted and what didn’t. However, you can also try looking into other things like session recordings or heat maps.
What Materials Should I Prepare?
Content marketing is more than “just” your knowledge base or basic FAQ page.
If you’ve collected your feedback and you know what pain points your customers are constantly facing – get one step ahead of them and teach them how to solve their problems! There are various ways in which you can approach education:
Whitepapers and Guides
There are a couple of questions that you can ask yourself to know whether your customer could use a whitepaper or guide from you:
- Is there a particular part of your product or service that people have trouble using or implementing?
- Are there any best practices that you can offer?
- Can you help your customers draw up a draft for the perfect way to use your product?
Whitepapers are a great way to teach, but did you know that 74% of professional services ranked whitepapers as an excellent source allowing you to generate leads? If you provide people with a guide, you might even prevent their potential infuriation when they face a problem. Why? Because they’ll be educated on how to make things work!
Let’s pretend for a second that you have a business and you sell goat pictures. Yes, a very absurd of an example, but imagine that it reflects your own situation.
You pour your heart into capturing good pictures, you turn those images into high quality GIFs, stocks, videos or whatever your heart desires.
Now someone comes to you and asks – ok cool, goats are fun, but how can I use your products for my benefit?
This is where you can write up a well-illustrated guide, and you can also have a webinar as the average registrant-to-attendee conversion rate has been at 42%!
Before you decide what kind of content you want to produce, ask yourself these questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- Who would like to know how they can use your images to increase engagement?
- What does your industry say about using images?
Share your insights, show tricks for making the most of your product.
Every content marketer’s favorite medium. As a blogger you connect with customers in a more humane way, elaborate on short FAQ points and start conversations.
You’d be surprised how many people come to the comments section to ask for more information!
For example, a while back we had a blog post at GetResponse about two new social media platforms. This was a brief post focused on awareness, but someone felt that, although it’s nice to know that something exists, it’s even better to know how to use this new thing.
And so, we took that request to heart and created two follow up posts where we explained not only how each of those social media platforms works but also how it can be used in marketing.
See, that is foresight – not just telling someone how it works, but realizing that they might want to know how they can actually use it to their benefit.
How Can I Distribute And Educate?
Content distribution is a campaign package deal. What do I mean?
- Banners on websites, blogs, and in emails
- Email promotion with exclusives insights
- Promoted social media posts, targeted tweets, outreach
- Promotional landing pages
- Blog posts devoted to sharing not just tips, but also webinar recaps, whitepaper excerpts, or exclusive insights.
Creating such an elaborate campaign is very welcome – hey, think of all those leads and conversions! They let your customers know that you think ahead – you care about them and you want to solve any problems before they might actually become one.
Content marketing can be a campaign that is available on various channels and for numerous audiences, but its main goal is proactive customer support.
With, what I like to call, information hubs (guide, whitepaper, webinar recap post) you can just take a link and share it.
Got a customer that’s confused and never made it to your blog post? As a customer support representative, you can explain the issue and solution, but you can also send him to a link that will recap exactly what you just said. You have to explain less and they will have info for future reference.
Get your team involved. I bet your customer support or sales team has many connections and is social media savvy. Why don’t they become your brand advocates and share your content for their contacts to see? Educational content is not just for the customer, it’s for your team as well!
How do you use content as part of your proactive customer support? If you’re not using content as an educational hub, what do you use it for? Share in the comments below!
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