It’s easy for all of us to get too consumed by our own business. We focus on our to-do list, our challenges, and our goals. So it’s natural, when talking to our customers, to want to focus on our own agendas to accomplish these goals. And after finishing a client’s transaction, it’s too easy to let them sit in your database without re-engaging them in any way.
Is it any wonder then, that after leaving a client high and dry – except when you want something from them – that they tune you out?
Focusing on ourselves as businesses is the wrong strategy to re-engage past clients. While this may not be immediately obvious, to achieve your goals, you must help your customers achieve theirs. One of the best ways to do this is through content marketing, and this form of marketing is a long-term, not a short-term, strategy.
For this post, we’ll focus on a regularly scheduled email newsletter that keeps you top of mind with your clients. We will dig into why customer-focused content marketing rewards you in the long run.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a way to communicate with your audience that offers them information that they want to read. Rather than information specific to your industry or your business, you provide information about topics that interest your readers, solve a problem for them or provide useful information.
For instance, a loan officer might write about upgrades that add value to your home without overpricing it for the neighborhood. This information helps past clients who may not be interested in financing in the short term.
Why Content Marketing Helps Businesses with Long Sales Cycles
At OutboundEngine, we help many professionals who work in industries with long sales cycles – real estate agents, loan officers and insurance agents, among others.
In industries like these, your customers are not likely to need your services every month, every six months, or, in some cases, not for years. In this situation, you want to keep in touch with past customers (and potential ones), but not in an annoying way.
And there is little that is more annoying than hearing the same Buy! Buy! Buy! message when you aren’t even in the market and aren’t likely to be for a long time. Eventually, customers will tune out these messages. Or worse, unsubscribe altogether.
“Email newsletters are very effective especially for businesses selling high-involvement products where customers carry out extensive evaluation before the purchase (e.g. house, car, garage, etc). For example, if it takes few months for you to convert leads, newsletters will help you to stay in touch with your prospects during the decision-making process.” – Koozai blog
Why Content Marketing Works: Building Relationships
So, our strategy should be to help these potential and hopefully repeat customers, not to sell to them. By creating helpful, interesting content, you will slowly build trust with your audience. Eventually, over time, you will build a relationship with them. You will be seen as an expert in your field who provides worthwhile information.
Needless to say, building relationships is a long-term strategy, not a short-term fix for a quick sale.
When trust is established, past customers will open your emails and pass them along to friends when relevant. And when people in their social circle ask for a recommendation, your name will be first on their list because your regular emails will keep you top of mind with them.
Why Content Marketing Works: Repeat Business
The more helpful you are to past customers, the more likely they are to do business with you again. Let’s say you’re a real estate agent who sold a house to a client five years ago. Over the years, you have sent a few emails with market information and real estate info, but the majority of your emails have taken a help rather than sell approach. You’ve sent information on topics like how to plant landscaping to save on energy bills and a spring maintenance checklist to keep a property in tip-top shape.
Because of this, your client remembers your name. And in addition, has a positive association with you. When it’s time to look for a new home, you’re the realtor to call.
Content marketing is a useful tool, particularly for industries with long sales cycles. You can put this tool to use by providing useful and entertaining content to your past customers and prospects, but this is a long-term approach, not a short-term guarantee.
Read more of our articles to get your content marketing strategy in place, or contact us and we’ll do it all for you.
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Updated: 11/30/17; Originally Published: 10/27/14