The old adage, “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer” is as relevant today as ever. However, most marketing teams spend the majority of their time, effort, and budget on getting new customers into the funnel through the content they create. Whether that’s content like blog posts, sales collateral or ads, most content is focused on sales rather than retention.
Post-sales content, however, is just as important. It helps to improve the experience a customer has with your business and improve their overall relationship with the business. Crucially, it can help to retain them as a customer and get them coming back time and time again.
As we head out of a global pandemic into a recession, there has never been a better time to make your investment in marketing work harder than ever. And whilst it is still important to feed the funnel with new prospects, it is important that businesses also keep a close eye on existing customers and the value a business can add post-sale.
A big part of that process is understanding your customers and creating content that is useful to them.
Software providers are a great example of this. Take Mailchimp as a prime example. Once they get you signed up to their platform, even on a free account, they never stop providing you with helpful content that makes you better at creating amazing email content.
They recognise that the better you become at email marketing, the more you will grow your database and, eventually, you will either move over to a paid package or upgrade your existing package. If your business grows, their business grows so it is in their interest to be as helpful as possible and their Mailchimp 101 free resource is the perfect example of post-sales content that is relevant and useful.
Why do you need to provide great content for existing customers?
Obviously, retention is the key goal when thinking about a content strategy for existing customers, but there are other goals at play.
One thing to remember is that a customer may have had a long journey before making a purchase with you. During that journey, they may have been exposed to lots of great content from your brand, either in the form of blogs, emails, social media posts or more. They have come to expect great content from your brand and after they make a purchase, it’s not a good idea for that to come to a sudden halt.
Another thing to remember is that your customers can also be great advocates for your brand. Sure, they might love the product or service they have purchased, but in order to keep it fresh in mind, imagine the power of following up their purchase with some great after-sales content. That’s the stuff that really gets them talking.
During the sales funnel journey, you also probably made lots of promises about how your product or service could solve a problem that people were having. The challenge post-sale is proving the value of whatever it is you promised.
Whilst your customers may be happy with their product or service, the pre-sales content may have set their expectation levels high when it comes to the content they expect.
But what does post-sales content look like?
Broadly, the content you should look to deliver after a sale is something that guides a customer through the adoption phase of their purchase.
If we think about an air fryer as an example. This is one of the most popular appliances right now with lots of people going out to buy one, often off the back of a friend’s recommendation about how amazing they are.
Whilst lots of people will simply choose the same brand as their friend recommends, there are also lots of people who will go out and do their own research to find out which air fryer best suits their needs. At this stage, it’s all about the content that tells them about the features and benefits of a particular model.
Once a decision has been made and a purchase completed, then it is time to provide the value that people need once they get their air fryer. User guides, simple tips, recipes, ideas for things you can cook in your air fryer, how to clean your air fryer etc are all great pieces of after-sales content that can be delivered either direct (via email) or through social media channels, and of course, through organic search.
When you deliver a post-sales content strategy, your goals change. Your goals now are all about retention, brand loyalty, up-selling, and word-of-mouth promotion.
Managing the post-sales content journey
With any content strategy, you need to have clearly defined goals for what you are hoping to achieve. With pre-sales content, you are trying to raise brand awareness, educate, inform, entertain, and ultimately, drive sales.
With post-sales content, you are trying to onboard your new customers by providing them with content that educates and informs them about their purchase but also gets them excited about the opportunities their new purchase presents.
You also want to get people talking.
We talked above about the air fryer revolution that is currently sweeping the globe. Most of what I know about air fryers is what friends have told me. How amazing they are, the things you can cook in them, the opportunities they present!
You want your customers to do the same, except, you want them to talk specifically about your brand, not just the product itself.
I have no idea who makes air fryers. If I had to guess, I would say Breville, Russell Hobbs and probably Sunbeam. No one has ever talked to me about their specific brand of air fryer, just that they are amazing.
By providing post-sales content that helps new customers through the adoption phase, you are planting yet more seeds in their minds about the product itself as well as the brand.
Whilst Briscoes are not trying to sell any one brand, they do understand the customer journey and the need for post-sales content.
Briscoes stock a wide range of air fryers to suit all budgets, from their own budget Zip brand to the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer. Their goal is to get customers to purchase an air fryer from them rather than another retailer.
To help people through the pre-sale buyer journey, they have created a rather handy buyers’ guide that talks you through all the different options. A great way to inform and educate people pre-purchase.
They also know that once people have purchased their air fryers, many don’t really know what to cook in there. Or even if they do, they may be looking for inspiration. A simple Google search for “air fryer recipes” finds Briscoes once again ranking on page one with the Winter Recipes post – a great piece of post-sales content to keep people engaged.
They don’t stop there, however,
Briscoes have helpful posts on a huge range of topics, all targeting post-sales customers who want to get more out of their purchases.
Whether it’s seasoning your cast iron pan, cleaning your new frying pan like a pro or learning how to spring clean like never before, Briscoes understands that a customer’s journey with them shouldn’t stop once they have made a purchase.
All of this content is available on their website, although we would imagine it is an integral part of their post-sales email marketing strategy, allowing them to reach out to customers post-purchase and encourage them to do more with their purchases.
If it isn’t part of their strategy, it should be.
Tips for improving the post-sales customer experience
Of course, like any marketing strategy, your post-sales content strategy should be carefully managed. Here are some tips to help with that process:
1. Don’t overwhelm your customers
Whilst it is great that you are thinking about your customers post-sale and how you can help them to make the most of their purchase, the last thing you want to do is to overwhelm them.
Your post-sales content strategy should be part of a wider content strategy that is mapped from start to finish (see below), and at all stages of that journey, you should consider how much content you are sending to your customers and why.
It’s important to anticipate customers’ needs and to be ready to answer those questions when they come up. Sometimes, that is about being proactive. An email post-purchase that provides answers to frequently asked questions could be the perfect way for people to access this content, however, it needs to be part of the wider strategy.
Another great option is to provide a community space (such as a forum) where customers can ask (and answer) commonly asked questions that other customers also have. This is a space that your customers can find organically through your website, or you can signpost them to this area with the material inside of the packaging.
Webinars and video content are another great way for a business to provide helpful and informative content that people can access in their own time, without feeling any pressure or being overwhelmed.
2. Map out the entire content journey
It’s important that you map out the entire content journey when thinking about a specific product. Plan content for specific parts of the customer journey and think about how that will be accessed or delivered.
Use your pre-sales content to inform your post-sales content. Comments on social media posts and feedback from sales staff in-store can really help to guide the content that people are likely to need post-purchase.
3. Build and maintain relationships with customers
The content you publish is all part of your wider marketing efforts to build and maintain strong relationships with your customers. You want to become the go-to resource for information. By developing relationships with your customers and encouraging them to engage and interact, you become more relevant to them, helping to build a relationship, and ultimately, to build brand loyalty.
Building and maintaining relationships is all about providing great experiences. You want people to remember their interactions with your brand, whether that’s in-person in a store or online through the content you publish.
If you are active on social media, make sure you get back to enquiries quickly. If you provide customer service channels, such as a helpline or a live chat, make sure that they are well staffed and don’t keep people waiting.
Relationships are two-way streets and it’s important that you open up the communication channels so you are not just talking at your customers. Only then will you be able to build and maintain relationships with them.
Post-sales content can be just as important as pre-sales content, especially in the current climate where customer retention is a premium.
Make sure you are thinking about the entire customer journey, one that goes beyond the purchase itself, and think about how the content you publish can help to build a long-lasting relationship with customers that means they come back time and time again.