There’s a lot out there in the inbound marketing world surrounding activities connected to the awareness, consideration and decisions stages of the marketing funnel. Entire blogs focus on the act of blogging, countless emails are sent every day sharing new wisdom on how to improve your open rates and there are libraries of ebooks with the sole purpose of teaching you how to create an ebook.
With so much content out there focusing on how to attract, convert and sell people on your product or service using inbound marketing and automation methods, you would think there would be just as much out there on how you can delight them once they become customers. You would think.
Sadly though, there is not (or at least not as much), leaving an entire army of digital marketers counting submissions and preaching the inbound methodology who haven’t a clue what to do once a lead turns into a customer. While “customer marketing” might not necessarily fall under the marketing team’s responsibilities depending on your company’s size (other departments such as Customer Success or Professional Services may claim these as their charges), the fact remains that areas of the inbound methodology and marketing automation are still very relevant when it comes to communicating with your customer base. Whether it be during onboarding, ongoing support, resell or upsell opportunities, today’s businesses must look to establish a consistent, efficient plan of communication once the contract is signed.
So, if you believe that your organization has established a sound marketing automation system for inbound lead generation and sales conversions, it may be time to consider how you can integrate, automate and implement a customer marketing system. When you think you’re ready, consider the following questions that will help you build out a detailed strategy customized to your organization and its customers.
What do you want to track within your customer database?
Just as your sales team wants to know and track specific qualifiers in their CRM, customer marketing should want its own list of items to help segment their database. Consider things like products or services being used, contract type and size, contract expiration dates, account owners/managers, contact roles/responsibilities (day to day POC, final decision maker, billing, etc.), and other customer-specific items that could ultimately help you track and automate various marketing actions.
Where do you want your database to be?
Marketing has its own automation system, sales has its own CRM, Customer Support may have its own support ticket system. More likely than not, every one of these is its own standalone system, holding different pieces of information from different interactions with your company (marketing actions in the marketing automation system, sales conversations and deals in the CRM, support tickets in ticketing system) on the same client contact profile across every platform. If you’re planning on using this different information to create contextual content for your customers, at the very least you’ll want to map out where you can find everything and at the very most you’ll want to connect your different tools through integrations so that you can share the right information across your departments and tools to help you more effectively and efficiently communicate with your customers.
What do you want to share with your customer database and how?
Customer communication can be tricky, especially from a marketing standpoint. Your newest acquisitions have most likely spent the past few months in heavy contact with your marketing and sales teams and are ready for the sales pitches to end and the products/services to start working for them. So when it comes to establishing both recurring and one-time client communication across your different channels, you’ll want to make sure that you have solid strategies in place for the different types of communication:
- Client reaching out to you – setting up your website to serve not only prospective leads but also your current customers (dedicated support page, FAQ/Knowledgebase page, pop-up chat, smart/contextual content, etc.).
- Onboarding – establishing triggers within different systems to automate the onboarding and product training via emails, wizards and website portals.
- Product/Service Related Contact – one-off contact outreach (most likely email) regarding product/service information relevant to the client (updates, outages, etc.).
- Upsell Opportunities – one-off contact outreach (either email or potentially sales call) targeting specific clients (product/service usage, engagement, contract size, etc.) with upsell opportunities in mind.
- Resell Opportunities – automated contact outreach/internal reminders regarding client contract dates in order to begin talks for resell/resigning.
Much like all of the other stages of the inbound methodology, delighting your customers comes down to understanding who they are, how they became a customer and what they expect moving forward. From there, it’s up to you and your team to build out an automated and integrated system aimed at retaining and expanding their business through an attentive, contextualized customer experience.
Still having trouble picturing what a customized customer marketing campaign could look like for you? Schedule some time to sit down with our marketing experts and see how we can position your organization to succeed in the Age of the Customer.