How to Increase Customer Retention Through Content Marketing

If content is king, then marketing is queen when it comes to boosting customer retention. Learn to write posts that reduce churn.
Written by: Tara Horstmeyer

If content is king, then marketing is queen when it comes to boosting customer retention. Learn to write posts that reduce churn and creates loyal customers.

Whether you create online courses, launch new products and services for ecommerce, run a membership site, or operate any other type of subscription-based business, you’ll need to generate enticing and useful content as a bare minimum. Then, you’ll need a system to market this content to get it in front of as many of the right eyeballs (aka, your target audience) as possible.

To grow any successful subscription-based business, you must have two main ingredients:

1.    A proven way to acquire customers.

2.    A strategy to retain these customers.

These principles are the bread-and-butter of customer retention and growth. You can't ignore either of them if you want to build a successful company that provides customer satisfaction which in turn breeds customer loyalty and increases customer retention rate.

Harvard research has found that increasing your customers lifetime value and retention by just 5% can increase your profits by 25% to 95%. You need content marketing to show your members that their cash investment is well-spent. You also need to create value with your subscription or membership offers.

To create the best subscription marketing strategies, you must start with your customer's buying journey. Build a marketing plan, familiarize yourself with your customer churn stats, use customer feedback and develop a plan of action to increase customer retention.

Your strategy should include different stages of the customer acquisition and retention process, including:

Harvard research has found that increasing your customer retention by just 5% can increase your profits by 25% to 95%.

Content is King

Unique content is essential for every phase of the customer’s journey. Creating the right targeted content is a major part of membership site marketing. You’ll use it to find new customers while also creating value for existing members.

Here are some ways to retain members using content:

1.  Send attention-grabbing onboarding emails

A lot of attention to detail must be put into deciding how to onboard customers to reduce churn. This is the first time they will use your product and it is a very important milestone in your customer success.

The SaaS metrics company, Preact, has found that 23% of user churn is due to bad onboarding. It’s important to send onboarding emails early and make them interesting. Be proactive on using your onboarding to create customer engagement. No one wants to read boring emails with only blocks of text. So, incorporate images, animations, and links, maybe even offer a discount.

Your welcome email sets the tone for the type of customer relationship you will establish with your members. You can use your customer data to personalize onboarding emails. For example, follow up with an email when a member:

2. Use customer intelligence in a smart way

Your membership content creation should be driven by the information you already have. Your marketing automation should make good use of your data and you'll be in a good position to know exactly what your current users want.

Although data is a treasure trove for membership and subscription-based businesses with a number of customers showing trends, a study by MIT Technology Review says that only 0.5% of data collected will be used by a business. Why collect all these data if you’re not going to use it? If you take a more focused approach to using your CRM data correctly, you’ll be well ahead of most of your competitors in increasing your customer lifetime value.

When creating content for members, focus on content that provides an “aha” moment — a wow factor. You can use customer analytic tools in your email or site platform to create segments and analyze data on member behavior. Keep the information you find at the center of your retention efforts to reduce membership churn.

Customer intelligence data can boost member satisfaction on your site. It helps customers feel supported. They will assume you have mind-reading capabilities because you’re giving them exactly what they want before they even ask for it. An example of this is Trello. They sent an email based on their “Never Miss a Deadline” blog showing how to set custom due date reminders. Trello capitalized on the fact that the due date function is one of their most popular features.

Email subscribers got a recap of the due date feature and how to customize reminders for it. Trello also included summaries of other new features in the same email. Their conversion rate went up, their customer expectations were set, and they made their customer feel seen.  

The email provided value to existing Trello customers while also boosting a well-known and loved feature.

When creating content for members, focus on content that provides an “aha” moment — a wow factor.

3.    Create a help and resource center

Zendesk conducted a study and found that 67% of people would rather use a self-service help center than speak to a customer service rep. A decent help and resource center will help retain your members, as it will increase satisfaction and cut down the time that they have to spend talking to agents. Sometimes, keeping customers doesn't have to be all about taking care of customer complaints. They will be happy with a good and well structured help center.

To start a help center, you need to make good use of collected data to find out the most frequently asked questions. You can also include information about under-utilized features and services. Provide content on how these overlooked services will help your members. Who knows, maybe one of these undiscovered features will be the next star of your service?

It’s also a good idea to keep a calendar that shows the frequency and type of updates to your help center. In this way, members will be able to plan around them.

Your help center can include a “how-to” guide or feature that asks members what they would like to see included in your membership site or subscription service.

4.  Make use of webinars

Webinars are famous for their usefulness in acquiring customers. Most subscription- and membership-based businesses use this type of content to bring in customers and generate leads.

But beyond customer acquisition, they are also very useful in customer retention programs. Webinars can be a bit neglected when it comes to retaining members. When using webinars to retain members and keep happy customers, you should provide information on how customers can get the most from their subscription or membership. You can even create a webinar that shows how to successfully navigate the site contents. This will help members gain the maximum benefit from each section.

One company that uses webinars to secure leads and retain customers is Hubspot. On their free webinar page, they’ve uploaded a ton of webinars for potential and existing customers to view on-demand.

The landing page contains a summary of each webinar to encourage people to watch. Hubspot's strategy is a great one. In fact, a recent study has found that 73% of professionals would prefer to watch on-demand videos rather than take time out of their day to watch live videos.

When using webinars to retain members, ensure that this type of content is available on-demand so that members can view it at their convenience.

How to Market to Retain Customers

Now that we've shown you some ways to retain members with content, here are ways to use marketing to improve member retention and grow your recurring revenue or even upsell new products:

1. Be available on different types of social media

Today, just having a telephone number on your site isn’t good enough to retain customers. Because so many people now have smartphones, you need to ensure that your subscription- and membership-based business is visible across different types of social media, especially those most frequently used by your members.

Your members should be able to contact you via social media. You can also provide a specialized email or live chat for them to contact you about any issues they’re facing.

Make sure to use various types of content on different platforms. Bombarding your members with only promotional content is a turnoff. Give genuinely useful tips and create shareable content. Have a member of your team manage your social media account to respond to any queries or comments.

Member engagement during podcasts or videos on social media and through email marketing can lead to a list of thorough testimonials about your company's product or service. An on point messaging on social media goes a long way in customer retention.

2. Give your existing customers discounts

Marketing to get new members or subscribers normally means offering a discount or special promotion. However, marketers often forget about their existing customer base. When you offering these incentives, remember to show some love to the customers who have been loyal to you.

When marketing membership sites, use discounts to demonstrate that you still appreciate your current members, not just new ones. Instead of paying monthly, you can offer a discount for the renewal of service or for purchasing multiple months at once. These kinds of touches can make all the difference if a customer is thinking about canceling their subscription.

3. Make it easy for your customers to give feedback

A good marketing strategy for subscription or membership sites focuses on allowing customers to have their say in how you update your products or services. NOt only do you get to keep customers but also gain relevant data on improving your product.

This is invaluable because you’ll get information on how to improve your products or services straight from the horse’s mouth.

Your customers use your products or services every day. So, they’re the most qualified to provide you with valuable information about what you’re doing well and what you could improve.

You can use a feedback form on your website or add a link to a survey hosted on a platform, like Survey Monkey. To encourage customers to leave feedback, give them a reward. This could be a free gift, special offers, or maybe a free month of the next level of membership on your site.

4. Start a referral program

Did you know that people are four times more likely to buy something when it's recommended by a friend? This is the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Including a referral program in your membership or subscription marketing is a great way to take advantage of this fact. Using a referral program can help you keep your existing customers by giving them a discount, while also getting new customers.

If you're still on the fence about whether to start a referral program, think about the fact that 74% of consumers say that word of mouth is a major driving factor in their purchasing decisions.

Referral programs can be used for retailers and different types of subscription-based businesses. For example, the beauty box business, Birchbox, has a great one. They ask current members to refer a friend and the subscriber will receive their next box free of charge.

Just as with any other membership content, your marketing strategy must make sure that people are aware of your latest initiatives. Here are a few ideas to promote and market your referral program:

Now that you have some information on how to retain your customers with content and marketing, you can prevent voluntary customer churn. Membership management and membership retention are critical in the long haul. Use a management software to track member lifecycles so you can plan out your membership retention strategies in an efficient and effective manner.

People are four times more likely to buy something when it's recommended by a friend.

Final Takeaway

If you have a solid marketing strategy and your customers are happy, don't let that hard work go to waste. Address any issues, like failed credit card payments, quickly so they don’t affect your recurring revenues.

Partner with Gravy to get the benefit of a team of customer retention experts and specialists on your side that can increase your company's retention rate and help you keep your best customers. We help recover failed credit card payments so they don’t affect your business as you build your content and marketing strategies.

You take care of the marketing, while we make sure that your customers continue to access the services they deserve. In doing so, you increase your profitability and you get the recurring revenue that’s due as you continue to provide a high-quality service.

Book a call with us today to find out how Gravy's advocacy for payment recovery can help you keep more of your hard-won customers.

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