There is a lot of talk about how content marketing can improve:
- Social media
- Lead generation
- Thought leadership
However, content marketing can also have a positive effect on something more central to each individual customer.
Their experience with your brand.
We asked six experts for their opinion on the benefits of content marketing on customer experience.
Each of them had a different, yet complementary, perspective which we’ve summed up in the following points:
Content marketing enhances the customer experience by:
- Efectively communicating the value of your product
- Educating your future customers
- Providing helpful information to your customers
- Helping your customers achieve their goals
- Helping your customers overcome their challenges
- Moving customers through their journey
1. Effectively communicate the value of your product
For digital marketing manager Giulio Garguillo, content marketing can enhance the overall customer experience by offering more and useful information about your product.
He provides an interesting example of AP’s interactive content marketing. Giulio says that making your content marketing interactive can help you communicate the value of something that might be intangible.
AP wanted to communicate the value of the Mie Prefecture’s attractions to the right people.
During the 2016 G7 Ise-Shima summit in Mie Prefecture, Japan, the Mie Citizens Council decided to encourage travel and tourism by creating captivating visual content about the historical and spiritual attractions of the region.
AP created custom videos and images and distributed them through the AP video platforms, to their network of media subscribers and was amplified through sponsored tweets.
2. Educate your future customers
Fay Friedman, Director of SEO/Marketing at Qualitybath.com, starts by mentioning one of today’s largest marketing trends: consumers are increasingly more educated about the purchases they make.
She says that content marketing provides you with the ideal tool to educate them in a way that benefits your business.
Content helps in many stages of the customer funnel by building authority throughout and assisting the customer in moving through the journey, getting each time closer to the decision stage.
Quality Bath increases organic blog traffic by 64% through online buying guides
Over the last year, Quality Bath built a library of buying guides to help consumers choose home fixtures, a difficult process due to thousands of choices.
As a result of the buying guides, they saw an increase in:
- blog traffic by 64% in six months
- an increase in their search engine rankings for important informational queries
3. Provide truly helpful content
For Ruby Reyes, Director of Digital Content at Argo Group, content marketing and customer experience are co-dependent. In her opinion, a good marketing strategy is customer-centric/service oriented. And to be truly relevant to your customer, you need to be thinking about the how, where and when they consume the content.
Ruby says that the best way content marketing enhances the customer experience is precisely by providing helpful content! This simple, yet incredibly important fact, cannot be overstated. She warns us that it is very easy to get into the “numbers game”: how long do people stay on the page, how many downloads, how many touch points and so on.
However, companies that have the most successful programs provide the most value to their customers and have a clear understanding of their customers and they know:
- where they are
- how they like to receive their communications
- what is pertinent to them at this point in time
Most importantly, however, they provide content that is helpful which sometimes might mean providing content that doesn’t necessarily promote what you’re selling.
You might be asking yourself what constitutes “helpful” content. Put simply, helpful content is content that is relevant to your audience. This might mean that it educates, entertains or inspires them about something they deem important.
However, to provide truly valuable content, you also need to take into account what content might be highly shareable and, perhaps more importantly, what content might lead to sales or leads.
We’ve elaborated on what makes content truly valuable on this piece on How to Create Valuable Content
4. Help your customers achieve their goals
“Content is a critical building block to developing a relationship with your customers, and your audience,” says Doyle Buehler, CEO at Breakthrough Digital. He explains that content is more than just a ‘blog’. It’s about all of the different types of ideas and insights that you convey across all of your channels, with all of the different mediums: video, images, posts, responses, workshops, webinars and so on.
Doyle emphasizes that content provides you with the opportunity to create a connection with your customer by communicating your story. How you choose to tell your story is a massive tool in developing the full customer experience. Put simply, without a story, there simply is no experience.
He says that content cannot just stand alone. It can only be built upon a strong strategic foundation. One that can account for the full experience and that actually allows you to deliver your full brand value. Failed content is content that doesn’t have a strategy behind it.
For Doyle, content marketing is about recognizing your customers’ goals and helping them, through content, reach those goals.
“People don’t read, watch or listen to something because it is “there”; they read, watch or listen because it helps them manifest their own journey for their goals.”
He says that for content to truly enhance the customer experience, the business or thought leader must identify this journey, recognize the goal and then use content as road signs to help complete the journey for their customer.
KFC mitigates its mistake by keeping the customer’s goal in mind
In February 2018, KFC failed to deliver chicken to countless restaurants in the UK.
The customer’s goal was to eat chicken. The content and the story was the “FCK” bucket of chicken ad (appropriately exchanging KFC to FCK) that actually recognized the fact that customers weren’t getting their chicken.
By keeping the customer’s goal in mind, and taking into account the fact that their journey towards that goal had been interrupted, KFC did a decent job mitigating their error through clever and humorous content.
5. Help your customers overcome their challenges
Amit Kapoor, Associate Director of Content Marketing at Cigniti Technologies, says that delivering customer experience by means of content marketing involves understanding the needs of the customer and providing content relevant to them.
Content marketing plays a vital role in enhancing the customer experience by providing guidance on what can they do to overcome their challenges. Even if the content doesn’t directly provide a solution, but creates a sense of hope and empathy for the unexpressed needs of customers, it creates a great experience.
In his opinion, content marketing can enhance the customer experience by providing content that consistently helps customers solve problems or meet business objectives. Content marketing must not involve trying to sell services directly. Rather, the focus must be to educate customers and provide them information based on which they can take the best decisions. This helps them become successful in what they do.
6. Use content to move customers through their journey
For John von Brachel, SVP, Content Marketing Executive at the Bank of America, content marketing helps companies connect with customers, fostering stronger relationships with them. To do that, however, the content must be of value to the customer: an insight, idea or a point of view they want or need. If this is the case, they will be more likely to engage with the company, whether it is to learn more about the company’s products or solutions, or to simply share the content and, in doing so, act as brand ambassadors.
John says that given the right customer signals, content can be personalized for individuals in the process of making buying decisions. For example, people making improvements on their home or in the market for a new car, are more likely to search for information throughout their buying process.
Bank of America’s Better Money Habits Program moves customers through their journey
Companies that can sequence the right advice to these customers are more likely going to capture their attention and trust. Bank of America’s Better Money Habits program is a good example of the right content at the right time in these circumstances. It’s designed to offer smart and objective advice that can be there for people who care about making better financial decisions. By doing that, it’s more likely to endear those people to the Bank of America brand, and potentially its solutions.
If you visit their site, you’ll see how the home page is designed to help people navigate with the purpose of finding the content that will be more valuable to them. They’ve even integrated interactive content marketing, in the form of quizzes, to better target and engage their audience. I encourage you to have a look!
However, moving your customer through their journey is not enough, the ultimate goal is to convert your audience into tangible sales!
That’s why we’ve put together this piece on How To Attract $4 Million In Client Revenue Thorugh Content.
(This piece was co-written by Gabriel Chu.)