When carrying out an inbound strategy, it can be so tempting (and sometimes easy) to focus on loading contacts and leads into the top of the funnel and seeing them successfully through to the very bottom. Seeing a lead move smoothly through this process and become a customer can cause many a marketing or commercial team to pat themselves on the back, open a beer and take their feet off the accelerator.
In the inbound methodology, it’s common for one of the most important stages to be forgotten about: delight. Delight refers to the stage at which a lead has been successfully converted into a customer, and it’s time to remind them over and over again why they chose to do business with you. Not only does this massively increase the chances of them doing business with you again, it also turns them into a very valuable asset: evangelists. If they’ve had a great experience with you, they’ll tell others; their peers, their friends, their auntie’s friend’s dog’s vet. You get the point.
If you don’t own this part of the sales stage, and you just let your customer skip off into the sunset, you’re opening yourself up to potential backlash. What if something goes wrong? What if they’re not happy? What happens when they start consuming cool campaigns from your competitors? You let them go – there’s no getting them back now.
So just how do you use the inbound marketing methodology – and specifically marketing automation – to delight your customers? Here are 3 tips for using automated content to turn your valued customers into brand evangelists.
Consider their next steps
So they’ve bought your product. They’ve signed up for your service. What does your customer need to do next? What might they want to do next?
Speaking from personal experience, in one of my ill-fated weekly exercise phases, I once purchased a pair of goggles, on Amazon, made by a company called Olympic Nation. Once my order had been dispatched, I received the following automated email from the company:
Attached was a “user guide” for my goggles – how to fit them properly, how to stop them steaming up, how to keep the clean. Not only was this information useful to me, it also assured me that this company really cared about the experience with their product. They cared about whether or not my goggles steamed up while I was swimming, and in turn I cared about their brand. I actually told a few people about this experience at the time, and now I’m telling you. That’s the power of communication like this.
Encourage them to give you feedback
During my career working on SEO and inbound marketing, I’ve been asked this question or a version of this question more often than I’ve had hot dinners: “We’ve got a negative review on Google, how do we get rid of it?”. I’m always tempted to answer this with “Don’t get a negative review in the first place”, but I’m fully aware this would not go down very well.
The sad truth is though, this is pretty much the only way to ensure a negative review or article doesn’t appear when someone Googles your business: don’t do something to inspire that negativity in the first place. Now, I’m not completely naive – I understand that issues will sometimes arise when transacting with customers, even if you are trying your very best to offer them an amazing service. Not everything’s going to go smoothly – but it’s how you handle it when it goes south that’ll make the difference.
Setting up some sort of automated or even manual process that checks in with your customers after they’ve received your product or service gets you in on the ground floor if they do have any complaints. Think about it – if you encourage them to share their feedback with you first, and you can assure them that you’ve taken it on board and taken steps to resolve it if possible, then the less likely they are to go leaving scathing reviews with a third party. By taking control of this part of the process, hopefully the very worst you’ll get is a review explaining that they did have an issue, but praising you for being proactive and resolving it for them.
There’s obviously much more to good after sales service than sending emails, but good communication is key to ensuring the customer knows you’re committed to giving them the best service possible and that you openly welcome their feedback.
Another advantage of this approach is that should the customer offer a genuinely good review or feedback, you now own this, and with their permission can use their quote as a testimonial or case study on your website.
Share things they might like
A great – and fairly obvious – example of this is Netflix. Spotify also do this really well, and if I had to choose one to live without I would have to say Netflix, so I’m going to expand on the Spotify example.
Data and preference driven services like Netflix and Spotify use this data they have at their disposal to delight their customers. Instead of just collecting the information about how many times I’ve listen to the Grease soundtrack (it’s a lot) and hoarding that away somewhere to use in their next marketing campaign, they use this data in innovative ways to bring me things I might enjoy in real-time.
Just because you’re not a massive organisation with terabytes of data at your fingertips like Spotify and Netflix doesn’t mean you can’t adapt this strategy to your marketing to. Using a marketing automation platform like HubSpot or Activecampaign which is linked up with your CRM, you can keep track of when a customer becomes a customer, and exactly how they continue to interact with your brand online. Why not send them daily, weekly or monthly newsletter which includes content from yourselves and elsewhere that’s been hand-picked for them? You can combine your data on the product/service they bought with type of content they browsed previously in order to recommend things they might enjoy. For a more product-lead approach, you could try sending them weekly tutorials around how to get the most out of their purchase. Software-as-a-service companies are a massive proponent of this, but it can work for anything from a vacuum cleaner to a fidget spinner.
Don’t forget – the customer journey doesn’t end after they click “buy”. Once they’re a customer, you have an opportunity – and some might say a duty – to continue bringing them value and strengthening the relationship between your brand and them. This will allow you to not only achieve the happiest of customers who keep coming back, but also an invaluable source of brand evangelism and a lead source that is still vital even in the digital age – referrals.