Why Customer-Focused Content Should Be A Priority

There’s a shift happening right before our eyes.

Research notes that “[c]ustomer-centric companies are 60% more profitable compared to companies that are not focused on the customer.”

Gone are the days where marketers concentrated on company-centered messaging. Now, businesses must cater fully to their audience.

And simply replacing a few words in your existing content won’t work.

To compete with other brands, companies will have to fine-tune their content to grab the customer’s attention. This will heavily weigh on how marketers develop precise buyer personas, targeted customer segments, and streamlined customer journeys.

Here are five ways to infuse your customer’s intentions into your content.

1. Be Aware

Do you know your customers? I mean, really know them?

Awareness starts with understanding your customer’s interests, beliefs, and attitudes. It’s all about generating accurate buyer personas.

Build profiles that uncover hidden truths about your customer. Aim to discover the following characteristics:

  • Personality Traits: Adjectives that describe their behaviors.
  • Goals: Problems they want solved.
  • Needs: Service or product expectations.
  • Pain Points: Hesitations in their decision making process.

To gather this information, observe your customers on social media. It’s an effective way to obtain uncensored tidbits about your consumers.

Scan Facebook comments to see how customers react to your products. Learn about your customer’s lifestyles by reading their profiles.

After your team gathers this data, create content based on those observations. If you notice that customers value quality service, shoot a series of Vines showing how your team handles customer complaints or discuss your loyalty program.

Five9, a call center software company, took a customer-focused approach to their content. The brand asked buyers in a survey what type of content they enjoyed.
Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 7.12.49 PM

From that feedback, Five9 produced an ebook to help their customers improve contact center agent efficiency. As a result, the content drove 4X the leads and 4X the closed wins.

If you want customers yearning for your content, be proactive through research.

2. Show Empathy

Your team is marketing to humans. And most of our existence relates back to our emotions. We react according to how people, places, and things make us feel.

Poet Maya Angelou was right: “[P]eople will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

How do customers feel after reading your content?

To stand out from industry noise, craft content with emotion-driven stories.

Take the human-centered approach. Match your content with the customer’s life experiences, like buying a new car or preparing for the birth of a child.

So, what does empathy look like?

Derek Lewis at Eptica Customer Experience Blog, writes that to create a feeling of empathy and emotional presence, include these three elements:

  • Immediacy: Create a sense of presence. Respond to blog comments and social media messages quickly. It shows that you’re listening.
  • Mirroring and emoticons: Develop content that coincides with the customer’s language. And use emojis to express feelings. If you think something is funny, show it:

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 6.03.02 PM

  • Linguistics: Be mindful of your content’s tone and style. Don’t be formal if the consumer prefers to be informal.

Show that your business cares. Empathy will build rapport between the customer and your organization.

3. Build Quality Relationships

In business, the key is to retain more customers. And one way to do so is by developing long-term relationships.

Like any relationship, the foundation must be built on trust. Use content as a path to gain faith from your customer.

Right now, “78 percent of consumers believe that companies providing custom content are interested in building good relationships.

Once customers trust your brand, they will be more willing to refer their friends and leave positive reviews.

When building personalized content, deliver the right context.

Elevate your brand by offering pure value. Create social media contests. Insert well-respected influencers into your content strategy.

Note: This isn’t a quick fix. Relationships take time. So, do the hard work.

4. Educate Your Audience

An effective way to influence your audience is by informing them about your company and services. Rather than waiting for competitors to take a negative jab, introduce your brand in a positive light.

“There are thousands of new products being launched annually, with a failure rate of nearly 85% to 95%,” says Nikos Andriotis, contributor at eFront.

“Most of these products were either marketed using the wrong techniques, not marketed sufficiently or simply created with a skewed understanding of what the market needs.”

To boost brand awareness, educate your customers about your mission and values. It’s also possible that your audience just doesn’t realize what you offer.

Create product demos. This lets customers interact with your services. Get your team to host a webinar where people can ask questions or develop a short how-to video on how your software works.

For instance, Whole Foods created a community blog to educate shoppers on how to prepare and cook healthy organic food. Customers now have a resource to grab delicious recipes and learn about local vendors.
Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 10.46.33 AM

5. Celebrate Your Customers

When’s the last time you wrote a post or shot a video saying thank you to your customers? Giving praise to consumers is not practiced enough in business.

Companies spend millions of dollars creating elaborate websites and detailed marketing campaigns. And after they convert, those same companies neglect to thank their customers.

Research shows that, 91% of people are “more likely to do business with companies that appreciate their customers.” However, “just 62% said that most businesses they’ve dealt with have done a good job of showing customer appreciation.”

Be bold. Be different.

Offer some gratitude to your consumers. For example, call your customers with no agenda. That means picking up the phone and just saying thank you.

And don’t try to upsell them a new product. If it goes to voicemail, leave a heartfelt message.

Wearable tech company Jawbone sends personalized notes to their customers. Since people don’t normally expect snail mail anymore, it’s a nice and thoughtful surprise for the recipient.Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.28.31 PM

So, how will you thank your customers?

Spotlight the Customer

A new era has arrived. Companies must shift their mindsets to produce content around the customer’s sentiments and behaviors.

Be aware of your audience’s needs. Show empathy to learn more about consumers on a personal level. And educate them on how your product offers the best value.

Center your content around your customers.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get the latest updates from the Marketing Insiders and receive 10 Content Marketing ROI Formulas and Calculations from my book The Content Formula.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Recommended Posts
Showing 6 comments
  • Shmoe

    Although it is a monumental ‘duh moment’ for companies to finally realize, ‘Hey, guess what? Different people are different!’, as a lay consumer I find the stuff discussed in this article to be incredibly creepy. The assumption seems to be that companies still just need to make all of us ‘real’ people fit carefully crafted datasets and ‘adjust’ some content and/or messaging. Perhaps I’m a little more ‘different’ than others, but I personally take great pains (online) to avoid tailored content/results. If you are selling anything, I want to know what it is and what it costs and receive courteous service if we need to interact. Also, if I need it, I’ll come find it, I am impervious to advertising. That’s it. Everything else is irrelevant. However, the marketing world, like the advertising world continues to proves that the average consumer is a moron who either is/can be/or needs to be easily led. Creepy and sad.

    • Michael Brenner

      Hey Shmoe, thanks for your comment. Not sure you read the whole article but the main point is for companies to stop trying to interrupt the content consumers are reading and sharing, and start creating content that consumers are reading and sharing. Let’s look at Netflix as one example. They went from shipping DVDs to streaming other people’s content. Then they realized that they could create great content too. Is that creepy? The millions of viewers that stream their original content would disagree. There are many examples, all of which prove that focusing on creating content people actually want, can provide value to businesses that have some expertise (every business.)

      I understand where you are coming from though. Many people think marketing = advertising = insidious promotion and deceit. Some of us believe marketing can provide a service to consumers (informative or entertaining content) and that this service can be the start of a relationship that might build trust and loyalty to a brand. Consumers can opt out or ignore it whenever we want. But leading brands are finding their marketing dollars better spent on customer-focused content vs. ads, no matter how targeted, massaged, or data-driven.

  • Nicola

    Whether you realise it or not, Shmoe, you are experiencing tailored content just for you, all the time. Michael’s example of Netflix is paramount. They spend thousands every year understanding viewing habits to provide us with tailored content based on preference, previous viewing history and tastes – and that battle for perfection is only getting better. In fact, most e-commerce stores all personalise the search results based on your past behaviour, skew the results to your preferences, provide recommendations based on what you might like – all while pushing less relevant results for you. Clever stuff and it must work as they’re investing millions in it.
    @n1colaray

pingbacks / trackbacks