How to Market to Customers

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 6.22.46 PMThis is article #29 out of 50 in The Startup Marketing Playbook.

The marketing and selling process does not stop once a prospect becomes a customer. Especially if your business has recurring revenue (i.e. customers pay monthly and can leave anytime) it is critical that you continue to market new products and valuable content to your customer base. To keep things simple, I separate customer content marketing into 3 categories:

  • Content about the industry
  • Content about how to maximize product value
  • Content that drives upsells of new products or services

Each of these are an important part of the customer marketing mix. Let’s break them down:

Content about the space and industry

This may be very similar to the content used for inbound marketing to attract targets, convert them to leads and then turn those leads into customers. Everyone who matches your target persona is likely interested in your top of funnel content.

For example, in my business selling mobile apps to gym operators; content about technology for gyms is relevant to my prospects and customers. This makes it easy to share the same content with both.

Content about how to maximize product value

Most products require some training. They usually have a set of best practices that if used, ensures the product works to its highest potential. The marketing team should partner with the customer success team to deliver content that educates customers on those best practices, and nurtures them after purchase. This process ensures you don’t end up with a “shelf product,” that is, a product that the customer purchases but ends up never using.

For this marketing mix, consider:

  • Webinars that demonstrate how different aspects of the product are used
  • Case studies demonstrating how other customers have succeeded using the product

Everyone always likes to feel like they are in good company. Producing articles about customers that highlight their success makes that customer feel great to be touted and gives other customers confidence that their peers are succeeding in using your product.

Content that drives upsells

One of the most important aspects of customer marketing is driving upsells. If you offer additional products, add-ons or services, then your current customer-base is the perfect target market.

For each additional product or service, you need to follow the same inbound methodology of educating your customers about the new product and driving them to reach out (likely to their account manager) to discuss it. These add-on campaigns need to have the full power of a marketing mix: emails, content, social media, retargeted digital ads and landing pages.

Best Practices

To get started with customer marketing, consider the following best practices:

Keep tight alignment with Customer Success

As the marketing team, you need to work closely with account managers to ensure that your messaging is on point, the timing of your campaigns is relevant, and the team is educated on how to respond to inquires. The Product Marketing function typically is responsible for managing this alignment.

Treat it as a separate funnel

Marketing to customers can be just as impactful as marketing to prospects. The same rules of building an inbound machine apply, with the exception of converting them to leads, since they are already in your customer list. Your goal is to educate those leads and move them through the funnel until they are ready to discuss new products.

Measure and improve

Like any other marketing activity, you should test a variety of methods to engage with your customers, and leverage the expertise of your account management team on how best to communicate.

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