Have you considered content marketing as a strategy to improve customer loyalty? It’s a benefit often overlooked but content marketing provides a perfect opportunity to reinforce your current customer relationships and make them crazy loyal to your business. If your goal is to build audience, customer loyalty might be the best place to start.
I recently ran across a post in a podcasting Facebook group asking the best way to go about promotion. A discussion asking for tips on how to build a bigger audience and garner more iTunes reviews had all the normal advice about increasing frequency, hitting your social channels hard and finding guests with big audiences to help widen your net. You know, the regular stuff.
New thinking on building audience
A comment from Elsie Escobar blew the lid off the topic when she gently chastised readers to forget about new listeners and work on creating a deeper relationship with their current audience. She believes that’s the key to true growth over time.
“What if instead of promoting your podcast and your work, you dove into the conversation with your current audience,” Escobar asked.
She maintains her loyalty to a podcast, and I’m sure to any content, has less to do with content and more about how she feels about them as people - as human beings. She maintains this happens even though she doesn’t regularly consume the content in question.
“The podcasts that I go out of my way to promote and share are those that I’ve developed a bond with - even if I stop listening to their podcast in a consistent basis or at all for that matter,” Escobar said.
Forming an enduring bond
How does this bond get formed? It goes back to the human element – treating people in your audience like you would treat a colleague. Converse on Twitter, send an email, or leave a comment on a Facebook page and you’ve started a relationship, one that often extends to promoting your content for you.
As for reviews, Escobar doesn’t rank them as highly as a new subscriber on iTunes. She says subscriptions have more impact on search results, which is more powerful than rankings. And while she doesn’t say it explicitly, this falls into current thinking about engagement being a vanity metric. Does it extend to reviews, as well?
5 pointers on how to foster customer loyalty
So, how do you go about building a loyal audience? Escobar gives five points to get you started you can apply to any audience in any medium you work in.
- Learn the names of at least people in your audience and spend time getting to know them.
- Take the time to correspond with them via social media.
- Support what they do; this means sharing their content, commenting on their posts and joining in their conversations.
- Provide encouragement, especially if they aren’t as far along in their career as you.
- Genuinely show your interest and work on this like it’s an important relationship – because it is.
Have you thought about what you’re asking?
At the end of her post, Escobar delivers a massive call to action.
“When was the last time that you went into iTunes and left a review out of your own free will because you simply HAD to - it meant that much to YOU,” she asks.
It’s a good question but she probes further about motivation. She asks content creators to consider the time commitment your audience must dedicate to answer your plea for more reviews.
Are you comfortable asking total strangers to help you out? Or is it something you should do only after developing a deeper relationship with your current audience?
Too often modern marketers are focused on building a bigger audience. Content marketing, social media and search tactics certainly help. But maybe we’re not using our time wisely. What if the ticket to content marketing success has more to do with customer loyalty than customer acquisition? What if your audience is already big enough to support your business? Think about what you need to do to cultivate loyalty and see where that takes you.
Listen to the Brand Newsroom team discuss the same topic:
If you’d like to chat about how content marketing can help you increase customer loyalty, get in touch with Lush. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this.