4 Ways to Include Your Customers in Your Content Marketing
- by Alyson Shane
Every business owner knows that the best thing your customers can do for you (in addition to buying your products and services, of course) is to refer people they know to your company.
After all, 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know, and people are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. (Source: Annex Cloud)
To this end, business owners will often spend significant amounts of their marketing budget to reach new customers and encourage organic word of mouth... but when was the last time you thought about how your existing customers can actually help you grow your customer base?
Peer-to-peer (P2P) marketing, which is when an existing customer becomes a "brand advocate" and promotes a specific product or service to their friends and colleagues, has become an important aspect of any business' marketing plan in both the B2B and B2C spaces.
Successful P2P marketing draws from your existing network of happy customers and taps them to help your business grow through referrals, social selling, and thought leadership.
Have you considered including your customers in your content marketing strategy? If not, you should, as 91% of B2B purchasers have reported that past buying decisions have been influenced by referrals from industry peers.
Not sure where to start? Below are four easy ways you can include your customers in your content marketing strategy:
1. Customer Case Studies
Case studies are one of the easiest ways to showcase the value of your products and services to prospective customers by creating a story that others in similar situations can relate to. By demonstrating a clear narrative of Problem, Solution, Result, you can show customers across a variety of industries that choosing your business will yield similar positive results.
What should a strong case study include? Make sure to write with these elements in mind:
- The challenge. The most important part of a strong case study is a challenge that your reader can relate to. For example, showcase how your business helped a nonprofit convert 3x more donors in the last quarter, or how your insurance clients generated 50% leads in the last year as a result of your services. If your company services a variety of different industries try to craft a few different case studies that tell relatable, industry-specific stories.
- The approach. Use this section to describe how your product or service resolved the issue and build credibility with your reader. This section should use specific examples like highlighting the steps your team used to achieve a specific outcome, or how choosing your service led to increased productivity and customer satisfaction. If possible, use visual examples like charts and data to illustrate the positive net benefit.
- The Result. This section should be focused on your approach solved the customer's needs and should highlight the tangible impact of your services. Use cost savings, leads generated, and other key performance indicators relevant to the target industry to secure buy-in from your reader.
2. Start a Guest Blogging Program
Does your business have a blog? If not, back up and check out this post on how to get your business' blog going, then start including your customers in it in order to share new perspectives, ideas, and grow a community around your products or services.
Identify some of your company's top customers or biggest brand advocates and ask them to write a blog post about a particular pain point they have, and how your business has helped them solve it. This is also a great opportunity for cross-promotion, so make sure to ask contributors to share the post on their own social media profiles, and their blog if they have one.
This is a unique opportunity for your customers to tell their story and enhance their own brand by positioning themselves as thought leaders while also showcasing the value of your services, so what are you waiting for? Reach out to 2-3 of your most loyal customers and see if they're interested; we guarantee they'll say yes.
3. Showcase Customers During Webinars
If your company services a variety of industries, or if you have a fully built-out product suite, customer-centric webinars are a great way for your customer to share information and challenges relevant to their industry, and to share how they've found success using your products or platform.
One of the benefits of using a webinar over a case study or a blog post to showcase your customers is that a webinar allows them to go more in-depth in their industry, show live visuals, and chat with attendees through live chat. By giving your customers a real voice as part of your content marketing strategy you can put real, human faces to your brand and build trust and connections with your customers.
4. Start Live Streaming
Have you noticed an uptick in the amount of live streaming happening on social media lately? If so, you're not alone: this emerging market is expected to be worth over $70 billion by 2021.
Need another reason to consider live streaming? How about this: 80% of customers would rather watch a live video than read a post from a business. Why? Because live streaming created a sense of urgency - people need to tune in right now - and it offers an"behind the scenes" look which builds authenticity, trust, and transparency.
Not sure how to work live streaming into your content marketing strategy in a way that features your customers? Try these ideas:
- Live events like lunch 'n learns, breakfasts, and panel discussions.
- Announcements and updates.
- Interviews and Q&As, at conferences or on-site.
Featuring your customers is an easy way to cross-promote your live streaming content. Just make sure to promote the live stream in advance so your audience has enough notice that they can tune in and participate.
Start Including Your Customers in Your Content Marketing
We've listed just a few of the ways you can start including your customers in your content marketing strategy, but there are lots of other ways you can get creative and leverage technology like live streaming and video to enhance your customer experience and showcase the value of your products and services.
Not sure how to write a case study or create a content marketing plan that highlights you customer success stories? Drop us a line.
Have a customer success story you want to share? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page.
Know a brand that's rocking the webinar game? Tweet us your favorite.
Looking for a more B2B connection? Follow us on LinkedIn.
Love eye-catching visuals? Let's connect on Instagram.
Want to stay in touch? Subscribe to our newsletter.