In previous posts we’ve covered the ‘attention’, ‘consideration’ and ‘decision’ stages of the customer journey, but what happens once someone signs up to work with you? How do you use content to ensure brand loyalty (i.e., repeat customers)?
(Missed the previous posts? Go back to our post on mapping content to your customer’s journey, here, and our post on using an SEO strategy, here. You can also find our deep dive into an effective social media marketing strategy, here.)
Don’t overlook your current clients
For every client who signs up for a second time, that’s one less new client you need to win over. The more times someone buys from you, the more likely they are to continue buying from you as now you have their loyalty – and the more likely they are to recommend you to others. If your training business runs on repeat clients and word-of-mouth referrals (and whose doesn’t?), customer loyalty can be the difference between sinking and swimming.
According to HubSpot, “a 5% increase in customer retention can increase company revenue by 25-95%.”
The “new” marketing model
Lifecycle marketing is the fancy name for mapping the more complex way customers interact with businesses in today’s digital world.
As you can see from the graphic, people in your audience can become clients from just about any point in their relationship with you.
Some will sign up very quickly – after reading only a few pages or posts on your website. Some will follow you for weeks or months before needing your services and finally jumping in. Some may never sign up… but will refer you to their friends who are looking for a trainer.
And if you’re lucky, your current clients will continuously loop back for new sign ups. But only if you keep them engaged and continue to provide value for them.
That’s why it pays to continue to nurture your relationship with your clients. But you need to do it in a specific way! No one wants to be continuously sold to. Here’s how to do it without being pushy and obnoxious.
What do your clients want?
Before you can create content for your clients you need to think about what they might need. If you’re a strictly a trainer for pet dogs, your answers might differ considerably from a dog sports trainer.
In general, pet owners are most focused on what’s needed to get their problem solved. There are exceptions to this, but usually pet owners just want a class or intervention so their dog behaves well. They may not want to be students of the dog training craft.
Your content is going to look different if your clientele is full of canine enthusiasts. They’re likely eager to try new things and learn the science behind dog training their dog.
Stuck for ideas? Here are some tried-and-true topics for keeping clients (and the rest of your long-term audience) coming back for more:
Display your expertise
The buyer’s journey content you produce is often a very general level of information. But once someone is on your email list you can showcase a little more of your knowledge.
Why not create blog posts that take deeper dives into common problems? You can use more technical language and explore a topic in greater detail with someone who’s already read your introductory content. Just remember to link back to that basic post so if someone needs a quick refresher on the subject, they can easily find it.
You can also write summaries or reviews of any new courses or books you’ve used for professional development. If you’re staying up to date, why not make a point of telling your clients. And be sure to include a link to any new courses or classes you’ll be offering.
People want to get to know you, so share your ideas and opinions about relevant topics. This is doubly helpful if your subject is something that directly affects your clients.
Maybe there’s an impending change to dog-related legislation happening? Or something local that will impact your dog-owning community? This is valuable information for your audience so don’t keep it to yourself.
Blatant promo material
The whole point of a business is to make money — otherwise you have a hobby, not a business. So, it makes sense to create content that highlights what you’ll be offering soon. If you have blog posts promoting your classes or courses, don’t be shy in emailing links and registration details as your next intake dates draw near.
Caveat: don’t ONLY send promotional material. That’ll wear out your inbox welcome! Your email subscribers will leave faster than a border collie off the agility start line. Try to hit a mix of about 20% promotional to 80% informative or entertaining material.
This is a more subtle way of promoting your offers. Case studies about standout students, or difficult issues you’ve solved, are often interesting to clients. It gives them a clear picture of what can they can achieve by working with you.
Share your content
This type of content is best delivered by email. (Your clients are on your email list, right?) However, your clients’ inboxes are probably overflowing so here are some tips for getting your message noticed, opened, and acted on.
- Personalize the message subject with the recipient’s name (or their dog’s name might work even better).
- Use your name, not just your business name, in the “from” field.
- Create blog post titles that are eye-catching and relevant and use them as email subject lines.
- Make sure your blog intro is spot-on, then use it as the intro paragraph of your email body text.
- If you’re including a call to action, make sure it’s clear what you want them to do — and what they’ll find on the other side of the click.
By using email as your initial means of sharing these posts, you can make your clients feel special by giving them first refusal on new in-person classes or offers.
Just send promo emails a few days before you make a general announcement to the rest of your audience. Make sure they know you’re doing this in the email! A few days later you can let everyone else know about the new thing you’re doing.
Need more pointers for getting your emails opened and read? Our email newsletter post has you covered.
Don’t forget to also share everything you create to your social media accounts so people who aren’t on your email list can still benefit.
As you can see, content can provide ongoing value to your clients. Marketing is more than just getting your business out there and building an email list. The process doesn’t stop once someone gives you money!
Make the effort with current clients; they’ll be far more likely to look to you for their future training needs.