Content is a hugely important part of any business. It’s what gives your brand a voice that your customers can relate to and it’s a way to show your customers what you’re all about. Not only is it used to convey who you are and what you do, but most importantly why they should care.
In no other area is content more crucial than when it comes to customer loyalty. Building a brand that resonates with your followers is what keeps them coming back and interacting with your business — online and, ultimately, in person as a repeat customer.
Customers are more savvy than ever, and it takes more than monetary rewards like discount offers and loyalty programs to keep them engaged. Being able to provide real value will help strengthen the relationship with your customers, build trust, establish credibility, and create community.
Did you know that the cost of acquiring a new customer is almost seven times as high as it is to retain an existing one? Or that, on average, a loyal repeat customer spends around 65 percent more per visit? This makes the idea of a great content marketing strategy a very enticing prospect.
So, how do you engage your customers with content marketing? Below you’ll find three keys to creating a successful content marketing strategy that keeps your customers coming back for more.
1. Understand your customers.
Get to know your audience. If you’re not already learning about your customers, you’re missing out. By connecting with and listening to your customers, you’ll gather useful information to improve your service and build a better business.
Your customers are not only a great source for feedback about your restaurant; understanding what makes them tick is the key foundation to any content marketing strategy. Knowing what type of content will resonate with your customers is the first step to a successful content marketing strategy.
Pro tip: Create one or multiple customer personas and use these as the basis for your content strategy. Be as specific about who they are as you can: What are their interests? What do they read? Where do they hang out? What websites do they visit? What hobbies do they have? Making your customer persona a real person will give you a head start to figuring out what kind of content he or she would find valuable.
2. Be consistent.
You want to make sure that you’re consistent with any marketing tactics you engage in, so create a content schedule and stick to it. The way you distribute your content is up to you, and the possibilities are endless. But whatever medium you decide on, keep it up to date. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. There’s no shame in starting out small with one or two channels such as Facebook and a blog. Content marketing requires you to learn to walk before you can run, so take your time with it.
A blog is a great platform to provide valuable content for your customers, but there aren’t many things worse than a blog or social media account that hasn’t been updated in months. The same goes for newsletters and mailing lists. If you’re sending an email out once every six months, you’ll run the risk of your audience forgetting who you are altogether. On the other hand, if you send too many emails, you’ll find they’ll quickly unsubscribe. Finding the sweet spot will involve some testing, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.
Pro tip: Use a scheduling software for your more regular content. Most blogging, social media, and mailing list platforms have a scheduling function that allows you to create content ahead of time. Save time by pre-scheduling all of your posts for the week. This doesn’t mean you can just forget about it until it’s time to schedule the next batch of posts — keep an eye on your engagement and interact with your customers frequently.
3. Combine news and offers with great content.
What about promoting your business and services? Perhaps you have a new menu, are planning an expansion, or have a special event coming up and you’re wondering where or if this fits into your content marketing strategy. It absolutely does, but as a rule of thumb, try to to stick to the 70/30 principle. This means 70 percent of your content should be about presenting value and the other 30 percent can be aimed at self-promotion.
Combine whatever you’re trying to promote with valuable content. The announcement of your new menu could easily be paired with a video cooking lesson of your signature dish. You could also share photos on Instagram of the progress of your expansion, or write a blog post about what to expect at your special event.
Pro tip: If the idea of producing content to make up that 70 percent seems like a daunting task, you might want to consider the rule of thirds. This still allows for a third of your content to be about your business, but divides the rest between more personal interactions with your brand and curated content. Don’t be afraid to share other business’ content if it’s relevant to your customers. This shows that you’re confident in your brand and positions you as a versatile content source.
When it comes to content, there’s a myriad of options and it’s up to you to find what suits your brand best. A content marketing strategy is a long- term commitment, and it can take some time to get right. Monitor and measure your progress, adjust where needed, and always welcome feedback from your customers.
Content marketing is not just a powerful tool to attract new customers, but an excellent way to get your existing customers engaged with and committed to your brand. The more you provide value and personalize the interaction with your business, the better your chances will be of gaining a new loyal customer.