This post was originally written by Gerry Nason in 2017. Gerry has since passed away. In his memory, this post was updated and redistributed in 2021.
Do you neglect your customers after they make a purchase? The marketing world is enamored with fresh, new leads from stiff new content. Little thought is given to providing quality content to your biggest fans: those who already purchased your offering. The prevailing attitude is, “Why would we want to spend our time and revenue supporting a sale that’s already been made?
The reason is that happy customers become customer advocates and customers that buy again. Happy customers generate word-of-mouth advertising. Happy customers write testimonials that look stunning on your landing pages and website. There is no substitute for having a crowd of happy customers in your corner.
Consider these 2021-relevant facts (compiled here):
- 91% of customers say they’d give referrals, but only 11% of salespeople ask for them. (Dale Carnegie)
- 68% of B2B customers are lost because of indifference or perceived apathy, not because of mistakes. Only 46% of customers said vendors deliver on what was promised. (Gallop)
- Nine out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions. (CMO Council)
What is Post-Sale Content?
Post-sale content helps the customer understand how to use and/or maintain the product you’ve provided. It helps customers to maximize their use of the product and all its features, helping them to realize a rapid return on their investment.
Have you ever heard one of your customers confess that they couldn’t understand how to use the product, so they didn’t see results? Of course not! What you do hear is “they sold me a pig in a poke, took my money and left me high and dry.” You can’t have that kind of testimonial making the rounds.
One tactic you can try is: for the first six months after the sale, you provide a white paper, infographic or videos to help the customer reach the promised land. It doesn’t hurt to state that you are there to support them through any difficulties and will do whatever it takes to deliver value to them.
Content for after the sale can also upsell current customers and convince them to rebuy. The relationship between brand and customer is not over because the sale is made. How can you keep that customer for life?
The Impact of Post-Sale Content
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s Marcia Riefer Johnston, more than a decade ago, IBM spent several years surveying its customers to determine to what extent prospective buyers value a company’s high-quality technical content – primarily product documentation, the post-sale content.
IBM’s findings: Most customers consider high-quality technical content “important” or “very important” in shaping four factors:
- Perception of the company (84.9%)
- Satisfaction with the product/solution (92%)
- Perception of product/solution quality (96.3%)
- Initial purchase decision (87.3%)
Post-sale content is clearly very important. But how do you create and improve it?
5 Suggestions to Improve Your Post Sale Content
- Write/rewrite your offering’s instruction book – Do you even have an instruction manual for your offering? Is it easily understood, or is it bogged down with tech speak and industry jargon? Transform it into content that is easy to act upon and answers FAQs.
- Develop step-by-step instructions and checklists – These are helpful to your customers after the sale. Any team member who works with the customer directly can give you an idea of what the customer wants or needs.
- Produce customer start-up videos – Walk the customer through the first day with your offering. Help them to benefit from all the features that caused them to buy the product. Also, think about creating an advanced training series to help your customers maximize their experience with your offering.
- Be sure to link all relevant content to each other – Your content is much more valuable when it is easily accessible. Don’t make each piece a virtual island in a sea of content.
- Develop a customer series for each product line – Every month discuss aftermarket products and how they benefit the customer. Show them how it helps them get the most out of your offering or extend its life. Expand your aftermarket reach.
Famous Last Words
“Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.” – Doug Kessler, Creative Director, Velocity Partners