When Developing Your Content Calendar For Your Prospects, Go Straight to The Source: Your Customers
Guest Post: Lydia Nicoll
Think about your purpose for creating content for your website. Is it to make a better online experience for customers and potential customers? Is it to showcase your knowledge, authenticity, or products? Or it could be to answer specific questions, or be informative and educational.
In the world of endless options and opportunities, you’d think there’d be plenty of subject matter to keep your website content always fresh. We know this isn’t the always the case, so when you’re struggling with new ideas, go right to the source: customers and website visitors can often show you exactly what they want and need to help you create new content for them.
When you use customer feedback to direct new content, both your business and your customers benefit.
There may be several ways you receive customer feedback. It could be in the form of an actual feedback form on your website, it could be through email, it could be over social media, or it could be on third party sites like Yelp. However you get your feedback, keep it. Save it, compile it, list it, compare it, make notes on it. This is how you continually improve, and it can be great fodder for web content, if you know how.
Negative feedback is especially valuable. While it might be tempting to say "TO hell with them!" naysayers and negativity mongers help improve your overall user experience. If your business receives direct negative feedback, embrace it, and then use it to your advantage.
Think about these two common complaints you can use for new content:
"I couldn’t find what I was looking for."
Great! What is it that they were looking for? If it’s true that no content exists for their specific need, you can easily make it be so. Whether it’s instructions, directions, or an article on a particular topic, if someone tells you you don’t have it and they were expecting it to be there, fix that problem.
Good content always provides value by answering a question or fulfilling a need. Additionally, if you do in fact have what your customer was looking for, and they just didn’t find it, there are three opportunities here:
Maybe your web design isn’t user friendly enough, and this is a chance to evaluate your site navigation.
Show that customer excellent service, by providing them directly what it is they needed, or direct them to the right place to find it. They’ll be happy, and you’ve just possibly saved yourself from losing a customer to a competitor.
Create more content on this subject. If there is a clear interest on a particular topic or piece of information, it never hurts to double down and create new content about it. Take this as a sign that you need to revamp and recycle and old article, or approach it from a new and unique angle. Never stop improving.
"This isn’t what I was expecting."
This one is a little trickier to decipher. See if you can get as much information as possible about what your customer was expecting.
Is there an issue with quality, context, language, complexity, or misplacement? If they allow you insight into this particular issue, direct your content in a way that satisfies their expectations.
Maybe your content wasn’t explicit or broken down enough, and appeals to a more technical audience.
If the complaint comes from someone who was expecting a less complex narrative, you can create new content that speaks to them, and therefore includes all types of audience members. If a customer navigates to a particular area of your website, and is disappointed by what they find there, evaluate why that might be.
Is it possible some content can fit into several different subjects or areas of interest and has not been placed correctly? Or are your titles or content styles not conducive to providing value in the way you originally thought?
This doesn’t mean you have to scrap what you have, because what doesn’t work for some, might clearly work for others, and vice versa. Use this information to create content that caters to the different expectations your customers may have.
It’s also important to remember that you won’t please every single person who visits your website – and that’s ok. It is up to you to decide if by taking into consideration particular complaints, you are sacrificing some of your brand values, or are making adjustments for people who aren’t necessarily your ideal customer.
Positive feedback may make you all warm and fuzzy on the inside, but it should also kick your butt in gear to continue on a path of customer satisfaction and happiness.
"This was extremely useful."
What was useful and why was it useful? Did it help them to make an informed purchase, or teach them something they didn’t know before? Will other customers also benefit from what this person thought to be valuable?
Turn this customer into a brand advocate. Ask them to share what they thought was useful with others, via social media, comments sections on your website, or in conversation with friends and family. You can also use this knowledge they’ve given you to create new and better content that follows a more accurate recipe of what others actually need.
"I had a great experience."
Try to figure out the winning formula for this customer’s great experience, and reproduce it. Even better, is if this customer is willing to share their success story. Using testimonials and real customer experiences to create content for your website is unbelievably smart and important, and usually free.
Potential customers like to see that others have been there before them. Content using customer testimonials adds credibility and authority to your company, and makes first time customers more willing to trust you. It also gives people a sense of what you are like. There is the potential to answer initial questions, address possible apprehensions, and provide insight on what an experience in working with you, buying from you, or utilizing your website is like.
Other sneaky ways to get customer feedback:
Use your search bar on your website to find what people are looking for. Track the questions and keywords people are entering, and if specific topics, pieces of content, or pages are not fulfilling their search queries, it’s within your power to do something about it. Gather the terms that are being searched as an indicator for new content.
You should also track the terms that are being searched most frequently. Even if you already have content pertaining to that subject, a higher volume of search means a higher need for related content. The search query can also indicate that specific content is not easy enough to find. Remember, if you’re not answering your customer’s questions, or fulfilling their needs, there is always someone else who will.
Asking customers and website visitors exactly what they need is not only a great way to come up with valuable content ideas, but it also strengthens customer trust and loyalty. When people feel that they’re being listened to and heard, not only are they more likely to come back to you, but they’re probably willing to tell others about the great experience and value you provide.
Create strategic landing pages with easy input feedback asking what a visitor is looking for. Create one click pop ups that appear specifically for returning or new customers, to ask them about their experience. Utilize email marketing for you to gain insight on why a customer chose you, left you, or why they decided to not go with your business. You may not always get responses, but when you do, they’ll be telling.
Use social profiles to get feedback from followers. Pose questions to them on Twitter, or create a survey for your Facebook Page. Being straightforward and clear in your intent also gives customers the sense of transparency and feeling like their opinions are valued by you. If you can find through social media what it is your followers are interested in, or what they want and need from you, you can turn those ideas into pieces of highly shareable content for your website.
Whenever you’re feeling stuck in a rut with your website content, remember that you have resources available to you at all times. Leveraging customer feedback to create new content connects you with your customer base, and creates better value for everyone.