How to Use Content to Drive Referrals and Upsell Customers

    by Patrick Shea

    Date

    February 21, 2012 at 5:00 PM

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    Marketers are often hyper-focused on lead generation. And rightfully so -- it's our responsibility to make sure the business has a pipeline fat with juicy, qualified leads. But when Marketing leaves upselling and driving referrals to Sales and Account Management, as it so often does, it eliminates the possibility of using the inbound content it's constantly creating to drive more revenue from its existing customer base.

    Your customers are an untapped vein of new revenue. Consider these tactics to help you leverage your already cranking inbound marketing efforts to drive referrals and sell more to your existing customers.

    Segment Your Email Sends to Include Messaging for Customers

    You're already creating segmented email lists to ensure you're targeting leads correctly. But have you considered how tweaked messaging could make your content relevant to your existing customer base? Consider a piece of content designed to create build value for one of your products or services -- a case study you just finished, your latest best practices guide, or a solutions manual. Sure, you'll use it for lead generation, but what about sending it to a segment of your existing customer base? These documents can help existing customers use what they have better, or see the need for additional or more premium product or service purchases.

    Current customers know your company well, presumably like you, and if they have the need, will welcome the opportunity to buy additional products or services from a brand they trust. If you haven't already, create a customer list segmented by product or service and set a schedule to start sharing this type of content with them.

    Encourage a Customer Presence on Social Media

    Encourage your customers to meet each other on social media so they can learn how others are using your products and services. If nothing else, they will get more value out of your brand as they become a better-informed customer. But ideally they learn of other products and services you offer that they should be using.

    Your Twitter lists and LinkedIn Groups can turn into referral machines, as well. If these conversations are happening on public social media accounts, other can listen in. Consider facilitating a hashtag conversation or moderating a LinkedIn group on your different products so newbies can learn from power users, and power users can learn how other products or upgrade enhancements could help them be even more successful.

    Use Your Product Pages to Cross Sell

    If you sell more than one service or product, do some research into which folks have bought multiple things from your company. What did they buy? What do those purchases have in common? Use answers to these questions to feature other, similar products or services in the side navigation of your product pages. Let people know what problems your products solve and the value they bring through content that showcases successful use, making it easy for them to see all the pieces of the puzzle. You can use your knowledge of their past purchase history to more appropriately target your email sends, too, helping to move them through the post-purchase stage of the sales funnel that is so often ignored.

    Customer-Specific Demos

    Sales managers run demos for prospects. But what if an existing customer wants a demo of another product you make, or wants to talk about needs in a new or growing part of their business? Think about running customer demos for new product releases and updates, as well as all your other products if you sell multiple items. Invite Product Managers and senior leadership onto these calls to articulate how important you think these tangential opportunities and functionalities are for your existing customers. Similar to the customer blog, use what you know about the audience to highlight why upgrades and enhanced feature sets may be especially beneficial to those on the phone. Be sure to have on-demand recordings available on a customer resource page, too, for those who can't attend these events live.

    Create a Customer Home Base on Your Blog

    Customer blogs are ideal places to house product updates and company news. Whether you keep your PR in-house or outsource it to an agency, you can easily syphon off content from their press releases for update posts. Likewise, you can create 'Week in Review' posts in which you group all your marketing blog posts and premium content offers into one place. This type of content was relevant when your customers came onboard, and it remains so -- you just need to phrase it differently.

    Communicate each new product release or service enhancement in the language of people who already know your products and services well. Explain how a new update or release enhances the functionality of another product they might own. Or show them creative ways other customers are using your product or service successfully. You can even write short tip posts in which you highlight an underused or relatively unknown product or service feature that would make their lives easier. Be sure to include calls-to-action in every post for upgrades, and encourage them to share the post via email or social media to drive referrals.

    Your customers are, in a lot of way, smarter than your prospects. Using a customer blog to communicate best practices and highlight effective uses of your product or service will drive more usage among existing customers, and encourage upgrades and additional product purchases among your existing customer set.

    What other ways do you use content to upsell to your current customers and drive more referrals?

    Image credit: doctorwonder

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