If your business is like 99 percent of businesses out there, then your most valuable customer is, ultimately, the customer who comes back. Customers who return to a business repeatedly over time, known as repeat customers, tend to generate about 40 percent of revenue for brick-and-mortar stores. For online retailers, that number is much higher because for ecommerce businesses, 8 percent of your customers will generate about half of your revenue! That 8 percent is clearly important.
When it comes to nonprofit organizations, the numbers get even more serious. According to Indiana University (IU), if just 10 percent more donors in the existing donor pool become “repeat customers” or, in this case, “repeat donors,” the university stands to gain 200 percent more in fundraising than it otherwise would. Because nonprofit organizations rely on inspiration to elicit those important donations, they are incredible content marketers.
For-profit businesses can definitely stand to learn a few things from them. Here are three:
While repeat customers are important, you can’t have repeat customers without having first-time customers. Non-profits get their first-time donors largely by disseminating emotional content that galvanizes a reaction from the audience. That reaction, ideally, is a donation. For you, the reaction will be either a purchase or another action. Identify the action you want your first-time customers to take (remember it could be joining an email list or signing up for a webinar as well as just making a purchase). Then, tell a high-impact story that is likely to elicit this type of response.
The March of Dimes is an expert when it comes to this type of content. They use clear messaging that demonstrates why their support for mothers and children during pregnancy and labor is important and are not afraid to confront distressing statistics like infant and maternal mortality in order to make their point. If your product or service provides support or protection for your clients, then do not be afraid to clearly describe what can happen without that support or protection and demonstrate why learning more about your business could solve this issue for an audience member.
Your content strategy should certainly focus on gaining the attention of new customers for your business, but facets should also be dedicated to supporting the decision your existing customers made when they made a purchase or decided to work with you. Most companies believe this type of existing-customer content should be largely educational, but nonprofit organizations have a superior tactic: they make the content for their existing customers largely motivational and inspiring.
Although it may sound similar to what we described in Tip #1, this existing-customer content is motivational and inspiring in a different way. Existing customers need to be inspired to feel pride in their decision to work with your company or invest in your product. Then, once you have helped elicit that feeling of pride, you should ask your existing customers to sharethat feeling.
Sticking with the March of Dimes example: March of Dimes often distributes content that demonstrates why what they are doing is so important and describing positive achievements by the organization. These videos go viral in many cases because existing donors and repeat donors tend to share them. The videos elicit pride because the donor is involved with the organization and distribute information that the donors believe is important. It is a potent combination that you should leverage in your business as well.
Many nonprofit organizations are experts in “social media advocacy” and rely heavily on the tendency of social media platforms to “play up” involvement in charitable organizations. Even if your business is a for-profit plumber (relatively low on the advocacy-glamour scale, most likely), you can leverage social media platforms by writing some of your content specifically for them. This does not mean writing a bunch of short tweets or Facebook posts. It means writing content that will fit well within the parameters of things social media platforms like to promote.
For example, Facebook’s “birthday fundraiser” option generated $300 million in donations last year alone, largely because people shared these fundraisers on their own pages after donating to them.
Leverage this sharing habit for your own ends by creating content that encourages users to share their decision to work with you after making it. For example, many 5K race organizers and payment platforms offer participants the opportunity to “brag” about signing up for a race after doing so or offer a discount to the participant and additional friends if those friends sign up using a customized link. You may wish to try this in your own business.
It is never a negative thing to congratulate a customer on making the decision to work with you and thank them for the opportunity to provide your product or service, so inviting them to share and rewarding them for doing so could be a great way to get organic testimonials about your business out on social media.
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