Stop the Cycle: How Content Can Slow Your Churn

April 3, 2019 · 6 min read

Stop the Cycle: How Content Can Slow Your Churn

It’s every subscription business’s goal to keep churn as low as possible. Churn — the percentage of customers you lose every month — can be tough to beat, and it can ruin your bottom line.

Of course, there are reasons for losing a customer that are completely out of your control. If someone doesn’t have the money for your product, or can’t use it because of where their business is at right now, then they’re not a good fit for the product at this point.

Outside of instances like that, people generally fall off because of one of two reasons:

  • Engagement (or lack thereof)
  • Understanding (or in this case, not understanding) the value of your product

Everything from customer experience to customer onboarding falls under one of these two categories. This is where content comes in — and how you can use it to decrease your churn.

Content to increase engagement and value

What does that look like in practice? Here are four examples:

An onboarding sequence

Customer onboarding is the most obvious example of how content can be used to engage people. A well-crafted onboarding experience starts the moment your customer signs up for a trial, takes them by the hand, and shows them the most valuable parts of your product — and why they’re valuable — in a way that grabs the customer’s attention and makes them want to stick around.

Blog posts or other content marketing

You might think of your blog’s purpose as generating leads or traffic, and not much beyond that. But — especially if you already post regularly — add content that’s targeted not just at potential users, but new or existing users. You might find that you get leads from those posts as well, and it gives you a way to keep your users engaged. Publishing intermediate or advanced content showcases your expertise or as a thought leader. It can also help your existing customers experience more success with their goals related to your product (whether that’s getting better at weightlifting or improving their email marketing).

Help content

This is basic, but sometimes still gets overlooked. If an existing customer has a question about how to do something, can they find an answer without emailing customer support? Do you have walkthrough videos for getting started? This is all content that can help you retain existing customers and keep them engaged in using your product.

Exclusive content

Arguably the best way to engage existing customers is with content that’s exclusively for them. Whether it’s delivered via email, put behind a paywall on a membership website, or shared another way, content that’s created just for customers is a great way to show how much you value them.

Much like content marketing, this doesn’t have to be content that’s specifically about your product. Intermediate or advanced content about using your product and getting the most out of it, or tutorials created for very specific use cases of your product, work here.

But don’t limit yourself though. You can also include any kind of helpful content. Whether that’s interviews, webinars, videos, how-to posts related to your industry, or something else entirely, the fact that you’re delivering useful content just for existing customers is a value-add.

How am I supposed to create all this content?

You might be staring at the above list and thinking, “that’s all good and well, but how am I supposed to find the time to create all of this?” Don’t worry — it’s easier than you think. In fact, some of it may already be done. Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Audit your existing content. Create a master list of all of your existing content — blog posts, email series, help content, etc. Then, categorize it by topic and the type of content it is. Airtable is a great tool to help with this, and has plenty of templates related to content production.
  2. Figure out what of your existing content can be used in the above ways. After you have a list of all of your existing content, look at it to see what can be repurposed to work in the above ways. This might be rewriting a post, or combining several posts to create an ebook that’s only for customers, or turning a written post into a video or webinar.
  3. Brainstorm new content to fill in the gaps. Once you’ve figured out what content can be easily repurposed, you can create a list of new content to create. Again, this doesn’t have to be overly complicated. An easy way to get started is to look at the list of content you’ll be repurposing, and think of 2-3 offshoot ideas from each one. It might be a “next steps” piece that could be part of a series (which could then later be turned into an email series or ebook, itself), approaching the problem from a different angle, dealing with a related-but-not-the-same problem, etc.

Tracking the effectiveness of your content

Of course, at Rebilly, we’re all about the metrics. So after you start creating this content with the goal of engaging existing customers, you need to have a plan to track it. Overall, when tracking engagement, you’re usually looking at metrics like:

  • Session interval, which is the average amount of time between user sessions (if you don’t have an app, this could be the amount of time between logging in to a membership area, watching a video from your course, etc.)
  • Session length, which is the average amount of time that each user is spending per session (again, whether that’s in a membership area, in an app, or something else)
  • Retention rate, which is the percentage of customers retained over a period of time (whether it’s a month, a quarter, a year, etc.)

(For more engagement metrics and how to get them, head here.)

You should still be tracking those, and compare them before/after implementing a content engagement strategy. But, as we all know, correlation doesn’t necessarily equal causation.

If you want more specific metrics and you have a large enough customer base to get statistically valid results with an A/B test, you can segment customers by which content you’ve sent them. (This is just another way to analyze customers by cohort, which we’ve discussed before.) Then, compare the engagement analytics for different customer groups to the content said groups received.

If you don’t have that many customers yet, or setting up a test is beyond your current ability, you can also use heatmapping tools. They’ll let you see what content customers are clicking on and engaging with, and where you’re losing them in the content. Comparing that with the engagement metrics above (and the before/after of engagement metrics) should give you an idea of what’s working, and how well.

Dealing with churn should always be a multi-pronged effort. The above tips will help you with voluntary churn — but you should be keeping an eye on your involuntary churn, and working to lower it, as well. Our Retry Strategy guide can help. Download it today to get simple steps you can use to increase your LTV:

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