Though it existed ten years ago, I definitely wasn’t a member of Amazon Prime and so the bulk of my purchases for my dogs were made at the pet store. Ten years later the thought process has evolved into, “Wow, this dog is chewing on everything” and then moments later I venture onto Amazon and within a couple days have something for him to chew on. It’s a beautiful thing.
In another moment I thought, “I need one of those leashes Cesar Milan uses on the Dog Whisperer” and sure enough, we had it in our mailbox within a couple days. The leash is actually made out of climbing rope so it’s both strong and comfortable for my hands as I walk him. Not long after placing my order, I received what was probably an automated email from Friends Forever, the Amazon Seller, to let me know I’d receive the leash very soon. In the body of the message were five tips for keeping my pet healthy. Here are the tips they sent:
- Regular Vet visits are vital; prevention is better than a cure.
- Exercise your pet. Without activity, your pet can become bored, frustrated, and overweight. Exercising your pet is also great bonding time.
- Prevent Parasites such as fleas, ticks and heartworm. Consult your vet for the best product for your pet.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight. Overfeeding is the leading cause of obesity. Keeping your pets trim can add years to their lives.
- Get Regular Vaccinations against diseases such as distemper, parvo, panleukopenia and rabies.
How great is this? It’s bonus content, and while they’re in business to make money, this advice appears to be totally free. And for the record, I happen to agree with the advice — especially the exercise your pet part. Remind me to tell you about the time when I used to stand around not exercising while my pet exercised. Life got better for both of us when we started exercising together.
The Benefits of Bonus Content
Chances are that you’ve received bonus content from companies you’ve done business with in the past and didn’t realize it. If they did it right, you probably didn’t notice. If they did it wrong you likely marked it as spam or unsubscribed from their mailing list. There’s definitely a right way and a wrong way to share bonus content. Let’s first list out some of its benefits when done right:
- Improve customer success by sharing content to better help customers use your product or service.
- Eliminate frustration and churn by anticipating and addressing some of the top questions and concerns customers might have.
- Prevent repeat contacts from customers by proactively sharing additional information that might more holistically solve a current or future problem.
- Help a potential customer make a more informed decision as they’re considering purchasing a product or service.
- Enrich your relationship with new customers. The added value might be enough to earn their loyalty for life. Dogs live for a while so I’m going to need more products and I’m sure they’d love my return business.
How to Share Bonus Content
In my earlier example, I highlighted bonus content that was shared with me in an order confirmation and this is just one great place to share it. But that’s not the only place to share it. Let’s think about some of the places to add bonus content to your customer communication:
- Your sales team might share an article or blog post with a potential customer to enrich the discussion rather than just asking, “Hey, are you ready to sign up yet?” over and over again.
- Your marketing team might add bonus content to marketing messages and automated emails like order confirmations to increase readership and enrich the message.
- Product and engineering teams might think about enriching password reset messages and various announcements on websites, mobile apps, and software. Jeannie Walters refers to these as micro-engagements. Check out her TEDx talk on this subject.
- Your support team, rather than simply answering the customer’s questions, can take a little extra time to educate and empower the customer. Many of our clients require this and check for it during the quality assurance process.
When to Share Bonus Content
Every interaction with a customer, whether it’s with customer service, your website, mobile app, product, etc is an opportunity to improve relationships and adding bonus content in the right places can help. But before you go add five new links and an additional 500 words to every email, let’s be wise about this.
This bonus content is best added after you take some time to think about your customer journey and all of their various touch points with your company. Once you understand needs and pain points during that journey, you can add helpful resources that anticipate and respond to customer needs in that moment. In my example, the Amazon seller correctly understood that because I was purchasing a leash, I likely had a new dog. They were correct and I was grateful that they shared.