Businesses track dozens—sometimes even hundreds—of different metrics to determine what marketing efforts are most effective.
Do your social media ads actually drive sales? Does using Google Ads increase signups? Does using questions in blog post titles drive more traffic?
There's only one way to know—track it.
The problem is, it can be overwhelming to track so many different metrics. And sometimes it might not be clear what caused a specific metric to change.
However, there is one metric that has a direct impact on your bottom line that many businesses don't track—and that is average customer churn rate.
Failure to track and improve customer churn rates can lead to the death of your business, particularly for subscription services that rely heavily on repeat customers.
So what causes customer churn, and how can you use content to improve churn rates? Here’s what you need to know.
What causes customer churn?
Churn, or the percentage of customers a business loses each month, can be a tough metric to tackle. Customers may leave for many reasons—maybe they are trimming their budget, maybe they've decided to use a different tool, maybe their credit card expired, and they just didn't notice.
With so many different causes, is it really worth it to track customer churn?
Yes, because uncontrolled customer churn can devastate your bottom line.
Consider the chart below, which visualizes the total customers between two companies—one with a five percent churn rate and another with a 10 percent churn rate. Not much difference, right? Just five percent.
Over two years, company A (with the five percent churn rate) has nearly five times the total customers.
That is a huge difference in overall customer count from just a five percent difference in churn rate.
In fact, according to research done by Bain and Company, increasing customer retention by just five percent can increase profits by 25 to 95 percent.
Of course, some customers leave for reasons totally outside of your control. A customer who is just opening their business, for example, might not have a use for a tool designed to grow an established business.
Those types of customers might simply not be a good fit for your product—at least, not right now.
However, there are several reasons customers leave that you can control. Some of the most common reasons customers tend to churn, are the following:
- You’re attracting the wrong customers
- Lack of engagement/not achieving their desired outcome
- Poor customer service
- Customers think your competitors are a better fit
- Poor understanding of the value of your product/service
- Customers think your product is too expensive
- Credit card payment failures
There is good news, however. Creating the right type of content can drastically reduce customer churn rates by attracting the right customers, keeping existing customers happy and better informed on all that you offer. Here's how.
How content reduces churn
Reducing customer churn can be a hard nut to crack. If your products are terrible, for example, great content won't make much of a difference.
However, if your products and customer service are solid, then creating content can highlight the value of your products or service, and keep customers coming back month after month.
Here are three ways content can reduce churn and increase revenue.
If customers don't understand how your product or service works, they won't get the most out of it. This might lead to churn—not because your product or service isn't valuable, but rather because they don't understand how that value applies to them.
Creating detailed onboarding information, FAQs, videos, and guides can help customers navigate the features of your product or service so they can see the value for themselves.
Buffer, a social media scheduling and analytics platform, does this well by creating guides for the products it integrates with, such as this guide to using Buffer and Shopify together.
The guide walks through how to connect the two platforms, as well as the data and insights customers can access.
Content can be personalized
Not all customers have the same needs. For example, a B2B customer likely tracks different metrics than a B2C customer. By creating content that targets both types of customers, brands can explain how their tool or product helps each kind of customer.
For example, Profitwell offers separate landing pages for direct to customer subscription companies and B2B companies.
The content, statistics, and current customer list are all targeted to each type of customer.
But does personalization really matter?
According to Instapage, 87 percent of customers say that personalized content positively influences how they think about a brand.
This makes sense. When content is relevant to your needs, you are more inclined to think the company is a good fit.
Content helps increase engagement
When we talk about customer engagement, most people see it as the interaction between customers and businesses through platforms like email, social media, or blog posts.
Those examples, however, fail to look at the larger picture.
The true benefit of customer engagement lies in the emotional connection customers (or prospective customers) develop with a brand. Engaged customers are more likely to share your content, buy from you, and tell their friends about you.
For example, Leadfeeder produced a series of content for sales and marketing teams to adapt after Covid-19. Here is an example of a blog post on email templates for SDRs.
This blog post gained 12,000 new users in less than 30 days for Leadfeeder. Those users increased conversions by 20 percent.
Creating intriguing, useful content that improves your customers' lives, makes their jobs easier, as well as making them think deeply about a complex topic helps increase engagement and build an emotional connection with your brand.
And that emotional connection leads to a lower churn rate.
Tips for creating better content to reduce churn
Ready to create content that reduces churn? Here are three strategies for creating content that keeps customers coming back.
Find out your net promoter score
Before you create content, figure out where you stand with your customers by calculating your net promoter score.
A net promoter score gauges customer loyalty based on how likely they are to recommend your company to a friend or colleague.
This score allows you to segment your customer base into detractors (those who are unlikely to recommend your company), passives (who are likely under-engaged with your brand), and promoters (who love and promote your company on your behalf.)
Although the scale is based on one question—"Would you recommend our brand?" asking customers why they feel that way will provide additional insight into how your company can improve.
This feedback can be critical to understanding how you can turn detractors into promoters that are less likely to churn and more likely to share your company with other people in their network.
For example, if you find that many detractors find your product hard to use, then you know that creating educational content will help improve your net promoter score, and thus decrease churn rates.
Repurpose content into different formats
Repurposing content allows your brand to make the most out of the content you've already created by packaging it in different ways.
Different formats make it easier for customers to access the content you create. Some customers might prefer a video walk-through of a new feature while others might prefer an ebook. Or, if you might have vastly different customer bases who have different needs, your content may need to take a different angle.
Codeless suggests turning blog posts into a video, podcast, or other offline materials to increase customer engagement and make the most out of content.
Additionally, offering your content in platforms, like a podcast or video, can also impact growth.
You could also create an infographic or webinar that covers the same topic as an ebook in an easier-to-digest format.
Create a detailed FAQ or resource center
When customers have unresolved issues, they tend to churn. Think about it—if you bought an SEO tool that felt too complex to use, would you call customer support to learn more about the tool? Or would you be more likely to cancel and find a tool that better fits your needs?
A detailed FAQ guide or resource center makes it easier for customers to quickly access the information they need to make the most out of your product or service.
For example, InMotion hosting created this detailed FAQ page:
It covers questions customers are likely to ask, such as when support is available and what types of payments the company accepts.
They also break down questions into different topics such as General Questions, Pre-Sales Questions, Technical Questions, Domain Questions, and Add-On Questions. This makes the guide easier to navigate.
Making it easier for customers to find the information they need has two significant benefits. It increases customer satisfaction, but it also reduces customer service costs because fewer customers will call in with basic questions.
Ready to get started?
Customer churn is one of the most critical metrics for all businesses, but particularly for subscription businesses. Start by finding out what the average churn rate is in your industry and then calculating your rate.
Then, use the strategies above to create personalized content that will educate and engage your users—helping you reduce your customer churn rate.
About the author
Over the last 10+ years, Anna has developed SEO and content strategies for major brands like Brother, Marriott, IHG, Hearst Magazine, PMI, Mailboat Records, Dollar Thrifty Rental, to name a few. Anna is the Assistant Editor at Search Engine Journal. She enjoys burritos and puppies (in that order).