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Why marketing should sponsor your support center

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Do you measure traffic to your Support Center? This is why you should.

When a company decides to create its own Support Center, it literally opens another storefront for their customers. This storefront – in the same way as the company’s corporate site – is soon to become a reflection of the business itself. As such, it should be used as another valuable marketing channel to grow your business and improve your brand awareness.

In my previous blog post I discuss the importance of branding your Support Center so that your customers always know where they are when they come to you for help. How many times did you land on a company’s Support Center and lost context of where you were?... there goes your precious first impression! Start thinking of your Support Center – not only as necessity, but also as an opportunity.

To illustrate the marketing potential of your Support Center, I will use the experience of a well-funded cloud provider startup. This medium-size company recognized the potential value of their Support Center when they discovered that their traffic spiked from 5,000 to 15,000 unique visitors initially, and then up to 30,000; a number that remained consistent over subsequent months. This volume of traffic was 30% of the traffic generated by their corporate site and more than their marketing–owned blog generated…

In order to learn more about this interesting turn of events, I spoke with their head of support:

What were your initial steps when building the Support Center?

“Since the Support Center is part of the face of the company, we implemented the branding before we originally launched. We also chose a support platform that supports SEO well. Then, we invested a lot in building our product and service’s specific support content. After that, we added generic technical knowledge, a lot of how-to’s and tips & tricks for our customers as well as for SEO purposes.

On the same note, we kept our content public so no login was required to view the articles (hence search engines can index the content). Right from the start we added Google Analytics in order to measure and improve the experience.”

Did the Support Center meet your initial expectations?

“We were looking to build up a community but we did not expect to quadruple our initial traffic in the way that we did. When I initially learned about the increase of traffic in my weekly report, I looked into it and found that the main traffic attraction was an article about the ways in which we dealt with a major Operating System security vulnerability, one that apparently impacted many users and systems. It is important to mention that this article had included the exact patch number, which was the search term used by most visitors and the one that lead them to the article.”

What did you do next?

“After we learned of the increased traffic, we continued to enrich our knowledge base with other technical articles including ones that were initially published in our corporate blog. We added generic tips & tricks that were important not only for our customers but also for potential prospects. Once we learned of the fact that potential clients are likely to land on our Support Center before they even know about our business, we also added marketing automation tracking in order to identify and track leads.”

Do you see marketing value in your Support Center?

“Absolutely. So did our VP marketing… when she learned about our consistent traffic volume, she could not avoid incorporating it to our overall marketing strategy. “

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INBOUND MARKETING

One of the principal responsibilities of any marketing department is generating consumer interest in their product/service, i.e. Lead Generation. Hence, the fact that potential leads are likely to land on one of your Support Center pages before they ever came across your brand, necessitates that these pages have already gone through the ‘marketing filter’. Just like your blog is part of your marketing collateral, so is your Support Center. You want to make sure that new leads will recognize your brand and experience a positive first impression (as you would with your customers). Did you remember to include a button that links back to your corporate site?...Since you already invested in a Support Center, it is only logical to use it to your advantage by linking it seamlessly to your main site. 

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In conclusion, if you take your support center seriously and invest in its branding and content, it will not only improve your brand perception in the eyes of your customers, but will also increase your web exposure and draw potential prospects to your product - otherwise known as the goal of online marketing.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

The content of your Support Center is another fragment of your business, and as such, it should comply with your overall marketing strategy. If you are considering incorporating a Support Center or already have one, here are a few points you’d want to consider:

  • Does your support site maintain your company’s brand? (Look and feel, fonts, brand-colors, etc.)
  • Did you incorporate your call-to-action (same call-to-action that’s showing on your corporate site) in your Support Center? (“Shop”, “Free Trial”, etc.)
  • Did you add web analytics (e.g. Google Analytics) to your support site?
  • Did you integrate marketing automation tracking with your support site?
  • Are you thinking of ways to enrich your content beyond plain product documentation, such as thought leadership articles for example?
  • Did your marketing team review your support content?

Which tools have you used to grow your Support Center traffic? Can you think of another way to leverage your support center that I didn’t mention? Share your experience in the comments below.

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