We know we’ve been harpin’ on this for a while, but although your customers may be the same across all channels, how you communicate with them across these channels is not a one size fits all model. Deep customer insights start with understanding your customer relationships inside and out. Strong customer relationships mean that you not only understand the product features that influence their decision making process, but that you also understand how they like to communicate, what information they need, as well as when and where they need it. To help you understand the nuances and importance of this distinction, we’ve broken out the top customer channels and the important distinctions between each.
Your website is the face of your company. It’s your biggest and best opportunity to showcase your brand’s personality, expand on your value proposition, and capture the heart and attention of your customer base. You can include as many product and service descriptions as you like, snapshots of your brand values, and a deep dive into your mission statement and authenticity as a company. Understanding why customers are coming to your website and what they’re looking for is key. Spend time digging into the information architecture of your site (a.k.a. what information is shown when and where), and deeply consider the user experience by looking at other industry leaders. If you need creative support or strategic insight, a digital marketing agency can definitely help. This is arguably the single most important aspect of your branding strategy in today’s digitally-driven world, so it’s a good place to splurge (or start).
Unlike your website, which presents static information outward to your consumer, social media is an opportunity for you to have ongoing customer relationships. You can directly answer their questions, address customer service issues, and understand their feelings about your brand. This channel is important because interaction tends to be more casual, more personal, and more tailored on an individual level. Social media helps you strengthen existing relationships and create brand advocates who will recommend your company or share their experiences in the digital marketing ecosystem. Customer relationships through your social media channels are likely farther down on the conversion funnel than first time visitors to your website, so your primary goal here should be to re-affirm your brand identity and share culture related updates and additional industry relevant information. A content agency can help bolster your posts to alleviate the time required managing this content in house. At the same time, you can also use social media as a real-time focus group to provide feedback on how you’re doing, how to improve, and even soft launch ideas or products.
Paid traditional media is a unique and quickly evolving channel. In previous years, it was used as the marketing bread and butter for everyone from the sole proprietor to the advertising agency, today, it works as a very top-of-funnel experience to drive general awareness about your brand. Paid media doesn’t hold the same authority it once did (because customers are more likely to trust social media or peer reviews than an ad in a magazine), so treat it as an introduction for your customers rather than a pure closing mechanism. Tease the brand values. Peak your customers’ interest. Media is a gateway that directs customers to your website or sales funnel, so understanding this distinction will help you target your messaging accordingly and provide proof that backs up your brand statements.
It’s easy to mix your mobile prospects in with your desktop website users, but the reality is that people searching your site on their mobile devices and tablets are likely at a different stage in the customer lifecycle and purchase journey. Mobile users are most likely looking for quick, high-level information (because let’s be serious, they’re either sitting at a red light or passively doing something else while also looking at your site). Very often, they are at the start of their purchase path and just beginning to get a feel for your company, so only the most crucial information from your website should be presented. However, mobile purchases are on the rise, and it is one of the fastest growing channels for conversion, so people may also be returning to the mobile site to complete their purchase after they’ve dug deep on the full desktop site or via social media. In this way, the mobile channel serves as bookends for your customer experience and should distill the most essential messages down to their essence.
Last, but certainly not least, organic search is an incredibly powerful tool to help manage your customer relationships. Understanding that customers coming in through this channel are likely very new and unsure of what they are looking for – is crucial. You must anticipate their needs by aligning your company to non-branded words that customers will search for and provide enough information so that they want to learn more. Prospects coming in through the organic search channel may benefit from a tailored landing page or web experience that formally addresses the search terms they used and the needs of that audience. Unlike your main marketing site, these customers are likely looking for something specific (even if they’re unsure of what that solution looks like yet), so you want to make sure they know you can deliver.
While each channel is unique and different, they’re all important for the overall customer journey and experience. It’s tempting to say one is more important than the other, but knowing that potential customers often drift through many – if not all – channels before committing to a purchase will help you understand how this concert of information works together. Each channel is a key piece in the customer journey and an opportunity to show the heart of your brand.
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