Have you been wondering how you might improve the customer experience your business offers? Here are 5 steps for doing so starting with your digital marketing.
(If you aren't yet sure why you should, read Does Your Customer Experience Express Love and Thoughtfulness?)
I'm focusing here on digital marketing because even though your customers will -most likely- purchase from your physical store location, they will definitely start their purchase process online, searching and educating themselves before ever reaching out, contacting you and asking questions.
The more you improve your digital customer experience, the better your chances of getting found online by your prospective customers.
These five digital steps will help you stay focused not just online, but also in your real life customer experience so it remains memorable and consistent with what you do online.
How to improve your digital customer experience
1. Identify your business' customer personas
Chances are you have several different categories of customers – perhaps main street commercial types, builder types and homeowner types. Or perhaps high level decision-makers and mid-level marketing implementors. Or even a large well-established organization and a 5-person start-up.
These distinct groups (or personas) tend to ask different types of questions, have different needs and priorities and require different business solutions. By identifying your personas, you are better able to bundle content, solutions and services to address those distinct needs. At the same time, you'll able to dive in and better understand the commonalities associated with that persona.
2. Detail the keywords your personas might use to search for you online.
Your prospects are busy. How can you take what you know about each to better understand what makes each unique? Does one rely heavily on mobile devices? Is another generally chained to a desk and computer? Regardless, they can’t imagine life without a search engine so what words might they use to search for understanding of and resolution for the problems for which you provide perfect solutions?
Depending on where in the purchase process your customers are, the terms will change. At the beginning, they may be very general. As prospects travel from awareness to consideration, the search terms will become more specific.
These specific terms include your product categories – for example carpet vs. wood – as well as options within categories – wood vs. laminate vs. engineered wood vs. wood look tile – and even brands by product specific to your business. Don’t forget your company name.
3. Think of your persona's buying process as a funnel
This list of search terms, once organized, will represent a type of funnel. At the top, where the funnel is widest, the search terms are most broad (best marketing automation products); toward the middle of the funnel, the terms are more specific and about evaluating options. At the bottom of the funnel, the terms indicate purchase intent. They are specific and action-oriented (schedule a demo, buy, do a free trial).
4. Walk in your Personas' Digital Shoes and Imagine Their Online Experience
Now it’s time to imagine yourself as your specific personas as they go online.
- Search using those terms in an Incognito Window (Chrome), Private Window (FireFox) or Private Browsing (Explorer). In so doing, you search without your own search history muddying up the waters. (Note, the location of your IP Address will affect results unless you select another location.)
- For each search term, take a screen grab; paste the image into PowerPoint so you have a point of reference.
- Explore the entries: who shows up in the organic results? In the paid results? Do you? Do your competitors?
5. From Research to Digital Marketing Action
Once you’ve gone through your personas' online experiences, you have the information you need to take action.
First, do digital cleanup on your own or with the help of your IT department. Make sure you like how you appear in search - that’s a function of your title tags and meta descriptions. If you don’t appear in search, think how to add your personas' search topics on your site; don’t forget title tags, and meta descriptions.
Check out each entry where your business appears. Claim directory listings. Don’t forget social profiles. How you appear on LinkedIn and Facebook and Google+ for your business matters. These are strategic tools for getting found online.
Develop an ongoing content plan so you regularly publish fresh content – ideally via a blog, but also through ongoing website updates, content offers, visual content – and in your store! Integrate completely what you do offline with what happens online since Prospect Patty does the same.
Make Sure Your Customer Experience is Consistent Online and In Real Life
Your personas represent real-life prospects who want to do business with the same organization encountered online. That means you need to make sure your physical experience integrates seamlessly with your digital one, and vice versa. If personas search for you via mobile device (because your website is ‘responsive’ and user friendly regardless of the device used), they should just as easily complete a form or dial your number to speak live with you.
Ready to improve your customers experience? Let me know what you discover.
Let me know, too, what you would add to the list.