Planning an inbound digital marketing strategy starts with creating brand awareness, helping buyers through the conversion process by supporting their increasing need for more specific information, then carrying them through the buying process until at last delivering the product or service and creating a loyal evangelist. At each step of the customer journey, we have opportunity to shape their buying experience both online and offline.
Great experiences feel like they are custom-tailored to the individual, when in reality we are using buyer personas to “bucket” similar people and targeting the experience to their needs. We can create this personalized approach on your website by building it on the HubSpot COS (Content Optimization System) platform, to dynamically present different information to subscribers based on preset criteria, called “smart content.” Smart content are modules that change based on what we know about the visitor, whether that is by industry, country, what Lifecycle Stage they are at, what device they are using, or other criteria. With COS, localized marketing can take place as never before. You can even greet your customer by name when they arrive on your website!
Another way we can create great customer experiences online, if your site is built in WordPress, is by implementing a plug-in that we offer to engage with visitors using custom promotions that appear on-screen and are targeted to individuals based on their geography, shopping cart value, time of day, URL patterns, referring websites, lifecycle stage, time spent on a page, and more. As example, if someone visits a certain page you can offer a whitepaper that is based on similar content.
This same WordPress plug-in also can add a Feedback Tab to all pages of your website, giving your customers the assurance that you are ready to respond to their concerns. If there is a problem with the page they are on, they can submit a screen-shot of the page to help in bug reporting.
Lastly, this same plug-in can be used to implement brief surveys that can either appear on top of a web page or from the side or bottom. When someone comes to your website you may have only a few seconds or minutes with them before they close the screen. If they leave without making a purchase, we want to stop them and ask some questions about what it was they were looking for. Discount offers can be used to incentivize a response. If you don’t ask customers about their expectations and how well you met them, you’ll never know.
Offline, great customer experiences are made by aligning front-line employees around customer needs. Be sure to act like a customer for your own business at regular intervals, to see where there are make-or-break touchpoints that you should have a plan and process in place to thwart negative experiences. View the presentation Mapping The Customer Experience for more on this subject.
If possible, allow customers to experience your offering pre-sale in a natural environment and then use those environments to put on events, activities and promotions that tie into your brand and appeal to the lifestyle that you are creating. IKEA is a great example of how a company can showcase products in a realistic situation, and then they add to the experience by tying in fun promotions, such as adopt a pet to go with your new home set. The cardboard images of animals throughout IKEA had a tag attached about the animal that could be used to adopt them. You may be able to tie in innovators in art, food or design that adds value to your brand experience while giving the innovator exposure.
Great customer experiences can be made by creating the element of fun and surprise, which can also benefit you by creating press-worthy material. Recently, a real estate company created a roller coaster that carried people through their open house. While it wasn’t intended to provide a full experience of spending time in each room of the house, it was a surprising way to present their open house and was covered in global news. If you go the route of creating a surprise event such as this, be sure to film behind-the-scenes footage to gain further traction out of the experience.
In my next how-to post I will share some of the newest technologies that can be used to create and measure great customer experiences, including wearable technologies, augmented reality (AR) and beacons.