Consumers have a louder voice than ever before. Is your brand part of the conversation?
Consumers have a louder voice than ever before. In the past, word of mouth recounts of a customer’s experience with a business may have spread to a dozen friends, colleagues and family, today the potential benefit – or fallout – from a customer’s experience is only limited by the number of friends or followers they have (and how many shares their post achieves).
Marketing solutions need to keep up with this changing consumer behaviour. It is no longer enough to figure out what media your potential customers consume and buy ad space in those channels. Consumers must be engaged with on their terms. Having a digital engagement strategy for your business means that you can join in the conversations they are having, when they are having it, and create a relationship with your customers that will be mutually beneficial.
Businesses slow to adopt an effective digital engagement strategies
Arguably, there is no marketing technique more cost-effective than digital marketing done well. If your business isn’t already engaging effectively with its digital consumers, then you may have some serious catching up to do. However, don’t feel too discouraged because you are certainly not alone. According to a recent research study by SAP, and our own agency findings, businesses in Australia have been slow to adopt and implement effective digital engagement strategies to meet growing consumer expectations.
What’s more surprising is the study also concluded that consumers who were found to be delighted with the digital experience they received were nearly five times more likely than those who were unsatisfied to remain loyal to that brand. Even as far back as 2013, a small business report conducted by Deloitte found that businesses with higher levels of digital engagement had an average of 20% increase in annual revenue.
Essential elements for effective digital engagement
For those businesses who have already implemented their digital engagement strategies, it is now a matter of measuring and optimising their effectiveness, and essentially doing digital engagement better than the competition. The key to achieving that is to assess your approach against the following key criteria:
- Customer research
- Social media
- Online sales
- Customer interaction
In a nutshell, your strategy should cover the following:
Know your customers journey
Any marketer worth their salt knows that the first step to any strategy is learning about your customers. Knowing what they want is the first step to figuring out what they need, and how to sell it to them. A digital marketing and strategy expert can develop user journey maps of your website - how your existing customers behave on your site - to figure out how you can best engage with them, and optimise the consumer experience to sell more of what you are offering to those customers, while attracting new ones.
Knowing who your customers are, and more importantly what they want will also help you build brand loyalty by gearing your marketing activities towards the types of people that already like what you are doing.
Incorporate social for reach and to build trust
Having a digital strategy doesn't just mean that you just have a website for your business. While your website can be a central consumer touch point and influencer in the decision making process, most consumers want their interaction with your business and its offering to be easily and readily available to them.
Utilising social media can be an effective method of reaching potential consumers, and building trust in your brand. This makes the use of social media key consideration as part of any digital engagement strategy you may wish to implement. In terms of channels, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and Snapchat are all valid vehicles, and your focus should be on leveraging those channels your customers frequent the most.
Determining which channels
A digital marketing strategist with deep commercial experience, like those we use at The Digital Embassy, will be able to use evidence based practices to determine which digital channels your business should use, and how you should use them for maximum return on investment.
Through posting relevant and engaging consumer content that links back to an optimised landing page on your website, you are able to leverage your social and digital networks. This can massively increase your online visibility in search, drive up qualified web traffic, and ultimately, leads and sales.
Converting visitors into customers
It may seem obvious, but a good digital marketing strategy must be underpinned by the ability to build brand awareness and make sale conversions in the digital space. Whatever your business, you need to make it possible for either lead conversions, or purchases to be made easily online. If making a sales enquiry, or if the purchase pathway presents too many hoops for the consumer to jump through, they will leave your site to find low friction alternatives.
Paid digital advertising
If your business sells what it is doing online, then paid digital advertising serves as a cost effective and essential means of driving targeted traffic, leads and sales. There are many options available, with some of the most popular vehicles being Google AdWords and advertising on social media platforms.
The great thing about digital advertising is you can be extremely targeted and focus exactly on the customers you want to target. But there is an art in finding those customers, and tweaking (or optimising) campaign parameters to hone in on them. With assistance from a qualified digital marketing expert you will be able to structure these campaigns to give maximum return on investment.
Using, and being prepared for customer feedback
Bad news has a tendency to spread online, so it’s essential to be available to respond to feedback and be helpful and supportive to customers. It's not so much about winning a disgruntled customer back. It's about neutralising their negativity so it doesn't spread into social media and review sites.
Chat options on your website can be considered, or feedback forms pointing to emails that are regularly checked. Most importantly, personal messages on social media should be responded to as soon as possible so they don’t become public comments. These comments should be taken offline if possible, either by offering to speak on the phone, pop in, or email.
Save time, and money by streamlining your strategy implementation
Digital engagement takes time, and there is no getting around it. Resources must be dedicated to have an impact. But there are many digital solutions and techniques that can be utilised to make life as easy as possible for your staff, such as platforms to schedule social media posts, mobile access to the back-end of your website, apps for running sales, and giving multiple staff training and logins to your online accounts and sharing the burden.
Working with Digital Strategist
Working with an experienced digital engagement strategist like those at The Digital Embassy you will find the expertise and skilled resources needed to:
- Gain insights on which traditional digital channels are most effective and relevant to business goals.
- Make measurement part of the digital strategy and implement over time.
- Create activities and digital vehicles that are conversion optimized.
- Assist with the implementation on best digital practices to your internal resources.
- Implement cohesive consumer and brand experiences across both traditional and digital platforms.
Whether you are looking to develop an effective business digital engagement strategy, or audit your existing one, it is important that your approach remains aligned with your business aims, and continues to meet the growing and very demanding needs of our customers.
About The Digital Embassy
The Digital Embassy™ is an Australian Google and Microsoft Certified Partner transforming digital business. Our team are ambassadors for best practice in digital business strategy, web design, behaviour-driven software development and evidence-based digital marketing. For over 20 years our business has employed local industry certified personnel to help businesses meet the changing needs of digital users and consumers.
The Digital Embassy™ is a pre-qualified ICT service provider for Government in SA, VIC and NSW.