Your digital experience has always been the first experience you provide to new customers, even returning customers that require reactivation. With the recent closing of the economy, many brands reviewed their online presence in detail as face to face was no longer an option. Some were shocked at the neglected state of this vital area of their business.
Beyond the current needs, pivoting to a digital-first experience has long been a trend, and it will continue. No matter where you are in this pivot: just starting or a mature online brand, there are recommended phases to go through as you pivot or refresh your digital marketing and online presence. The five phases are as follows:
1)Audit your online presence
Conduct an audit on your website, social profiles, review profiles/listings, Google My Business, Bing Places, analytics platforms, and content you have online. Your content could be: blogs, videos, product listings in classified sites, and even third party mentions of your organization. Before you plan what you want to do, you may need to understand where you are.
Further reading to consider: Give Customers an Omnichannel Experience
2)Embrace that in many ways, your online strategy is your business strategy
This realization may be a big leap for many traditional organizations. I believe digital evangelists have not helped this switch by making this idea an “instead-of” proposition (digital versus traditional or inbound marketing versus outbound marketing). It isn’t. Enhancing your online strategy needs to work seamlessly as part of the overall strategy for your organization. This pivot isn’t about converting to an inbound marketing strategy versus an outbound one; it is about optimizing your marketing and sales processes to become all-bound. United, together, enhanced.
Read more about inbound versus outbound.
3)Map out your current sales process
Determine your current state, identify pain points that point to how to enhance your sales processes with digital marketing and online selling tools. Think about what you need on your website to help with virtual selling. Product Sheets that could be downloaded by a prospect or buyer as an example. Or live online chat to bring the experience of in-house or in-store representatives online.
Read More about optimizing your sales process.
4)Design your digital experience and marketing as part of your overall experience
The journey for your new and returning customers starts online and flows through your entire organization. What is that journey? Write down the steps and design the upfront buyer’s journey. You will need to map out the experience for each of your unique customer personas. Design your buyers journey to solve their problem as opposed to creating a “funnel” of what you want them to do.
Read more about the customer journey.
5)Create a dedicated review process
To ensure you are meeting your business goals, set a dedicated review process. Many organizations set it and forget it. Your Digital Marketing requires constant tending and needs to be held accountable for ROI.
Read more about marketing metrics.
Lastly, as this is a strategic function, you need to dedicate appropriate resources. If you do not have the internal expertise, find a trusted advisor that can guide you through the process as opposed to taking years to level up your internal capabilities. Either way, be prepared to dedicate an ongoing budget to this function. The need to have effective Digital Marketing and an optimized digital experience is not going away. Best to get started or to revisit where you are currently.
Steve Whittington is Managing Director of a boutique digital agency, Graphic Intuitions. He has also served for a over a decade as a member of the Executive Team of Flaman Group of Companies an award winning organization and has over 25 years of executive experience. Steve’s current board work includes serving as Chair of the board for Flaman Fitness Canada, a national retailer; President of Glenora Child Care Society; and Co-Chair of the Marketing Program Advisory Committee for NAIT’s JR Shaw School of Business. Previous notable board work included, a Director for a meal prep internet Startup Mealife and Chair of Lethbridge Housing authority, the third largest Social housing NGO in Alberta.
Academically, Steve was an instructor of Project Management at Lethbridge College for seven years. Steve holds a Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree; he is a Certified Sales Professional (CSP), Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Marketing Specialist (CMS) and (CCXP) Certified Customer Experience Professional.
Steve’s first book Thriving in the Customer Age – 8 Key Metrics to Transform your Business Results teaches about the customer journey and provides a guiding framework spanning all stages of the customer experience. The book explains how every metric impacts an organization and how leaders can best utilize each metric to provide a stellar customer experience. Everyone knows the customer is the most important part of a business. This book provides the tools to improve an organization’s customer experience and drastically transform business results.
Recently Steve’s Blog has been profiled as one of the Top 75 Customer Experience blogs