How to Align Your Marketing Strategy Around Customer Experience
Wondering how you can ensure that your marketing strategy and customer experience are on the same page? Despite the huge importance of customer experience, many companies are so focused on their strategies that they forget that no strategy will succeed if customers are not having fun. Customer experience should always guide your strategies rather than the other way around.
To ensure that you acquire and retain customers, it is essential that you have a plan in mind. The simplest way to provide your customers with the very best experience is to step into their shoes and re-imagine the experience from start to finish. In today’s highly competitive market, no brand can afford to ignore customer experience. In fact, failing to consider your customers’ journey can end up causing your customers to run straight into the arms of your competitors, who have given more thought to the journey they offer to customers. Mapping your customer journey through innovation rather than blind repetition is your best chance at crafting an experience that is geared towards conversion and brand loyalty.
Keep reading to find out how you can align your customer experience and marketing strategy for genuine, long-term growth.
Aligning Your Marketing Strategy & Customer Experience
First, let’s get a better idea of what we mean by customer experience. A simple definition would be that engagement is the total combination of every engagement that a customer has with your brand, from the moment they sign up. This could include anything and everything from customer emails, social media presence, website navigation and usability, mobile marketing, face to face interactions and even website content. In ecommerce, experience can be a make or break factor; influencing order size, order value, order frequency and more. Experience is the factor that can turn a browser into a shopper and a shopper into a brand advocate.
A number of things shape customer journey, from responsive websites to consistently branded and planned social media, email and mobile messages and platforms. Every small detail contributes towards the overall experience. These details do not only impact on how your customers engage with your brand but also when and where they interact. As Google’s Mobile First index gets closer, responsive design has become more important than ever, with a majority of people accessing content from their phones each day. Micro-moments have become a trend over the last year that shows no sign of slowing down. Consumer expectation has evolved to be bigger, quicker and simpler.
With all of this in mind, what is the best way to ensure that your marketing strategy is geared towards customer experience? In order to provide genuine value, you will need to focus on how you can embrace new behaviour shifts and ensure that customers are kept happy. Knowing how customers interact with your brand will allow you to determine the channels that are driving the most results. Although an omnichannel approach is always recommended, you may find that mobile and email are where you can ensure the best experience. Whichever channels you focus on, the most important lesson of all is to avoid making promises that you cannot keep. When you instead only make promises that you know you can keep, you will be well on your way to improving customer experience.
Marketing Strategy Tips for a Better Customer Experience
Over and beyond under-promising and over-delivering, what can you do to ensure a better experience for customers who interact with your marketing strategy? Let’s take a look.
- Always deliver on marketing messages. Customers are willing to pay for a better experience. Because so many consumers get so frustrated with businesses that promise them the world, only to underwhelm completely, many would prefer to turn to the competition rather than wait and see if things improve. Although some businesses consider this to be churn, a natural part of business, it is entirely preventable. Rather than turning your customers away by making big promises you cannot keep, focus on messages that you can uphold. Most customers simply want to feel heard and valued. When you provide world-class customer service, with the help of CRM tools and other platforms, you will be able to maintain expectation just fine. If on the other hand, you try to lure in customers with big, empty promises, you will quickly lose customers.
- Make use of social media to optimise testimonials and reviews online. Word of mouth recommendations and personal suggestions remain a far more valuable tool than branding messages and ads. This comes down to trust. You could be far more likely to trust someone who has used a product impartially, compared to someone who owns, works at or invests in the company. You can leverage this by asking for reviews and testimonials, and then use them on social media as part of your overall strategy. Just a note of warning: this approach only works if you are able to provide a consistently high level of service.
- Nurture customers at every stage of their journey. At each point in your customer lifecycle, customers need a very different targeting approach. This is why lead nurturing has been proven to be so effective. Rather than wasting valuable time and resources on generic messages that are sent out to customers at any and every stage, you can craft highly targeted messages and campaigns at key stages of the sales cycle. For example, you could entice brand new customers who have not yet made a purchase with time-sensitive deals or offers. You could offer referral rewards to new customers who have just completed sale, or you could give them a reward on their next purchase. You could remind customers who have not been at your store for a while by showing them brand new products that are similar to those they have purchased. You can reward frequent shoppers with discounts or limited offers.
- Follow up after every encounter with your customer service team. Do not underestimate the impact of customer service. A simple way to provide a stellar experience is to take the time to follow up with queries and emails. Follow up, request feedback on whether improvements could be made, determine whether the issue has been resolved, develop relationships and let customers know that there is a real-life human being at your company who genuinely wants to listen. This is your single best defence against unhappy customers. It also helps to increase customer retention rates.
- Catch small problems before they become bigger problems. Another way forward is to prevent little issues from becoming social media disasters. Thanks to the high visibility of today’s online world, mistakes can very quickly become public embarrassments. While it will not be too difficult to deal with an unhappy customer at first, it will be a lot harder to handle the backlash if that customer takes to social media to voice their complaint. Do not take the risk of ignoring customers. You want a good experience, not a bad experience. Angry customers who feel ignored are your quickest route to a bad customer experience.
- Develop a single, broad customer view. Thanks to digital marketing tools, it is easier than ever to collect and track data on every move your customers make. Having a broader, detailed view of each customer throughout their lifecycle is an effective way to build profiles, and, as a result, develop highly targeted, personalised campaigns designed with your customer in mind. This allows you to go over and beyond expectation, which is by far the best way to ensure world-class customer experience.
The first step in improving your customer experience is to invest in the right tools for the job. To find out more about the innovative digital marketing platform available at Grapevine Interactive, contact us today.