We’ve all seen those reality television shows where they makeover a house, a garden, even people. They effortlessly show how to go from drab to fab, ugly to beautiful, all packaged up neatly for us to follow.
I’ve not seen a television show that shows you in 30 or 60 minutes how to do a digital marketing makeover on your business. The reality is that it can be a complex piece of work, involving many marketing disciplines.
To help you we have come up with five key steps that you need to undertake to ensure you have a success digital marketing makeover.
Step one. Walk in your customers shoes.
To help you develop your strategy we suggest you do two exercises on your existing website. The first is open Google and type in a key word search that you think your customers or prospects would use to find your website. Remember, it may not be a branded search, it could be something like “how can I manage my cash flow”, if you’re a financial services firm or “where can buy widgets in Melbourne” if you’re a retail outlet or manufacturer.
Look at the results the search returns. Does your company website come up in the results? If it doesn’t, try different terms including your company name. Once you have results, click on the links. What page is displayed? Does the information on the page reflect the search term? Is the information up-to-date and accurate?
Is there a web form requesting more information or to have someone contact them? If so, fill out the form and submit it. What happens to that form? Does it feed into your CRM system? Does your marketing department get an email informing them there is a new lead?
This may sound like it should be simple 101 digital marketing, but you would be surprised at the results we have found for a number of our customers. In one case thousands of leads that went nowhere, thousands of opportunity to bring on new customers but no one was responding, what type of customer experience do you think that created?
We also found out-of-date web pages, in one case going back over a decade. You have to remember that your prospects are using your web pages to do research on you before they contact you, what do you think they would make of you if your news section was last updated in 2005? If this company is so out of date, how can they help me?
The second exercise is to map all of the customer touch-points you have in your company, both online and offline. How many are there? Is the experience consistent? If you have a customer service desk, call it; how does it take to get through, can they help resolve your problem, does their tone and response reflect your company values?
These two exercises will give you a picture of your current state of play, and allow you to start to develop a strategy to close the gaps that should be the basis of your digital marketing makeover.
Step 2. Is your technology costing you customers?
Technology has changed rapidly over the past few years. Scott Brinker, aka @Chiefmartech published a Digital Marketing Landscape graphic in January 2015 which showed just under 2,000 technology players across a number of functionalities including, Search engine marketing, social media, email, marketing automation and data.
How does your existing digital marketing technology stack up? Do you know how much it costs to run?
One client we worked with discovered it cost them $6,500 to make a simple text change on their web site. To add insult to injury it also took their technology team three weeks to make the change!
In today’s fast paced environment seconds count, you cannot afford to have technology impact your customer experience.
Do you know what technology your customers use? Most web searches conducted today are done on mobile devices – tablets and mobiles. Does your website scale to fit the device being used? Today if your website is not responsive, you risk losing customers. In the airline industry, most of the airlines have developed fantastic tools and websites to respond to their customer needs; however I am still amazed that a number have not.
Step 3. Analyse your data – listen to your customers
Riley Newman, a data scientist at Airbnb is quoted as saying “Data is the voice of your customer. Data is effectively a record of an action someone in your community performed, which represents a decision they made about what to do (or not) with your product.”
When did you last look at analysis from your website? What did it tell you and what did you do about it? There are a number of great, free, web analytic tools available for you to use today. These tools offer you basic insights into how many people visited your site, how long they stayed, what pages they looked at.
The average attention span is now around eight seconds – that about the same amount of time as a product on a supermarket shelf has to attract your attention, if your web site is not holding visitors attention, how can you demonstrate your value proposition? For B2B companies this is a key challenge, especially for complex products.
If you are prepared to make an investment in some advanced web analytics tool, you will be able to get deeper insights into customer and prospect behavior on your site, right down to where did they go before and after your site.
Step 4. It’s all about the user experience.
The first three steps will help you understand your current user experience and help direct where it should evolve. Today responsive design in a website is a must, so make sure your site provides a great UX across all devices.
UX is more than graphic design. It is about how do you make it easy for people who are going to use my website to find information, navigate through, place and order, and ask questions. Is it going to recognize them each time they visit? Will it learn from their browsing behavior and make suggestions for where to go next or automatically change the content based on the context of their search?
Good UX will do all of that and more. It should also be able to surprise and delight but not seem creepy or too one side – asking for a lot of information, but giving little in return.
You should also ensure it is accessible for people with disabilities. Statistics show 1 in 7 people have some form of disability, from something as simple as colour blindness, right through to more profound disabilities, how does your website score against the W3C Accessibility Guidelines? [insert link here]
Step 5. Refine and repeat
This is not a set and forget exercise. Each step along the way should be reassessed and refined as you start to gain engagement with customers and prospects. Did you map all of the touch-points? Does your technology work more efficiently and effectively, can you get to market quicker? Was your analysis and assumptions correct? Can you get more data points to support new product development or services? Did the new UX deliver greater stickiness on your site, create more sales or garner good feedback?
By creating a cycle of continual improvement, you will find it gets easier to make changes and enhancement, create business cases for additional budgets or resources as you’ll have detail analysis to support you case. Step change can keep you in front of your competitors, and keep your customers as they see you as a dynamic organization attuned to their needs.
Jeffrey Evans is VP of Digital, APAC, Epsilon