The buyer journey has shifted. And digital reigns.
Virtual meetings. Virtual connections. Virtual relationships. They’re the new norm.
As brands, we’ve had to adapt the way we stay connected with customers and provide meaningful experiences to audiences throughout their journey. Since March, in-person interactions and meetings have been eliminated and replaced with video conferencing and what seems like a never-ending string of emails. Retail visits and gratuitous shopping have a negative connotation as we continue to abide by social distancing practices and a new mindfulness of our spending habits during this uncertain economic time.
Traditionally, buyers were hit with up to 22 touchpoints (eMarketer) throughout their customer journey. But as their habits shift, what does the isolation from and abandonment of once-frequented channels mean to your business’s customer buyer journey?
While it may seem that the customer buyer journey has shortened, the process and steps to make a purchase decision remain intact and are just more prevalent within digital channels. Now more than ever is the time to make sure your digital house is in order. Here are four areas to examine to ensure you are reaching customers during this digital-driven time.
- Search. The lack of in-person interactions and sales meetings has shifted our research phase into a more isolating process. Customers are turning to digital search, up 70% since the start of the pandemic (Consumer Understanding), to find solutions to their needs. Brands able to optimize their organic and paid search efforts will benefit. As your brand has made changes to your purchase model and offerings to accommodate the COVID-19 crisis, make sure you reflect this in your front- and back-end web copy. Give your new offerings a competitive chance by supplementing them with Google AdWords campaigns. Leverage pain points and FAQs your front-end teams are hearing from customers to drive the new solutions they are seeking.
- Digital Customer Service. Video calls and virtual meetings have become the new norm while instant messaging and chatbots have seen a 50% increase in usage (Forbes). Online search activity is up, and customers are looking for personalized service beyond your static website message. During this stage of engagement, it is critical that brands find ways to address prospect needs and new avenues to make a connection. Brands that cannot accommodate customer inquiries and troubleshooting are at risk for losing an active lead or existing customers to competitors that are excelling in these areas. While we may have more time on our hands, we do not want to spend it on hold or searching for key information when we are finally ready to make a purchase decision.
- Website. Now more than ever, this is the channel to focus your attention on. More than likely, your site is receiving more visitors than the in-person sales visits your team once provided and has become the No. 1 destination channel for customers. With the lack of face-to-face meetings and trade shows, are you confident your site is offering the right experience to prospects? While you can’t replace those face-to-face experiences, what is your site doing to replicate them? Making sure your site is easy to use, accurately reflects your offerings in a way that relates to your customers’ needs and is designed to easily navigate can make or break your customer relationships. Running speed tests, content audits and site activity reports helps you determine where enhancements need to be made.
- Social. As digital channels become a more critical component in the customer buyer journey, use your brand’s social network and presence to connect with customers. The message cadence social offers creates opportunities for brands to stay connected with customers and reach new prospects through thought leadership content and customized business solutions. Find ways to stay in touch with your customers and promote what your business is doing through steady post updates. Continue to use social as a promotional channel to drive traffic back to your website and other destination content, while also using it to keep a pulse on customer sentiment to help drive your content strategy.
Auditing your digital channels will not only benefit your business now, it will help set the stage for future prospecting and lead generation. Ready to get your digital house in order? Learn about the customer buyer’s journey at https://bit.ly/3aFEb2R.