It’s not always easy to boil a big, complex topic like marketing down to its most basic, important elements, but sometimes the truth is simple. No matter what you’re doing, what your strategy says, or who you’re trying to reach, it’s crucial to remember that marketing success depends on achieving your goals without doing damage to your brand.
The best way to do that? Make it about the customer experience. Always. There’s simply no better way to showcase your business, and keep your consumers coming back.
Make it about them
No matter how much marketing you do or how great your products/services, the way to the consumer’s heart is ultimately through their interaction with your brand. Put simply, if something does harm to their experience, then it’s got to go. If there’s a way to improve that experience, add it (or keep it). Here are a few tips for always keeping the focus on what matters most to your audience:
1. Mobile: Please make all your online properties mobile-friendly. You can go with responsive design, mobile-first, or whatever works for your business. The important thing is that when your audience reaches your website through a mobile device, you want to provide a convenient, seamless mobile site that allows them to accomplish all their goals without switching to a desktop. Not only is the future mobile, everything already is mobile whether you’re willing to accept it or not.
2. Social: Always remember that social is about so much more than just advertising, and a quality customer experience requires more than a token social presence. The real value in social comes from engagement and building relationships. Empower the employees who handle your social presence to be helpful, engaging problem solvers. Use your social content as a way to start conversations, and always look for opportunities to deepen relationships with social connections. Everything you do, whether you share it via social or not (or approve), is being socialized by your customers and your employees.
3. Website design: Don’t design a website that’s difficult to use. It’s a simple thing, but so many brands miss the mark entirely. Make it easy to search for products, sort through categories, and connect with a real person if needed. Make sure that you provide all the data that your customers – and search engines – need to find your website. Don’t put roadblocks in the way of people who want to make a purchase or learn more about your business. Simplicity IS the new EDLP… Make it simple and they will do it again, and again, and again.
4. Visual and video content: Attractive images and video content can be a great source of engagement, and brand awareness, especially on your social channels. Learn how to shoot and edit photo and video content, which anyone can do with the right tools. Find out what your audience wants to see, practise, and be sure to share the results widely. If your content starts a conversation, by all means participate. Conversation is the best content. Check out Photofy: easy to create branded content in under 30 seconds.
5. Business blogging: Create content for your website and blog that is more than just an advertisement. By sharing your expertise and answering the most common questions of your audience, and creating content to be easily found via search, you can accomplish more than you ever would by plainly pitching a product. Always think before you post and focus on the topics that matter most to your audience.
6. Building relationships: When you put it all together, a quality customer experience is a key element of building healthy, long-term relationships with your customers. Help that process along by looking for common ground with customers through finding excuses to stay in touch, and, of course, providing great service when the time is right. Remember, when in doubt, relationships are like muscle tissue; the more they’re engaged, the stronger and more valuable they become. The ability to build relationships and flex that emotional connection muscle is what makes social so valuable.
There are a few common threads when it comes to creating a great customer experience, like the importance of prioritizing relationships, creating content, and using that content as a springboard for engagement. It’s also important to remember that making things easy is a key element of the customer experience, and customers will be more interested in finding out what you have to offer if you make it easy to do so. Creating an excellent customer experience takes work, but it’s easier when you make it your first priority.
Winning in service markets, winning in every market, it’s all about customer experience. #NoLetUp!
This first appeared on Ted Rubin
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