The introduction of restrictive measures in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for digital communication with consumers. Thousands of customer-centric companies have faced challenges in their online business transformation. The main problem was the lack of an effective strategy aimed at obtaining data on the behavior, needs and desires of consumers. After all, a lack of understanding of your target audience inevitably entails a deterioration in the quality of service and, accordingly, a decrease in sales. How to keep the audience’s interest by completely moving to the online space?
How to form a digital connection with target audience: 3 easy steps
Evaluate the situation
According to statistics, 9 out of 10 companies compete mainly for the quality of service. Success is achieved by those who strive to establish two-way relations when the personality of the client and his opinion are important. If you are aiming to create a customer-centric strategy, first of all, define:
- Key goals from which you will build in the future. For example, if you are planning to promote new products in social networks, find out what data will be needed to develop an advertising campaign and its display parameters for target audiences on specific sites. For example, it could be positive consumer reviews of your product.
- Types of information. Think about the statistics you are analyzing. For example, using the “right” statistics, Unilever analysts were able to find a pattern between the behavior of consumers, who, as it turned out, tend to choose distinctive brands, and the growth rates of local markets.
- Methods of obtaining information and “addressees”. Decide where you will look for information (for more information about sources, see item 3) and who to provide. Unilever demonstrates the involvement of nearly 170,000 employees in the process of increasing sales of consumer products, and all of them – the department of supply, marketing, finance, R&D and others – are interested in obtaining quality information about the personality and behavior of the customer.
So, use Unilever’s Consumer and Market Insights strategy as an inspiration. CMI, working closely with the IT department, is implementing an information system accessible to all the firm’s marketers, integrating and presenting consistent data.
Create a customer journey map
Forrester defines the term as customer-to-company interaction, where the former has a specific purpose. As an example, here’s the path that a netizen takes with an interest in buying shoes:
- Search for an online store where shoes are sold;
- Viewing the assortment for the availability of goods with the desired characteristics;
- End of a session to search for reviews on a found product;
- After a couple of days: familiarization with contextual advertising, “promising” a discount on the viewed product, and return to the site;
- Adding previously selected shoes to the shopping cart;
- Checkout, payment;
- Receive notification of delivery to the post office;
- Visiting a pick-up point;
- Unpacking and fitting shoes;
- After 2 weeks: receiving an email from the seller offering a discount on the next purchase;
- Return to the online store to select new shoes.
If the client’s goal is to purchase a product profitably, then the seller is to attract and retain his attention by finding various points of contact. In this example, the purchase is motivated by an advertisement and email newsletter created on the basis of data about the previous actions of the buyer.
Writing a customer jorney, according to Hubspot, makes it possible to understand the motives, needs and pains of the consumer. Each department of your company will be able to use the map to solve current problems. Boagworks calls it a great tool for marketers to analyze the sales funnel, executives to manage and control service quality, UX designers to identify gaps in functionality.
Thus, consumer information serves as the basis for improving the path to purchase. In particular, the development of effective selling advertising, setting up a personalized mailing list, improving the functionality of the site – everything that helps turn potential buyers into real ones.
Select sources and start collecting data
To get a complete picture of the personality of the client and build a mutually beneficial relationship with him, it is necessary to involve all possible sources. Here are the most significant data:
- Offline and online sales. The inclusion of information about closed deals in the client data platform (CDP) will help to trace the path of the buyer, better understand his motives and problems, and form an individual approach.
- Results of polls. Track your customer loyalty index (NPS) to gauge their willingness to make repeat purchases. Conduct surveys for the target audience, for example, through Google Surveys, inquiring about satisfaction with your goods / services.
- Support data. Use the details of the last contact with the support department to compose an email with a description of how to solve the problems that have arisen and prevent new ones. This will build trust in your company and increase the likelihood of repeat orders.
- Advertising platforms. Find out who is watching what ads by connecting your Google Ads and AdRoll accounts to CDP. This will improve the effectiveness of your ad content.
- Web analytics. Get actionable insights into traffic, conversions, clicks, bounces, time on page using Google Analytics or Adobe tools. An analysis of the actions of users in your online store will allow you to understand how interested they are in your assortment.
- Loyalty programs. Collect information about what exactly motivates loyal members to come back to you: discounts, promotions, benefits, access to releases, and move in this direction.
- Mobile app. Study the history of mobile site views and purchases through the store’s app. Japanese brand Muji has managed to develop personalized coupons and set up targeted push notifications, increasing coupon redemption by 100%.
In his TED talk, Tricia Wang explains why so many companies make bad decisions even with free access to quality information sources. The main reason is the inability to interpret the data.
It is not enough to get information about the personality of a typical representative of your target audience – you have to put yourself in his place and understand what motivates him on the path to purchase and how preferences change depending on external conditions. This will demonstrate to the client that you are ready to adapt to their needs and capabilities, even in such an unpredictable period as a global pandemic.