If 1,000 people visited your shop or called your business but you didn’t sell a thing, you’d be alarmed. You would take time to understand what was preventing those people from engaging or buying from your business. And then, put actions into place to generate more sales or leads.
Your digital marketing and more specifically, your website, should demand the same level of critique and respect. As your business evolves, so should the strategic value of your digital marketing. Particularly in this age of digital disruption, businesses cannot afford for their most visible and accessible resource to be out of sync with the business’ direction.
Believe it or not, you don’t have to be Amazon, Google, or Apple to be able to evolve your digital presence. Once you understand your current digital situation, you are then able to develop a roadmap to better align your online activities with your business objectives.
What I want to show you today, are the various phases of customer experience maturity*, and how to evolve into a higher level of digital excellence.
First of all, which of the following best describes your approach to digital marketing:
1. Focus is on attracting more visitors
2. Focus is on engaging visitors and converting to digital goals
3. Focus is on creating customer advocates and multi-channel experiences
Depending on how you answered, will determine where you focus your digital energy. Within these three stages are seven phases which provide a much more granular description of your potential customer experience maturity level.
This stage has 3 distinct phases which revolve around attracting visitors to view digital content.
Phase 1: Initiate
Businesses that reside within this phase typically have a static website, with no or very basic analytics and some ability to send email blasts.
Essentially, an online brochure, this presence is focused on simply giving information about company and its services or products.
Generally, these businesses will focus on SEO and email activities. However, there are two big problems I see:
1. It is difficult to be competitive in search if your competitors are more advanced in their digital presence.
2. Email addresses are rarely, if ever captured in a structured, documented way. Making it a slow, painful process to organise an email blast. And when they do, the email is focused on what the business wants, not what the customer needs.
KPIs for this phase usually centre around traffic and page views.
Phase 2: Radiate
This second phase is where businesses ensure their online presence is mobile friendly, alongside moving beyond email to integrate social and / or PPC into their marketing mix. Essentially amplifying their online presence.
The website may now also have a blog that delivers some customer centric content to aid visitors along the buying cycle.
The problems I see at this stage are that it is difficult for businesses to understand what their visitors are looking for or need. Therefore, content creation can be tricky and sometimes misguided by page views of current content.
Another issue is that for a time, businesses become distracted by vanity metrics such as ‘likes’ or ‘follows’. Whilst these are useful indicators, it is not the sole purpose of your online activities.
KPIs for this phase include channel analytics – email open and click through rates, followers, fans and likes etc. A basic understanding of visitor behaviour on the business’ website is also present.
Phase 3: Align
By this stage, most businesses have defined what value can be generated by a visitor, whether that be an online purchase or enquiry form submission. The leap here is that businesses begin to align their digital goals with strategic objectives. It’s because of this, businesses are not only focused on the quantity but the quality of the traffic and the value each visit should create.
Another interesting development here is that once you know what ‘good quality’ traffic looks like, you can begin to understand how effective each channel is at generating business value.
An area businesses struggle with at this stage, is identifying a suitable method for tracking online and offline marketing in order to accurately assess the quality of traffic they generate. The other difficulty is then calculating the goals each channel has generated. That said, both are easily resolved.
KPIs for this phase focus on value of the visit, by channel. An understanding of user experience becomes important as businesses strive to increase the probability of goals being reached.
Once businesses progress past the attract stage, they move into activities focused on converting that traffic into customers. This stage is made of a further two phases.
Phase 4: Optimise
Businesses become increasingly focused on engaging visitors and converting traffic into customers or new leads. Optimisation of content and improved user experience are high on the agenda at this phase.
In order to do this, you will need to be able to run tests to determine which options are most effective. Businesses will also begin profiling their ideal customers to better understand how to serve them and their needs. Some basic personalisation of content is introduced at this phase.
Suddenly the flexibility of the CMS becomes important. Particularly if you are planning to run A/B tests or personalise content.
KPIs are now aligned with strategic objectives. If you refer back to my blog on marketing metrics, it is at this stage the Board level metrics begin to be monitored.
Phase 5: Nurture
Through understanding the different stages of the customer journey and the decision-making process, goals are defined and content is created to help guide customers through these stages as quickly as possible.
Businesses at this phase are truly customer centric, collecting and evaluating both explicit and implicit customer behaviour to aid future development. Automated processes are also introduced, often using trigger based activities, such as entering a visitor into a personalised email campaign when they complete a specific goal.
As businesses do not currently have one single view of the customer, the challenge here is that there’s sometimes an overlap between automated and human engagement with the customer. For example, a salesperson may not be aware that the customer has recently been sent an automated email detailing the technical specifications for a product and therefore can duplicate the message.
KPIs for this phase focus on engagement at different journey stages.
This stage is predominantly occupied by the industry or brand leaders who place emphasis on brand loyalty and advocacy. Again, this stage has two further phases.
Phase 6: Engage
As businesses endeavour to provide a holistic experience to customers, they connect different online and offline data repositories to provide a single view.
This includes integrating websites with CRM and other data centres such as accounting and ordering programs.
KPIs are tied to the customer lifecycle funnel.
Phase 7: Lifetime customers
Now that systems are integrated, data drives most of the marketing functions. Because your business is now rich in customer intelligence a significant competitive advantage can be achieved. From new product development to messaging and placement of marketing, customer insights guide everything.
KPIs include customer lifetime value, loyalty and retention rates.
How do you develop a digital roadmap?
The first thing to do is honestly assess which phase your business is currently at. Once you identify where you are, it is then possible to begin developing a plan to evolve.
Each business is different and therefore there’s often a blend of actions that are classed as ‘quick wins’ and others that can take more investment in time and money. Through a digital review, a specialist such as myself can help you create a roadmap that ensures your business evolves in a structured but also manageable way.
Once you know how to evolve and begin to progress through the phases of maturity, your online presence quickly becomes a competitive advantage.
To begin your digital evolution, please get in touch.