We often talk about the inbound customer experience and our passion for helping others make them amazing. Here are five steps you can take that will have a substantial impact on the quality of interaction someone has with your brand online.
ALWAYS be honest, open, and transparent.
Not only is it true that nobody’s perfect, it’s also true that everybody knows that. So why would any prospect expect perfection? The fact is, they don't. The key is to be open, honest and transparent with them. If you’ve made a mistake, admit it. But most importantly, move mountains to make sure you have openly and boldly taken steps to resolve it.
Have branding in place that is effective, powerful, and authentic.
If you’re a small- to medium-sized business, you likely don’t have a brand that the entire world knows about (yet). But your branding should accurately reflect who you are, and do so effectively and consistently. If you have a weak visual identity, that’s exactly what your customers will know about your company. If you need help with your branding, GET IT!
Ensure that your messaging is clear, concise, and aligned with customer interests.
If your messaging is filled with jargon and internal language, in all likelihood you've missed the mark. If it relies heavily on "marketing speak", i.e. words like "quality", "excellence", "integrity", etc., and flowery descriptions of your product or service offering, you're talking to yourself and no one else will listen (it's all been said a billion times). Your communication needs to be direct, to the point, and centered on the interests of your customers, not on you. That doesn't mean it can't be creative and engaging, but it does mean the focus should be on providing useful information rather than simple self-promotion.
Design your website content to address the specific needs of your buyer personas.
The most common mistake website owners make is they talk about their business—the things that THEY care about; the things that THEY sell—rather than addressing the specific issues their prospects care about and want to know. Every time someone clicks on a link on your website, it constitutes someone looking for the answer to a question. Why do website owners continue to design content that doesn’t make answering those questions the single most important thing? When they do focus on answering those questions, bounce rates plummet, and conversion rates soar. If you lack the bandwidth and writing skills to produce excellent content, consider outsourcing content creation, thus allowing you to make the critically important plunge into content marketing.
Develop customer online apps that set you apart from your competition.
It is critical to realize that consumers today are looking for dynamic online experiences that make doing business easier and smarter. An online app can give consumers confidence that their decision to buy your product or service is a good one. What's more, it can make it faster, easier, and less intimidating than having to deal with a salesperson, especially in the early stages of the buying cycle. If you haven't looked into building your own online apps, you're certainly not alone. However, if your competition is doing so, you stand the risk of being very lonely as they increasingly take market share from you. Most small- to medium-sized businesses have no idea how to develop these kinds of apps, because that's simply not their field of expertise, but don't let that stop you. Take the initiative and find someone who can assist you. It's more critical than ever, as the stakes have never been higher.
Creating amazing inbound customer experiences is perhaps the biggest and most important opportunity before marketers today. By committing time and resources to the effort, you can ensure that the quality of interaction someone has with your brand translates to increased lead generation, reduced cost of customer acquisition, improved customer retention, and a bottom line that will make you smile all the way to the bank!