In a day and age where everything becomes more and more digital, and people become even more dependent on devices, social networks, and brands who can deliver information to them via multiple channels, it's essential that every brand makes that transformation if they haven't already. Especially in areas such as c-suite, advertising, marketing, sales, and customer service.
In this post, we're going to look at the basic elements brands need to focus on if they want to become a top competitor in the digital age. In particular, how brands can go from traditional to digital without losing their minds.
It all starts with goals
The first thing every brand needs before embarking upon the digital space is set goals. These goals may be company-wide or set at a department level. For example, take the groups mentioned earlier – c-suite, advertising, marketing, sales, and customer service. Each of these groups may have their own goals, such as the following:
- The c-suite level executives may want to start creating content for their LinkedIn profiles or Medium blogs in order to become thought leaders for their industry with the goal of attracting potential book publication or speaking opportunities.
- The advertisers at a company may want to create re-marketing advertisements from specific pieces of content with the goal of placing customers directly into the company's sales funnel.
- The marketers at a company may want to build audiences upon the top social networks for a company with the goal of gaining visibility for the brand.
- The sales team at a company may want to utilise specific networks like LinkedIn for prospecting with the goal of finding ideal customers to reach out to.
- The customer service department may want to utilise a specific Twitter account to direct customer service inquiries to with the goal of answering more customer service issues in less time.
Or, the CEO of your brand may simply say our digital marketing should generate an ROI of a specific percentage or increase revenue by a specific percentage. There are many different types of goals that digital can accomplish. Your job is to identify what goals you want digital to achieve for your brand and make sure that every strategy you implement on social media works towards those goals.
Get to know your customer inside and out
One of the beautiful parts of the digital age is the amount of information you can get about your customers before they even become customers. That is another reason why it is so crucial to move your brand into digital.
Take the relationship between your marketing and sales team, for example. Has your sales team ever had a problem with your marketing team sending over leads that don't pan out? That kind of issue can be a thing of the past with the right digital marketing technology. It all starts by building a customer persona using the information your sales team has gathered about your brand's ideal customer.
Once your marketing team knows who they need to attract, they can build content that attracts an audience that matches that specific customer persona and engages them with your brand. From there, they can convert that audience into lead signups that go straight to your sales team.
So instead of your sales team getting dud leads, they'll get leads that they know are ready to be converted into sales. Or, at this stage, if they are still getting the wrong prospects, they can go back to marketing and refine the customer persona, refine the content, or add more qualification fields to the lead submission form. All of which will help sales get better quality leads.
Create consistency online and offline
Just because your brand goes digital doesn't mean that your brand will stop focusing on its offline presence. In fact, the best way to ensure the best customer experience from start to finish is to create a consistent online and offline presence for your brand.
To do this, make sure that all of your marketing campaigns are aligned across the board. For example, if your ideal customer's first touchpoint with your brand is your Facebook page, and they see a cover photo advertising your latest product, they're going to get excited about it. If they walk into your store the next day and see that product banner in your store window or that product featured right at the front of the store, that is going to increase the likelihood of conversion through consistent messaging.
The same can go for email marketing to direct mailing. If your customer is on your email list and your direct mail list, hit them with the same promotion on both. They might miss one, but they won't miss the other. And if they see both, then it will really get your latest promotion stuck in their head to the point that they may not be able to resist checking out your sale.
Measure what works and focus your budget appropriately
There are lots of channels out there when it comes to digital. You have paid media: banner advertisements, sponsored emails, search ads, and social ads. You have owned media: your website, your blog, your email list, and your mobile app. You have social platforms and outposts: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, forums, and dozens of others. And you have earned media: content created about you by others in the form of reviews, blog posts, and content shared on social media channels.
The questions are, what works best and where do you focus your efforts, or more importantly, your budget? The answer differs from brand to brand. You can read the latest research to get a general idea of what is working for the average marketer based on survey data. Or you can analyse your own data and get an answer that is customised to your brand and the strategies you do best.
Every brand, large and small, can take something as free and simple as Google Analytics to tell them what channels are working by simply setting up goals to see which visitors from what channels are converting to leads or sales. It gets a little tricky with mobile and offline conversions, as not all of those can be tracked by online analytics, and you also have to add in the variable number of people who block tracking tools altogether.
But overall, it should give you an overall insight into the things that work versus the things that don't. In addition to web analytics, listen to what people tell you. Each time your sales team logs a new customer into your CRM, have them add a note as to how a customer found you. You never know – it could be something as simple as someone showing them your latest story on Snapchat, depending on the demographic of your ideal customer.
One of the most important things to realise is that the digital world is always changing. Search engines change, social networks change, email marketing rules change, review networks change, etc. Old networks disappear, and new networks take their place. You can't learn it once and expect to be forever an expert at it.
Your brand will have to always keep learning in order to stay on top of the latest trends and latest tactics to ensure that your digital transformation continues to be successful. That is the true key to digital transformation. Your brand has to keep transforming to succeed, whether you've been in digital for one year or ten years. The learning curve never gets easier. Your brand will just adapt to it faster.
Kristi Hines - Content Marketing Strategy and Planning