BY THE NUMBERS YouTube is one of the largest search engines, second only to its…
Without a fully-connected digital experience, it is impossible to deliver the perfect customer experience.
That may seem like a bold statement, but it’s one we believe as:
- 73% of Millennials believe that online consumer experiences are now more important than in-person experiences
- Over 70% of Millennials are involved in product or service purchase decision-making at their companies
- Over 65% of Americans prefer to have more of their brand experiences online1
That’s not a small amount of people looking to take their brand engagement (and likely purchasing) primarily online. But to be able to capitalize on this shift in engagement you have to understand the fundamentals of both customer experience and digital marketing.
Digital Customer Experience
Digital customer experience – or “DCX” to the hip industry folks – is the sum total impression a customer has of your brand throughout the buying process: from awareness through advocacy. There are groups that simply include DCX as a component of the larger customer experience (CX). However, we feel that DCX is so robust and important that it needs to be approached individually while still creating crossover points with the overall customer experience.
To deliver an excellent DCX a brand should be:
- Convenient: A customer should be able to engage with your brand in whatever format they prefer, and regardless of how they choose to engage with your brand, the messaging and experience should be seamless.
- Frictionless: A simple, intuitive, convenient process should be at the center of all customer engagements – from support through purchase and beyond.
- Personal: A customer should feel like their experience is unique to them – meeting their specific needs.
Digital marketing refers to all marketing that utilizes an electronic device or the internet: social, search, advertising, websites… all of it. And in this highly connected world it is the most important aspect of your marketing arsenal.
Digital marketing allows you to:
- Connect with potential and current customers where they are physically and emotionally
- Nurture customers through the buying process – converting a lead to a sale
- Engage with customers during and long after purchase
Connecting the Dots
So we’ve outlined the basic success criteria for good CX and the core aspects of digital marketing, but to really tie it all together you have to understand how we look at digital.
At Oodle we take a holistic view, looking at your digital marketing as a fully-connected digital experience – with all facets of your marketing, from your advertising to your website, working in lockstep to meet your business goals and drive and enhance the customer experience.
So how is fully-connected digital marketing the backbone of customer experience? Let’s look at a hypothetical business scenario.
Sirona Health: Delivering on Customer Experience
Sirona Health is a young company in the healthcare industry. Initially a start-up, the organization has grown significantly as word of their service offerings has spread. The company’s original web presence was more of a “check the box” implementation to serve as validation to potential clients (and investors) that they were a legitimate business.
Sirona came to Oodle with a pretty typical request: We need a new website. They knew the original site was never going to be a long term solution, and it was time to increase its effectiveness. Beyond that they didn’t have much.
So we did what we do. We asked questions.
As we dug deeper into Sirona’s business we began to identify a larger issue. The problem wasn’t (just) their website. It was their entire digital presence:
- Their social media was disjointed and sporadic
- Search was only working for them thanks to some PR efforts, and
- Advertising was basically non-existent
Sirona Health needed a solution that created a consistent customer experience across their entire digital footprint – meeting their business goals and supporting the needs of their customers. But as is the case with a lot of businesses, they weren’t ready to go all in and we had to start with their most pressing need: their website.
Laying the Foundation
We started from the bottom and worked with Sirona to develop user personas and map out their individual buyer journeys. By starting here, we were able to identify the types of interactions their users both wanted and expected; which led us to our overall digital strategy. Additionally the personas provided us with a perfect litmus – is what we are creating supporting one or more of these personas at multiple points throughout their journey?
Next we focused on their website: the central hub of their online presence. The goals of the website were relatively straightforward:
- Increase traffic and leads
- Improve and enhance self-service capabilities
- Be easy to update and manage
But getting there was a little less straightforward.
- Driving traffic and leads would largely be handled through paid media efforts; however, the site still needed to be able to work on its own. To that end we focused on an organic SEO strategy that leaned heavily on content development.
- Enhancing self-service required us to review the customer personas and buyer journeys in order to make sure our decisions were in alignment with what we learned about previously – what customers may be looking for, and how best to present them with that information. With that understanding we were able to structure the site in a way that was both intuitive and easy to navigate – ultimately minimizing customer support calls.
- Usability isn’t just for the customer. Sirona’s internal marketing team had some bad experiences with websites in the past and didn’t want to feel like their hands were tied. We built their site in a CMS that gave them control of the page layouts – letting content inform the flow rather than a layout dictating structure. Additionally, by building their site in an easy-to-use CMS, website update requests to IT that used to take days (or weeks) to get implemented were a thing of the past. Marketing could make their own updates whenever they needed to.
Expanding the Experience
With the website completed and live, Sirona Health was able to see in a fairly short time frame the impact that the updated website was already having on their business. They knew they needed to do more, and we had the plan.
To expand the overall impact of the new site we needed to work with Sirona on the second most important aspect of digital customer engagement: content.
Sirona’s social media presence was lackluster, posting was infrequent, and the same content was being posted across all channels. Additionally the quality of content on their website was not on par with a service of their price point and did nothing to support organic reach. So a few things had to happen. We needed to:
- Build and expand their audience on social channels
- Provide relevant content to both prospective and current customers that also ranked highly with Google
- Create a unified experience between their social media and updated website
To support these initiatives we went back to our beginning: the user personas and buyer journeys. By working from our personas we were able to identify the types of information and forms of content needed to support Sirona’s various customers.
From here we were able to do a few things:
- Develop an editorial calendar that not only accounted for social media content, but also website content marketing pieces
- Create more credible, engaging, SEO-friendly content needed to support online engagement through both organic and paid efforts
- Increase the follower base by providing more relevant, frequent content
- Enhance the brand experience by seamlessly moving users from social media channels to the website
- Improved self service by implementing a chatbot through Facebook Messenger
Weaving it all Together
With the website, social media, and overall content in a good place, it was time to connect it all together. Sirona still needed to reach a new audience AND continue to engage with their current base.
This is where paid advertising came into play. Using insights from our personas and buyer journeys we were able to create multiple campaigns that reached our target audience with creative messaging that resonated with them. Tactically speaking:
- Utilizing paid search we were able to connect with an audience actively looking for services Sirona offered.
- Display advertising and paid social allowed us to introduce the brand to new audiences through prospecting, and enabled us to re-engage with site visitors through retargeting ads.
- Native advertising allowed us to utilize the content pieces to reach and engage with a new audience in an early stage of the buyer journey – establishing Sirona Health as a knowledgeable expert.
- Thanks to the new CMS we were able to spin up campaign specific landing pages with targeted messaging that help increase lead generation
- Finally, keeping track of performance is a breeze thanks to our one-stop-shop dashboard that visualizes and summarizes all of our digital in one place.
The Whole Package
What we provided to Sirona Health was an end-to-end solution that helped them grow their business by not only engaging with new customers, but also by becoming a dependable, trusted partner to their existing customers.
This full approach allowed us to improve and enhance the overall CX long after purchase and helped increase the overall lifetime customer value.
Does This Scenario Sound Familiar?
While the story of Sirona Health is made up, it’s nevertheless one we run into time and time again. Maybe you are like Sirona and at the beginning of building our online customer experience, or perhaps you’re further down the path. Regardless, building a fully-connected digital customer experience is a marathon – requiring thoughtful strategic planning and long-term vision. But it can pay off:
- Companies leading in customer experience are 3 times more likely to have significantly exceeded their 2019 business goals
- Improvements in customer experience can lead to a 20% to 40% increase in win rates of offers3
And the longer you wait to build your DCX the more it can cost you in the long run – as even a one second delay in load time of your website can lead to a 7% loss of conversions.
So let us help you improve your customer experience and your brand impression in the one place everyone starts: digital.