As I’ve said repeatedly in this blog, I believe that a successful digital marketing strategy requires integrating your online marketing with your offline marketing. However, there are of course a few digital elements that must be implemented correctly to ensure success.
When I speak of “Digital Best Practice” in this section, I don’t just mean in an ideal world. I mean that these elements are essential – to be legally compliant, to reassure your customers that their privacy is important to you and to get the maximum value out of your digital channels.
Some of the elements your business needs to commit to for digital best practice cross over with the digital marketing framework I always recommend – put the customer first, focus on content and user experience and track, test and measure everything.
I’ve already written at great length about the need to put the customer at the centre of your digital marketing strategy. If you remember, this fundamental step will ensure that all of your content and messages are planned around what the customers reacts best to.
Because you’re talking to your customers about the things they care about most, when you ask them for their support, they will comply. So your online customer experience must make it easy for them to complete their task.
In the past, one of the biggest barriers to customers transacting online, was a perceived risk to their privacy. It is essential that your business acknowledges these concerns and reassures the customer that their personal and financial details are as secure as possible. This commitment must be taken seriously and I will tell you what is required (in Australia) to protect your customer’s personal details online.
Personally I believe that if you have a mobile phone, a bank debit or credit card and live in a city, you really have no privacy at all. With GPS locators in our phones, CCTV cameras dotted around every inch of our cities and every financial transaction marked and time stamped, your privacy online is the least of our concerns. But that’s my point of view. Your customers may think and feel differently, so we must ensure that their concerns are kept paramount in our minds.
Simple things like an https secure page (indicated by the ‘s’ in the https website URL) and a padlock icon at the bottom of your checkout pages, signal to the customer that the payment gateway is secure. This assists you in building trust with your customers, online.
In my career I have heard many marketers say that “you can’t build trust online“. But I disagree. Trust is not a channel specific concept. Trust isn’t built through a television commercial. Trust is about your brand, and every interaction your customer has with your brand, including online touch points, contributes to whether they feel they believe what you are telling them.
In the context of digital marketing, you can build trust through content – showing the customer a real-life story and how your business has helped. You can build trust with your customers by doing what you say you’re going to do. You build trust through securing their personal and financial details and you build trust by owning up the mistakes when they happen.
You’ve already read much about how important it is to track and measure your digital marketing programs. This is so that you can measure the return on investment and learn what your customer’s best respond to. But your online tracking also provides the key component to your testing schedule. Optimisation is a key requirement to a successful digital marketing strategy and you can’t know what to optimise unless you’re actively testing each of your digital channels.
But surely one of the coolest things about digital marketing is the ability to automate the process. This marketing automation is great for both the customer as well as the business. For the customer it means that they get instant feedback on the action they have just taken. This instant response ensures that they know their order or request has been received and if done properly, it should point them in the direction that we want them to go next – another purchase.
For the business, the automation of digital transactions means that the money hits your account faster. It means that the receipt and invoicing is done automatically and the next action for staff (usually shipment) can be prepared. It means that the next stage of the customer journey has been triggered and now all you have to worry about is the service.
When you invoke digital best practice into your business as usual practices, not only does the customer get a far superior experience, but the cause wins as well. Ensuring the security of your online channels, automating your systems and processes and constantly tracking and testing your communications will see your revenues from digital channels continue to rise. Implementing digital best practice isn’t just about playing lip service to regulations, it’s about putting the customer first.