From curb-side service and no-contact delivery to offering a clean, safe environment for customers to shop, there’s no denying the pandemic has led to a consumer market hyper-focused on enhancing the customer journey. For this reason, it’s now critical that businesses consider every step of their customer’s journey to making a purchase.
Often, the very first step of any customer’s journey begins with some form of marketing; direct mail, online ads, tv, radio, social media. This is precisely why Coca-Cola recently announced they had doubled their marketing budget in 2021. And in true Coca-Cola fashion, their marketing campaigns focused on creating a positive, upbeat image. This smart marketing is not only reinforcing a positive brand promise, it’s creating a perfect first step in their customer’s journey to purchasing their products.
When global supply-chain issues and inventory deficits are at an all-time high, it seems intuitive to cut back on spending. Historically, marketing and advertising are the first to hit the proverbial chopping block, however, according to Mara Einstein, professor of media studies at Queens College, cutting the marketing budget is the wrong choice.
She goes on to explain that, "What you want to do is make sure you are the one that is there and in front of people so that they do remember you even while things are going not so well in the economy generally."
Since you most likely don't have a billion dollars to throw at a massive marketing campaign, the following tips will help you offer a great customer journey from beginning to end, without decimating your bottom line.
Online retail sales increased 32.4% year over year in 2020. By the end of the first quarter of 2021, online sales had risen another 39%. For this reason, leveraging every form of tech will be your smartest and least expensive marketing method.
- Start with your digital footprint. Is your website easy to navigate? Do you provide enough information to help consumers make an informed decision? Are your contact and location details up to date? PowerChord’s Analytics Dashboard is an excellent resource for understanding how well your website is performing and if the information provided is keeping your customers engaged.
- Look to social media for opportunities to target your market with relevant paid advertisements. Are you active on your store’s social media channels? Something as simple as posting an informative blurb on social media 3-5 times a week will increase traffic, and your ability to interact with your customers.
- Spotify, Pandora, and podcasts can be great avenues for reaching your local target market. Seek out a few podcasts to potentially collaborate with. Even better, do you know someone with a podcast? Start a conversation about recording a cross-promotional show, or sponsor a show in return for an on-air mention.
Consider the Customer’s Journey
Your customer's journey is the make or break point for your businesses. If you can't provide a great experience, then your business will suffer. Tremendously.
To create the best journey for your customers, analyze each step and look for areas to improve.
- The first step in your customer’s journey is likely your local and online marketing efforts. Are you reaching your customers with relevant information and incentives?
- The next step is the in-store experience you provide. Is your store a clean, safe environment for your shoppers?
- Do you ensure customer satisfaction along the journey? Is your staff knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful?
Remember, one bad experience can lead to not only a lost sale but a one-star online review that can sway buyers for years.
How many of your customers are repeat customers? This number will be a telltale sign of your current customer journey. If customers are not coming back through the doors, ask yourself, why?
- Is it due to an unfavorable experience or a forgettable one?
- Are you incentivizing customers to come back with memberships, discounts, or free product service check-ups?
- What can you do today to keep your customers coming back tomorrow?
- Even something as simple as weekly or monthly emails with updates on new inventory and specials can go a long way, and with minimal effort on your part.
As the world emerges from the many setbacks caused by the pandemic, your smart marketing efforts will play a significant role in what sets you apart from the competition - stay top of mind, stay in the conversation.