Is your digital house in order?

With several months and counting into the COVID crisis, we’ve learned to adapt to many changes. Social isolation, virtual learning, working from home, and new technology and applications have challenged us to live and work differently during these times. But perhaps one of the greatest adjustments we’ve had to make as brands is how to stay connected with customers and provide meaningful experiences to audiences throughout their journey. In-person interactions and meetings were eliminated overnight and replaced with video conferencing and what seems like a never-ending string of emails. Social feeds once filled with pictures and posts of social activities have been taken over by COVID memes and messaging and the select companies that understood the nature of the occasion to create positive messaging. Retail visits and gratuitous shopping have a negative connotation as we try to abide by social distancing practices and a new mindfulness of our spending habits during this challenging economic time.
Traditionally, buyers were hit with up to twenty-two touchpoints (eMarketer) throughout their customer journey, but as we continue to live in the COVID cages we’ve established to keep our families safe, what does the isolation from and abandonment of once frequented channels mean to your business’ customer journey?
While it may seem that the journey has shortened given that most of us are not leaving our homes, the process and steps to make a purchase decision remain intact and are just more prevalent within digital channels. Now more than ever is the time to make sure your digital house is in order. Here are four areas to examine to ensure you are reaching customers in their COVID cage.

Search. The lack of in-person interactions and sales meetings has shifted our research phase into a more isolating process. Customers are turning to digital search, up 70% since the start of the pandemic, (Consumer Understanding) to find solutions to their needs. Brands able to optimize their organic and paid search efforts will benefit. As your brand has made changes to your purchase model and offerings to accommodate the COVID crisis, make sure you reflect this in your front- and back-end web copy. Give your new offerings a competitive chance by supplementing them with Google AdWords campaigns. Leverage pain points and FAQs your front-end teams are hearing from customers to drive the new solutions they are seeking.

Digital Customer Service. Video calls and virtual meetings have become the new norm while instant messaging and chatbots have seen a 50% increase in usage (Forbes). Online search activity is up and customers are looking for personalized service beyond your static website message. During this stage of engagement, it is critical that brands find ways to address prospect needs and new avenues to make a connection. Brands who cannot accommodate customer inquiries and troubleshooting are at risk for losing an active lead or existing customers to competitors that are excelling in these areas. While we may have more time on our hands, we do not want to spend it on hold or searching for key information when we are finally ready to make a purchase decision.  

Website. We’ve shared our take on the importance of what your website says about you. Now more than ever, this is the channel to focus your attention on. More than likely, your site is receiving more visitors than the in-person sales visits your team once provided and has become the No. 1 destination channel for customers. With the lack of face-to-face meetings and trade shows, are you confident your site is offering the right experience to prospects? While you can’t replace those face-to-face experiences, what is your site doing to replicate them? Making sure your site is easy to use, accurately reflects your offerings in a way that relates to your customers’ needs and is designed to easily navigate can make or break your customer relationships. Running speed tests, content audits and site activity reports help you determine where enhancements need to be made.

Social. While certain channels have become overtaken with COVID memes, there’s a bit of a void brands can fill as it relates to connecting with customers. While health and safety updates remain critical, we’re experiencing gaps in ongoing education and industry happenings as we learn to live under this new “normal.” The message cadence social offers creates opportunities for brands to stay connected with customers and reach new prospects through thought leadership content and customized business solutions. Find ways to stay in touch with your customers and promote what your business is doing through steady post updates. Continue to use social as a promotional channel to drive traffic back to your website and other destination content, while also using it to keep a pulse on customer sentiment to help drive your content strategy.

Making sure your digital house is in order will not only benefit your business now, it will help set the stage for future prospecting and lead generation. Reallocate funding from paused channels and use this time to rebuild your digital strategy. You are not alone in your COVID cage, akhia is here to help usher your brand through this new journey. Connect with our digital team to get started.