Nowadays, attention is the most prized asset in marketing.
Today’s consumers are always connected to their gadgets, making it increasingly difficult for marketers, creatives, and business owners to catch their attention, let alone hold it.
As new platforms, channels, forms of media, and tools emerge regularly, the market has become more fragmented.
What can you do to make your target audience pay attention long enough to become loyal customers?
Here’s where Customer Experience (CX) comes in.
What is Customer Experience?
The Customer Experience (CX) is the overall impression that your brand makes on your target audience throughout their relationship lifecycle with your business.
The customer experience spans multiple touchpoints throughout the customer journey, from the moment a consumer first encounters your brand to the moment she buys your products and services.
The term “touchpoint” can refer to any interaction between a brand and a consumer, so it isn’t limited to one platform, channel, or medium. When you discover a brand’s blog post by searching for it on Google, that’s a touchpoint. The act of asking a store if they have a specific item in stock counts as another touchpoint. So on and so forth.
This brings us to another point: If you want to turn customers into loyal brand advocates, you must make every touchpoint count. On the road to conversion and brand advocacy, you must delight and nurture your target audience. The prospect will lose interest in what you have to offer after only one bad customer experience.
Why Customer Experience Matters
What is the point of focusing on customer experience?
According to a CEI report, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.
You need to deliver satisfying and memorable customer experiences if you want to earn the trust of your target audience, build a long-lasting relationship with them, and increase your ROI… no matter where they are, whenever they need it, and in whatever context they need it.
Now let’s get down to business. Here are three ways to create a customer experience strategy that will delight your target audience and earn their undying loyalty.
1. Know your audience
Although it’s already a cliché in marketing circles, it bears repeating:
A great customer experience begins with understanding your audience.
How do they want and need to be treated? What are their favorite hangout spots? Which educational background do they have? What are the biggest challenges they face? What is a typical day like for them? And so on.
With the answers to the above questions, you can gain actionable insights that will help you develop marketing content and interactions that delight, engage, and connect with your audience.
CRM software can help you maintain and improve your relationship with customers once you’ve gotten to know them. In addition to helping users streamline their sales process, CRM tools also allow you to store relevant customer data. By learning more about your customers, you can sell more effectively to them, giving them a better experience and keeping them coming back.
Other ways to learn more about your target consumers include:
The creation of buyer personas. Based on data gathered from your customer base, a buyer persona represents your ideal customer. In general, buyer personas include everything from demographics to behavior patterns, hobbies to core values. With the help of a well-detailed persona, you can create content that resonates with your target audience, helping you build trust over time.
Customer surveys. What better way to learn about your audience than to ask them directly? In addition, tools like SurveyMonkey make it easy to conduct surveys these days.
Use AI to your advantage. Based on their browsing behavior, AI-powered predictive software can gather data about your target consumers. Analyzing and predicting customer behavior can help you deliver unique, relevant, and personalized content based on such data.
2. Be consistent in your branding
The road to conversion for your prospects is long and fragmented, as we’ve already mentioned. To get them to their destination, you must earn and build their trust.
Maintaining trust requires brand consistency.
A McKinsey study found that brands that instill trust among their audience deliver consistent customer experiences. Every CX strategy must also be consistent, according to the same study.
Consistency is loved by customers. Your blog post says one thing, but your customer service rep says another, why should they trust you? What makes them trust you to deliver on your brand promise?
In order to deliver memorable and meaningful experiences consistently, you need to view “experience” as a cohesive whole.
According to Boltgroup’s Peyton Green, “brand experience” means:
“The intentional design of moments that physically, visually, and verbally integrate into people’s lives and their lifestyle, expressing the purpose, promise and pillars of the brand, and triggering an emotional response.”
Branding elements should also be consistent. Setting your brand’s mission and values is a good start. You can think of them as the guiding principles of your brand story. By creating visuals, messaging, and collateral that align with that brand story, you’ll be able to create authentic brand experiences that engage, resonate, and inspire.
Protip #1: Want a holistic view of your target audience’s journey to purchase? Creating a customer experience map can help you gather insight that can help you tailor your customer experience in a way that meets their needs and wants.
Protip #2: Keeping brand consistency is difficult due to a siloed working environment, so a Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution can serve as a central source of truth, simplifying and streamlining asset storage, management, and use across multiple workflows.
3. Build a community around your brand
One of the main factors influencing our purchasing decisions is our desire to belong and connect with others. Brand or customer experiences, as well as much of human experience, are communal by nature.
Seth Godin, a popular marketing blogger and best-selling author, says as much in one of his blog posts:
“More than features, more than benefits, we are driven to become a member in good standing of the tribe. We want to be respected by those we aspire to connect with, we want to know what we ought to do to be part of that circle.”
According to Harvard Business Review, people are more interested in social links that come with brand affiliations than in the brands themselves.
Over the past few decades, Lego has maintained its reputation as the best toy company. In terms of quality and price, Nanoblocks and Mega Bloks have created products that are at least comparable to Lego’s building bricks.
What makes Lego stand out from its competitors even after all these years? Lego enthusiasts have a robust online community.
Aside from Lego message boards, LEGO Ideas provided members with a lively community hub where they could submit or browse ideas for new creative designs. Toy makers used the platform to stage creative contests and promotions where winners were able to have their designs turned into official LEGO sets. In addition, the creator earns a percentage of sales. That’s customer empowerment!
Tips on how to create a community around your brand
It takes time to build a brand community. A long-term sustainable one, at least. Authentic engagement is the key to building a scalable community. When your community is built on genuine interactions, it’s easier to grow and consolidate.
Here are ways to build a brand community:
Send newsletters. Growing an email list is a great way to build a community since it’s permission-based. Email newsletters are more likely to prompt subscribers to take action than ads. They opted-in to receive emails from you in the first place. You can segment your list and deliver personalized content with email marketing tools such as MailChimp and ConstantContact.
Use Facebook groups. Facebook Groups are the place to be if you want engagement! Despite Facebook’s algorithm shifting its focus from content to community-building, Facebook Groups will remain a friendly environment for building a community of like-minded people.
Use user-generated content (UGC). By giving your audience a “consumer voice” and the opportunity to become a part of your brand story, user-generated content empowers your audience. Providing your audience with a platform where they can share their love for your brand is the best way to build a community. In addition to being effective at converting consumers into customers, UGC marketing is also the cheapest.
Listen, then engage. It’s too easy for your audience’s voice to get lost in the white noise of today’s increasingly digitized world. Without hearing your audience, how can you know and understand them? Thanks to social listening tools like Brandwatch, Agorapulse, and Awario, you can track and monitor consumer conversations about your brand, products, services, and industry. By using these tools, you can identify gaps in your customer experience strategy as you keep your ears to the ground. You will also gain actionable insights into how to engage your audience in ways that are relevant to their needs and wants.
The Customer Experience is the ultimate differentiator in today’s fragmented market, and it will continue to be so. You can build enduring, meaningful relationships with your customers by giving them great experiences.