Monday, October 05, 2015

Five #digital marketing trends in 2015

Five #digital marketing trends in 2015

By Peter Hanami

Digital marketers face a number of new trends in 2015 as they walk the digital highway of disruption in just about every industry. In this article, I will outline five trends that are impacting digital marketers.

1. Disconnecting customers
Disconnecting customers is a growing trend that is impacting digital marketers as they try to build communities and promote brands online. So what is a disconnecting customer?

A disconnecting customer is one that shuts down and goes offline. The first sign is when they unsubscribe from an email list, then they cancel their point card, they stop visiting your website, they visit a branch and close their account. In essence they are going offline. What has pushed them to do this? It may have started by sending too many emails, too many cold calls from a call centre, or too many letters or a bad customer service experience.

The problem is that we do not have the tools to be able to see the big picture as we only focus on the metrics in our limited sphere of work the website. The key problem is once a customer goes offline and we have no data to understand the key reasons it becomes very hard to get them back online.

Challenge: Find out why your customers are going offline and try to lure them back

2. Lack of detailed information

The devil is in the detail. In years past when newspapers carried classified advertising, a simple ad held all the key elements that motivated a buyer to act.

Move forward a few years and now the Internet handles advertising for a range of products and services but even though the technology allows for more tools of communication, we find ourselves with less information.

The result for customers is lots of wasted time and the inability to act because they cannot find what they want. Instead they delay their buying decision. We have job websites that can’t be searched by postcode and are not connected with social media, real estate sites that jumble furnished and non-furnished ads together, education websites that spread generic course information over multiple pages.

From a consumer viewpoint websites just dont seem to have enough detail to allow customers to actually buy online. Detailed information increases trust and makes the ability to buy online easier.
Many businesses only use the Internet to control a customer’s behaviour, for example: by limiting information on a website they force customers to visit a store or call.

All this does is infuriate the customer who wastes time and money dealing with the business and forces them to seek alternatives or delay the purchase all together.

Challenge: Can you put all your information on one page? Do you have the ability to provide detailed product/service information that can generate an online sale?

3. Cost to connect

Consumers are getting savvier financially and expect to be able to connect with a business for free. When a customer has a problem they want it solved quickly and easily. They especially dont want to call on a mobile phone and wait 20 or 30 minutes and incur the cost.
Instead, customers want connection to your company at no cost and in real time. That means 1. A customer sends an email and the company calls within a specified time period with a return call, 2. A customer calls a company and leaves a message at no cost and gets a call back within a specified time, 3. Live chat with trained staff who have the authority to act and solve problems "real time".
Email and call backs are now showing up as being just too slow for fixing real customer service issues as customers are becoming more impatient.

Challenge: Customers don’t want to pay to connect, do you have solutions?

4. Free Delivery

Delivery is now a key competitive advantage as customers want products and services quicker than ever before and they want them delivered free!

If two websites are selling the same product, the choice comes down to shipping cost and free always wins. Many traditional businesses are now online including supermarkets, restaurants and local stores selling a wide range of items. In the digital world, an order must be processed quickly and that relies on delivery. If delivery is built in to the price it is easier for cusdtomers to decide and act.

Who is losing in this battle? Those businesses that continue to add the cost of delivery to their products. No one likes to pay for delivery.

Challenge: Do you offer free delivery yet?

5. Constant improvements

When customers visit your website over time, they begin to feel comfortable with the layout and gain confidence on how to navigate it and when this happens they stay longer and buy more.

The problem is that websites are constantly being refreshed, new colours, layout, navigation and formats. This is very bad for your customers who have to re-educate themselves about you and your brand. They have to navigate the new website alone with no warning of the change and no support (for example: how to navigate the new site, how to do the same transactions they have always done).

Do you measure the traffic drops when a new website is launched and how long it takes to recover lost traffic and revenue? A better way is to keep the same structure but to improve the site with constant improvements.

The best way to do this is slowly and incrementally so customers barely notice the changes and then you have no impact to traffic and revenue.

Challenge: Can you do incremental website improvements over time rather than a whole new site?

Disruption is accelerating and as digital marketers in 2015 we must guide, nurture and help customers to navigate the changes by making interactions simpler and seamless. We must be able to track customers and catch them before they go offline, we must provide more detailed information on one page not multiple pages, we must lower the cost for the customer to interact with our business, we must deliver for free and make constant improvements that keep customers loyal,  return to buy more and tell their friends about their positive experiences with the business.

Peter Hanami is a Digital Marketing Manager with Asia experience 
and the author of  "Motorcycle Touring Japan - A Rider's Diary"

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