Gartner have recently published their updated new “Genius Brands” report – so, what can SMEs can learn from the top Digital Brands they have analysed?
1. Constantly build your customer data
With the evolving privacy regulations, it’s best to have your own first party customer data.
This means that your customers have freely given you their information and their permission for you to use it. So how do you build a first party customer database?
- Ask people to opt in – “Subscribe to our newsletter to get X”
- Only ask for the data you really need – long forms asking for lots of apparently unnecessary information put people off.
- Explain how you will use the data for their benefit – either it gives them access to something they want now, or it will help them in some way in the future.
- Produce high quality, relevant content, which you give to them in exchange for their personal details – this is called a “lead magnet”. The best lead magnets address a common issues and sometimes include interactive tools such as cost calculators.
2. Focus on specific customer journeys
Customer journeys are more complex than ever before as they are now frequently cross-platform. A website that talks to all people about every stage of their buying journey all at once will come across as overwhelming and confusing.
So, it’s best to break the customer journey down into digestible chunks :
- Decide who your key Buyer Persona(s) are and focus on speaking to them.
- Understand their needs at each point of their journey :
- Consider the touchpoints for each stage, and create clear “moments” that help each persona to complete the step and move to the next stage of your process.
- Use log-ins to tailor the experience. This is a great way to separate the B2B customer journey from the B2C one when you are serving both.
- Give your customers the option to “self-serve” if practical – let it be their choice whether to engage with a rep or not.
- Make sure it’s easy for your customers to find their way back if they find themselves in a part of your site which is not relevant to them.
With an eye on the future, it’s good to see that the new Google Analytics platform GA4 is going a good way to improving our insights into cross-platform customer journeys. Make sure you are set up correctly to take advantage of the new insights and functionality.
3. Know when to change the pace
You will often hear about the pros and cons of agile working versus following a long term framework. The top companies use both strategies and know when to switch between them.
- An agile set-up is best for fast paced, trend driven and interactive marketing activities. This includes Google Ads, Social Media and seasonal product marketing.
- Brand building activities thrive on a longer term approach – this encompasses Content Strategies and SEO activity to build familiarity, trust and engagement with prospective customers as well as visibility on search engines over time.
It’s positive to see that the top Digital Brands are crediting their successes to solid planning and a versatile supporting framework, rather than to the latest “shiny object” which is financially out of reach for many small businesses.