To fuel your business’s growth your digital marketing and customer service departments must be aligned.
Do you have a process for the digital marketing team and customer service team to discuss potential issues and opportunities?
The way we do business is influenced by inner and outer factors. For example, the development of new technologies, customer expectations, and employees’ productivity all impact business operations and strategies.
These factors are also developing and transforming, thus contributing to changes in the entire business world.
In an Adobe survey of 7000 professionals, nearly 80 percent of participants reported feeling that “marketing has transformed more in the previous two years than it did in the previous fifty”. This sums up the pace of change.Click To Tweet
The meteoric rate of change is something businesses must keep up with if they want to stay afloat.
To make things even more difficult, today’s customer-centric market demands they know how to sync their digital marketing efforts with the customer service department to foster growth and sustainability.
This may sound like a bunch of complicated statements but if you keep reading this article you will find out why it’s imperative to align digital marketing with customer service, how this strategy contributes to business growth, and what you need to do to accomplish it.
Digital marketing can enhance the consumer experience
Digital channels have changed the way consumers communicate with businesses and the way they search for information and products. It’s vital for organizations to react to these changes and adapt to the clients’ expectations.
The customer experience (CX) is so important for web leads and lead conversions. Many small businesses have not updated their website in years and are in dire need for a website redesign.
A critical aspect of this adaptation is providing timely answers to consumers which are no longer willing to wait for ages to get solutions to their problems. They want a quick and seamless experience, which is something they can get if you implement new technologies into your business.
Where does online marketing fit in, you might ask?
Well, when you use dated methods (such as phone calls or even a website which is not mobile-friendly) you will only disengage them – and the modern-day customer knows all too well that a better option lies only a click away.Click To Tweet
While some companies are still reluctant to use digital marketing to its full potential, those that will invest the time and resources into an integrated digital strategy are at an immense advantage because they’re able to provide their customers with a holistic experience.
Automate, but don’t dehumanize
Many businesses have their doubts about customer service automation because customer service has always relied on human interactions.
However, Gartner has predicted that by the end of 2020, over 85 percent of customer interactions will be managed automatically, without human intervention. This means that entrepreneurs will have to adjust and learn how to preserve the humanity of interactions with customers while using automation to boost efficiency.
But how can you automate your customer service without losing the personal touch and, your customers?
Well, on the one hand, your customers will be grateful for the timeliness of the responses they’re getting. But regardless of how advanced the technology is, many customer issues will still require human intervention.
That’s why it is essential to program chatbots to direct customers to human agents when faced with a problem that is too complicated to resolve.
To determine when to use automation and when to turn to a human agent, use existing data to identify the behaviors that show success or failure in communication. Keep in mind that automated customer service is a tool and not a substitute for personalized customer treatment.
Calls-to-action encourage clicks
The digital era has brought one fascinating opportunity to all businesses: the ability to direct calls-to-action to clicks and instant conversions. They are simple, yet effective. Here are a few famous examples that already achieved massive success:
- Watch Anywhere. Cancel Anytime. – Netflix
- Sign up today and make saving money effortless. – Fairwinds
- Your business demands more. You deserve the best. – VoiceNation
- Find better. – Monster
- Confidence starts here. – Suntrust
- Sell your crafts on FB. – Shopify
- Get a quick, personalized insurance quote today. – Allstate
While coming up with a catchy call-to-action is the oldest trick in the marketing book, the digitalized era enables businesses to use the customers’ interest in the CTA to direct them to a service, product page, social media share, subscription to newsletters, and similar.
A correctly used CTA redirects visitors to landing pages where the marketing team can collect data in place of a marketing offer. This provides users the incentive they need and provides you with extra conversions and a chance for creating leads.
The trick is to place and distribute the CTA across various channels and advertising platforms to widen your reach. This way your offer will be presented to a wider audience and you’ll get an extra opportunity for growth.
Social media is the place to be
Regardless of their omnipresence on the web, many businesses still haven’t quite understood the power of social media for marketing and branding. This is a critical error since most netizens are on one or more social networks. All of them interact with companies and sometimes even make purchase decisions based on their online experience with a certain business.
In fact, 75 percent of marketers claim that social media is the reason for their increased traffic, while 90 percent of them admits the massive role of social media in their business exposure.
The problem is that although over 80 percent of businesses have social media accounts, many of them do not see how they should approach the users on certain networks and how to assess the ROI.
It’s essential to be active on each social network you have an account on – it’s not enough to just be there or to post promotional content. Facilitate conversations, try to offer value to your audience through your content, participate in a community, and play by the rules of each given platform.
Digitally promoting your product, service, and brand on social media includes sharing images, videos, and content, all of which are excellent ways to attract and engage users.
Social media also offers a great chance to get feedback, communicate with customers, and get to know them better, so it can be a certain form of ongoing marketing research.
Here are some tips for creating a successful social media strategy:
- First, know that you need a social media strategy (for every network). It’s not something you just do and see what happens next.
- Communicate with users as much as you can. Whether you’re replying through tweets, comments, or direct messages, maintain a consistent brand voice. Depending on your business and your target audience, you might adopt a humorous or quirky tone – whatever works best for you, just make sure you’re reflecting a brand personality through these interactions with customers.
- Consider online reputation management. This includes “burying” the negative search results on your business, and promoting content which enhances the desired public image.
- Run contests, giveaways, and quizzes to increase your online visibility and engage users.
- Keep the salesy approach to a bare minimum. Yes, your goal is to sell, but social media users are keen on keeping the platforms social. People are there to communicate and see interesting content. They’re eager to get shopping recommendations, interact with brands, and learn about new products, but an aggressive selling approach will put them off.
- Create quality images and videos.
Apart from social platforms, you can also use tools and apps to connect with your customer base. Many apps on the market offer useful features for businesses and allow you to effortlessly chat and interact with your consumers when they need help, support, or advice.
Create a bond with the industry influencers
For a long time, people relied on word-of-mouth to decide where they will buy their food, tools, and other necessities. Things are not that much different today, except that the influencers have taken over the role of the “next-door neighbor”, telling you that this guy sells better grain than the other one.
Influencers, as their very name tells you, are individuals who have the authority to influence the purchase decisions of others because of their expertise, popularity, niche authority, or relationship with the online audience.
Their followers can be niche-specific or a wider community, and they engage or communicate with their audience frequently. This means that people listen to and rely on these influencers, and you can use that to your advantage.Click To Tweet
If you connect with them and encourage them to promote your product or service, you stand to gain more credibility and visibility. Influencers can pitch your product to their followers without the obvious advertising. You are just selling a product, but they are humanizing it, making it more approachable and appealing to the audience.
However, your success will depend on finding the right influencer. For that, you will need to do your research about bloggers and experts from your branch and their follower base. When you make your selection, you need to ask them to look or review your product.
This is a very organic method of online promotion, and it gives communication with customers a new perspective which can contribute to the growth of your business.
Building an active online community
Another organic way to create a bond with your customers is “crafting” an online community through a blog or social media platform. This is a space where you can communicate with your audience, but also an environment where they will talk to each other and participate in discussions. This way, you’ll be creating a whole new dimension of customer support.
Here are some of the essentials to maintaining a thriving online community:
- Start with creating quality, engaging, interesting, and consistent content, so you build trust in your business first.
- Create engaging content that inspires sharing by your clients.
- As mentioned before, be active and approachable on social media.
- Show your human side when replying to comments, complaints, and feedback. The users will learn that you care and they will want to be a part of such a community.
- Scratch someone’s back. If an influencer shares your product or content, do the same. If another company will promote your work, return the favor. You don’t have to sell someone’s product, but you can give them a guest post on your blog, or do an interview with them. You’ll get quality content and new members of your community, and they’ll get a promotion.
- Don’t be afraid to share your story. Online users love reading success stories and they are eager to see brands or people sharing genuine experiences, passions, and thoughts.
- Motivate customers to create and share their own stories, images, and videos. You can then feature their ideas on your website or social media pages. A good example of used user-generated content is “My Starbucks Idea”.
- Let users communicate with one another and share their stories and tips about your product.
- Give your community a certain power. By creating an online community you’ll get valuable insights that can later impact your product.
As you can see, creating an online community is not something that can happen overnight. This is a process that requires commitment from you and your entire team. But it’s a long-term solution to many of the customer service and marketing problems you may have encountered before.
The road to collaboration between departments
It’s easy to see why the two departments should communicate and collaborate, but how will you create a symbiotic relationship which encourages business growth?
The most successful method is to designate responsible individuals which will ease the communication between the two departments. These people will help enable customer support agents and marketers to share knowledge, ideas, and information.
As we mentioned before, one of the best examples of such a collaboration is using social media for customer support, but there are other ways too.
Customer support agents know the type of content the clients want to see. They know of the problems and doubts customers have, and when they share them with marketers, it will be easier to find topics that will encourage engagement.
The customer service team will also have valuable insights for creating a buyer persona, lending the marketing team their accumulated understanding of the target audience. Also, marketers need to keep customer support agents in touch with promotions, giveaways, and other ongoing campaigns to ensure consistency in customer interactions.
These two departments have shared goals, and they need to have regular meetings and one or several persons in charge of their relationship.
The Final Word about Digital Marketing and Customer Service Alignment
Digital marketing and customer service are not two separate aspects of doing business. They can and should work together to create a more enjoyable and streamlined experience for your customers, setting the grounds for business growth.
Implementing all these strategies we’ve listed requires thorough consideration, planning, and engagement from your entire team. Perhaps you might even need to hire new employees or partners to help you with building an online community, which is the best outcome of the cooperation of digital marketing and customer service.
Knowing the benefits, the time and effort it takes to align these two essential aspects of your business are worth it. It’s true that it’s impossible to run a business without always being on top with the latest tech trends.
It’s also true that throughout the entire history of business, the customer-company relationship has always been the foundation of success. Ultimately, aligning the two teams may no longer be an option, but a necessity for growth-oriented businesses.
Although web design is Catherine Palmer’s formal education, startup success, business management and business growth in this digital age are areas Catherine is quite interested in and occupated with lately. She has been researching and learning for some time now, so she is always happy to share her knowledge and inspire others by writing some quality content.
General FAQ’s for Digital Marketing
What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing contains all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the Internet. Businesses leverage digital marketing channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers.
What is a digital marketing strategy?
Your digital marketing strategy is a series of actions that help you achieve your company goals through carefully selected online marketing channels. These channels include paid, earned, and owned media, and can all support a typical digital marketing campaign around a particular line of business.
Why is digital marketing important to a small business?
You can save money and reach more customers for less money than traditional marketing methods. You must get to know your audience and allow them to identify with you, which can help to create brand loyalty. You can track responses to your marketing efforts immediately.