Today we’re dissecting digital touchpoints. Digital touchpoints are all of the places along your customer’s digital journey where interactions with your brand take place. Whether someone is just becoming aware of your brand or they’ve just made a purchase, mapping your digital touchpoints are crucial.
Furthermore, modern marketers understand that the traditional funnel is broken. These days, the path to purchase is a non-linear journey. Also known as the ‘buyer’s journey’, this framework helps marketers push a buyer’s progression by ensuring each touchpoint delivers an excellent customer experience.
Let’s look at both the buyer’s journey and the digital touchpoints you’ll need to consider along the way.
Mapping Your Buyer’s Journey
First things first, read our post on mapping your customer’s digital journey. For those brands aiming to be more customer-centric, mapping your buyer’s journey involves taking a walk in your customer’s shoes.
Once you’ve identified the stages in your buyer’s journey, you’ll want to map out the digital touchpoints that happen within those stages. A word of advice: Working with many clients in many different industries, I’ve discovered that the stages can have different names. That’s okay. The main stages we’re thinking about are:
At B Squared Media, we go slightly deeper with our stages. Below is what our map looks like.
Conversely, another way to look at touchpoint marketing is based on just three stages: pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase. Whichever route you choose is fine. The bigger idea that we’ll discuss here is which digital touchpoints align with each of those stages. AND, ways to ensure that those touchpoints are delivering the experience customers expect.
Before you move on to the next part of the post, pick the major stages of your buyer’s journey. For this post, we’ll stick with the five stages in the list above.
Awareness Digital Touchpoints
To start, awareness is a “pre-purchase” stage. You will want to consider all of the digital touchpoints where a potential customer would have an interaction with your brand. I’ll list out some of the most common touchpoints below. Additionally, I’ll provide a deeper look into some of the more powerful touchpoints.
- PR or digital press releases.
- Streaming radio or TV.
- Online peer-to-peer recommendations: 83% of customers say their most trusted sources of referrals are friends and family. Be sure to showcase the user-generated content you receive to help spread peer-to-peer recommendations.
- Social media marketing: Social media can be included in multiple stages. Whether you use it to promote products, build relationships, or to converse with would-be and current customers depends on exactly where your specific social media touchpoints should be listed.
- Online advertising: Specifically, traffic ads are awareness digital touchpoints because they push prospects to your website to get to know your brand.
- Online shopping or storefronts: Search and social shopping are gaining traction thanks to the pandemic. Using Google Shopping, for example, can showcase your products exactly when people are searching or comparing prices. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon, and many other digital channels have shopping tools.
Here’s an example of retail brand J Crew using a shoppable tag on Instagram.
The Consideration Stage
To begin, I’ll point out the differences between the awareness stage and the consideration stage. We’re still in a “pre-purchase” stage. However, the consideration stage is the phase of your buyer’s journey where you offer your specific target audience(s) information that underscores how your product/service is, in fact, a viable solution to their problem. Think of it this way: The people in this stage have added you to their shortlist. You’re in a heated competition with the other options on the list.
Pretty much any of the six touchpoints under the awareness list could also go here. The other digital touchpoints to consider here are…
- Search engine marketing (SEM): We’re going a little deeper than just ads with SEM in this phase. For this digital touchpoint, optimize your landing pages and search engine snippets. Meaning, based on past touchpoint experiences, optimize and update for what your buyer’s top concerns are during the consideration phase. These pages and snippets should directly answer their pain points.
- Specific product/service landing pages. See above!
- Blogging: The blogs you write for the consideration stage should focus on the solutions your target audience is looking for, not the problem. Get a list of FAQs (frequently asked questions) from sales or marketing and create in-depth posts with solutions to a particular FAQ.
- Email marketing: If you’ve done a good job segmenting your email lists, you’ll know which prospects are in your consideration stage. Producing valuable how-to or educational content can help identify and qualify leads.
- Digital ‘nurture’ content: Nurture content usually goes a bit deeper than awareness content. Think white papers, case studies, how-to or demonstration videos.
- Company events (digital): While digital events, like webinars, could be in the awareness stage, they’re likely the result of someone carefully considering what you have to offer.
Digital Touchpoints At Purchase
Here, we’ve made it to the “purchase” stage. And while you may think there aren’t many touchpoints here, you’d be mistaken! With more and more purchases happening online, this phase has become extremely important in the digital buyer’s journey.
- E-commerce store & functionality: Can your customers easily create an account and add items to their shopping cart? Do you have options for upselling or cross-selling, applying discounts, and choosing an electronic payment option?
- Email marketing: Use post-purchase follow-ups and customer surveys to ensure you continue to build the relationship with an eye on customer experience.
- Online reviews: Are you encouraging new customers to leave a review?
- Web Chat or social messaging (if using bots versus humans).
- Customer care/support (online): The most direct point of contact you have with customers online are your support agents (aka: humans). Whether this is through live chat or social media channels, these conversations have an immediate impact on purchasing decisions.
Looking at the example above, how do you think Kerastase (a hair product brand) faired with this digital touchpoint? That’s two outreach messages from a customer that went unanswered! Although social media is only one source for customer care, because of its accessibility and always-on nature, your customers may prefer reaching out to you there. In fact, social media is one of the top channels where consumers want to share feedback about a product or service.
Digital Touchpoints For Retention & Loyalty
Equally important, your final stages cannot be forgotten. It doesn’t end at purchase — at least not for the best brands. Now, you have the task of keeping customers (retention) and maybe even getting them to join one of your community initiatives (loyalty).
Below are a few digital touchpoints you should consider during these stages.
- Customer care/support (online): Should you outsource this? Maybe. We dive into that topic in this post.
- Referral programs: Consider encouraging customers to refer a friend via email. Make sure your customer gets something in return!
- Customer-only newsletters.
- Email Marketing. Cross-selling and upselling should happen here.
- Product feedback surveys.
- Loyalty programs. Incentivize recurring customers by giving them special discounts, offers, and gifts.
- Self-service content. Think: Coffee company sells you a cappuccino machine and has a “how-to” video under self-service for how to change the filter in your new machine.
- Surprise & Delight: Delight your most loyal customers. You’ll know them because they’ve made repeat purchases or have been with you for years. This can be an email from your CEO or can be a mix of digital and IRL (in real life) like my example below.
One of our team members, Kristy, has been a longtime customer of Chewy.com. She received an unexpected box from Chewy and found a card and wrapped gift. The “sweetest card” was addressed to her and the hand-painted gift was of her cat, Coco. Kristy thinks they got Coco’s picture from Instagram or her profile. It was hand-painted and signed by the artist.
When I asked Kristy how this touchpoint made her feel, she said, “Truly just such a delightful surprise and for no other reason than they wanted to show us some love.”
Digital Touchpoints Amplify CX
Clarification: AMAZING digital touchpoints will help you amplify customer experiences.
Your mission, should you accept, is to make sure both potential customers and current customers have the best experience possible with your brand. Developing a digital touchpoint strategy for each stage of our buyer’s journey will ensure a cohesive experience for them, no matter where they are on the path to purchase.
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