As marketers we’re constantly in the pursuit of happiness. Our customers’ happiness to be precise. Because satisfied customers are repeat customers, and they are the gold at the end of the marketing rainbow. So an experience that leaves people happy and fulfilled should be at the forefront of any marketing agenda.
That, of course, leads on to the obvious question of how do we do that? With customer satisfaction, or rather dissatisfaction, carrying ever more influence, there is little room for slack service – we’ve all read some less than flattering (but often cuttingly funny) reviews online. Great unless it’s your client or business in question. But, how do you know if your customers are happy? Is there a happiness monitor? Unfortunately not. But, what we can do is make sure our online offering is what customers want – and here are four key ways to do that.
1. Fast-loading website.
Imagine having to take more than two seconds to walk through a shop door. You just wouldn’t would you? In the same vein, today’s consumer won’t wait for a website to load either. Too slow and people will turn away in their droves – accounting for a big chunk of lost sales and revenue. Users expect immediate gratification. Keep them waiting longer and they may well abandon your website altogether, opting for a competitor’s speedier and sleeker alternative. A fact backed up by a study carried out by Forrester Research back in 2009 who found the average customer expected web pages to load within two seconds. So consider it as you would your store or office – keep things clean and orderly.
2. Don’t be pushy.
The fine line between offensive and effective advertising is the tightrope that marketers walk on a daily basis. We expect to see a bit of advertising online and in our social media news feeds, but too much can turn people off. Take Facebook for example. Last year they ran a survey that found users disliked overly promotional posts. What did the social media giant do? Swiftly respond by reducing the reach of its promotional posts in a bid to increase the ‘relevancy and quality’ of users’ feeds. Job well done. We can all learn from this. Web users dislike of pushy advertising isn’t unique to Facebook; it’s pretty much universal. So whatever your company or client does it pays to make posts and adverts count. The message should be appealing rather than overbearing.
3. Calm down on data capture.
Your customers are smart. They know when they’re being mined for details. You wouldn’t expect to hand over lots of unnecessary details when buying in a store, and neither should you when buying online. Making people ‘register’ can be hugely off-putting. After all, what are they ‘registering’ to? The thought of more of your details being held by another company can, unsurprisingly, turn people away. Being offered the option of completing a sale without having to sign in to anything, however, is a much more appealing and satisfying process to certain customers. It’s about choice. The same applies for new enquiry forms. Keep mandatory fields to a minimum. Just let people tell you what you absolutely need to know.
4. Be content smart.
Email marketing can be extremely effective in exposing your brand to new audiences. But only – and this is the crucial bit – if the content of the email is relevant to your target readers. More than just sending out an informative newsletter en masse, it’s about being confident that you understand your audience and are able to help them. Likewise, make them entertaining and engaging to read. Not only will this build a sense of trust, but it further increases the likelihood they’ll click through to your website and remember your company in the future – Moo.com offers a perfect example of a newsletter that is a beautiful as it is informative. The same goes for content on your own website. Offer practical or insightful advice that people can actually use to ensure users will leave happy.
By James Williams, Head of Digital at Moneypenny.
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