Transactional is so 2019

The business-centric transactional approach is dated. Customers want a better experience.

Are you at risk of becoming a dinosaur? Customers are tired of the transactional approach.

A transaction focus is business-centric.  Spending more time online in 2020 buyers started getting more picky. They want their shopping experience to be easy and feel good. In 2021 and moving forward, every business needs to become more customer-centric.

Internet catastrophe

When my internet quit working recently, it felt like a catastrophe.  I’m internet-dependent. E-commerce, social marketing, emails. Many of my resource files live on a cloud.  

The projects I needed to complete had most of their data stored on Google Drive or One Drive.

I tried to resolve the issue by re-setting up my router. It took me about an hour, and I got Wi-Fi restored. Yay!  Then, less than two hours later, while I was on a zoom call—it went out again. My feeling of success disappeared.

I called the cable company and got an automated Virtual Assistant. In her rather irritating AI voice, she asked for my identification so she could bring up my account.

I provided the proper identification, and the Virtual Assistant said, “I see your internet is offline. Please unplug the router and then plug it back in to make it restart. I’ll text you 10 minutes to see if the issue is resolved. If not, I’ll connect you with support. Is that okay?”

I agreed, and she disconnected.

Ten minutes later, I got a text: “It looks like there are still some issues with your Services. We’ll text you soon to schedule a tech visit at a time that works for you.”

I checked the router. All the lights were blinking. I restarted the computer. No internet. 

Another text popped up: “x/29 is the earliest date for an appointment in your area.   

“Reply with a number below (1-4) to pick a time:

“1 for 1-3 PM

“2 for 2-4 PM

“3 for 3-5 PM

“4 for more options or to be waitlisted.

“Or reply with a later date (MM/DD)

“Thank you, your scheduled appointment is confirmed.

“Txt Help or Stop

“Msg & Data Rates may apply.”

Zero option to talk to a person or enter anything else that wasn’t a listed choice. Whatever happened to friendly customer service?

Consumers try to avoid transactional companies.

Based on every research study I can find on the topic, consumers are frustrated with a business-centric approach.  

As consumers, we feel frustrated when we can’t get answers. Unfortunately, for things like the internet and cable, they are all pretty much alike and they are very business-centric. Transactional. 

(I see a huge opportunity here waiting for someone to take advantage of it.)

As a copywriter marketer, I know a transactional approach flies directly into the face of the user experience.  It may be straightforward, but it doesn’t make you feel good.

I’m continually reviewing different company websites both in my copywriting work and for personal shopping.  If I see a poor user experience still hanging around, I look elsewhere. I go shopping for a friendlier option. Like most people, how I’m treated is more important than the price for the same item.  

I’m not alone.  A 2019 report by SalesForce shared that $62 Billion is  lost annually from poor customer experiences. Half of all Americans will take their business elsewhere, 91% without ever complaining.

When I see a business  entrenched in a transactional approach, and determined to stay business-centric, I can do little to help them. If they are ready for change, we can ramp up their sales and keep more customers.

Here’s a secret.

Becoming customer-centric isn’t difficult or hugely expensive.  

Implement changes to help shoppers engage with your brand.

Focus on making shopping easier.  Eliminate roadblocks that make the consumer go “What?” Clarity and simplicity. Make customers feel you care about them.

Three techniques to ditching transactional.

Here are three ways to enhance the customer experience. You can have your team handle them or do it yourself. 

The caution there is you need to know what a good user experience looks, and reads, like to make sure your message does the job.  To maximize your success, put this task in the hands of someone who understands UX.

Customize email automation

Most businesses use email automation to let customers know they received their order, when it shipped, etc.  Platforms typically have generic emails in place for easy use.  The problem is these emails are purely transactional.  

Revise these and personalize them.  Adding the purchaser’s first name is essential.  You recognize them as human beings.  We humans put a lot of value in being recognized and appreciated.

Make sure the wording thanks them for their purchase and let them know what future emails to expect. 

Ever place an order, and you get the confirmation and then silence?  

Add an email following the confirmation. Have it provide answers to frequently asked questions. Share more details on how  to get the best results.

Nurture new buyers with knowledge that empowers them.  By sharing in an email sequence, you can reduce calls or emails to customer service and reduce returns.

Personalize shipping notices. Include a tracking number so buyers can follow the purchase to delivery.  It’s helpful if you include the name of the shipping company.  Many businesses use USPS Priority Mail, UPS, or Federal Express, but they often just provide a tracking number. Since early in 2020, I’ve noticed increased lesser-known delivery services.  Let them know how it is arriving. 

A few days after the package delivery, send an email to ask if there are any questions. Let them know the best way to get those questions answered.  This is also the ideal time to ask for a testimonial or review.

Make customers feel good.

If something looks good, tastes good, or feels good, our brain drives us to repeat it. Repeat sales are golden.

Go conversational and be readable.

Take a serious look at the copy on your website, blogs, and social. Content needs to be scannable and friendly in tone. It needs to be respectful. Avoid any wording that hints at talking down to the reader. 

Look for ways to make your copy easier and quicker to read.

White space allows the brain to take a breath. The lack of it requires more concentration to read it – brain drain.  That’s what makes people click away from your page or website.

Both B2B and B2C need white space. Purchasing agents may not be engineers. They want to scan your submission and share it with the right people.

It’s all about making things easy for the person viewing your page.

Ramp up customer service

Quality customer service is high on the list of buyers’ wants. In the last 12 months, it has become more important than ever before.  Many consider it essential if you want to keep their business. 

Every business needs to view customer service as an opportunity to build long-term relationships with loyal customers.  View them as an imposition, and you won’t have to worry about them again.  They’ll be gone to your competition. 

What shoppers want.

Location. After several negative experiences, I want to know a business’s geographical location.  It gives me clues on how I’ll interact with the company and how quickly my product will arrive.

Do you offer chat? If so, what hours?  In the US, there is a six-hour time difference between the east coast and Hawaii.  That’s huge when you’re trying to connect with someone who is only available for limited hours. Providing your geographical location at least gives clues.

If you have a customer service phone line, showcase it. Make it easily found on every page—not hidden in the tiny print at the bottom. A contact page is okay, but the more clicks the shopper has to do, the more it slows them down.  Keep it easy.  

If you only accept email questions, be sure to give them an idea of how quickly you’ll get back to them.  

I’ve waited a month to get a response. How long do you want to wait?

When I work with clients

I start with customer service and learn why shoppers reach out. Then we work to customize emails and answer questions before the customer knows they have them. If you need help improving your customer experience, you can reach me via www.jculpcreativecopy.com.

Entourage Effect for 2021

Entourage effect when all components work together and exceed the parts individually

The entourage effect impacts many aspects of our lives. The CBD niche has highjacked the term to mean how the different plant parts work together.  However, the word entourage is not new. It actually traces back to a French term dating from 1832 meaning surroundings or environment. 

The French were referring to a group of people, but it is equally applicable to many things in life and business. Everything from formulations, to health and marketing.The power of the components of the entourage greater than the individual parts.

Entourage effect for health

Like many people, I managed to pick up a few COVID pounds and wasn’t happy about it. So I started trying different techniques to get rid of the sneaky ten.

Research showed you need three factors to maximize health—adequate sleep, exercise, and the right food choices.  An entourage effect. All your surroundings/environment working together to maximize the result.

I found daily walks made me stronger and I lengthened them to two-three miles daily. I could see changes in the mirror, but there’s a problem. A pound of muscle weighs exactly the same as fat, it just takes up less room.  While I was looking better, my weight didn’t change.

An evening routine to reduce exposure to blue light, (think electronics) and adding a melatonin supplement, improved sleep.

A fitness tracker where I could track food choices was the third factor.  I didn’t focus on “dieting.” Instead, following healthy nutrition choices for my body type. 

That made the difference. An entourage effect is necessary for success.    

Entourage also works for business marketing

In my 25+ years of work in the skincare industry, I earned that formulations are the key to a successful product.  Each botanical enhances the others for an entourage effect. You have to get the right ingredients in the right formula to have the desired outcome.  Then you have to recommend the right product for the right client.

In marketing, I’ve seen the exact same thing. Your marketing messages and strategy either work together as an entourage, or they don’t.  When you have mixed messages, you have confused prospects.  Confusion is the biggest obstacle to a sale. 

One thing to keep in mind

Whether you’re creating a product or designing a marketing campaign, you need to know who it is being designed for.  The right product, for the right buyer.  

As a woman, I learned long ago, one-size never fits all. It’s a myth. You need the right product, the right message, the right “fit” for success and repeat buyers.

Three techniques for the perfect entourage

To maximize an entourage effect in your marketing you have to be customer-focused. You build from the customer out.  What are their needs and concerns?  If you try to start with a product and try to figure out the customer after, you’re likely going to fall short.  

Start with your customer

Consider their demographics, psychographics and create a clear avatar for them. Who do you know like them? Spend time with potential customers. Learn not only about what they need, but how they find it and decide to buy.  

Buying habits will tell you the best places to reach them.  Their needs, fears, and concerns  provide the RAS triggers to use in crafting your messages. 

If you’ve created a new product, get it in the hands of those who need it. Get some real-life feedback—positive or negative.  Run with the positive. Learn and adjust for the negative.

Their buying journey

It’s helpful to create roadmaps of your customer’s possible buying paths. Follow each one from where/how they connect with you through the predictable steps to the purchase.  

I like to use a technique called the WOOP method. It’s great for planning.  W stands for what do they want or need. O is for the beneficial outcome they will get from getting that need met.  The second O is for obstacles.  What might interrupt their buying journey? And the P stands for plan. 

Using your buying journey messages, include resolutions for every potential obstacle. 

Did they get distracted? How can you bring them back again?

Look for issues like confusion, mixed messages, lack of proof including social proof. Validate pricing. Keep the pathway easy to follow. Eliminate any bumps in the road.

Craft seamless messages

Make sure every message supports the journey and connects the dots.  They should each support the previous one.  

Whether they encounter you on your website, social media, emails, or video—keep the messages clear and uniform.

Once created, look at all messages from the 10,000-foot view. Check to see they all flow and share the same tone, the same message. 


Judith Culp Pearson is a digital relationship builder and a problem solver. She uses those skills to help clients— improve their marketing messages, better engage their clients, keep clients loyal, and grow their business.

www.jculpcreativecopy.com

Differences in B2B and B2C Segmentation

Wholesale B2B and retail B2C buyers need different types of segmentation to effectively market to them.

I recently read an article by Leadspace. It discussed the differences between B2B and B2C buyers. At the core is the information needed to market to them. Here are the high points—

B2C marketing focuses on four data types.  

  • Behavioral – how they engage and shop.
  • Geographical –  allows location-sensitive messages. Think swimsuits. Florida is a better place to target in the winter than Maine.
  • Psychographic data – considers lifestyle, social status, values, interests.
  • Demographic data targets buyers based on age, occupation, sex, philosophy, education, or income.

By contrast, B2B focuses on different areas.

  • Profile data is similar to demographic. It focuses on data about the company.
  • Intent data allows sellers to focus on companies searching. They hone in on those looking. Specifically looking for their type of product or service. It’s based on activity. Data on what they read, search engines used, and reviews.
  • Engagement data parallels behavioral. It includes B2B specific behaviors. Things like: lead forms, trade shows, sales meetings, and email responses.

It’s common for both groups to use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. B2Cs often add a Customer Data Platform (CDP). This allows them to maximize marketing ROI. Using a CDP is an opportunity many B2Bs are overlooking.

You can find the full article HERE.

Email Marketing Trends for 2021

Follow 2021trends for emails and enhance your marketing ROI.
Emails are relevant and effective when you do them right.

Journalist Daniel Witman recently published a great article on the email trends we will see important for 2021 and beyond.  There has been an ongoing discussion for several years about the relevance of email marketing.  Some wondered if emails were still worth doing with the other choices and focus on social media and chatbots.

The quick answer is that it is more important than ever.  However, businesses need to stay on top of HOW to use them effectively in today’s world. 

It’s a no-brainer that more people are shopping online.  Transaction receipts and follow-ups provide a huge opportunity to turn shoppers into loyal buyers.

Witman includes using AI, personalization, easy to read simple designs, interactivity, and concise easy to read copy as essentials for success. And, of course, everything must be mobile-friendly. 

AI in itself is not used in the email but rather to gather and collate user information. This information in itself helps you better target the segments of your audience.  

As I have found, 62% of marketers agree that personalization and focus on a customer interest/need make the most effective, engaging emails.  

Adding links or including a simple way for the client to respond to the email ramps up engagement. 82% of email marketers report personalization and interactivity increase response and click-through rates.

To maximize the return on your email marketing investment, segment, nurture and follow current best-practices for emails. Time to update your emails?  Schedule a call here. Limited time-slots are available.

You can read the full article here.

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