Personalization is something companies like Amazon, Sephora, and Nike have trained us to expect. It’s no longer enough to be customer-centric. We want experiences— a positive customer experience. That goes beyond personalization.
In this time of massive upheaval and uncertainty, we’re looking for easy. Things that simplify our lives. People want easier, healthier, safer, more rewarding, and help us get things done.
While we’re happy with our experiences in some areas, we continue to feel neglected and frustrated in others.
Follow the trend that’s working
We don’t need to reinvent or recreate the wheel in our marketing. Just look at what’s already earning companies like Amazon and Sophora millions.
These companies and many more are investing and involving more AI and analytic data to improve the customer experience. Amazon has been a leader in this.
When you look for something, Amazon includes what other people who searched for the same item also considered. They show you what people who bought this item also purchased. Subtle, helpful, and boosting the value of your order with add-ons.
Sephora hasn’t become the worlds leading specialty beauty retailer by accident. They started incorporating AI in the early 2000s. Using various tech tools, they personalize everything from their choices for you to their 1:1 loyalty rewards.
The long-term goal for Sephora is to continue to enhance the virtual and in-store customer experiences. Not only will they help you shop virtually, but you can also try the makeup on virtually.
Nike has innovated, so you can now design your own sneaker. They have a 3D platform that allows you to create a sneaker that fits perfectly and matches your unique style. Fans love the option.
They also love the experience in the personalized NikePlus loyalty program. Fans get personalized benefits, product recommendations, and the ability to check and see if their favorite styles, colors, and sizes are available.
The clock is ticking.
Customers used to make buying decisions based on loyalty or price. Those things are changing. More and more make those decisions based on the experience you offer them.
In a recent survey by SuperOffice, they asked 1920 business professionals what their number one business priority is for the next five years. By a distinct margin over product or product, customer experience came in at 45.9%.
Thought leaders say businesses who have unsatisfactory experiences are headed for trouble. They will start to see their client base erode if they don’t make the technical changes to improve it.
What you need to keep in mind
The level of stress doesn’t look to be dropping anytime soon. Stressed shoppers are less friction tolerant. If your buying experience is complicated, if your customer support is lackluster—you have challenges to solve.
More than ever before, buyers don’t want transactions that are company sales-centric. It makes them feel like you’re just after their money.
Now I know you need their purchases to run your business, but the experience shouldn’t feel that way. Feelings are pure emotion. You want to keep those feelings positive if you want to earn their trust, purchases, and loyalty.
Three ways to enhance customer experience
Companies with the most significant growth and success embrace the customer experience from the top down. Everyone on the team needs to understand and have the power to improve it. For some businesses, it may be outside-the-box thinking. It may involve more work and initial expense. But if you look at the potential future revenues, it’s well worth the effort.
Think from the customer point of view
Start by thinking from the customer’s point of view. Sometimes we are so close to the process that we can’t see the problems an outsider sees.
Ask your customers, “what could we do better?” “How could we make shopping easier?” In essence, how can you help them?
If you have a customer service team, ask them. The marketing and management teams need to know what customer service is hearing. What the customers need and want that they aren’t getting.
Customers’ questions and their problems provide the answers to improving your sales.
Enhance customer service
Lousy customer service is a pet peeve of mine when I’m shopping online or in-person. I understand company limitations but I also handle customer service for one of my clients. I get the challenges, but I know the value. I’ve gotten those evening and weekend calls where I’ve rescued a customer and solved their issue.
We recently went to Best Buy to find a laptop. The store was busy. The staff was few and far between. We found something suitable, but without the ability to get questions answered, they lost the sale.
When we checked out, we mentioned the lack of staff to our checker. His reply, Best Buy just let another 500 people go. Team members are going to be in short supply for the foreseeable future. In the end, Best Buy will lose its status as a provider of excellent customer care, and they will lose money.
Both brick and mortar and eCommerce businesses need to step up their customer service. With all the options out there, companies need to find a way to expand the routes and time frame where people can get help.
Look for ways to provide support beyond a few business hours. Many times companies on the east and west coast ignore the three-hour time difference. So if I’m on the west coast, I’d better not need anything after 2 PM local time.
Expand your FAQ. Add an AI help option. Outsource or give someone a part-time job, so you are more accessible. Make sure your website is easily searchable so I can find what I need. If your competition is more available, it will cost you money.
Analytics and AI
The most successful businesses are making use of technology to track shopping patterns and offer recommendations. Per 2020 research by Gartner, we conduct about 85% of all purchases without assistance.
That means there is a significant 15% opportunity to increase revenues by helping shoppers solve those issues.
Companies have many new ways to allow their customer support team to automate repetitive or straightforward tasks using artificial intelligence. Automation enables them to reduce costs and empower shoppers to solve their issues. Learn about your options and employ them.
It is essential to do this in a transparent way to maintain trust and credibility.
Chatbots or voice-enabled chatbots are a top choice for businesses. Their effectiveness ties directly to the quality and comprehensiveness of the dialogue provided to the bot.
My final tip is to make sure your system works on all channels across all types of devices. More and more people are switching back and forth from phones to tablets to laptops and computers. Your system needs to deliver in all.
Looking to increase lifetime buyer value, build sales, and more engagement? Let’s have a quick chat. You can message me: Judith@jculpcreativecopy.com.
CLV is a Customer’s Lifetime Value. It’s how much they make you in the time that they stay a customer. Focusing on CLV means you keep them longer and have a higher ROI.
Many business platforms are set up to allow an automated response for a purchase. To maximize the buying experience for the customer, this should be the beginning of a nurturing conversation…not the end. It’s a perfect opportunity to start building a relationship that will lead to more sales and a loyal long-term customer.
A series of emails?
I was recently working with a business manager who hated getting emails. He was the techie type and a very straight-forward type of buyer.
“I get tons of emails every day. Just send me the receipt and let me get on with work. I hate getting a series of emails,” he told me.
“I have a question for you. Who are you selling to?”
“You know that,” he grumbled and sighed. “Mostly women salon owners looking for supplies.”
“It’s been my experience women buy differently from men. We know they think differently.”
He laughed. “That’s an understatement.”
“How quickly do they tend to go through their supplies?”
He paused, thinking about the answer. “Some customers buy almost monthly, others it might be three to six months.”
“Okay, why don’t we do a split test and see whether a single email or a series results in more orders or sales over the next six months?”
He nodded. Analytics made sense to him.
We targeted new customers. When we reviewed the analytics six months later, he was surprised at the higher level of sales from the group that received the series of emails. It is always easier to keep a customer than find a new one.
What I’ve learned about CLV…
It’s been my experience that caring for customers pays off with a much higher and longer-term customer lifetime value. I saw it in my clinical service practice. In consulting and coaching clients on products and services they could benefit from. The experience has been repeated in over 20 years of e-commerce. They aren’t just a list of customers…they’re an online family.
As a business owner who had to deal with purchasing from the other side of the table, those same qualities impacted my decisions. My buying and customer support experiences had me leaving or staying with suppliers for years.
People like easy. When we find a business that we like, trust, and feel they respect us, we stay with them. Every positive experience with that business reinforces those feelings.
One secret to enhancing CLV success.
To maximize your results you will need to split your audience. First-time buyers need more nurturing. Repeat buyers like to hear from you but need a different type of nurturing and information.
Give each segment its own thankyou sequence.
Convert new buyers to loyal customers to increase CLV
The initial buying experience sets the tone with new customers. They are hungry for information. Since most businesses don’t do a sequence…just a receipt, you set your business apart. You give more value. Give it without expectations, (they can sense the difference) and it’s cash in the bank. Keep each email SHORT! You know they, like you, have full inboxes. Keep your emails brief and useful.
Thank you email
The receipt email should be warm, friendly, and personalized. Thank them for their order and share key information. New buyers all have similar questions. How quickly will it ship? When can I expect delivery?
Include links to articles or blogs on your website to bring them back again. You don’t want them to forget where they purchased.
Suggest they white list you so they make sure not to miss the free bonus guide and additional information you’ll be sending.
Free bonus guide
Some businesses start throwing discounts to buyers. At this point, they would rather have information. Share a free bonus guide or graphic. Answer questions they may not have thought of yet. Maybe use your FAQ sheet and share them as bullet points.
If your product or service is complex, you may have a lot of questions that people ask, split the information into a couple of emails.
This email can go out one or two days following the thank you email
Maximize your results
Everyone likes to get the most out of a purchase. If there are tricks to having a maximum benefit, share them.
If your product has a “how to use” protocol, it’s great to get this into the hands of the customer on or before the arrival of their order. This maintains the excitement and lets them know you are really trying to help them.
This email can also help them have realistic expectations with and for the product. Weight management doesn’t happen overnight. Supplements take time to have their impact.
In 2020, with major ordering online, I realized a lot of vendors don’t include much information or an adequate instruction manual. You end up having to go back online and Google how to use it. That’s a pretty mediocre buyer’s experience.
Give them the information they need and more. Over-deliver value.
Once their package has arrived, it’s valuable to followup with the buyer. Ask if they have any questions. Let them know how to reach you to get those questions answered. A rapid response email or phone number where there is a live person, please. You’re trying to bond with them…not drive them away.
Some businesses like to combine this with the follow-up. Give them a week or so to use the product before letting them know you’d love to hear their experience.
Other customers may make their buying decision on these testimonials. It’s more helpful if the buyer has actually used the item.
Make it easy for them by providing a link where they can post. Let them know you appreciate their time doing so. Perhaps a bonus of a small discount or free shipping on their next order by a specific date.
It’s time to ramp up your CLV
Heightened Customer Lifetime Value makes a huge difference in the bottom line of your profit and loss. It’s a marketing game-changer. Once done, the sequence can work for you for months or years. That’s a high return on the investment. If you’re just sending an automated receipt, you’re leaving money on the table, and customers who don’t know if you care about them. www.jculpcreativecopy.com . Let’s problem-solve.
If you do a Google search of current blogging statistics, the numbers overwhelmingly support the need for both B2B and B2C companies to have blog content. 85% of people prefer to use content in blogs to help them decide over even testimonials.
There are some best practices to maximize your return on the investment of time and or money outsourcing what can be time-intensive work.
I worked in the spa niche for well over two decades. I traveled, enjoyed experiences and visited lots of spas and resorts.
In the UK, I have my own private native guide, my husband, to take me on discovery trips. In big cities, people are more cautious, guarded. Get away from them and people tend to be more friendly.
UK roads are unique. M-roads are freeways. A-roads are mostly divided highways. B-roads are narrow 2-way roads. However, one lane may disappear unexpectedly. The only way to pass is the tiniest of pull-outs. Driving a road no wider than your car with little visibility on either side is quite an experience.
You never know where you will end up.
A tiny thatched-roof village where the main activity is the village pub that dates back hundreds of years. If you’re adventurous enough to find them, they’re happy to regale you with history as you listen to the locals’ gossip.
The top of the Welch hills with a view for miles…clear to the sea. This while you stand among neolithic burial stones whose only company is a neighboring pasture of cows.
A 5-star spa, Manor House or Castle with experiences as diverse as their locations.
It was natural to share experiences.
I’ve been writing blogs for years. What start out as journal notes, become invites to leave home, experience something different, and renew.
If your blog is shared on a dedicated Facebook page, you’ve tapped into the power of social media and a place people like to relax and read.
Marketing blogs for myself. Content blogs for my clients. Experiences, information, success stories. All designed to help someone.
What many don’t know
Blogs are not static.They have changed and are evolving. Most used to be 500-900 words. Now those with 2250-2500 words show the highest engagement and readership. While you can create a short blog in 1-2 hours. Long blogs can take six hours or more.
Longer blogs have caused frequency to drop. Where bloggers used to put out multiple blogs a week. The longer formats, take more research and writing time. They may only be published semi-monthly.
3 Best Blog Practices
Blogs can be a stand-alone website. They can also be a column or featured tab on your business website. For the most readership, blog content should tie into the purpose of your business.
Take time to think about topics that make sense to include based on your offer. Health, alternative health, fitness, nutrition, wellness, relationships, kids, life events like retirement, or getting married.
Whatever your website’s purpose is, include topics that support it. Your goal is to become their information resource. Reliable, relevant, knowledgeable…and trustworthy.
Diversity in your niche
Within your niche, have a little fun and offer diversity. If you’re offer supplements, nutrition or fitness, consider adding helpful recipes. If your selling supplements for kids, offer simple parenting tips.
Share things that will make readers’ lives easier/better.
Offer the latest findings. A major part of my fitness routine is walking. I just had to replace my shoes and the first thing I noticed they weren’t as sleek. Rather broader and boxier. Fortunately, I had a sharp associate helping me. He educated me on the changes in shoe structure to better protect ergonomics and reduce the risk of plantar fasciitis.
Look for changes or innovations that relate to what you offer. A new ingredient. A new method of formulation that works better. Problem-solution specific. Every reader has a different goal, yet most will read to be better informed.
Keep blogs casual
Blogs are conversations with a friend. Keep them informal. If you have scientific articles on your site, your blog may be the ideal place to convert that to reader-friendly information.
If a topic is complex, your blog is the spot to break it into easily scannable, digestible chunks.
Most of your readers are going to skim-read. Help them out with a friendly style where there is plenty of white space and subheadings.
Make sure the reading level is in the 7-8 range or lower. The higher the reading level, the more mental energy is required and the more quickly readers leave.
Relevant, diverse and casual will keep your readers coming back for more. Mix up short blogs like recipes or quick content with longer reads.
Judith Culp Pearson is a wellness relationship marketer. She puts those skills to work helping businesses increase client retention with web content and strategies. Blog content is always something she recommends to clients. If they don’t have the time or desire to do it, she handles it for them.
In today’s world, it is important for your brand’s success to engage customers with empathy marketing. You need to employ empathy and communicate your understanding and caring about your customers, your staff, and your planet.
It’s what today’s buyers want and are increasingly coming to expect from those they do business with. Yes, back to the pillars of wellness – personal, social, and global.
Initially driven by millennials, it’s being embraced cross-generational. Less transactional, more emotional connections. It puts what the customer values over business sales.
Route.com said it well… “What empathetic marketing should always boil down to is that tried-and-true Golden Rule. Treat others how you want to be treated.”
Business Empathy in 2020
I’ve seen some great examples of this in action this year from a broad range of businesses.
In May, Twitter announced all employees would be allowed to work at home permanently if that was their preference.
They had been moving toward more remote work for some time and testing it. Now, if staff need or want to go in, they can… pandemic restrictions allowing. If they prefer to work remotely, there is no discrimination, no pay cuts, no commute.
The benefits? Staff morale boosted, and equal or better productivity. A demonstration of taking care of people.
Verizon and Fios gave customers free data so they could stay in touch with those they couldn’t physically connect with. They also provided 60 days of free resources to help parents and students with at-home learning. Demonstrating customers and staff before sales.
Statewide businesses jumped in
In Oregon, there are hundreds of boutique businesses in the hemp, beer, and distillation niches. They diverted resources to make hand-sanitizers. It kept staff working, even if the products were donated to those who needed them the most.
Larger companies, like Intel, provided medical workers with PPE and joined with others to accelerate research for treatment and cures.
Then on top of the coronavirus, Oregon was hit with the worst wildfires in the state history. Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes. Some rural cities were totally wiped out. It will take years to deal with the aftermath.
Even small businesses stepped up to help out.
One very small mom and pop Chinese restaurant here in Eugene put a post on Facebook on September 10th.
“Donating food to fire relief camps for the rest of the week. We will be closed. Thanks for your patience.
“Thanks for your support,
They denied themselves income to give their resources to others. Other restaurants and caterers joined them to make sure the firefighters and relief camps had food and water.
Local people raided their personal stores of food, clothing, pet needs, and every other medical and household item you can imagine to donate them to relief centers.
It’s been a year of helping others as I’ve never seen before.
As a customer and marketer…I know it’s about the buyer’s problems
While everything has shifted online, not all businesses have adapted. I’ve seen businesses struggle because they weren’t mentally or technologically prepared. As a marketer, the solutions are clear. To thrive, businesses need a digital presence. They also need empathy marketing.
The changes we have experienced aren’t going to go away anytime soon. People aren’t going to give up the convenience of online shopping. However, they also want more.
You need more than demographics, you need psychographics. I find they help me dig deeper and find the aspects of emotions and empathy best suited to prospects.
Brands need to embrace empathy marketing
It’s not enough to have an e-commerce site. With all the shysters and scammers out there, buyers are becoming more discriminating.
They are looking for things to improve their life. They want transparency to know your brand can be trusted. And they want to know how you are helping other people and the planet.
Embrace all techniques of empathy for engaged and loyal customers.
Three steps for empathy marketing
There are three key techniques you can use for empathy marketing. Start by “walking in their shoes.” Discover their emotions: problems, pains, views, beliefs, values. Then craft your communications with transparency and openness.
It’s critical to do more than try to think like your target customer. You need to be them, assume their perspective without judgment. Understand their emotions and motivations. What makes them buy? Also, discover the things that make them resist.
How are they feeling now and how do they want to feel? What do they want to be different and how can you make their life better? Do they recognize their problem or that a solution exists?
These things together will guide you in where you need to start their journey and the steps you need to include.
By knowing their views and beliefs you can smooth out your buying pathway so they don’t get derailed.
You want to connect with them on shared social and planet-friendly values.
Take salsa. There are lots of choices out there and we all have taste preferences. My go-to brand donates all the profits to charities. That made my buying decision easy.
This where we need psychographics. We also have to recognize how men and women buy differently. Men are more transactional by nature. Women are more emotion-driven in their buying decisions.
Women influence 85% of all consumer buying decisions. That makes them an obvious choice to nurture. It’s important to value them and tap into the emotions – and empathy that will make them loyal customers.
Deadlines like a limited time offer can trigger a buy. Grocery stores use this all the time with their in-store announcement of a special price for the next 10 minutes. Limited quantities are equally powerful. We don’t want to miss out and we love to feel we got bonus value.
Benevolence or altruism are also female buying stimuli. They may feel they are better off and want to help others. Or it may be part of their social values. Humanity and giving back.
Belonging is important to both men and women. We like being part of something, a tribe, a team of like-minded people.
There is also “empathy-response.” When people get positive feedback from giving or doing something it creates an empathy response.
In buying the perfect gift, women share the recipient’s joy emotionally. When her daughter squeals for joy over her birthday gift, she gets a surge of endorphins, the feel-good hormone. She gets the same feel-good hormone for problem-solving.
Men get the empathy response when they do something successfully, or the female in his life is pleased with him, or when their team quarterback scores a touchdown.
Once you have this information you can use it to craft your messages with transparency and openness to build trust in your relationship and brand. You want to make them feel heard and acknowledged.
Once women make the emotional decision, they need you to provide logical information to back it up. This validates their decision. Science, facts, and social proof. Sharing other’s success stories from problem to solution and how they have improved their life is powerful.
Use caution with success stories so they don’t come across in a pushy or sales-focused way. They need to stand on their own merits as validation of problem and solution. What their life was like before and what it is now. Share what they had tried that didn’t work, their failures. How they found your solution and their experiences on the journey to a better quality of life.
When I work with clients…
I start by learning what they are currently doing and what isn’t working. Then, taking another look at their target, I dive deeper to find a different way to connect and engage with emotions and empathy marketing. Need help? Reach out to me. firstname.lastname@example.org.
When we are trying to improve our customer experience, we need to understand our target audience and what makes them tick. Demographics tell us where they live, their age, and what they earn. The relatively new region of psychographics analytics tells us why they buy.
Psychographics tell us the Why
They reveal the customer’s interests, and activities or lifestyle. We learn about their opinions, their values, and their attitudes. And we discover their beliefs and emotional triggers.
This information allows us to segment our audience and send them targeted marketing that aligns with their interests.
Now the ads are everywhere?
A while back, I stumbled on an apparel company called Paskho on Facebook. It looked interesting, so I went to explore.
They were starting the process to transition manufacturing from China to support underserved US communities. They used responsible sourcing and had a planet-friendly message. This on top of having easy to wear comfortable clothes for travel or at home. Looked good.
The price points suggested maybe for dress, travel or occasional wear. I didn’t order although I did give them my email address.
The next day when I went online to Facebook, there were ads for the company in my feed. And the next. And the next.
Facebook AI had used the data it had collected on my hobbies and interests and decided we were a fit.
When I did a Google search…guess who’s ad showed up. Sure enough. The same company was there.
And my inbox? Yes, I started getting a well-written series of trust-building nurturing emails. They topped it off with a coupon and a great return policy. I finally succumbed and placed an order.
Why use them?
I’ve been following psychographics for several years and use it routinely when I create strategies and content. It gets results.
A couple of years ago I created a summer special for a list that I knew well. Small business owners, B2B, beauty.. 98% are women and love a good deal – if they like/need the product.
It traditionally was a slow month for sales. We did a special “Shh! The boss is away so we’re having a sale.” We offered a favorite popular product at discount. The email received 24% opens and 17% click rate.
I wrote for another client in the wellness sector who got even higher results.
She hadn’t contacted her list in three years due to a serious medical issue. The email got 65% opens, a 20% click-through rate, and a full roster for a class she was offering.
Knowing exactly what your reader’s interests are, does make a huge difference in ROI.
Many people don’t know the rules
Psychographics have come a long way in just the last five years and they are evolving fast. There are now online providers where you can source customer psychographics for a list.
The big caution is it has to be done properly to protect privacy. Getting permission, some sort of opt-in is important.
We know that Facebook has a huge system of AI that gathers information from us regularly. We voluntarily offer up hobbies and interests on our profile. Facebook uses this plus our online habits to place ads we are most apt to respond to in our newsfeed.
They aren’t sharing our information with the advertiser. However, they are using it to place paid ads where we will see them. If you want to see how it works check out Ad Preferences on your Facebook profile under settings.
What psychographics reveal
While the number of male and female shoppers is about the same, according to a study by Bloomberg, women make more than 85% of all consumer purchases in the US. They influence over 95% of total goods and services purchased.
The notion that men are in charge of all decisions should have just fled your mind and marketing plan.
If you want to sell a male-specific product…consider marketing to those who influence his buying triggers.
With all the social equality issues that have come out in 2020, it will be more important than ever to understand our prospects beyond demographics.
Values, social, and is the company helping the environment opinions will impact decisions for both male and female buyers.
To use psychographic marketing
Focus on their needs, concerns, interests, and passions. As a result of the pandemic, people are feeling stressed. Aches, pains, lack of sleep, poor nutrition. Now, all aspects of wellness are hot topics and emotional triggers.
Offer stress-reducing or stress-management solutions. Help them relax, restore or improve something in their life. Share something that will help them feel better about themselves.
Talk to your customer service team and learn what they are hearing from customers.
Interview some customers and listen to what they are asking for. Not sure what they are asking? Use open-ended questions to enhance the dialogue. Listening is key.
Read product reviews, and questions people ask, on similar Amazon offers. Haunt social media or forums and note the things people are talking about…what they need, want, think.
Use their interests to stay in touch…nurture
Provide information that answers questions they haven’t thought of yet. Keep them interest-specific. I’ve noticed many wellness businesses offering more recipes. They are all tied into some aspect of what the business does.
Simple things make a difference. Guides, how-to’s, charts, videos, apps.
People love validation. Customer success stories, testimonials, and other third-party information can help move them toward the purchase.
Be device friendly
Make sure your format works on all devices. While men have embraced mobile devices, the majority of women still prefer to work on a desktop or other device with a larger screen that facilitates research.
Women respond better to email offers than their male counterparts. They are willing to get additional information from you in exchange for their email address. A special offer in that email may well bring them back to your website again…this time with buying in mind.
Never assume a woman isn’t interested if she abandons her cart or suddenly leaves your website. She is a multi-tasker and you never know what interrupted her shopping.
Gently remind and invite her back again…with the respect of a valued friend, not someone you’re trying to hammer into a sale.
Follow current best practices
Stressed people are less tolerant of poorly crafted or pushy messages. Make sure your message is modern, and politically and socially correct.
Psychographics in a nutshell
Men are raised that they need to be a winner. Use techniques to reinforce their self-esteem and self-value.
Many men don’t enjoy the shopping process. Make buying easy.
Women are stressed multi-taskers looking for solutions. They want to improve their quality of life. Women are nurturing influencers. They need both emotional and logical input to make their decisions.
Women not only buy for themselves but are the buyers for children, extended family, friends, and the elderly. This isn’t just true in the USA but in nearly every society.
Even when they don’t make the purchase themselves, women influence it. They are caregivers, relationship builders, and communicators.
With the pandemic, some online businesses have still not adjusted to the increased need for customer support. The need is greater and expectations for customer service are higher than ever before.
Elevate your customer service to raise your like and trust value, as well as your wellness brand.
Need help to enhance the ROI on wellness marketing? Contact me: email@example.com