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As customers, we will never go backwards. We will keep demanding more and better and faster. If we don’t get it, we will vote with our feet and our social media voices.
As businesses, if we don’t invest in continuously improving customer service we can only compete on price, that joyless race to the bottom.
If you’re serious about a great customer experience then it’s time to get real about artificial intelligence (AI) because the return on investment is measurable and significant.
Businesses implementing AI in their customer experience are not replacing their existing model, they are augmenting the model where it makes financial sense. So where does it make sense?
As organisations add new customers or new products and services their customer support request volumes increase. Using an automated agent as a first responder resolves the simple, repetitive requests that don’t require human intervention.
When the requests are more complex or require escalation the automated agent delivers a warmed up customer where the live support agent is briefed on the customer need and the customer does not have to repeat the basics of their issue.
Reduction in support requests requiring a live agent and/or a phone call.
Live agents maximise productivity in dealing with a smaller volume of more complex tasks that only a human being can solve and reducing the brain drain of answering repetitive questions.
Machine learning from automated agent conversations is more rapidly mobilised into website FAQ and support documentation.
Companies with developed customer portals already allow customers to manage their own accounts, but customers still want and need a helping hand even if they are logged into a portal.
Once authenticated, automated agents can better support the customer based on their personal history within the portal. Transactions, previously logged support requests and access to rebates and discounts are just a sample of what an automated agent can serve up all in one place and in one conversation.
Reducing customer churn. Providing an adaptable, personalised experience and delivering information in a timely and useful way is critical for customer retention.
For organisations it provides real time feedback on how well the customer portal is functioning. Easily gauge and improve on the customer experience by understanding what is used and/or confused.
For eCommerce sites reducing any point of purchase friction is a critical, but sometimes frustrating pursuit. In the case of some businesses the retail experience is only online, and overheads are already stretched across multiple areas of the business and staffing a phone or live chat 24/7 isn’t financially viable.
Using a combination of automated support and personalised data retrieval, customers receive timely advice, supported by previous purchase data and available loyalty rewards.
Using AI to enhance the customer experience has clear financial benefits, but it also helps improve the person to person experience too.
As customers we want to know our money and our time is valued and adding AI to the customer support experience doesn’t just say that, it SHOWS it.
Tough to admit as digital marketers, but our website was hacked a few years ago. It was frustrating, time-intensive to fix and mostly embarrassing.
We hung our heads for a bit, but then realised our experience could actually benefit others. We had taken our website security for granted but the process of restoring our online reputation painted a clear picture of what we, and other WordPress sites could do to strongly discourage future hacking attempts.
While some of the information below is unique to our WordPress security service it is a strong guide for anyone needing to keep their online reputation safe.
Traitor…that is likely the nicest thing my female colleagues, team members, friends and family are thinking right now. Shame on me really, because I’m here to tell you why we should throw those antiquated ideas out the (car) window.
Women, on average, are are looking after more than one person at any given time, requiring more patience and thought in getting from here to there. So if we take a bit more time or allow more than one car to merge remember the literal and metaphorical band-aid at the back of our mind.
An email to your clients, consumers and other stakeholders is one of the quickest and most effective ways to send out a key message instantaneously, but when you’ve got hundreds of contacts to get in touch with, it can no doubt be quite an exhausting task.
Email marketing platform Mailchimp allows businesses and e-commerce retailers to send marketing emails, automated messages and targeted campaigns in a straight forward way, and their continuous innovation in technology is allowing businesses to grow and gain more ground with their target markets.
The latest resources of Mailchimp allow you to communicate to your audiences faster, and here at WK Digital we can help you implement best practice email marketing so that you can run with it and utilise it for your business.
We’ve put together a list of the platform’s most recent features to show you not only how easy it is to use, but just how beneficial it can really be.
Mailchimp has taken a major step from email-only to marketing, now allowing subscribers to create beautiful Facebook ad campaigns. In the same familiar interface, you can produce an effective campaign strategy to match your branding style and target your audience.
Not having to spend time navigating through two different sites is one of the stand-out elements within this new feature. Also, because you integrate Mailchimp with Facebook, you’ll be able to track your return on investment, how many new customers you’ve gained, your orders total, the amount of people you’ve reached, and whether or not you should improve your marketing strategy.
Often it’s an easy decision for a business to advertise – after all, it makes sense to let the public know you exist. But choosing how and where to advertise can be problematic, especially when you’re a small business and your budget just can’t cater to the larger-fit costs of a broader campaign.
Mailchimp’s Facebook Ad Campaigns feature allows you to utilise the most popular social media platform in the world today, and target actual people. Other ad systems use cookie-based advertising to limit showing ads on a particular device or browser, but Facebook works quite the opposite. As most people access their Facebook profiles on varying equipment almost on a daily basis, you’re guaranteed to be seen.
It makes sense for some businesses to integrate their email marketing component with a customer relationship management (CRM) application, which can make your three marketing components – contact lists, content and results – a lot faster and easier.
Mailchimp provides a connection to other websites and services, which you can plug in to your account, and they are so easy to use because there’s no need to learn about programming or coding.
The newest integrations, of which there are more than a dozen in Mailchimp, allow you to add subscribers, sync data, import content and see how successful your campaigns are. As an example, some of the integrated systems include Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Shopify and PayPal.
It’s a brilliant way to learn what your customers are purchasing and then progress to creating more email campaigns customised to their interests!
You can truly design an appealing email campaign with a large variety of Mailchimp’s templates. There’s a choice of three ways to go about it – working with a basic layout, a pre-built theme or a template based on the message you want to communicate.
One of the best things about this particular feature is that for e-commerce retailers, you can actually showcase and sell products this way. You’re not limited to what you want to put across, and it can be anything from presenting special discount offers to offering vouchers and special packages to loyalty consumers.
These features, plus more within the platform, is why you use Mailchimp as a primary email marketing service, but here at WK Digital, we can help you apply all of that and guide you. If it helps your business grow, then we are at the forefront of making that happen.
Kicking off your first website or online business is a huge challenge. There are countless pitfalls to avoid, and plenty of chances to make a mistake. Thankfully, thousands of people have trodden that path before.
Learning from the mistakes of others is a clever move. There are a number of steps to securing the full rights to your own domain name and website, and we’ve broken it down right here.
This comes with the heavy caveat that you do so with advice from an expert that doesn’t have a vested interest. If you know someone who works in search engine optimisation (SEO), ask them for assistance choosing a name. If you don’t, do your own research or find a cheap freelancer with the basic knowledge to help you out (consider a site like Fiverr.com).
There are plenty of horror stories of people who have paid for their domains for several years, then got a new credit card that cannot be charged. If your email address is still active, that’s fine – most providers will be more than happy to chase you for payment. However, if it’s not, you’re in trouble.
Set up your account to auto-renew if your finances aren’t too tight. That way, you can be sure to stay in business. Some agencies will take care of this for you if the domain is registered with their account.
Sometimes it’s a great option to allow your web agency to handle the entire process, from purchasing the domain name, to building your site and handling the ongoing hosting. However, it’s important to maintain some security. Reputable agencies will always hand your domain name back when you choose to move on.
Your website is your online presence, and your domain is the front door. Agencies come with an immense amount of useful expertise, and should certainly be trusted to manage your account. However, much like a real estate agent, its best if you retain the ownership rights to your own property.
If you can, pay for a couple of years upfront. Register with an email that you regularly check. There is nothing more heartbreaking than losing control of a domain that you’ve invested in for several years, and being forced to shell out thousands of dollars to a reseller or, worse, a competitor. This is especially relevant in Australia, where despite the existence of legal barriers to registering and owning domain names unrelated to your business, the practice of domain-camping is widespread.
When choosing your domain name, you want to get it right the first time. Once your site is indexed, attracting traffic and earning backlinks, you certainly don’t want to have to start over and go through the messy business of redirects and lost site value.
One of the most important things you need to consider is SEO. While Google applies considerably less weight to domain names nowadays, it can still provide you a significant boost in the early stages of your site. Use keywords related to your industry, location or business name.
Avoid unnecessary characters in your domain name. In other words, don’t make the mistake of hyphenating your business name. Keep it simple, and related to your business.
Buy either a .com domain or a local country-level domain, such as .com.au. There are advantages to more local domain names, especially as Google continues its industry-leading drive to deliver the most relevant, local content to people using their search engine.
Your domain name is absolutely essential to your continued online presence. In order to maintain a continued online presence, keep the domain in your name or work with an agency that you trust. Agency expertise is valuable, but your property is your property. You don’t give your accountant your power of attorney, so don’t give your agency the right to use and resell your domain name. If things ever go pear-shaped, you’ll be glad everything is in your name.
The first thing about choosing strong keywords for your websites search engine optimization (SEO) is to know what your potential client or customer is searching for that you can offer them. When a person comes to your site based on a particular keyword, will they find the items, goods or services they are seeking? If not, you are leading them down a path that will come to a disappointing end for everyone. What are you offering that’s unique to your business? How can you get people to come to your site for something very specific that they will be delighted to know you offer?
Start by experimenting with search terms you think are your strongest possibilities. When you enter them, what comes up? Are there lots of ads for that search term and what is the competition you have regarding those terms?
Ex: If you are a dentist, try Googling the search term dental care followed by your zip code. Location based key phrases are best with most brick and mortar businesses. If a lot of other dentists come up in that search, you are competing with those businesses for a piece of the pie using that term. This can be costly if you are using a service like Google Ad Words as you will be competing with some of the bigger businesses for that piece of the pie. If you have a specialty and can use search terms that are more specific to what you specialize in, you might be able to get great traction using terms about that specific service. Ex. Best tooth whitening in Orlando might be a little more targeted than best dentist in Orlando.
It’s not just about key words, it’s about key phrases.
You can hire a professional SEO service, but be cautious. There are many companies that are great at this but many that are not as experienced as they profess. Get references.
Google offers a few free tools that can be helpful. Google Key Word Planner, Google Trends and Key Word Tool io, are free and can give you some good information.
There are tools you can pay for that can be more in depth but costly.
Term Explorer and Moz Keyword Difficulty Tool are excellent products but can run as little as $35 a month to nearly $500 a month depending on what you choose.
It can simply be trial and error. Keep a watchful eye on it and if a key word or phrase is not bringing clicks to your site and more importantly conversions to sales, ditch it.
Remember that the sole purpose of key words is to bring people to see what you have to offer and get them to buy something, be it goods or services.
Instagram might not be for everyone but it’s a very powerful social media platform, especially for millennials. Research shows that Instagram drives more engaged traffic than any other social media channel, including Facebook.
Instagram gleans more return customers. If someone buys something from you and then follows you on Instagram, statistics show they’re more likely to become repeat customers, which is how businesses survive.
Our world is visual, and “a picture’s worth a thousand words.” Most people have a great camera built into their phone. That alone can be a fantastic business tool.
It’s hard to say how you should spend your time marketing your business. Marketing is a science and, with the onslaught of social media platforms, it’s only become more complicated. If you offer goods that are visual in nature, where images can be very impactful, Instagram is can work. Marketing is about one thing, engagement. How can you engage an audience? We live in a world where everything is moving so quickly, to keep up with it, you have to be fast and visual. Can you get them to your website, store, or event to see what you’re selling with strong visuals and content? If so, Instagram is worth your time and efforts.
Everything can be sexy if you approach it from the right angle. If you’re selling orthopedic shoes to senior citizens, show a sexy older woman rocking those shoes. You can make your small business look just as important as the big guys with well thought out images that tell who you are and what you’re selling. Sexy is subjective. Sexy can be getting the right product to the right people at the right price.
Yes! Engagement is tough. People are fickle and the 20-40 year- old Instagram user is no exception. Post at least once a day. With Twitter you might need to post 8 to 10 times a day to stay current. With Instagram, a couple of pictures with short, pithy, content can do the trick.
Hashtags are not a gimmick. They’re keyword phrases. If someone’s searching for something and uses a phrase that turns up in a hashtag, that search will lead them to you. Hashtags can take on a life of their own. The hashtag, #Nevermypresident, is getting a lot of traction from the people that don’t support the incoming president. Searching that hashtag will bring people with that mind set together.
Instragram is better for reaching a younger audience. Facebook has moved toward an older demographic where Instagram and it’s visual connection to the phone garner a much younger crowd. If you’re product or services are aimed at the under 40 crowd, Instagram is a must.
A great logo can provide your company with a boost but actually visualising an image that embodies your company and projects what you stand for isn’t easy. Creating it is even harder so this article seeks to help you understand what you need to consider during the logo design phase.
The five main principles of design are: simplicity, memorability, adaptability, uniqueness and colour scheme. When your logo is being designed make a checklist of these five things to measure how viable and appropriate your logo will be.
Simplicity and memorability
Great logos are memorable and easy to describe. Ask the next person you see to describe, not draw, these logos including the colour scheme: McDonald’s, Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Nike, Adidas, Qantas and Vegemite. They’ll pretty much describe them to a T because those logos are simple and memorable.
Iconic brands like Starbucks are the exception to this which proves not all logos have to be overly simple but the easier your logo is to describe out loud the more eye-catching it will be in actuality.
Logos needs to be versatile so when designing a logo consider all of the mediums it will feature in. Detailed logos can lose a lot of its effectiveness when shrunk as they can if the colour is changed. Your logo is going to look different on a billboard than it will on a computer screen, in a magazine, on a business card or company stationary.
They say there is nothing new under the sun but that isn’t an excuse for not even trying for some innovation. Copying logos or even taking heavy inspiration from a popular design isn’t a great idea as you risk looking cheap or being sued for plagiarism. Anyway, you want your logo to be about you, not a knocked off version of someone else.
For branding experts it’s possible to identify patterns in logo colours that fit certain feelings and how they play a part in purchasing decisions and brand association. A study undertaken by the University of Winnipeg, Canada, found that almost 9 in 10 initial reactions to products and logos could be linked back to the colour.
The Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science also found that purchasing decisions can be affected by how colours manipulate and influence brand perception.
Colours are considered to be indicators of the personality of a brand. There are 8 main colour schemes that companies use to convey their personality or message: monochrome, green, blue, purple, red, orange, yellow and combination.
What do the colours say?
Monochrome is favoured by companies like Apple, Nike, Mercedes, Adidas and Playboy. It is said to project balance, calmness, neutrality, sophistication and aspiration, especially with high-end products like you find with Apple and Mercedes.
Green is used for health, nature, peacefulness and growth. You’ll see it with brands like Land Rover who market their cars to rural consumers; food businesses like Tropicana and Whole Foods to enhance their healthy living credentials and Starbucks to imply fresh, natural ingredients.
Tech companies like Intel, Dell, IBM, HP, Facebook, Twitter and WordPress use blue to highlight their trustworthiness, dependability, competence and strength. It’s also favoured by conglomerates, popular car manufacturers and financial providers like American Express, JPMorgan, Ford, VW, GE and Walmart because they want to be seen as reliable and consistent.
Food and drink brands like Coca-Cola, KFC and Budweiser, who appeal to under-25s more, employ red as it is considered an exciting, bold, youthful colour. It also plays well with new technology like video-streaming on Netflix or YouTube.
Purple implies creativity, imagination and wisdom – perhaps that is why wizards are so often pictured wearing purple robes – but it also blend elements from blue and red. Cadbury’s is an example of this as it wants to be seen as exciting yet dependable whilst Hallmark wants to be seen as trustworthy and creative.
Companies who want to exude confidence and cheerfulness opt for Orange. Orange works well with children and is favoured by Fanta and Nickelodeon. It is also used as an accent by companies like Harley Davidson and Amazon.
Yellow exhibits optimism, clarity and warmth. McDonald’s, IKEA and Best Buy are all about clarity. You know exactly what you are going to get with them. SubWay is dominated by yellow for clarity but they also accent with green for the healthy food aspect and white for balance.
Combination has to be done really well because it’s easy to confuse your audience – notice how the main brands who use combination are technology/internet giants like Google, Microsoft and eBay.
When it comes to matching your brand personality to a colour scheme, remember that there is no evidence to suggest one colour will be more compelling than another. How your logo interacts with the colours is more important that the colours itself. The relationship between colour and brand is steeped in the perception of appropriateness and therefore your logo could be completely transformed with a colour change.
The feeling your logo creates will play a huge role in the perception of your brand and the strength of its persuasion. For that reason you must ensure that first your brand is simple, memorable, adaptable and unique before settling on a colour scheme. Think about your company’s core values, aims, strengths and achievements. This is what your company is made of and should be the factors that shape your logo.
We recently updated our logo to reflect the growth of our business and have had amazing feedback both from our business partners and customers. If you’re looking for assistance in this arena, you can learn more about here design services here. If you’d like to discuss what you’re after in a new logo, you can also contact us and we’d be thrilled to help.
Customer profiling may sound like a politically incorrect term used in airport security but it’s actually an innocent business term for understanding who your customers are.
Imagine a manual for how to most effectively reach your target demographic with details on what they like to buy, how much the spend, how they use your products or services, what will help retain their custom and what matters most to them as consumers. That is your customer profile.
How to create your ideal customer profile
Customer profiles help you understand the things that matter to your customers so you can tailor your offerings and messages to better appeal to them.
Selling products and services without understanding what your ideal customer looks like is akin to doing paint by numbers with your eyes closed. You’ll get paint on the canvass, so in a sense, job done, but it’s not going to look pretty.
Let’s examine how you can easily create a customer profile to determine your target demographic.
There are four simple parts to creating profiles for the customers your business should be targeting: Describe. Connect. Locate. Understand.
The first thing you need to do is create a description sheet for each of your ideal customers. You need to determine, in a broad sense, the two or three main types of customer you have or want.
Build profiles by sorting customers using these basic criteria:
If you work B2B then what you should define includes: Sector, number of employees, revenue and budget, national/global reach, and decision-making process.
Each type of customer will have varying motives for why they chose your company or your product. Not appreciating their individual motives means you cannot address their individual needs. Don’t lump them together.
Lots of companies use data-mining or just good old-fashioned polling of their customers to gather information. Interview your current customers and ask them what they like about you, what they don’t; what attracted them to you, how they found you originally; what makes them stay, what makes them want to leave; what others do they wish you did, what you do others don’t. Encourage complete honesty.
The information you get back will enable you to create your customer profiles. This information is vital in so many ways. It not only allows you to use that information in the most effective manner for your market strategies but also gives you invaluable feedback on your strengths and weaknesses.
Knowing where your customers are isn’t as simple as where they live. We covered that kind of location in demographics. What you want to know is where they go — be that physically or digitally. Where do they spend their time? What websites are they visiting? What papers do they like to read? What social media networks are they attracted to? What do they search for on the internet? Where do they go on holiday? What continents do they prefer to visit?
When you understand where your customer types are at any given time you can target them more effectively. You might be spending money on ad spaces in a national gym with loads of members but few of them fit your customer profiles. That’s wasted money but it can sometimes seem like a good idea to go for numbers.
Knowing where your customers are located can help you decide what numbers make more sense. A small online forum where the average user is 60% likely to fit one of your profiles or a national newspaper with 5x the active readers but with an average profile fit of 25%?
We all have a purchasing process — an unconscious method for making spending decisions. Understanding what drives your customers to make the decisions they do is a key part of building a winning strategy.
You need to understand what their problem or need is. Are they making purchases proactively or reactively? Are they trying to fix a problem or fulfilling a desire? How are they researching solutions to their problem? How are they researching ways to fulfil their need? What benefits are they looking for?
How are they making their final decision? Are they looking at reviews? Comparing features and benefits with competitors? Are they buying on a whim? Do they need to get approval?
When you understand how they make purchases you can tailor your message to speak to them on their level. Your strategy can be designed to match the flow of their purchasing process resulting in higher conversions.
One of the best ways to create specific profiles for each distinct group is to name them and give them a picture — this is known as a persona. Visual aids are really helpful in building customer personas and familiarising your team with the motives, desires and concerns of that type of customer. Also, down the line it will enable seamless switching of strategy between customer sets.
An extraneous example would be marketing for a new face cream. A broad target would be “active females in their 30s and 40s”. Customer profiling could allow you to break that down into ‘Molly the stay at home mum’, ‘Charlotte the career woman’ and ‘Adventurous Alice’.
Molly is in her mid-30s; she has two children, one at school, the other is under a year. She lives in the suburbs, drives a hatchback and has a household income of $80000. She doesn’t get much sleep so is concerned her skin is starting to look tired. She wants to try a new face cream but is easily put off by negative reviews on a mum’s blog forum she visits most days.
Charlotte is in her late 20s, has no children and is dating. She drives a convertible, lives in the city, travels for work a lot and earns $50000. She has noticed a few wrinkles around her brow and wants sometimes to help smooth them. She’s always busy so tends to take the advice of sales clerks or chooses products she has seen in her favourite magazine which often has free samples.
Alice leads a very active, outdoors lifestyle. She surfs, cycles, swims, rock-climbs and runs. She’s into extreme sports and spends most of her life in the sun. Alice is worried her lifestyle is drying out her skin and wants a product that is compatible with her activities. She tends to use consumer comparison sites to find the best deals and research the benefits of products.
All three would benefit from using the same product but they have different motives, purchasing processes, incomes, backgrounds and lifestyles. You can’t create a campaign that will reach everyone but by creating customer profiles you can create appropriate and targeted campaigns for your ideal customers.
Acutely targeted marketing strategies, created with these ideal customers in mind, should enable you to better reach the new and existing customers to positively affect sales and grow your business.