Are You Letting Web Marketing Efforts Come Between You and Your Customer?
Recently, I had a discussion with a B-to-B client about his successful online marketing. The client was very pleased with how many new customers were now coming from his online marketing activities and what percentage of its orders and sales were being received online.
He crowed about how much money he was saving getting orders online vs. over the phone. He sounded like a giddy online marketing manager! On the surface, those are all good achievements. But I couldn’t help but wonder if the focus and attention were on the right things. I pondered the situation for a moment and thought about the value of the missed interaction with an experienced inbound representative. I thought about the “touch” rather than the “tech” approach. I asked him the following questions:
1. While your online acquisition work looks successful, do you really know what triggered that new customer to buy online? Are you over-emphasizing the importance of your Web site or paid search activities in online acquisition?
2. When that new customer ordered online, what was done to introduce him to your brand, leave a lasting first impression and encourage him to order again?
3. How do you know that new online customer’s order was what he needed? Was it as big as it could have been? Will it have a high return rate?
4. Were you able to quantify that customer’s name and site potential, get referrals to other potential buyers at that site or obtain any other useful marketing information?
5. How do you know what the quality of his first order experience was?
6. Do you think that customer will return to place a second order?
It was about then in the conversation that the client paused. I could see him thinking and realizing that just maybe the issue needed further investigation. It’s a situation I’ve seen in several client organizations and, as such, have come up with some best practice guidelines for you to consider. Here they are:
1. New online customers almost always have other (usually mail) contributing marketing activities. Track and allocate all the activities that result in new online customers.
2. Always call back all new online customers to welcome them, tell them the benefits of dealing with your company, verify the order, assess the potential of the name/site, collect useful marketing database information and encourage a second order. If you can’t do it for every new online customer, at least do it for the highest potential sites. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression and that, in the end, “people buy from people.” Also, you should see a 15 to 20 percent increase in AOV from your representative’s up-sell and cross-sell activity and a 10 to 20 percent reduction in return rate (where the customer ordered the wrong/incomplete item).
3. Track your new online customers over time to compare their RFM, one year value and the products they purchase against those of your offline customers. Understand the differences and accentuate the positives while correcting the negatives.
4. Don’t think of your customers as online or offline. In reality, they’re usually a mixture of both and the goal is to determine how, when and why different customers respond to and/or use either communications/order channel.