Fetch that deerstalker hat, a stylish pipe and call Dr Watson. It’s time to track your customers, follow their every footstep and think like they think. The ‘game’ is on.
A heinous crime is about to be committed, one so utterly senseless it’s barely speakable.
An innocent customer wants to find your brand but, alas! they have got lost on the dark, barren internet moors as the social media tempest rages. Worse still, the hounds (your competitors!) are circling with drooling, guttural growls. Your case, Mr Holmes, is to track down the mystery customers before the hounds pick up the scent and before it’s too late.
Admittedly a little over the top, but you get the picture - your customers are out there but you mostly don’t know where they are and, if they do stumble on your brand or site, they disappear again like fog on a midnight moor. It’s a crime I tell you! So what’s the solution to this most perplexing case?
You, Mr Holmes, will need to follow their footsteps and map out your customers digital journeys so you can reach your customers before your competitors do (hence the hounds metaphor). And you can’t do it alone, you will need Dr Watson or the digital version of him to help you build a picture of where they went - and where they are most likely to go next. It is indeed a most perplexing case but here are a few tips to help you in your line of enquiry.
"To track them down, you need to create a customer journey and think like a customer. Their motivations for wandering out in to the internet wilderness at all times of day and night are myriad and complex. You need to understand these reasons and plan for them."
Start with the facts, start with what you know What data do you have about your customers? What do they do on your site and how did they find you? When they are not on your site where have they come from? Where are the gaps? Start by building up a picture of the data (facts) you have and the data (facts) you don’t. In simple terms, you’re looking to fill in the blanks and build a team with the detective skills and the technical know-how to maintain it on a longer term basis.
Identify your key suspects Looking at your target market, who are the people you want to attract? More often than not the answer from businesses is ‘everyone.’ Well that’s fine and dandy but begin to make a list of suspects so to speak; segment them and then match that with your own website and social media data. In January 2019, the United Arab Emirates Population was estimated at 9.68 million, 80% of which are from an expat audience with the overwhelming majority male. With just this basic information you can start to narrow in your target demographic and build it in to your customer journey.
Where were they last seen? Make a note of all the places your customers may interact with or actually do interact with your brand: web, print, search and display ads, social media channels, partner marketing, events and email campaigns - your customers move back and forth across these landscapes so track and report on that interaction over time. Most customers will visit your site more than once before making a purchase or using your services. Make it easy for them to find you but think laterally. Do they have any known ‘associates’ such as influencers who can convey your message to places you can’t currently reach?
Assume you don’t know your customers motives Never assume you know what your customers want. Ask them and look from the outside in - use data and insight as the foundation of your customer journey mapping and user experience (UX) to get on your customers wavelength.
Run focus groups and surveys (best not to interrogate them at this stage) with your target customers so you can understand their decision making process and what they want. Use your CRM to manage those customer segments and integrate it with forensic tools like Google Analytics so you can understand them better. Which content on your site is engaging and which pages get little traffic? Then ditch the dead content; they are red herrings which will only delay your case.
Plan well before you go in all guns blazing! Now you’re starting to build a strong case. You’ve built up a picture of what you know, asked your customers and are actively working on filling those data blanks in your case. The next step is User Experience or UX. Based on the ‘evidence’, build up some wireframes of your website and the functionality your customers want.
Draw them closer with Design Then move on to design but don’t forget to include your customers in the testing. ‘Agile’ project management does this product by product. This may work but it’s always important to have a clearly defined overall vision for your customers - what do they want and how are you going to make it as easy as possible for them to get what they want? Make the design so user-friendly they are drawn to your digital brand like a detective to a stake-out.
So there you have it - start simple, fill in the gaps and assume your customers are strangers, until you can prove otherwise!
At eWavelength, we love a Sherlock Holmes style forensic analysis of customer journeys and UX experiences. So if you have a mystery to solve or have committed the grave crime of leaving your customers out in the wilderness, pick up the phone. All is not lost.
eWavelength is a digital marketing consultancy that manages and delivers digital projects in the UAE through our network of digital consultants. We have helped some of the region’s leading entertainment, finance and aviation businesses implement and deliver digital activities to boost sales and income. Talk to us to discover powerful digital strategies that work across platforms and channels.