Search engines don't always show brands in their best light. When potential clients and customers search online search engines serve up many different types of content - most of it out of your control. They may reveal blog posts from your competitors, show reviews from review sites like Yelp or Angie’s List, or even negative articles about the brand. The key is to identify and then optimize customer touch points your brand can control.
If your brand is absent in search results (or, perhaps more troubling, negative information rises to the top of results) it’s time to start managing your online reputation.
One of the ways to do this is to identify and analyze your customer touch points.
The purpose of touch point analysis
What is a customer touch point in the digital world? It’s any time a customer interacts with your business or brand before, during, or after a sale. This includes everything from the first advertisement they see on the sidebar of a favorite website, to the “Thank you!” message they receive after submitting a form or making an order.
An i-Scoop blog post states that crafting an end-to-end customer experience is essential for customer retention, customer loyalty, word-of-mouth, acquisition, and more.
How to analyze touch points
Once you've identified your main customer touch points, how do you improve their effectiveness? It starts with highly focused content. Obviously, the words in a blog will be a different tone and style than those on an e-commerce website or a Facebook ad.
Here’s a 5-step strategy for analyzing and adapting your customer touchpoints to improve your business’s reputation online:
1. Walk a mile in the customer’s shoes.
Depending on how large your organization is, this step may involve conducting interviews with customers or studying data from your sales and marketing team. The purpose of this step is to identify each step of the typical customer journey, so you can see where and how your customers are interacting with your brand.
2. Identify a goal for each touch point.
The goal for a Facebook advertisement might be to get a customer to redeem a coupon code, click the link, or visit your company blog. The goal for a blog post might be to get a customer to request a free consultation, fill out a form, or call a phone number.
3. Study what your competitors do with each touch point.
...And record your observations. If you're studying your competitor's email newsletter, make note of the word count, tone, and type of content within it. What kinds of images do they use? What attracts you to this content? What's the call to action?
4. Identify new touch points where your customers already go.
Are there any areas your brand doesn’t appear online, but where customers might expect you to appear? For example, if you’ve been running a commercial bed and breakfast for twenty years, your future guests may expect you to have a listing for your company on AirBnB.
5. Identify what your customers really care about, and shape the content to meet their needs and interests.
Every excellent content strategy is user-focused. If you run a plant nursery and your customers do-it-yourselfers, a free video series might be far more helpful than a series of articles. When analyzing search results, discover what else your customers might be looking for online by studying the related search terms found at the bottom of Google's first page of results.
Every online customer touch point is an opportunity to improve your business and your online reputation. Improve what you can with an excellent content marketing strategy, and consider working with a professional team like Reputation X to smooth out any outlying challenges with your online reputation.