In a previous blog post, I explored the aspect of Appearance as a fundamental psychological pillar (Appearance, Similarity and Proximity) when it comes to managing the relationship with the customer in the digital world. In a follow up to that blog post, I’m going to look at how Similarity relates to developing relationships with your customer in the digital world.
Walking the talk: Similarity and the resonance of Content
So, you’ve attracted your customer with a great visual website design. But, what is your content saying about you? Having the right content strategy is important to determine whether what you’ve got to say and the way you’ve said it, does in fact resonate with your target customer.
As before, I’ve drawn an explanatory parallel with the development of interpersonal relationships: so in this scenario let’s think of your customer’s experience of your website or email as a speed date.
Here’s why: It’s widely recognised through numerous studies that there is an average of 3 to 5 seconds to create a first impression on your online visitor. So, if customers can’t find what they’re looking for in that time, they will leave.
So let’s consider 2 key points:
A. What does my website, email or blog say in that first 3 to 5 second scan? Consider the following:
- Is your code clean?
- Is your site accessible to screen readers for blind or partially-sighted viewers?
- Are your colours and fonts used appropriately for those with visual difficulties?
- Do your images have ALT Tags?
- Do all your links work?
B. What do I need to present, and how will that give me maximum impact in that first instance? Consider:
- Who are you? (Company logo clear and visible, company tagline, clear area for company information, including openness about media coverage)
- Can I trust you? (How long have you been around? Has anyone else experienced your product/service and commented online? Can your customer get in touch with you if they need to?)
- Do you have what I need? (And how do you speak to me?)
The Consumer versus B2B debate
With these key points in mind, it is vital to recognise that type of industry or service very seldom should impact this element. In this post I have made the assumption that if your proposition is direct-to-consumer; you will already be communicating outwards. I’ve also frequently heard assertions that if your organisation is B2B focused, the need for easy-to-read, easily digestible content takes a back seat to professional content with all the relevant industry jargon, which is deemed more acceptable in certain industries. I’m not so sure I agree, here’s why I believe that whether you’re a B2B or a B2C or a B2B2C or any other permutation, the end user, or reader of your content is, and always will be, a person. Another human being, with the same basic hierarchy of needs (Maslow). In my opinion, the only differences between B2B and B2C are:
- The number of people you need to make an impression on in order to build that relationship (more people for B2B, with a more convoluted sales cycle).
- The amount of time these various people will keep revisiting your relevant content before a decision is made to contact you or your organisation.
So, in order to address this here are some of my top questions you need to ask yourself about your content strategy to maximise your digital impact:
- What does my current content strategy say to my target audience about my product or brand’s personality?
- How do I want to be regarded by all my customers? Top executives receive countless hours of coaching in body language – we all know that communication is comprised of so much more than the words we use.
The key to successful communication lies in tone, posture and how we say things. And even though the example we’ve used today is an online one, an effective content strategy applies to more than just your website – it needs to be applied across your entire organisation’s media.
Content and Search
One last (very important) point on Content (and Similarity): when it comes to online presence it’s vital to combine your effective content strategy with a carefully thought-out search strategy (both paid and organic), to help customers find you. There are 3 fundamental questions every organisation needs to consider:
- Who is your ideal customer? (Mr. or Mrs. Right)
- What is he or she really looking for?
- Do you have the digital content (articles, videos, images, blogs, and social media messages) to deliver the best customer experience… and MAKE that impression?
Your content, both written and digital, like your Search strategy, needs to be based on customer insight, driven by actionable analysis of relevant customer data.