6 Best Practices of A Great Omnichannel Experience: Part 1

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Thanks to the ever-increasing capabilities of mobile devices, more and more people are using multiple channels when making a purchase. Just 27% of people use only one channel during their buyer’s journey. That means the other 73% of individuals are omnichannel customers. These omnichannel customers are more valuable to your business, spending 4% more every time they shop. It’s essential to design a high-quality omnichannel experience to cater to these high-value customers.

These six omnichannel best practices are vital to winning the business of customers who make purchases using multiple channels.

1) Strive for Consistency

With such a large percentage of people using multiple channels to make purchases, it’s important to provide a consistent experience across channels. A true omnichannel experience lets customers do research on one channel, continue researching on another, and finally make a purchase using a third channel. Brands should provide a consistent experience, making it simple and straightforward for prospects to navigate across channels.

Consistent design and messaging can enable people to shift between devices quickly, finding the required resource regardless of which channel. Resources with consistent design and messaging will be instantly recognizable, making it easy for prospects to find resources on different channels.

Back-end consistency is the most important part of the omnichannel experience. People do not want to have to start their shopping experience all over again when they transition between devices. Organizations need to break down back-end data silos. By fully integrating the back-end, brands can ensure there is a smooth transition between channels, eliminating customer frustration.

2) Bring Digital Technology in-Store

Organizations should bring digital technology to the in-person experience to create cross-channel consistency. Marrying digital technologies with the traditional in-store experience lets brands create unique interactions that can thrill their customers.

Bringing digital technology into traditional in-person experiences benefits organizations in two ways. First, it enhances the in-person experience, introducing non-traditional mediums to share product information and motivate sales. Secondly, it introduces consumers to new digital technologies, increasing the chances that they will interact with those technologies online.

How can brands bring digital technologies to the in-store experience? Creating a mobile application is often the first step. An app lets brands used location-based tracking and beacons to provide local offers to customers when they are in-store. An app can also use artificial reality to showcase products visually. Another way to integrate digital technologies into the in-store experience is to create interactive content displayed on touch screens, creating in-store digital engagement opportunities.

3) Real-Time Updates

To create a true omnichannel experience, organizations must be able to update information in real time. This is necessary because what is done in one location must be reflected in others. Customers will become frustrated if they proceed through the entire journey on one channel, only to find out that the services they need are not available. This might mean the product they purchase sold out, and the inventory hasn’t been updated, or that they cannot book a meeting with their financial advisor through a mobile device. Frustrations like this can alienate customers and cause them to make their purchase elsewhere, therefore losing your business a customer.

According to a study by Accenture, 50% of customers expect to be able to place an order online and pick it up in-store. Customers want to be able to see their purchase and resource search history, regardless of which device they use.

To facilitate the expectations of a complete omnichannel integration, brands need to eliminate data silos with complete back-end integration. To learn more about the importance of integrating data silos, check out our article: You Won’t Believe How Data Silos Are Killing Your Business.

That wraps up part one of our two-part series on Omnichannel Experience Best Practices. Check back on Thursday, October 24, 2017, for part two! In the meantime, follow us on Twitter @VeridayHQ or LinkedIn!

3 Essential Elements of the Best Omnichannel Experiences

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At Veriday, we recognize the value of an excellent customer experience. Our digital marketing platform, Digital Agent, helps financial agents offer an excellent, omnichannel experience to their customers and audience alike. Today, we will examine the three main elements of an omnichannel experience. An omnichannel experience means users can interact with your business however they want. This type of experience gives marketers in-depth insights on their customers, leading marketers to be more effective at content marketing.

Omnichannel - Liferay

1. Anytime, Anywhere, Any Device

The ability for the experience to take place on any device at any time is more important than ever. End-users should be able to access information at any time, using any channel. Users should be able to log in on their mobile device, browse content on their bus ride home and finish their tasks on their desktop when they get home.

This type of experience benefits customers by reducing inter-channel friction. If the user needs a login to access parts of the website, the information they provide allows them to pick up where they left off. 

The difference between omnichannel and multichannel experiences is that there is true back-end integration between channels. An omnichannel experience provides opportunities to track users across devices to get a holistic understanding of every interaction they have with your brand, adding vast quantities of data to your buyer profiles. The data will help your brand target relevant content to users because you will have more accurate insights.

2. Complete Buyer Profile

The second element that defines a true omnichannel experience is a complete, data-driven buyer profile. Having back-end integration between platforms provides data that will allow marketers to create more accurate buyer profiles.

A complete, data-driven buyer profile will include information such as:

  • What article they read last
  • What time of day do they visit the website
    • Also, what time-zone they are located
  • What forms they have filled out
  • Have they clicked any CTAs?
  • Have they made any purchases?
  • How did they get to your website?
    • Search engine, direct, social media?
  • Whether they read emails and other communications
    • Do they do so in a timely manner?
  • And much more.

This information can be elusive if the technology solution hosting your website (or portal, intranet, extranet or app), does not have the needed analytic capabilities built-in the solution. If you can access and analyze the rich data provided by multiple sources, your marketing team can create and target content at the right members of the audience.

3. Relevant Content

The final element of an omnichannel experience is targeted relevant content. Without content, you cannot add value to the conversation, provide important information to your audience, or influence purchase decisions. Content is the lifeblood of any marketing strategy.

An omnichannel experience provides marketers with insights, gleaned from customer data. Having a cross-section of what content a user has consumed, how long they stayed on particular pages, and how they access the content (e.g. what device? how did they get to that content? etc.) allows marketers to target relevant content to potentially interested audience members.

There are several content strategies that data can help inform:

  • Create content that focuses on topics that your target audience has shown an interest in.
  • Recommend video content to users who frequently access your website with a mobile device.
  • Update content that frequently causes visitors to leave your site.
  • Create demos, tours and other interactive content types with particular segments of your audience in mind.
    • Find common archetypes based on what content they have viewed, what forms have been filled out and whether newsletters have been signed up for.

An omnichannel experience lets marketers be more effective at creating content thanks to data-driven insights provided by cross-device integration.

Why Omnichannel?

Omnichannel experiences are so beneficial because it enables marketers to gain a better understanding of their audience and themselves. Firstly, omnichannel marketing is more successful than single-channel campaigns. In a survey of more than 1,000 businesses, InfoTrends documented that the more channels used in a given campaign, the more effective the message.

Secondly, it gives marketers the ability to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of their marketing channels. Do certain channels consistently provide more leads than others? Are your Youtube videos gaining more attention than posts on your blog? That type of information can help marketers make better decisions and create more effective content.

Thirdly, and most importantly, omnichannel experiences are so valuable because it lets your audience consume content in whatever fashion they want. This improves their experience and increases the likelihood that when that user is ready to make a purchase, they will make it through your business! 

Are you interested in providing your customers with an excellent omnichannel experience? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ or on LinkedIn.

5 Most Impactful Digital Transformation Trends in Finance

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It’s clear that the financial services industry is experiencing digital transformation. Driving that transformation is a series of trends that incentivizes banks to change. Consumers no longer want the same old experience; they want convenient, secure solutions that meet their banking needs. These five digital transformation trends will encourage banks to improve their digital capabilities and advance into a new era of banking.

1) Blockchain

2017 has been the year of the blockchain. For the uninitiated, blockchain refers to a digital ledger in which transactions are recorded chronologically and publicly. The blockchain is so attractive to banks because it offers transparency, security and lowers transaction costs. Banks are working to increase the effectiveness of peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, and the blockchain can be the foundation of that system.

Blockchain-based technologies are driving digital transformation in banking by offering the possibility of an entirely transparent ledger of transactions. The blockchain can make it easier for consumers to transfer assets between each other. Blockchain-based systems can add a layer to security to P2P payment and lending systems, a feature that is already popular with consumers.

By adding a layer of reliability to P2P payment systems using blockchain, banks can increase consumers confidence in their ability to deliver branchless banking.

2) Branchless Banking

While some customers enjoy using branches to meet their banking needs, an ever-increasing portion of the population wants to be able to handle all their banking without ever stepping in a branch. In fact, over 40% of consumers have not used a bank branch in the past six months.

Consumers want to do their banking without having to go to a branch, and digital transformation is the cause. Many people have become used to shopping online, watching TV online and using the internet for nearly every transaction they need to make. Banks are no exception. They need to offer a high-quality, secure, branchless experience to keep their customers satisfied.

Features such as online personal banking, offering the ability to sign up for services online and digital peer-to-peer payment systems will allow consumers to forego using a branch while still being able to meet their banking needs. The blockchain is one new feature that can facilitate branchless banking.

3) New Features

Once upon a time, debit cards were a new, innovative feature that could be used to excite customers. Today, those same debit cards are being phased out for more convenient payment systems. If a bank does not continually develop new features, consumers will look to FinTech challengers to scratch their itch for innovation.

Developing new capabilities, such as online banking, P2P payments or building an app has changed the way that banks interact with customers. The status quo changes quickly, and what is fresh and innovative in 2017 will one day be considered outdated.

An essential feature of digital transformation is the drive to continually innovate and improve the customer experience using technology solutions. This continual innovation will lead to more fundamental changes that shake the banking industry to its core. The innovation caused by digital transformation may alter aspects of financial services that were once thought to be immune to change.

4) Cashless Transactions

Cash currencies are becoming less common in societies all across the world. The process of states transitioning from cash to digital currencies has already begun. On November 8th, 2016, India announced a recall of over 80% of the country’s currency, something that wouldn’t be possible unless the move to digital transactions had already begun. Thanks to the growing ubiquity of digital payment apps, online banking, and P2P lending platforms, cash has lost much of its usefulness.

Paper currency is on its way out, thanks to technologies such as blockchain ledgers and P2P payment systems. To many, carrying cash is an annoyance, and even the smallest transactions are conducted with a credit or debit card. In the future, cash will have no place in any developed society. It’s time for banks to implement digital payment systems that require nothing but a smartphone. One day, even cards will be considered a nuisance.

The future of transactions lies in peer-to-peer payment systems. Nobody wants to have to find an ATM just to get cash so they can pay their friend back for lunch. If you cannot provide this digital feature, customers will lose patience.

5) Enhanced Security

All consumers need to be aware of online security threats. Recent, high-profile examples of cybercrime have contributed to some individuals being skeptical of any digital technology. Even well-known companies who are digital natives such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook have to deal with these concerns. Consumers want to ensure their data is safe, especially when the data contains sensitive information that a bank might need.

Banks need to develop security protocols that consumers can easily learn. Banks should educate their customers on things such as: The importance of protecting passwords, using secure connections, always being vigilant of potential security threats and, reporting suspicious emails and links.

By teaching customers to follow these procedures banks can build consumer trust in their bank’s security capabilities. Building that trust will motivate customers to begin their own personal digital transformation, pushing them to complete everyday transactions through digital channels.

These five digital transformation trends are not only affecting banks but the financial services industry as a whole. Financial service professionals need to adapt to what consumers want. Banks need to offer convenient service, where customers control the interaction. Most consumers have already begun to expect some level of digital mastery. Are you ready to meet their needs? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ or LinkedIn. If you want to learn more about digital transformation, you can check out more of our blog posts here.

How to Minimize Your Website Bounce Rate

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The definition of bounce rate is:

“the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.”

Ideally, your website’s bounce rate should be somewhere between 20% and 35%. However, some businesses can reduce that number below 20% with great difficulty. If your website bounce rate approaches 50%, you are in serious trouble and need to update your site immediately to lower that number.

Does your website have a high bounce rate? You may be attracting plenty of traffic, but does your site convert those visitors into customers? Having high traffic doesn’t mean anything if it is not generating business. What can you do to minimize your bounce rate and win more business from your digital properties?

Step 1: Understand Your Visitors

Why are people visiting your website? To reduce your bounce rate, you will need a solid understanding of what is drawing visitors to your site. Not every visitor will be part of your ideal audience, but uncovering the patterns and details of their journey to your website will provide insights to minimize bounce rate.

So what do you need to understand about your visitors?

Organic Search

Which organic search terms are bringing visitors to your website? You can use Google Analytics to discover your most active keywords. Consider whether you actively try to leverage those keywords, what someone searching for that keyword would be looking for, and whether your website can solve those problems.

Once you understand how (and why) a web searcher might end up on your website, you can optimize your pages and content to increase conversions to minimize bounce rate.

Popular Content

What pages and content drive the most traffic to your website? Once you identify those pages, you can see what pages and topics are drawing people towards your site. Do those pages solve the problems that visitors may be experiencing? Are your most popular pages also your highest converting pages? These questions are important to ask so you can understand which pages of our website are most useful for their intended purpose.

Best Pages

Which pages on your website have the highest conversion rates? Do those pages have a low bounce rate? Are these pages your most popular? Often, your most popular pages will not necessarily be among the highest converting. What type of pages do your customers visit before making a purchase?

Understanding the audience, their interests and how your website caters to those interests, you will know what prospective customers are looking for and how your business can meet their needs. The next step involves using that knowledge to build a relationship with visitors, eventually turning them into customers.

Step 2: Build Email Relationships

The second thing you should do to minimize your bounce rate is getting visitors to sign-up for email newsletters. Most visitors will only come to your website one time, never visiting again. In fact, it takes six to eight touchpoints to convert someone from a passive visitor to a qualified lead. Email newsletters allow brands to remain in contact with visitors to their website, providing more touchpoints in which you can thrill those visitors.

So how can you build an email list to stay in touch with visitors to your site? By placing an eye-popping call-to-action that will motivate a sign-up.To learn more about creating killer CTA’s, check out our article: 6 Tips for Creating Better Calls-to-Action.

Once you have built your email list, you can re-engage with visitors through email, sharing content and information with them, nurturing the relationship until they are ready to convert. By nurturing the customer relationship, you can keep in contact with prospects until they are prepared to make a purchase.

Step 3: Re-Engage

If people don’t want to sign-up for your email list, and they do not provide any contact information, what can you do?  Well, at this point, you only have two options, both of which involve attempting to re-engage after their visit.

Use Social Media

One way to re-engage with your customers is through social media. Use targeted ads placed on social media to promote your list building efforts. Instead of sending people who click your ad to content, send them to a landing page where they can sign-up for your email. Remarketing using social media ads is a useful tactic because the platforms allow for extensive targeting, based on a variety of factors. For more information on remarketing using social media, check out HootSuite’s Social Media Advertising Guide.

Website pop-ups

Website pop-ups can be used to discourage people from leaving your site. Onsite remarketing detects user behavior to determine if a visitor is about to “bounce.” If it seems they will bounce, a popup will appear, either directing them to content, they might find interesting or asking them if they want to sign-up for your email list. Exit-intent pop-ups have varying ranges of effectiveness, depending on their purpose, but they have proven to lead to an increase in conversions.

Step 4: Convert Subscribers into Customers

The final step is to convert your subscribers into leads, eventually leading to a purchase decision. Conversion is by far the most difficult step in the entire sales process, but there are several activities that can lead to an increased conversion rate.

Segment Leads

Segmentation of leads is an essential activity for any business, but there are many ways you can do it. One can segment their leads based on:

  • Stage of the buyer’s journey
  • Source of the lead
  • Demographics
  • Conversion events
  • Website behavior

All of these methods of segmenting an audience are valid. However, the method you choose should correlate to your business goals. For more information on segmenting leads, check out this informational guide on segmenting leads.

Test and Refine

To boost conversions, you need to keep an eye on your email reports. By measuring the engagement on your email newsletters, you can determine whether changes lead to better conversion rates.

Once you begin measuring your email engagement, A/B testing can begin. A/B is an effective method of determining which strategies yield the greatest results. The best part about A/B testing is that even a marketing newbie can use it to determine the efficacy and effectiveness of various strategies.  

Create Effective Copy

Writing copy that converts leads into customers is a difficult undertaking, a blend of art and science that can take years to master. Your copy should be a mix of value adding content that educates the reader and promotional copy. These 7 Simple Tips for Writing Effective Content for Your Website should help you write compelling copy.

There you have it, by following these four steps, you can minimize your bounce rate and increase your customer engagement. Do these steps work for you? Do you have any other strategies for increasing engagement on your website? How does your business turn visitors into customers? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ.

The Importance of Responsive Design in Technology Solutions

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Responsive design is one of the most important design tenets in 2017 and will likely hold that distinction at least through 2018, perhaps longer. Google and other search engines are making changes that prioritize mobile-friendly, easy-to-use websites in their results listings. Marketers and business leaders need to be aware of the ever-growing trend of mobile internet use and respond by creating web-based applications with responsive design.

What is Responsive Design?

Responsive design is:

“An approach to web page creation that makes use of flexible layouts, flexible images and cascading stylesheet media queries. The goal of responsive design is to build web pages that detect the visitor’s screen size and orientation and change the layout accordingly.”

Trying to access (and subsequently, use) a web page that is not optimized for mobile can be a frustrating experience. Responsive design makes sure that every page of a website is optimized to work best on each specific device. That means the site may look slightly different, have different functionality, or a different layout depending on the device.

There are many reasons why responsive design is an essential feature for any modern website. A responsive site will improve the user experience, create less work for marketers and increase conversion rates by making your digital presence more user-friendly.

1. Higher Engagement Rates

Once upon a time, the only way to access the web was with a desktop (or laptop) computer. Mobile devices were still in their (relative) infancy and could not access the internet. Today that has changed. Thanks to reduced costs for a smartphone and the accessibility of data plans, more and more people are accessing the internet through their smartphones every day.

You can use this trend to increase the number of customers your brand earns through digital channels. If your website has a responsive design, customers using mobile devices can easily use your website to gather information. A mobile-friendly website allows users to easily get in touch with your business, closing the distance between your brand and qualified prospects.

2. Improved User Experience

A website built with responsive design enhances the experience for users. Even desktop users accrue the benefits of a site with responsive design. The site will have the same feel and provide the same experience to a desktop or mobile user, bringing consistency to your digital presence. This consistency makes it easy and intuitive to navigate your website, regardless of the device, making things better for the users of your website and making them feel valued.

Look at some of the most popular websites and apps on the market. Companies like Uber, Google, Netflix and Facebook ensure that their products are fully functional on (or expressly designed for) mobile devices. People have come to expect the ability to do anything on a mobile device. If they can’t, because the process is too difficult, they will abandon your website and move on to a competitor’s. Responsive design makes your web presence more appealing to users, and in turn, increases your brand’s ability to attract new users.

3. Less Work for You

In addition to an improved experience for mobile users, a website with responsive design will make life simpler for those tasked with digital marketing initiatives. A responsive website is easy for mobile users to use, making it easier to convert qualified leads into customers.

Many people searching for something online are already in “buy” mode. With an easy-to-use, responsive website, you will barely need to sell qualified buyers on your service. Simply provide them with a call to action, and they will take the next steps, making life easier for marketers and members of your sales team.

Making it easier for qualified buyers to make purchase decisions is only one instance of a responsive website making life easier for marketers. Another work-saving benefit of a responsive website is the fact that only one version of the website needs to be updated. In the days before responsive design became the industry standard, many marketers maintained two separate versions of their website. One optimized for desktop, one for mobile. Responsive design takes that work out, allowing marketers to put all their focus on creating one excellent website, instead of maintaining two.

4. Better Search Engine Ranking

Since late 2016, Google has maintained they will one day move to a “mobile-first” method of indexing. That means Google’s web crawlers will primarily index the mobile version of your website, instead of the desktop version. That means if your website is not built with responsive design (or a “mobile-first” framework), your search rankings will suffer.

While the search giant has not made the move to “mobile-first” indexing yet, the transition is well underway. Google already favors sites with responsive design, putting them higher on the results page. Search ranking has a dramatic impact on how much traffic a website receives. Over half of all website traffic is driven by organic search. Not only to people search often, but they usually don’t dig very far into the search engine results page (SERP).

In fact, 9 out of 10 searchers don’t go beyond Google’s first page of organic search results. It’s important to have a mobile-friendly website. Build it with responsive design.

5. Flexibility

A website built with responsive design gives brands flexibility than a non-mobile-friendly website does. There are several options and features that a responsive website provides marketers and web developers that other websites do not.

A website with a responsive design gives the option to only display certain types of content on specific types of devices. For example, a quiz designed for a mobile phone or tablet, may not work as well on a desktop. With responsive design, marketers may only display that quiz for those using a smartphone, effectively segmenting and targeting content to relevant audience members. Some content works better on certain machines, and responsive design lets brands take advantage of that fact.

A responsive website gives marketers more options to create experiences tailored to a particular device. This ensures that users have an excellent experience regardless of their device. Without a website with responsive design, marketers have less flexibility. Meaning they will have to work harder to find digital marketing success.

Takeaways

Without a website with responsive design, your brand will be left in the past. There is no other option but to update your website, making it mobile-friendly. If you do not take action soon, bad things will happen. Your search ranking will plummet, your website will receive less traffic and your business will suffer. If you have already made the change, congratulations, you are part of the twenty percent of people who have already made the change. Veriday can help you create an engaging, mobile-friendly digital presence that will increase your conversions and help your business grow. For more information, you can follow us on Twitter (@VeridayHQ) or get in touch at our Contact Us page.

3 Most Important Features of a “Digital Handshake”

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Business is all about relationships. Professionals working in sales and marketing spend their entire careers developing relationships with prospects. Commercial relationships, like any relationship, needs to be built on a foundation of trust. Once upon a time, a handshake was the ultimate symbol of trust in business; however, that time may be slowly coming to an end. More and more commercial relationships are built solely online with a salesperson and their customers never meeting in person. This distance has put a wrench in things. Trust is now harder to develop, simply due to the distance brought upon by digital channels.

So what can marketers and salespeople do to continue to build relationships and develop trust through digital channels? At Veriday, we believe the answer lies into mastering your “digital handshake.”

What is a “digital handshake?” Well, it’s the process in which brands and professionals can develop trust through digital channels, usually social media. A digital handshake and a physical handshake have many similarities. Similarities include the fact that other parties will judge you on the “quality” of the handshake.

A good physical handshake will be firm, dry (no sweaty hands), and includes eye contact. What factors play a role in the quality of a digital handshake?

1. Authentic Digital Handshake

Your digital handshake needs to be authentic. Consumers are digitally savvy and will be able to tell if you are peddling half-truths or trying to hide your true self. Your messaging on social media, the design and overall “feel” of your website, and your communication tone should reflect your true self. Authenticity is a fundamental component of a digital handshake.

2. Omnichannel Digital Handshake

There is a difference in the handshake between people who are meeting for the first time and established, long-time colleagues. The stronger a relationship is, the more personal the handshake will feel.

The same thinking should apply to your digital handshake. You need a true omnichannel strategy to ensure that no matter how well an audience member knows you, no matter how close your relationship is, you can provide the correct response. Your digital handshake will be less trustworthy if you send the same cookie cutter, automated response to everyone, regardless of how many interactions you have had, what their request is, or the medium, you will turn off prospects because you will feel “too robotic.”

Your digital handshake needs to be able to follow people across various mediums to be truly effective.

3. Warm Digital Handshake

The final quality your digital handshake needs to have is lots of warmth. The tone of your messaging, the imagery you use, and the intimacy of your interactions will determine the warmth of your digital handshake. We’ve discussed it many times before, but warmth is one of the two most important factors in how your brand is perceived by your customers and prospects alike.

A high-quality digital handshake takes strategic thinking but will help you build relationships with potential customers through digital channels. At Veriday, we help brands undergo digital transformation and can help you develop websites, portals and other digital properties that will help develop relationships between your brand and your ideal customers. Contact us, if you need guidance in digitally transforming your business.

If you want some more fantastic information about digital transformation and improving your digital handshake, follow us on Twitter @VeridayHQ and LinkedIn