• Laura Templeton

How to Create Digital Experiences

Creating digital experiences is becoming increasingly important as lockdowns, curfews, and stay-at-home orders carry us into 2021. Mortar businesses are already feeling the aftermath of 2020 and the new year shows no signs of providing relief anytime soon. With shortened hours of operations to full-on closures, businesses need to transition to e-commerce and online platforms to reach their customers and clients. If you haven't pivoted in response to the pandemic, now's the best time to do so.

Pivoting to e-commerce and digital marketing doesn't stop at simply creating a website and social media accounts. You need to prioritize creating digital experiences that make a lasting impression.

What is a digital experience?

In basic terms, a digital experience is the exchange between a user, customer, partner, or employee with an organization on a digital platform. This platform could be a website, social media network, chat box, or email correspondence.

Creating innovative digital experiences strengthen customer retention and increase return of investments. Your goal is to create digital experiences that forge unforgettable emotions, customer experiences, and connections that keep your customers and clients coming back.

In a world where it takes people an average of 50 milliseconds to decide whether they're going to stay on your website or not, you need to be captivating and unique. You need to draw people in and give them a reason to stay on your site or social media network for longer.

So, how do you create digital experiences?

Establish an online presence for your brand.

In order to create digital experiences your business needs to be online. It's important to determine which online spaces your business is going to establish itself on. You should absolutely be on social media, and the more platforms the better (but don't spread yourself too thin). Post consistent content and prioritize engaging with your customers.

Your business should have a basic website or, alternatively, a very well-organized Facebook Page. Facebook Pages are free to create and can have the same advantages as a website. Long-term, however, a website is imperative for your business.

Wherever you establish yourself, it's important to create a hub of information about your products, services, and brand. Your website or social media account shouldn't leave any questions unanswered. When someone first lands on your page they should know exactly what your brand is all about.

Understand your customer base.

This is one of the first steps in creating unique digital experiences your customers won't forget: understanding your target market. Getting to know your customers and clients will help you know what they like in a brand. Why do they support your brand? Why don't they go to your competitors? Show respect for your customers by delivering on your brand's promise. By getting to know your customers and clients, you can reach them in the ways they prefer to be reached. How old are they? What are their interests? Asking questions like this may help determine which social media platform you connect with them on and should influence how you design your website.

Provide immaculate customer service.

We all know that feeling when we walk into a business and we're greeted with a smile. An employee asks us how we are and if they can help us in any way. These types of experiences leave us with a positive impression of a brand. As businesses transition to an online environment, it's important not to forget how powerful customer service can truly be. Leaving an impactful, positive impression on your customers and clients when they visit your online storefront is vital.

In this context, I'm referring to your website, app, or social media page as your online storefront. These are the first impressions of your business for customers and clients (even before the pandemic).

We may not be able to smile at our customers and clients when they visit our online storefronts. We can, however, do the following:

  1. Create an inviting, approachable website or social media page that caters to your customers' interests.

  2. On websites, greet your customers and clients with an automated chat box or a pop-up (lightbox) that welcomes them to the site and shares any promotions or discount codes with them. This is the digital equivalent to greeting someone at your store. One lightbox is usually enough as too many pop-ups on your website can be detrimental and work against you.

  3. On Instagram, you can leave a positive impression by always responding to comments and direct messages and engaging with your customers' social media accounts. This will also help drive traffic to your page.

  4. On Facebook, welcome visitors by creating an automated greeting via messenger when someone arrives to your Business Page. It's important as well, like Instagram, to respond to every message and comment in a timely manner. This will build trust between your brand and your customers.

Customer service doesn't just take place on websites and social media. People do still email businesses with their questions and concerns. Provide a positive and memorable customer service experience for them and they won't forget it.

Be interesting and unique.

It's incredibly important for your business to stand out and make an impression online. At the very least, your business needs to be identifiable, searchable, and approachable. However, to stand a part from other brands, you need to think outside of the box. You need to deliver a unique customer experience and design an outstanding marketing strategy your customers will appreciate.

As we transition into 2021, the need to establish your brand online is evident. It's not enough to simply have a presence. More needs to be done to create an innovative, impactful digital experience that your customers enjoy and want more of. Your customers and clients want to connect with your brand authentically and will appreciate integrity, transparency, and originality. Get on their level and show them what you and your brand are all about.