Translate Your Offline Success to the Online World

Aug 22 2014

“I regularly hear members rave about our services, but engagement in our social communities doesn’t reflect this enthusiasm.”

“We offer online registration for all of our events, but the majority of people still prefer to call or come in to register.”

If you are a brick and mortar business, translating a successful offline experience to the online world can be a challenging task. The key to success lies in understanding the essence of your brand–what your target audience loves about your brand, product or service–and extrapolating that to an online environment.  Uncovering what motivates and delights your customers will help you evolve a digital strategy that will yield results.

Here are a few steps to get started:

1. Conduct research: Listen to your audience to understand the true value of what you are delivering and use the insights you uncover as the guiding strategy for building your online space. Talk to a wide group of people in a number of different settings and conduct ethnographic research. Try to step into your audience’s shoes to understand their motivations, thoughts and feelings. Focus not only on what people are saying, but why they are saying it and how they feel about it.

Tip: Asking open-ended questions allows people to steer the conversation and elaborate on their personal experience. Above all, listen closely and it will lead you to valuable insights.

2. Analyze feedback: Segment your interview responses and research observations into what your customers find frustrating and what they find delighting, especially as it is unique to your organization.

Tip: Be sensitive to where your audience is on the technology adoption curve. Is your audience on par with general trends or is there something unique about the group? For example, you may find that while your audience may be tech savvy and comfortable on mobile devices, they prefer to use technology only for staying in touch with family and not for the type of service you provide.

3. Develop a strategy: Determine your goals with respect to what you want your audience to do and match them with the digital tools to make that happen. Pairing the right tools with the behaviors you desire will help create the type of community you want. For example, if you want people to share your events and get their social circle involved, implement click and text to share functionality. If you want members to register for events online, create a clear call-to-action.

Tip: Once you have developed your strategy on a tactical level, identify the right KPIs to measure user actions against goals and collect data. Regularly monitor user paths, measure success and consider refinements.

Listening to your audience is the only way to really understand what motivates their hearts, minds and actions.  Being able to deliver the same brand experience they love in the offline world by leveraging online tools to streamline processes, encourage the discovery of new and wonderful aspects of your business, and personalizing their overall experience, will help you translate your offline success to the online world.

Read more on obtaining valuable customer insights.

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