Customer Trust Is the New Gold, and the Original Gold┃5 Ways to Build It
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Customer Trust Is the New Gold, and the Original Gold┃5 Ways to Build It


Trust has never been unimportant in business, but it has also never been more important. Human relationships breathe the air of trust, within organizations, with colleagues, co-workers, partners, suppliers, clients, and customers.

Within your organization, trust is what keeps business moving. Stephen M.R. Covey wrote a whole book about it called The Speed of Trust. He talks about the relationship between trust, speed, and cost. “When trust goes down,” he says, “speed decreases with it. Everything takes longer. Simultaneously, costs increase.”

But let’s talk about customers.

Customer trust has eroded over the past few years on several fronts. The more that consumers learn about how their data is gathered, used, sold, and compromised, the less they trust organizations to use it only to create better experiences or offer more relevant products. Earning and keeping customer trust has never been as important or as difficult. But it is possible.

With trust in such a precarious and fragile state, it takes an instant to gain or lose a customer. And it could be for anything, any indicator that your company is not worth trusting if the risks seem to outweigh the benefits of doing business with you.

Take steps to gain trust on the first try. Because you will likely only have that one chance. You must make a great first impression, and every time a customer engages with your branding, your products and services, and your organization is the first impression. After you’ve made thousands of positive first impressions, even with the same customer, it only takes one bad first impression (every customer interaction is the first impression) to lose them.

The cost of acquiring a new customer can be five times more than retaining existing ones. According to research by Bain and Company, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25 to 95 percent. Clearly, the research supports Covey’s theory of customer trust.

Here are some steps you can take to demonstrate to customers that their trust in your company is well-placed.

1. Be transparent about who you are, what you offer, and how you do business

Let’s start with some recent research that says 86 percent of American customers say that transparency from businesses has never been more important. Also, 86 percent who see a lack of transparency from businesses on social media are likely to do business with the competition. However, 85 percent of consumers are more likely to remain loyal to a brand that has demonstrated past transparency prior to a bad experience.

Recent Pew Research Center findings show that among U.S. adult respondents:

  • 81 percent feel that the risks outweigh the benefits when companies collect data
  • 79 percent are very concerned about how the data that companies collect is used
  • 79 percent are not convinced that a company would admit mishandling consumer data and take responsibility for those mistakes
  • 75 percent do not believe that the government will hold companies accountable for misusing consumer data

As the age of data breaches continues to pull back the curtain on how companies have been behaving behind closed doors with customer data, the only thing stunning about those statistics is that the numbers aren’t higher. Without question, one of the fastest ways to establish trust with customers is to understand what kinds of transparency they value and why and make that a defining quality of your organization.

2. Help your customers live out their values

The need for transparency goes beyond and deeper than data practices to the root of your organizational values. Customers evaluate your company based on many criteria, but increasingly important among them are your core values.

Some of the business behaviors that your customers and potential customers evaluate and factor into their decision to do or continue doing business with you include:

  • What issues and causes – social, environmental, and otherwise – do you support and engage with as a company?
  • Who are your business partners?
  • Do you and your partners pay fairly when sourcing labor and material, especially from developing countries?
  • What kind of working conditions and work environments do you foster, from the C-suite to the warehouse to the call center?
  • What are your company positions, policies, and initiatives regarding environmental responsibility and sustainability efforts?

Earning and maintaining customer trust rests heavily on how well your business supports, enacts, and helps consumers live their values as they do business with you. Remember, your customer wants to be the hero, and they expect you to help them make that a reality.

3. Enact empathy for your customers

In the experience economy, the companies that deliver the best customer experiences enjoy a great competitive advantage. Key to improved CX is understanding customer needs, wants, feelings, and motivations. In short: empathy.

Increased empathy benefits the entire organization, from inside out. As discussed in Entrepreneur, greater empathy leads to a boost in productivity, innovation, sales, loyalty, referrals, and more.

4. Be authentic and genuine with your customers

Gathering relevant and useful data and customer information to analyze can help inform how you engage your customers across their entire journey, and to do so in a meaningful and authentic way. The saying “fake it till you make it” can work in many contexts, but faking empathy will only make it clear to your customers that you still don’t get it – or them.

5. Deliver exceptional customer experience and customer service

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Walk the walk. Practice what you preach. Use whichever clichés you want; just don’t be one. You work so hard to convince customers to do business with you, so make sure they don’t regret their decision after enduring a bad experience or poor customer service.

A lot of things are the new gold: data, blockchain, crypto, silicon, water, and the list goes on. Trust is the old gold. In fact, trust is the OG: the original gold. Trust was gold before gold was gold. And now trust is the new gold, too. It only takes a moment to lose a customer forever. So, make every moment and engagement count.



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Ecommerce Customer Segmentation: Analyzing Customer Behavior Across 9 Key Segments
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Analyzing Customer Behavior Across 9 Key Segments


Ecommerce Customer Segmentation: Analyzing Customer Behavior Across 9 Key Segments

Most of the content centered on customer segmentation for ecommerce tells you how to segment based on the data available in Google Analytics. That can be helpful — it enables you to break out customer segments by facets such as traffic source and browser and understand how certain ecommerce metrics vary across those different segments.

But if those are the only customer segments you use and the only metrics you segment by, you’re missing out on key behavioral information such as:

  • How click behavior varies across customer segments
  • Whether customers who abandon their carts behave differently across your website
  • How website behavior varies between long-term customers and newbies

That’s information that can help you better hone your personalization efforts and your marketing strategy overall.

Note: Looking for more detailed and reliable customer segmentation? Sign up and try Crazy Egg free for 30 days to gain access to visitor-based and behavioral data about the people visiting your website.

4 Ecommerce Segments You Can Track in Google Analytics

In this article, we cover the four main segments you can break out in Google Analytics. Then we take it a step further and explain how Crazy Egg’s visitor-based data opens up a whole new world of behavioral segments and adds another level to Google Analytics segmentation.

(If you’re already familiar with segmenting via Google Analytics, you can skip ahead to the section on how Crazy Egg adds more targeted ecommerce segmentation options.)

There are four main segments ecommerce businesses can create based on the data available in Google Analytics. You can segment users by:

  • Referring source
  • User type or frequency
  • Geographic location
  • Browser and device types.

By segmenting your customer base by these dimensions, you can quickly get a sense of how engagement and conversion vary (if they do) based on each segment. They can tell you if returning users spend significantly longer on your ecommerce website than new users, for example, or if customers from a particular country or city convert more often than customers in other locations.

Referring Source Segments

To access the referring sources report in Google Analytics: Acquisition → All Traffic → Source/Medium.

By breaking customers into segments based on where they came from before landing on your ecommerce site, you can get a sense of the quality of traffic you get from different referring sources.

Source report in Google Analytics
Here’s what the ‘Source’ report looks like in Google Analytics.

You can see, for example, if a higher percentage of customers coming from Google Ads convert on their first visit versus those coming from social media (say, Instagram).

With that information on hand, you may consider testing different conversion paths for the two channels. You can send Google Ads visitors directly to product pages (where they can buy right away). For Instagram visitors, you might test pairing a product page with a content asset, discount offer, or other mechanism for capturing their email—that way, you can remarket to them and keep those users moving through the funnel.

User Type Segments

To access the user type report in Google Analytics: Audience → Behavior → New vs. Returning.

When you break customers into user type segments, you get a sense of engagement and conversion metrics for users who’ve been to your website before compared to brand new users.

User type segments in Google Analytics
Here’s what the ‘All Pages’ report looks like in Google Analytics—with User Type segments as the secondary dimension.

Based on the breakdown of new vs. returning user segments, you can see which pages new and returning users typically visit, for example.

You can figure out which pages each segment converts on and learn if new users tend to buy certain products more so than returning users (and vice versa). With that information, you can test adding personalization to your homepage that recommends different products to new and returning visitors.

Geographic Location Segments

To access the location report in Google Analytics: Audience → Geo → Location

Segmenting your customers based on geographic location is a common option—and it enables you to get a sense of engagement and conversion across countries, cities, and continents. This information can be invaluable in allocating marketing and advertising budgets and targeting your paid campaigns.

Country report in Google Analytics
Here’s what the ‘Country’ report looks like in Google Analytics.

You may see, for example, that customers accessing your ecommerce store from Canada have a higher conversion value than those accessing from the U.K. With that information, you could allocate more ad spend targeting Canadian customers to increase conversion value more effectively.

Browser & Operating System (OS) Segments

To access the browser and OS report in Google Analytics: Audience → Technology → Browser & OS

When you segment ecommerce customers based on the browser, OS, and device type they use to access your website, you can get really valuable insight into your website’s usability across devices — plus how that affects engagement and behavior.

Browser report in Google Analytics
Here’s what the ‘Browser’ report looks like in Google Analytics.

For example, if you find that conversions are particularly low for one browser — say, Safari — you can take a deeper look at why. You may find that the checkout button on your shopping cart page doesn’t render correctly when viewed on Safari, and a few simple adjustments based on that information could drastically increase conversions on that platform.

Crazy Egg Adds More Targeted Segmentation Options for Ecommerce

There’s a lot of information to be gleaned from Google Analytics — but the free tool has one limitation that makes a huge difference for ecommerce marketers: All of their data are based on sessions.

In other words, Google Analytics doesn’t tie multiple sessions from the same user together. So you can create customer segments using Google Analytics, but they aren’t as reliable as if they were segmented by actual visitors.

At Crazy Egg, we use visitor-based data — and that allows you to create more targeted customer segments based on our visitor behavior data, plus your own ecommerce customer data. It also enables you to add another layer of analysis over top of your Google Analytics segments.

When you run heatmaps and other reports on your online store, Crazy Egg allows you to filter results for our Confetti, Overlay, and List Reports to see click behavior across 22 different dimensions.

Referrer in Crazy Eggs allows you to sort by 22 variables

By filtering for Referrer, New vs. Returning, Country, Browser, Operating System, and Device Type, you can get more behavior data on the segments identified in Google Analytics.

That’s important because, when you use Google Analytics data alone, you’re left with a big blind spot around what happens between the time a user gets to your website and when they ultimately convert. Did they scroll all the way to the bottom of the page? Did they click to read more product reviews? Did they view additional images of the product?

Answering those questions gives you a more holistic view of each customer segment and what gets them to buy.

Here’s an example of that information in action. In the Confetti Report below, we filtered clicks  by new users. We were originally interested in how their behavior on the sales form varied from returning users. But the highlighted yellow box shows us that a sizable chunk of those new users are clicking on the brand’s logo—an escape hatch leading them out of the sales funnel.

A sample of what the Confetti report looks like within Crazy Egg.

That’s a hint, but it doesn’t tell us why so many new users are abandoning the conversion process. By looking at the Overlay Report on the same page, we can see that most of the new visitors clicking the logo came from Google search.

A sample of what the Overlay report looks like within Crazy Egg.

That tells us those users probably aren’t ready to buy—they need more information first. With that info, we can redirect those users to a page designed for the top of the funnel instead.

Additional Ecommerce Customer Segments You Can Create Using Crazy Egg

In addition to giving you more contextual information about existing customer segments, you can also break out even more specific and targeted segments using Crazy Egg.

Our heatmap tool allows you to define up to five user variables. That means just about anything you can measure and pass along to Crazy Egg can be tracked in your Snapshots (that’s what we call our five different user behavior reports).

By defining those custom user variables, you can view click behavior across your website based on these five additional ecommerce segments:

  • Customer loyalty (loyal customer, first purchase) and lifetime value (LTV)
  • Type of buyer (bargain hunter, habitual buyer, subscription, big spenders, etc.)
  • Cart abandoners
  • Average order value
  • Other customer data including psychographic and demographic information (such as gender, income, style, and age).

By filtering Snapshots by style, for example, you can get valuable insights on how different customers navigate your product catalog. That makes it possible to create dynamic and personalized catalog pages and related products suggestions.

Here’s a sample of our Confetti report filtered by a given user variable:

Confetti report within Crazy Egg for users.

If the user variable is broken down by the customer’s style, you can see that the customers represented in green are more interested in products lower on the page. In this case, you might test a dynamic shopping experience that places those products higher on the page for this particular customer segment.

Note: Looking for more detailed and reliable customer segmentation? Sign up and try Crazy Egg free for 30 days to gain access to visitor-based and behavioral data about the people visiting your website.

How to Track Visitor-Based Ecommerce Segments with Crazy Egg

If you’re not a programmer, you’ll want to bring in your web developer for this. Because Crazy Egg doesn’t automatically know the value you want to track, you’ll need to tell our software via code.

First, you’ll start by deciding what you want to track.  For our purposes here, let’s say you want to track users who are logged into their account versus those who aren’t. Once you’ve made this decision, you need to figure out how you’ll identify these visitors (your developer or programmer can help with this).

Many of our users make use of the Cookie Files they set in order to track additional information.  So, for example, if you have a “logged in” value in a cookie, you can set that as a user variable in Crazy Egg.

To do that, you’ll need to write code to read the cookie and then set it as the value.  How you do this is up to you.  Here’s an example of how you would pass that data onto Crazy Egg, using the CE_READY() function:

function CE_READY(){

var isLoggedIn = ?; // Customer must provide logic for setting isLoggedIn

if ( isLoggedIn )

  CE2.set(1,’logged in’);

else

  CE2.set(1,’not logged in’);

}

Once your programmer sets up your customer user variables, you’ll begin to see this data in both the Confetti and Overlay Reports you run.

Note: Crazy Egg automatically tracks UTM campaigns and parameters you’ve defined on your website — so there’s no need to use custom user variables for these.

Better Ecommerce Customer Segmentation

In the ecommerce world, customer segmentation isn’t optional anymore — it’s table stakes to enable marketing efforts that keep pace with your competition.

When you add click behavior data to existing segments and use Crazy Egg’s custom user variables to break out additional behavioral segments, you make it possible to:

  • Run retargeting and other personalized ads
  • Offer customers dynamic product recommendations
  • Personalize product detail and landing pages

Those are high-value aspects of ecommerce marketing campaigns — meaning, when they’re done correctly, you can see big returns on those efforts.

Note: Looking for more detailed and reliable customer segmentation? Sign up and try Crazy Egg free for 30 days to gain access to visitor-based and behavioral data about the people visiting your website.

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Forrester: The Customer Trust And Privacy Playbook
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Forrester: The Customer Trust And Privacy Playbook


personalization and privacy paradox.

This seismic shift in the data landscape has even alarmed the normally uncompromising tech behemoths, with Google rolling out plans to curtail cookie tracking, and Facebook shutting-off its billion-dollar Audience Network. As Forrester extols in its latest report: The Capabilities Marketers Need To Build A Strategic Privacy Function, it’s time every brand follows suit and treats privacy as a fundamental, and not a necessary evil that stifles creativity. 

It’s time for marketers to skill-up

Forrester states marketers need to up their privacy prowess. In practice, this means that the collecting of compliant data is the job of all in the marketing department, and they need to apply the same level of creativity that they do into conceiving engaging campaigns to delivering compelling, data-collecting experiences. 

It was not too long ago that eCommerce sites would merrily capture email addresses before users had clicked submit, and marketers would lavish budgets on the purchase of aggregated third-party data sets. In this new world, marketers need to laser-focus their attention on collecting the permissions and preference data to power more personalized marketing — the differentiator in the privacy era.

Cheetah Digital…has built marketer-friendly solutions to design consumer experiences that encourage and enable users to share preference, intentions, and context with consent built in.” – Fatemah Khatibloo, The Capabilities Marketers Need To Build A Strategic Privacy Function, Tools And Technology: The Customer Trust And Privacy Playbook 

As Forrester declares: “For most marketers, first-party data has historically been their most valuable data. As we enter the era of privacy regulations, an important subset is zero-party data.” 

Zero-party data is a class of preference data that a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand in exchange for tangible value. Zero-party data allows brands to build direct relationships with consumers, and in turn, better personalize their marketing efforts, services, offers, and product recommendations. As it comes directly from the consumer, there are no intermediaries, no guesswork. So you don’t just know what your customers have done in the past, you have the data to know what they will do in the future.

Business leaders are rightly fixated on strategies that drive revenue today, through identifying prospects, retaining and growing accounts. Privacy initiatives have not been seen as a revenue driver, but the tide is turning. Forrester asserts that if marketers don’t make the right investment in privacy capabilities, they risk being “tamed” by their privacy and security peers rather than becoming a lead partner in the privacy strategy of their organization.





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Brand Advocacy – The Most Powerful Route to Market Growth
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Brand Advocacy – The Most Powerful Route to Market Growth


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Helen Pollitt
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What Is a Customer Journey & Why Does It Matter for SEO?


“The Customer Journey” is a phrase you’ll hear often in marketing.

It is used to describe how a consumer becomes aware of your brand and interacts with it during the purchase funnel.

In essence, it is the summation of the touchpoints your customers have with your company.

The term “customer journey” is a bit of a misnomer, it suggests that we should only pay attention to people who have bought our product or service.

The journey we should be tracking starts way in advance of that final step.

It also doesn’t necessarily end in the coveted sale or conversion.

Every interaction a person has with your brand, whether a customer or not, is of importance.

These touchpoints will influence their discovery of your products and services.

They will impact decision making and ultimately, they will affect whether they become a loyal customer.

Offline & Online

Something that might be hard to link is the impact of these interactions with SEO.

As digital marketers, our focus tends to be on traffic coming to our sites or digital properties.

By ignoring other channels, or offline relationships, we are missing out on valuable data about our market.

A customer might first come across a brand through a billboard advertisement.

They may have heard about it from a friend.

These early stages of awareness will impact how the brand is perceived.

In turn, they may have an effect on the likelihood of an organic search later on.

Offline interactions range from hearing about the brand in passing all the way through to purchasing an item in a physical store.

These moments will influence a user’s likelihood to search for that brand or service in the future.

Time

Customer journeys might not be linear, or quick.

Think about the first time you heard about the manufacturer of your car.

You may have been a child when you first came across them. They might have been only slightly on your radar as a brand.

How many years of seeing advertisements, being a passenger in your friend’s similar model car, and walking past their vehicles in parking lots before you became a consumer of that brand?

In that time:

  • How many product recall notices have you seen for that brand?
  • Seen one of their models that have broken down?
  • Been aware of emissions scandals they were involved in?

Every time you have heard about or experienced that brand will have contributed to your overall perception of their vehicles.

Every customer journey is different.

It is a collection of experiences that brings a consumer closer or further away from a purchase.

Third-Party Influence

Your perception of a brand will not have been influenced only by them.

As marketers, we cannot completely control the messaging that goes on around our brand.

Due to that, there will be negative comments and perceptions forming that we need to attend to, but won’t always be aware of.

How Does SEO Fit In?

SEO is a very important factor in how a potential or existing customer might view your brand.

Touchpoints in organic search happen all the time during the purchase funnel.

The image below shows a typical conversion funnel.

A consumer becomes aware of your product or service, considers their options and eventually purchases.

Conversion funnelConversion funnel

Every step of this funnel could have a search associated with it.

Take someone looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

They may start with the search “how to reduce carbon footprint.”

A website, which sells vegan products, might have a page that answers this.

At that point, the consumer becomes aware of vegan food as a possible answer to their initial inquiry.

They are interested in the idea of substituting some of their regular food items for vegan products.

Their follow up search might be “is vegan food good for the environment?”

They may begin to consider vegan products as a viable purchase.

Their searches might resemble “healthy vegan food”, or “vegan recipes”.

By the time they have decided they wish to purchase some vegan food to try they may begin to compare products.

“Cheapest vegan sausages” or “where to buy vegan cheese” are the searches they conduct next.

The point at which they decide to order vegan products is down a long journey of searches and interactions with brands.

Let’s not forget the conversations they may have had with friends, family, and colleagues in person and via social media.

Before Conversion

SEO is critical to the consumer journey prior to a sale or conversion taking place.

Organic is often an early touchpoint for a brand online.

When an individual is looking for a solution to a problem a search engine, or YouTube search is often conducted.

Zero-Click Searches

These searches might not result in a click.

A featured snippet might provide all the information a searcher needed at this stage.

The brand that provided the answer may benefit from the awareness generated, however.

Discovery Searches

Before a consumer even begins looking for a product or service like your brand’s they might become aware of you in some other way.

This can lead to discovery searches.

For instance, as a resident of the UK, I have heard only a small amount about a “baby peanut” being featured in some U.S. advertising.

I had no idea who “Mr Peanut” or “Baby Nut” are, however.

A quick search yielded a lot of information about the Planters brand and their advert, which I had not heard of before this search.

A touchpoint; seeing something on social media about the “Baby Nut” advert, led me to become more aware of the Planters brand through an organic search result.

Verification Searches

A searcher might also have heard a rumor about your brand and look to verify if it is true.

For example, a quick search for “is Nestle bad”, yields pages of results.

During my search from the UK, Nestle’s own website was not on the first page.

There was nothing from the brand to counteract the negative press I was seeing in the SERPs.

Your consumers might be exposed to messaging about your brand that is not favorable to you.

This early touchpoint may have a disastrous impact on their consumer journey with your brand.

As marketers, we need to be on top of any negative sentiment that exists online about our brand and ensure that we are the ones answering those verification searches.

The easiest way to stop negative sentiment online is to deal with the issues that have caused it.

Negative press stories, forum discussions slating your products, and a Google My Business listing littered with 1-star reviews need to be addressed, not buried.

During Conversion

SEO will impact and be impacted during a consumer’s conversion journey.

Consideration Stage

At the consideration stage, it is important for content on your website to address concerns or blocks to conversions your purchasers might have.

If there are common searches around “is a vegan diet healthy” then as a vegan food supplier this is something that needs to be addressed on your site.

Not only will it help with the top-of-the-funnel organic searches it can help with conversions for other channels too.

Comparisons

A consumer might be comparing your product with a competitor’s before buying.

Content on the site that addresses your brand’s benefits, pricing, and customer support can answer those comparison searches.

As with consideration stage searches content you create to answer “[X brand] vs [Y brand]” searches can help with the conversion of traffic from other channels.

After Conversion

SEO does not just impact a consumer journey up to the point of sale, it also can help keep a customer loyal to your brand.

After-Sales Support

After a product has been bought there may well be follow-up questions a consumer has.

“How do I set up my [brand] printer”, “how do I change the ink cartridge in my [brand] printer?” and “where can I buy replacement ink cartridges for my [brand] printer?” will seem like familiar searches for anyone who has brought a printer.

SEO will be a common touchpoint for consumers looking for follow-up support from their brand.

As marketers, we cannot assume that our consumers will head straight to our brand’s site to find these answers.

Impact Future Consumers

We all know how important reviews are for conversion.

One of the primary places for reviews to be left is on an organic search property – Google My Business.

Not only do reviews on Google My Business potentially impact its rankings, as stated by Google, it will also affect how future consumers perceive your brand.

A disgruntled customer can impact future sales by leaving negative reviews.

Ensuring that reviews left on your Google My Business property (and elsewhere) can give your brand the opportunity to correct misunderstandings and show your efforts to rectify problems.

This can work to turn a consumer’s negative experience with your brand into a positive one as well as show that to potential future customers.

How Can We Use SEO to Affect the User Journey?

SEO can be highly effective in making the consumer’s journey with your brand smooth and positive.

Work With Other Departments

It is important to not isolate SEO or digital marketing from the rest of the business.

There needs to be an understanding of how a user might journey through a website once they have landed on it.

This means the UX, CRO, and SEO teams need to be working together.

This way users can find the information they arrived on the site to find and move through to conversion easily.

Align SEO With Other Marketing Channels

Make sure you are aware of upcoming campaigns that might influence what users search for in relation toy our brand.

For instance, “Baby Nut”, could (and may well) have a page on the Planters website introducing those curious about the character to the Planters brand.

However, without this consideration, the clicks are going to news outlets, competitors or forums instead.

Use Your Tracking Data

Traffic tracking programs, like Google Analytics, allow you to identify how visitors from different channels are interacting with your website’s content.

Using reports like Google Analytics’ “Top Conversion Paths” allows you to identify which touchpoints are contributing the most to conversions on your site.

This data is invaluable in understanding how the consumer journey on your site is being impacted by SEO.

If organic search is often following another channel in a conversion path look more at the preceding channel.

  • What paid advert did they initially arrive on the site from?
  • Which display advert led them there?

Understanding the preceding touchpoints can help you to tailor the content on your site to more effectively follow on from the initial interaction with the site.

Spend Time Where Your Audience Is Talking

Getting to know what your audience is talking about can help enormously with ensuring that you will be providing the right content at the various stages of their consumer journey.

For instance, looking on an industry forum could provide you with an understanding of what consumers are interested in and what information they will respond well to.

Use that within your long-tail keyword research to meet the needs of your target audience.

If you notice that there is negative sentiment growing about your band within this community then it gives you opportunity to address the problems before they end up as negative reviews on your Google My Business listing, or on the review websites that are competitors in the SERPs for your brand search terms.

Don’t Forget Your Internal Site Search

Searches carried out on your site are a goldmine of information about what your audience is interested in but cannot find on your site.

JP Sherman of Red Hat gave a highly informative talk at Search Y Paris in February 2020 on using site search more effectively to understand the intent of your consumers.

This commonly used touchpoint in a consumer’s journey can be a make or break for them depending on how well your site search returns what they are looking for.

The same practices that make us effective at SEO on the likes of Google and Bing can be used in our site’s internal search functionality to improve user discovery of content.

Looking at what users are searching for on your site search can also give a clue as to what information they want to find but can’t currently.

It might be that the information doesn’t exist on your site. In which case, consider creating it.

It might already be there but buried so deep that users can’t find it from your navigation systems.

Conclusion

The consumer journey is a succession of touchpoints your audience has with your brand.

Throughout this journey, SEO plays a part.

Not only can it influence the experience a consumer has with your brand, but it can also benefit from understanding the other touchpoints they will encounter.

Don’t forget that SEO can only be successful if every part of a user’s experience with your brand is a positive one.

More Resources:


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In-Post Illustration: Created by author, February 2020





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Contact Centres in Numbers: Trends & Statistics That Shape The Future
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Contact Centres in Numbers: Trends & Statistics That Shape The Future


There’s no doubt that modern companies should provide as many channels for their customers to contact them as possible. However, the fact that there are new channels, such as social media, available – doesn’t mean that phone or email became useless. Actually, it’s the opposite. Even though the number of consumers choosing social media to contact customer center is constantly growing, the majority still prefer to contact companies via conventional channels.

In order to deliver omnichannel customer support, system integration is definitely needed. For example, once you synchronise all your data across call center software, customer service tools and CRM systems – your agents can have easy access to relevant information about the customers (i.e. contact details, shopping history or any notes left by other team members). To avoid customer frustration, agents should have this data at their fingertips. This way, they can also provide helpful and accurate solutions as fast as possible.

PRO TIP: Choose customer support tools that gather data and provide advanced analytics, reporting and integrations, exactly like CloudTalk does. Don’t forget to personalize your interactions with customers on top of that – for example, by assigning particular agents to given customers so that they are familiar with the cases they are dealing with.

Turn customers into brand ambassadors

  • Nearly 60% of US consumers admit they expectations towards customer service increased compared to the year before (Microsoft)
  • After a positive experience with customer support, 70% of respondents would be more loyal to the brand, and 65% would recommend a company to others (Vonage)
  • US Millennials are willing to spend an additional 21% for great care (American Express
  • It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience (Glance)

As you can see, customer satisfaction has a huge impact on customer retention. Try to meet customers expectations and go beyond them. Stiff competition and globalisation make it even harder to stand out and attract consumers – but amazing customer support can be one of your biggest advantages and value propositions.

How to delight customers in 2020? Take a customer-centric approach and be proactive. For example, run a quick feedback survey to find out if everything is running smoothly or prepare a new offer based on customers preferences that you can distinguish from the data you gather. Basically: show your customers that you care about their needs, not just your profit.

Social proof also plays a significant role in increasing revenue – especially nowadays, when most of the customers are active on social media. Delighted customers can share their positive experience with others online and offline.

PRO TIP: Manage your brand’s online reputation with social media monitoring. Respond to negative opinions and comments, and try to fix your company’s image. Offer something extra to make up for the previous unpleasant experiences.

Take advantage of chatbots

  • At a European telco, a chatbot was used in a pilot program on a set of common customer queries and resolved 82% of these problems by itself (Accenture)
  • Among the companies from the TMT sector (technology, media, and telecom) 56% of enterprises are planning to invest in Artificial Intelligence (Deloitte
  • 63% of contact center leaders agree that their customers can resolve issues easier thanks to the usage of chatbots and virtual assistants (BusinessWire)
  • Conventional technologies like phone and e-mail will account for 8 of 10 of the total contact center inbound interactions, despite bots and automation (Contact Center Helper
  • Nearly 80% of US customer find self-service support portal helpful (Microsoft)

Chatbots can be a huge help for contact centers. They can resolve repetitive questions so that your agents can focus on more complex issues. Thanks to AI, machine learning and natural language processing, bots can understand your customers better and learn how to help them effectively.

While designing a bot, make sure your scenario will be user-friendly and understandable for customers. Interactions with unintuitive bots can cause customers frustration and harm your brand’s image. Remember to include an option to switch to human-agent, in case your customers don’t enjoy chatting with a bot or if an issue is too complicated. Such handover option is a perfect solution for everyone.

Even with the rising popularity of bots, some customers will still prefer to contact companies via phone or e-mail. Don’t dismiss these channels, but use modern solutions to deal with them instead.

Interestingly enough, voice assistants will replace today’s Interactive Voice Response menu because they will enable customers to get the desired answers faster. Although IVR menu automates some processes, they are not providing the best experience. Speech recognition and natural language processing will let companies run automatic conversational customer support.

call-center-ivr-vs-voicebot

Source: https://inteliwise.com/blog/voicebots-will-change-the-helpline-and-call-center/

PRO TIP: Most of the customers prefer resolving their issues on their own. Usually, companies provide a FAQs section on the website to enable such a “self-service”. A great solution can be to use chatbots for this purpose. That way, instead of searching through the FAQ page, customers will just have to type their questions and get help immediately. Implement such bot in the live chat on your website and Facebook Messenger.

Conclusion

The future of contact centers will be challenging, but increasingly more advanced tech solutions and customer support tools are able to empower brands and help them meet their customers’ expectations. Design a compliant and highly-positive customer experience across the channels and strive to improve the image of your brand at all times.

Originally published here.





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Getting Emotional│Building Customer Trust Is Key to Your Brand’s Future
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Getting Emotional│Building Customer Trust Is Key to Your Brand’s Future


Business is getting emotional when it comes to customer experience strategies. The traditional rational consumer model has been challenged by a more intuitive consumer model. Rather than viewing customers as essentially rational in their decision making, the role of emotion in our decision making has received an increasing amount of attention and consideration. It is also a key component of building customer trust.

The collaboration of fields and disciplines such as marketing, psychology, behavioral economics, and neuroscience have opened this relatively new view of consumer behavior, essentially flipping the dominant understanding of human nature. Aristotle declared the human being to be a rational animal.

However, humans are emotional beings. So, it follows that customer behavior is emotionally driven, almost entirely. And we have the science to back it up.

Neuroscientist Anthony Damasio developed a concept that he calls a somatic marker. The way it works is that an emotional experience – positive or negative – makes a lasting impression on our mind and memory, and it stored in such a way that it becomes part of a massive network of associations. This is so that the next time a potentially similar situation arises, our brain uses past experience to make quick intuitive decisions about how to handle this new situation, to engage or avoid. This all happens very quickly, often remaining an unconscious process that may only register as what we call a gut feeling, sixth sense, or intuition. These feelings evoke emotions that inform our reasoning processes from the initial reaction to settling on a conclusion to act in one way versus another, or not at all. In his book Descartes’ Error and elsewhere, Damasio argues that emotions are an essential aspect of our ability to reason and make any decisions at all.

You probably didn’t need a neuroscientist to tell you that emotion plays an incredibly large and important part of our lives. But it doesn’t hurt to have that confirmation. This, of course, applies to consumer behavior. Positive or negative experiences with your brand will either strengthen or erode consumer perception of your brand, whether engagement with your marketing and branding efforts or buying your product or dealing with your customer service after the sale.

Building customer trust and loyalty with a positive emotional connection

An increasingly important part of your customer’s emotional perception of your brand involves how much they feel able to trust your company. Earning and building customer trust has never been so necessary, but is also so easy to lose.

Feelings factor in every aspect of your customer’s evaluation of your brand. As described by Deloitte, “when a positive emotional connection is created with a brand, 92 percent of us are more likely to stay loyal to a brand, 88 percent are more likely to spend more, and 91 percent are willing to advocate on behalf of the brand.”

Consumer trust plummeted between 2016 and 2018, according to Gartner, with the greatest loss of trust among Millennials and multicultural consumers in the U.S.

However, challenges are also opportunities. The experience economy, consumer data, and the technological power of AI and machine learning provide the tools for seizing opportunities to delight your customers on an individualized scale.

Create more effective branding. Deliver the right offers and experiences at the right time. Delight customers by connecting on an emotional level, understanding what they expect and what they value, and doing so with transparency that builds trust and lifelong customer relationships. 

Ways to build trust and emotional connection with your customers

To reach your customers where they are, with the right message, at the right time, and in a way that establishes and builds trust as well as connecting with them emotionally, the presumption is that you must know your customers. Understand what they need, want, and expect.

The deep customer insights on which this understanding and empathy are built can be gained from a robust CRM platform that gathers real-time customer information from across channels into a single, unified 360-degree view of the customer. Data gathered with purpose enables strong predictive analytics to help interpret the data and deliver actionable insights for customer engagement.

Building on this foundation, you can develop strategies for adjusting your business functions, processes, and channels to better serve your consumers in the ways they need and expect you to deliver on your brand promise.

Deliver great customer experiences

Customers don’t have time or patience for anything less than stellar customer experience. A study by Gartner shows that “Ease of use is a critical element of a positive experience. Online retailers have innovated continuously to reduce the instances of shopping cart abandonment and other blockers to completing a purchase transaction.”

Although it has been known for more than a decade, the experience gap remains a real challenge and opportunity, with about 80 percent of companies believing that they deliver phenomenal customer experiences, and about 8 percent of consumers agreeing. And in the experience economy, over 80 percent of companies expect to compete mostly or entirely on the basis of customer experience. Because doing otherwise is not a viable option.

Research by Forrester shows that consumers rate your brand based on feelings more than cold, hard facts and information. Increasingly, the key to great CX is to make it an exceptionally emotional experience across the entire customer journey. And do deliver on your brand promise, you must know and understand your customers, walking that fine line between knowing enough to create individualized experiences without being creepy and invasive.

Optimize CX with usability testing and UX research

Usability pioneers Jakob Nielsen and Donald Norman say user experience (UX) is a main brand differentiator in the digital world. They define UX as “the first requirement for exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother.”

UX and usability are different, however. Usability is “a quality attribute of the UI, covering whether the system is easy to learn, efficient to use, pleasant, and so forth.” User experience is a wider category, that, “In order to achieve high-quality user experience in a company’s offerings there must be a seamless merging of the services of multiple disciplines, including engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design.”

Certainly, costs for testing and implementing an adequate solution can vary dramatically from company to company or even channel to channel. Although it can be a big production, conducting usability testing doesn’t have to be a major undertaking or drain on time or resources. Having participants from your target audience test a website or app can help identify the most glaring problems and frustrations keeping customers from enjoying a positive experience with your company.

Be transparent

Again, Gartner finds that “along with ease of use, trust is a key component of a consumer’s satisfaction with a digital experience.”

Without that initial reason to trust your company with whatever data they must exchange as part of doing business with you, consumers are much less likely to do business with you in the first place. About 20 percent of non-users cite a lack of trust as their reason for spending their money and trusting their information with someone else.

Establishing trust with consumers upfront is no longer just a way to stand out as one of the “good guys,” it is a necessity if you want to do business. Here are some steps you can take to make your company more transparent, compliant, and competitive – and this will assist with building customer trust in the process.

Demonstrate good stewardship of customer data

The deck is already stacked against you when it comes to convincing consumers to share their data with you. The Marketo blog describes research findings, and “the trouble is, 65% of consumers are uncomfortable with their personal data being shared with for-profit firms, according to the Insights Network report.”

Even if you haven’t contributed to the problem of broken trust over customer data, the challenge is one you must meet and overcome.

Consider these steps toward earning consumer trust in the age of data breaches and GDPR:

  • Implement the technologies and expert resources (such as data scientists) needed to properly collect, store, manage, protect, and share customer data.
  • Collect data consensually; don’t buy it. The shortcut may be tempting, but you’re likely not getting the data that’s going to be useful to you or your prospective customers. They will know that you bought it; you will be at least that transparent.
  • Be transparent about everything above. Let customers know the who, what, where, when, and how of your data collection practices.
  • Grant customers hassle-free access to the data you have about them. And allow a delete option.

Not only will you earn trust and goodwill with consumers, but you will also be well on your way to compliance.

Understand and reflect your customers’ values and concerns

As seen on the Marketo blog, your customer wants to be the hero, and it’s up to you to enable that in a forward and transparent way. “Empower your customers with the feeling that investing in your products or services makes them a hero. Draw a clear, straight line from their point-of-purchase to the impact they’ll have on the world.”

According to Gartner, “In a recent survey, we learned that 70% of consumers expect brands to take positions on social issues that are being debated at large, particularly if they are relevant to their business.”

Again, the assumption is that to empower customers to live their values, you first understand your customers, including what they value and why. Understanding and empathy will always be the foundation of your strategy to connect with your customers emotionally, even as you both evolve.



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Customer Support Trends for 2020
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Customer Support Trends for 2020


Customer Service: What Makes It Great?

2. Personalisation to the fullest

We’ve just discussed the omnichannel communication strategy. So, if contacting clients through various channels is something so obvious, personalisation is our most powerful ally, it’s one of the most vital customer service trends. Personalised customer care is a synonym of customer engagement, loyalty, and trust.

“75% of clients are more likely to buy from a company that communicates with them using their name, purchase history, and/or recommends products based on their purchase history.”


Accenture

One of the most critical parts of personalisation is to know your client. We realise that it may be difficult to meet each of them in person, so you need to create a buyer persona profile to facilitate this process. Once you have defined the main interests, needs, and challenges of the clients, you can move on to the second step.

Communicate with your clients as you communicate in real life, that is, address them by name, create an atmosphere of trust, and do not forget to focus, at all times, on their needs. With the help of an appropriate CRM and the right customer support management system, you can access the history of your clients’ requests so you will be able to provide the most appropriate solution.

May be useful: How to Segment Your Customers for More Personalised Customer Experiences 

3. Mobile first

Mobile devices are considered as the most common and efficient means of communication. It keeps us connected all the time, with a variety of applications at our fingertips. So it’s not surprising to see more and more companies deploying their services and adapting them to this fast-paced environment. 

From responsive websites designed only for mobile, apps to offer great customer support on the go to a line of direct messages, organizations can use this medium to provide immediate answers or as quickly as possible.

According to the Pew Research Center, 2.5 billion people globally owns a smartphone. 

Outerboxdesign.com reports that 80% of use smartphones in-store to check product reviews, compare prices, find other store locations, or ask questions about products.

There are some aspects to take into account to carry out adequate customer service via mobile:

  • Take advantage of mobile functions: for example, the use of geolocation that allows the client to know where to find branches of your business in case they require assistance.

  • Always be ready to give your clients immediate response. 

  • Responsive design: This aspect is vital for customers’ seamless experience with your website or online store. Poor design and low-quality user experience may hurt your customer’s loyalty.

4. Real-time support: Live Chats

Imagine that a client or a potential client is about to purchase in one of your online channels (website, online store), and they have a question about your product or service. Wouldn’t it be amazing to help them right away? 

Live chat plays a vital role in the process of automating your customer service, as your agents can offer your clients and potential clients resolution of their queries in real-time, with full personalisation included. The client has access to this tool during all stages of the purchase process. These are just a few of the advantages of having a live chat available on your website.

Let’s have a look at some benefits of implementing a chat as a part of your support and customer service:

  • 100% human attention: live chat depends on the support agent’s work. It empowers your sales process because agents can formulate answers based on the context, at the same time analysing the feelings of the client in each stage of the purchase. Nothing beats human connection. 🙂

  • Immediacy: this is especially useful when the customer faces problems when making a purchase (e.g., payment process) or specific doubts about a product arise, Without a doubt, it’s impressive that a support agent is there to help potential clients.

  • Knowing your clients: Live chat software has data collection tools that allow the agent to anticipate the needs of users. This knowledge of the public allows a fluent and empathetic conversation.

5. User experience (UX) optimisation

The user experience determines an increase in lead generation and supports conversion. Over the next few years, due to the growth of online interactions, an appropriate UX will be essential for successful customer service and support.

To put it simply, the user experience refers to the ease of interaction of every customer with your product/service in all your digital channels. This is achieved primarily by an intuitive design and a neat and easy-to-use interface. 

Having an optimised UX means:

  • It’s easy to find information on your website, RRSS or any other channel and it takes less time. 

  • Potential clients are encouraged to follow sales and marketing funnels. 

  • Satisfactory browsing experience. 

  • Good recommendations from your clients!

Don’t forget that the user experience (UX) must be aligned with the customer experience (CX) to achieve all your marketing and sales goals.

6. The power of automation

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionising customer support. This is one of the most powerful customer service trends since it speeds up the resolution of queries. It’s possible thanks to clients’ data storage: preferences, main issues, frequently asked questions, and context.

With these databases, agents can offer more detailed and accurate answers faster than before. In addition, the initial investment in a CRM that manages the first support-related queries releases other expenses related to the hiring and training of extra staff.

The AI-based customer service is active 24/7 and can be configured to provide support in various languages, allowing you to cover a larger geographical area and give your company greater visibility.

Implementing automation software backed by artificial intelligence does not mean losing the human touch, in fact, agents can use the information collected by the bots to close higher sales since, with the exact knowledge of their client, they can mitigate any difficulty during the purchase process.

7. Machine learning 

With automation comes machine learning, another essential part of customer service trends. It refers to a data analysis technique that, based on algorithms, allows computers to find accurate information without having to be programmed by a human. Machine learning depends on computers accessing data that they can learn from and use on their own.

Similarly, navigation data, interaction with the site, time spent in each section of the website, purchase history, reference sources, channels used by every customer to visit your websites, and other online behaviors are collected. Because of this, the level of personalization and attention is quite advanced.

Some of the advantages of machine learning for your customer service:

  • Customisation of the offer and recommendations
  • Real-time support
  • Solving product problems before they arise
  • Helping the client throughout their buyer’s journey
  • Getting to know the clients’ points of view to improve the delivery/user experience.

As you have seen, you can harness the full power of technology to optimise your service and customer support and, in this process, the data will be your best ally.

8. Social media 

They have become one of the most vital channels for contacting companies. For this reason, the presence on the main platforms is essential: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn lead the list. In recent years, we have seen that social media contact can build better relationships between businesses and clients. Not only is the image of the company strengthened, but satisfied users will be more open to promote services or share the content of your organisation. 

“63% of clients expect that they will be offered customer support if they contact a company via social media. 35% of them say social media is their preferred channel to contact brands.”


ValueWalk

Customers want to contact you from various places, that’s why you need to offer them this possibility by using social customer service software as a part of an omnichannel communication strategy.

Some of the facts that will influence customer service via social networks are:

  • Preference towards the RRSS due to the speed of response and comfort. That is why a telephone call will, for the most part, be replaced by a direct message in any of the organization’s profiles,
  • Reviews will be on the rise. Companies are forced to provide the best customer care as this will directly affect their reputation and consumer confidence,
  • Users will give more value to the transparency and honesty of the company. Empathic treatment with the client and information available at all times will be the key to the recommendation or a positive review.

Our recommendation: take advantage of the data of the analysis tools to know who your clients are, in this way you can 100% customize your answers.

9. Say “Hi” to the home office!

With the implementation of all these tools and customer service trends, it will be increasingly common for support and customer service agents to perform their tasks from home. This will result in the reduction of costs, and with the saving of hours spend on commuting, the number of handled user queries can be increased if necessary. And, importantly, companies will put more focus on offering a flexible work environment.

Hopefully, this compilation of customer support trends will inspire you. Now you have a fixed list of things you need to take care of while designing or rethinking your customer service strategy for 2020 and beyond. 





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3 reasons why marketers should gather customer feedback
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3 reasons why marketers should gather customer feedback


As marketers, we traditionally rely on data to guide our decisions. We run A/B tests. We use robust analytics tools. We find out where customers are converting, and where they’re not. We know exactly what our customers are doing.

But there’s one major problem: we don’t always understand why.

If you’re like most marketers, you’ve probably seen your campaign performance or site analytics and wondered what’s going on inside your customers’ heads. What were they thinking when they abandoned their order? Or when they bounced from a landing page after just five seconds? Why did they unsubscribe from your email list? Would they have converted if you had a different design? Or different copy?

You may suspect you know the answers to these questions, but unless you hear it straight from the source, you’re really just guessing. And in the age where customer experience reigns king, guesswork is a dangerous way to run a business.

Get feedback on your marketing initiatives from real people

Learning directly from your customers allows you to fine-tune your marketing campaigns based on a richer understanding of what they actually want and need. Imagine if you could look over the shoulder of your customer as they navigate your website or use your app. You’d probably observe them doing things you wouldn’t expect.

This process of observing actual people as they use and interact with your digital experiences is called usability testing—and it only takes a couple of hours. 

For marketers, this type of fast feedback can be the secret weapon you need to understand why your customers do what they do.

1. Cultivate your brand image

As marketers, it’s our responsibility to establish and protect the company brand. But what good is your brand if it doesn’t resonate with your intended audience?

Running usability tests can help you understand what your customers actually think of your brand so you can tailor it to better fit their needs. From brand imagery to messaging, testing your marketing initiatives will ensure you’re delivering the right stuff at the right times.

If you’re ready to quickly learn how customers perceive your brand, make sure you’re asking the right questions.

2. Ensure a consistent omnichannel experience

Since users often don’t complete an activity in one sitting (or through one channel), it’s important to evaluate your omnichannel experience. That means any interaction a user has with your company while completing a single activity across multiple channels.

Channels can be websites, apps, email, social media, online chat, phone calls, print media, and even physical locations.

To begin evaluating your omnichannel experience, consider these questions as part of your usability testing:

  • How do users interact with your company on their phone, desktop, tablet, and in-person?
  • Can your users smoothly complete a process that spans multiple devices?
  • How is the experience across all channels?

3. Determine how your company stacks up against the competition

Believe it or not, you can perform usability tests on literally any website or app. Which means you’re not limited to solely testing your materials. If you’re limiting yourself to only testing your own website, you’re missing out on a very powerful—yet often overlooked—tool in your usability testing toolbox. Testing your competitor’s websites may provide you the valuable feedback you never knew you needed.

There are two simple ways to test your site against your competitor’s site. You can either have test participants visit both sites and describe their thoughts on each one, or you can send separate sets of test participants to each site (and then do the comparison yourself).

Run competitor tests to find out:

  • Who does a better job of clearly explaining the product or offering?
  • What do people like and dislike about your top competitor’s newest feature or product?
  • Which website do they prefer, and why?

Let your customers define their experiences

To understand why your customers do what they do—beyond data and analytics—usability testing can be your competitive advantage. Uncovering insights about how customers perceive your brand, what convinces them to convert, and what you can do to improve your marketing efforts will set your customer experience apart from the rest.



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How to Create a Facebook Marketing Plan That Models Your Customer Journey : Social Media Examiner
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How to Create a Facebook Marketing Plan That Models Your Customer Journey : Social Media Examiner



Social Media Marketing


Industry Report


In our 11th annual social media study (46 pages, 60+ charts) of 4800+ marketers, you’ll discover which social networks marketers most plan on using, organic social activities, paid social media plans, and much more! Get this free report and never miss another great article from Social Media Examiner.





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