In today’s hyper-connected world, Marketing Strategy helps customers use all channels – mobile, digital, social, physical – to interact with brands during the shopping journey, but marketers struggle to connect with customers at the right time and in the channel right.
According to a recent Forrester survey, around 50% of companies are having trouble with this issue and understanding their customers. Forrester identified key challenges, including a lack of information about new buyers and an inability to use customer data effectively.
To address these barriers, marketers can leverage the full potential of community marketing to engage users throughout the purchase cycle and ensure a seamless experience.
Online communities offer consumers a variety of ways to connect and the brand through discussion forums, question-and-answer sessions, and other resources. However, according to Forrester, this channel is one of the newest methods of collecting customer data:
This data obtained from online communities can be used to do more than just improve the customer experience; it can also be analyzed to guide marketing decisions and achieve lasting customer loyalty.
To capitalize on the true value of community marketing strategy, marketing teams must…
Provide consistent content
User-generated content is becoming increasingly important as consumers are more likely to consider third-party or peer reviews when making a purchase decision. When shoppers get a chance to see user reviews, questions from their peers, and brand responses, they can choose the right solution based on the recommendations and experiences of others. The result is a positive customer journey on the web, increasing the likelihood that shoppers will come back to the brand for new products or confirm their purchase by writing a review.
Forrester also found that 59% of companies say customers use community-generated content when shopping and 75% agree that those who use community-generated content are more likely to purchase those who don’t. Additionally, 77% of marketers agree that community-generated content speeds purchase decisions.
Use customer data to inform marketing strategy, decisions and objectives
According to Forrester, 89% of companies say customer data plays an important role in their marketing strategy and 51% say it plays a critical role. Data from the online community can be added to the information funnel marketers use to develop their tactics. User-generated community content is especially valuable to brands, which can use consumer feedback to customize products or create new solutions that meet customer needs.
Integrate a community marketing strategy at the start of the digital customer journey
Communities must be a living resource that is constantly updated by users and brands with new information, questions, images, and other forms of content. The platform must be an ongoing opportunity for the customer to engage with the brand to share stories, discuss challenges and discover new products. Based on this type of content, the community can be used by consumers at the start of their search or after purchase to ask more questions, write a recommendation, or collaborate with their peers to brainstorm future uses. Communities provide continuous touchpoints for the benefit of consumers with enriched content. The platform can also reduce online abandonment and open lines of communication with prospects and customers.
Community marketing allows marketers to better understand their customers by leveraging the data these consumers provide online. The live platform must contain enough user-generated and branded content to help shoppers begin, midway, or end their journey. Marketers can collect this data to deliver personalized content at every stage of the journey on the channel of their choice, whether it’s social media or the community.