07th April

Now is not the time for rushed online launches, now is the time for building communities.

Importance of communities

Building a community of customers is what brings longevity and a physical store was your foot right into it, with businesses not looking back once cementing their store in their area.

Something that was taken for granted by most offline businesses is the opportunity to see your customer’s on a regular basis. Offline stores form part of the local community and with it comes a regular stream of familiar faces inside your store which provide a predictable income to your business.

This is no longer the case.  With Covid-19, offline stores have rushed to launch their e-commerce business to get ahead of competition and keep their businesses afloat. Although this might bring short-terms gains which are important as quick wins are necessary in business, there is a bigger picture that most are missing.

HOW HAS YOUR BUSINESS CHANGED?

In the shift from offline to online, there will be a % of customers that drop-off and don’t make the shift with you which is being forgotten in the rush to online.

Potentially this can lead to your businesses relying on a completely new type of customers, and do you have the infrastructure to become experts in their needs?

There are two moments in your digital transformation where users can potentially drop-off and move to your competitors are broken down as follows:

  • Change of location
  • Change in user experience 

These are both threats of losing your current customer base and opportunities to fast-track growth with acquisition of new customers. The efficiency of your digital transformation will decide.

Change in location:

The first one being that in an offline business, a significant factor that your business offers is geographical location which is now no longer available to your customers. As a result, a % of customers who used your business due to this factor will look at our options since finding another business will be practically identical.

The time it takes to find another website versus commuting to a different physical store is significant and as a result will have a say in the traffic to your website.

There is a daily rent that you pay to your landlord and have regular footfall to your offline store and now you will need to pay for your rent of online user’s attention through paid social media ads and buying the number one listing on Google.

The difference between the two is the with a physical store, once you signed the lease for a prime location it is yours. While in the digital world, businesses are trying to take your prime location every single day.

Change in user experience.

The second one is the change in customer experience, there will be drop-off depending on how capable you are at recreating in-store experience online.

For example, certain stores rely on the expertise of their staff to advise, impress and sell to customers and with their new e-commerce the purchase decision is completely left to the customer for the most part.

Another situation where user experience will change is the store atmosphere. If you have heavily invested in creating a memorable experience in store, you will be needing to do this with your website to retain the customers who craved that experience from your business.

A major brand that has suffered with this is Abercrombie & Fitch, a company who invested heavily in their offline stores to get people speaking about their in-store experience and are struggling to compete with e-commerce centric businesses.

WHOEVER GETS CLOSEST TO THE CUSTOMER WINS – AND WHY BECOMING A THOUGHT LEADER IS YOUR NEW WAY OF BUILDING A COMMUNITY?

A physical store was a shortcut to getting close to your customers, making them an available option and establishing yourself at top of mind of your community.

In a noisy digital world where everyone is hiring digital experts and putting money into paid social advertising, this becomes a difficult task. When everyone is bombarded with digital ads everyday, it comes down to why should people be listening to you?

A strategy which we have used frequently with clients that are looking to build an online community is becoming a thought leader in your industry by providing regular insights to your customer base for free.

Below is an illustration of why this works:

Customer journey with offline stores.

Same customer journey with online stores.

How offering customers an ebook to help them for free changes this?

The ebook will work for your business in two ways:

  • For users’ to download this ebook, they will give you their name and email address which will be added to your customer database.
  • Once the user reads the ebook, the user will position you as the source of information for your sector.

Ok we’ve collected the customer details – what now?

In my experience, the understanding of the importance of collecting emails and it feeding into the rest of your marketing plan is grossly understanding.

Above is the Ebook funnel that we use for our clients, which works in the following steps:

• Ebook is written about a subject that attracts your ideal customers.

They then put a 21 day email automation flow to weed out the users who aren’t interested in your business and end up with a community of people who enjoy the content you are sending.

• These emails are then fed into Instagram & Facebook advertising, which allows us to target these users and target users with similar trends.

• Based on their behaviour in the first 30 days, they are then put into a CRM and are given custom communication per user to build a community around your business.

Author
Andrew Borg Costanzi
Head of Growth
Fact: I take an ice cold shower every day

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For us to scope the above specifically for your business,
send us an email at andrew.borg@anchovyinc.com to begin building your customer community to last above and beyond the current situation.

For us to scope the above specifically for your business,
send us an email at andrew.borg@anchovyinc.com to begin building your customer community to last above and beyond the current situation.

Intrigued?

Take a look at some of our work.

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for you?

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