What is a Digital Experience and why your company needs it
Have you ever thought about how your customer feels when interacting with your brand online?
In a Google search, a social media conversation, and interactions with apps and websites, a digital experience sets a business apart from the competition.
If you want to gain visibility and stand out through your Digital Marketing efforts, it is time to elaborate and run a strategy focused on creating rich, compelling experiences for your audience.
You will see how to do so in the following topics:
- What is a digital experience?
- What are the benefits of a digital experience?
- What are other companies doing?
What is a digital experience?
Before the digital era, businesses had a more passive way of thinking about how customers could interact with their brands and experience them.
Most of the focus in a branding strategy was on crucial points:
- advertisement: that could sell the concept of the experience;
- physical stores and other sales points: where customers would have the chance to consume products and services.
The biggest mistake companies still do today is trying to emulate that same plan in a completely different world.
They think the connection between brand and audience only happens when it is actively purchasing something.
In the mid-1990s and even the early 2000s, there was a common question in quizzes and surveys: how much time do you spend online? This question doesn’t make sense anymore.
We are always online, whether in front of a PC or, even more, with a phone in our hands or pocket. And if we are 24/7 in the digital world, we are always ready to interact with a business or product.
A digital experience is the sum of all online interactions between the customer and the brand. It is part of the buyer’s journey — from discovery to conversion — but it is much more than that.
While investing in digital experiences, you are not only thinking about selling but also creating a solid image and connection with your target audience.
It is a cohesive and well-structured plan that makes any interaction meaningful and memorable. This includes:
- a conversation in social media;
- offering an app that helps your buyer persona deal with some of their pains;
- a browsing experience that makes an online store delightful to use;
- the hype for new products that generate excitement;
- the way you do customer service;
- content that informs and creates identification;
- covering a live experience that is important and engaging for your audience.
Therefore, a digital experience is all about branding. It involves how you develop an image, a voice, and a body for your company.
This should resonate with your customer and engage them in new interactions each day, creating a powerful competitive advantage.
What are the benefits of a digital experience?
How exactly does a digital experience strategy help your business stand out from competitors online?
The key is identification, differentiation, and presence. Let’s see some of these benefits.
Sticking to your audience’s mind
An important thing about great user interactions online is that they have a lot more potential to be remembered than passive content.
When the whole experience of getting to know and exploring your brand is powerful enough, you consolidate it in people’s minds — even when they’re not exactly buying something.
Think about all the brands you know and have interacted with, but you never purchased a product from. That’s the power of a good digital experience. That’s how you become known.
Making conversions cheaper
Good digital strategies always make conversions cheaper. We could think of this interaction as an engagement powerhouse.
When your audience has to be active to consume content, they invest more of themselves in the relationship.
This means you move leads faster towards conversion and get more visibility. Referrals, recommendations, social sharing, page retention — all of these benefits from digital experiences can boost your SEO.
Creating a solid user base
When an experience is good, the user always comes for more — this is a golden rule of UX (user experience).
It means a well-done digital experience can make them browse a website to feel that sensation again. They may want to talk to your brand and participate in live events just to be part of it.
With a more solid user base in your digital ecosystem, you gather more information about them. With that data, you can improve the strategy itself and obtain useful insights to improve products and services.
Turning buyers into promoters
We all want to share with people we care about the good experiences we had. That’s human nature. So why not use it in your favor?
Brands that offer engaging interactive content go viral easier. Thus, a customer that would purchase a product not only comes back for more but also starts influencing other potential buyers.
What are other companies doing?
The companies that already understood digital experiences’ power in their Digital Marketing plans are standing out in the market.
This becomes clear when we do some research about what they are doing — the goals, the means, the tools, the approaches.
To learn more about how digital experiences are transforming customer-brand relationships, we’ll show you some examples!
Wayfair and its all-in-one experience
Wayfair is an online furniture store with some advantage over large existing retailers at the beginning of the 2000s: the brand was born in the digital world.
They couldn’t match prices, logistics, and the demand businesses like Target and Walmart had. However, their focus was on creating the best digital shopping experience possible.
They started by understanding that buying furniture is a highly sensorial process for the customer. They need to see the colors, feel the textures, test ergonomics, match elements, etc.
So every piece of interaction in their online store was built with that in mind. The visitor has a perfectly structured catalog with comprehensive and easy-to-follow categories.
There is also tons of content to inspire and teach, and even an AR (augmented reality) application that allows them to visualize how each piece will fit their personal spaces.
It is fun to use the site and to browse for products. Even if the initial plan isn’t to buy something from that specific store, the persona could go there to test things, just to experiment. This is the power of a special digital experience.
Under Armour and the use of mobile
As we already noticed in this article, digital experiences aren’t always about the buyer’s journey itself. It involves creating a deep connection and identification with your audience.
A good example of this is Under Armour’s MapMyFitness, a mobile app for tracking exercises and monitoring fitness progression.
Although the application itself has some links and integrations with the brand’s store, even the different name suggests it is not about selling but helping the buyer persona in their lifestyle goals.
What do they gain from investing millions of dollars in an app that doesn’t convert directly? Well, they are creating their user base and becoming closer to their audience.
Not only Under Armour obtains a huge amount of data on their buyer personas, but it also becomes closely associated with health and good shape. This is the message that sticks.
When those leads are ready to make a purchase, they will always turn to the brand that offers the best experience, and it’s on their side even when they are not buying.
Doritos and the bet on user-generated content
In this post, we talked a lot about interaction and we couldn’t end without mentioning that it can’t come only from your side of the relationship.
User-generated content is a great way to engage your audience because it asks for them to act. With the right incentive and the right approach, you can create rich, broad campaigns with little effort.
The Doritos’ #CrashFromHome campaign is a great example of that.
With the NFL season starting in a situation that never happened in the last hundred years, the company asked the audience to create their unique, filmed-from-home commercials.
Therefore, a digital experience is not only about discovering and consuming rich interactions. It also involves the customer being part of the process.
Whether running traditional strategies or making virtual events, you can always ask your customer base to show why they like your company and how they care about it.
After all, a digital experience isn’t about the technology itself, but how to nurture a relationship with the audience in a virtual world.
This should be your goal from now on: find the opportunities and means to turn any contact with your brand into a memorable and engaging exchange.
So how about starting with your content? Learn how to create content experiences for your public!