Businesses unleash the power of SoMoLo when they connect with consumers where social, mobile and local intersect; it is at this point where companies meet consumers where they are (not vice-versa, as in the old days of marketing).
Identifying that sweet spot and crafting seamless messages across these three venues requires an integrated mindset, and a land of opportunity exists for those who adapt and embrace the new way of thinking. I talk about this in more detail in What is SoMoLo and Why is It So Important to Marketers; it’s my first post on the SoMoLo topic and I will have a lot more to say in the future.
Knowing the elements that are non-negotiable in a SoMoLo strategy is part of getting there. So here, I outline 5 essential elements in every SoMoLo strategy.
5 Must-Have’s in any SoMoLo Strategy:
1. CONSUMER INSIGHT—Developing a successful SoMoLo strategy requires you to become an expert in consumer search behavior.
Becoming aware of consumers’ search behavior will enable you to craft targeted content so you’ll increase relevance and convert leads more efficiently.
Searching is the primary activity of mobile consumers. Based on research, consumers are using search to:
- Research before they purchase (57% smartphone, 66% Tablet)
- Locate stores (73% smartphone, 42% Tablet)
- Check prices (62% smartphone, 52% Tablet)
- Read reviews of recent/future purchases (45% smartphone, 56% Tablet)
Take advantage of this search behavior by figuring out the questions consumers are asking and then offering useful content to provide answers. Be sure to take into account context.
- For example, where are consumers and what are they doing while they are seeking the information? Are they in your store looking at products? Or are they in their car trying to find your location? Adapt content appropriately to each channel; don’t just edit the same copy so it will fit each channel. Focus on helping instead of just selling.
Don’t overlook video content. Video is an effective teaching tool, and when optimized it’s an effective way to attract consumers searching for help. The content in your product or service-based video can pave the way to solving a consumer’s challenge.
2. ABILITY TO RELINQUISH CONTROL (i.e. GIVE CONSUMERS CONTROL)
Consumers expect transparency, control and customization. (Source: Deloitte 2012 Retail Study)
You may be wondering how giving consumers control helps you; but think of it this way: like it or not, consumers are in the driver’s seat in today’s marketplace. If you don’t empower them, you’ll likely never be able to convert them.
Today’s empowered consumers easily move from one channel to the next effortlessly. Often they will start a transaction on one channel then move to another; perhaps several more before they make a decision to purchase.
Some studies have found that 65% of consumers initiate a purchase on a smartphone then 61% move to a personal computer.
Action-oriented SoMoLo Marketers can give consumers control through numerous response options to this multi-channel consumer behavior. For example:
- Offer consumers different cross channel options.
- Allow them to interact with your brand based on their convenience.
- If you have physical locations, consider providing wifi access.
- Make sure physical locations have printed materials that indicate other online options.
Conduct an audit of your particular path to purchase with a goal to create a seamless customer experience. If a consumer is in one of your locations and decides to order a product or service online are they able to do that from a smartphone? If they see something of interest, will they be able to access it from another location or device effortlessly? Empowering consumers with the ability to navigate their preferred path to purchase gives them the control they expect.
Consumers are looking for choice, convenience and control; and they expect each of these on their terms.
One implication of implementing a SoMoLo marketing strategy is that you must make it easy for consumers to find anything related to your business. For example:
- Locations and hours
- Answers to their questions
If you aren’t helping your business get found easily, consumers will quickly move on to another company that’s more easily found first.
Search engines and Location Based Services are excellent resources for owners and managers willing to invest in the resources needed to take advantage of these. To get started:
- First, optimize your online assets using the key terms consumers use to find whatever it is you do.
- Next, optimize content that is hosted on these assets. Search engine optimization is technical and usually requires the help of a professional.
For the sake of convenience, where possible, prefill information; here’s one obvious but important example: if someone is completing a shopping cart transaction and the same information is required in multiple locations, don’t make the consumer rekey the same information over and over. Most businesses force consumers to conform to their systems; if you are able to do some of the heavy lifting for your customers, you will enhance the experience.
Simplify, often less is more. Only collect information you intend to use to create a more relevant experience.
4. LISTENING SKILLS
Pay attention to what consumers are saying about you, your product or service category, your competitors, and your community. Decide what you can realistically follow and then create a system that will facilitate keeping track of the conversations.
There are paid and free software programs designed to help filter out a great deal of the noise so you can follow the conversations you care about. Social Mention , Howsociable and Google Alerts are a few of the more popular free tools. Any listening tool will require hands-on review and analysis.
When appropriate, respond to comments or concerns; however, don’t be too defensive if you decide to try and resolve a problem or correct misinformation. Acknowledging compliments is a nice way to show that someone is paying attention. Use this feedback to improve service, solve problems and reinforce positive behavior and when fitting, deepen relationships with customers.
5. LOCAL ADVANTAGE
74% of smartphone owners surveyed cited looking up local services as a leading activity they associate with their smartphone. (Source: Keystone)
According to Pew research, 65 million Americans use mobile or location based services, and the numbers are increasing. You may have heard of the term hyper-local. Consumers are interested in exploring local options. Location based services like Foursquare allow consumers to check in to specific locations telling their social network about their experience.
Check-in behavior allows consumers to find deals, evaluate services or products and share their experiences with others. Often these platforms are connected to other popular social media platforms, like Facebook, for example.
In addition to optimizing your marketing assets, claim your local place. There are resources that make this process pretty simple and doing this will ensure your content shows up in local search results.
If you already offer coupons, discounts or premiums, consider tailoring an offer to draw in local customers or reward loyal behavior.
Are you harnessing the power of SoMoLo?
Being aware of the essential elements of a SoMoLo strategy is the first step to achieving success. Consumer insight, ability to relinquish control, convenience, listening skills and local advantage all have a common thread: they each put the consumer at the center. Without a customer-centric focus, a SoMoLo strategy will never flourish. Conversely, keeping your customer at the center and honing these 5 essential traits will springboard your business. In which of these areas do you need to focus?
Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net