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touchpointsAs audiences become increasingly sophisticated across all demographics, the likelihood is that your customers will make more targeted and strategic purchases.

In the past emotional factors and visibility held sway when it came to dictating customer habits. If a product was featured in a TV ad, then customers would generally either call in or visit their local store branch to purchase.

These days it’s far more likely they’ll get online and hit the price comparison sites.

In order to retain your audience, it’s important that you become visible in more places. If you’re consistently appearing in all their searches then there’s a far higher chance of conversion.

While this advice may seem most pertinent for retailers, it’s actually applicable to anyone with a website. "Custom" doesn’t necessarily mean "purchase". If you’re a blogger for example, then page views and comments are what matters (and if they translate into ad clicks, so much the better…).

The point is that you need to have widespread web visibility in order to capture your audience share. While it’s obviously worth concentrating your SEO efforts on your main information hub, your site or Facebook page for example, it’s also worth instigating a multichannel presence online.

While the channels you choose will be entirely based on your target audience, the methodology remains fairly consistent.

Here are three quick steps that will help you manage a presence across multiple web channels...

Be human

Having a presence on social networks will help humanise your branding.

Even for B2Bs, the people and companies you connect with need to know that there’s a human element, a face behind the brand.

Even if you aren’t heavily involved or use your channel primarily as a news stream, occasionally deploying a personal tweet or answering a query on Facebook shows that you are open to communication and actively building a community.

It shows a willingness to utilise channels that suit the audience as well as your business.

Broadcast

A willingness to hand over control of your message to customers helps, but you still need to instigate that message so that others can build conversation around it.

There’s still a huge market that prefer to interact via email or even through catalogues. Take time to build separate e-shots for customers who have purchased a product or engaged actively, and those who have merely communicated.

For example, if you decide to contact your RSS subscribers, you might want to include a snapshot of your forum activity. For active forum users this is old ground, and unnecessary repetition means spam.

By doing so you’ll create increased awareness for your various touchpoints. Your audience will know that you are active in multiple areas and ready to listen and help them out.

Linklove

If there’s one thing that’s key to success on the web (actually, there are probably several hundred thousand, but this is a big one…) its linkage.

If you’re appearing in front of more people in more places, you’ll dramatically improve the chances they’ll link to you. Even if those links point to a satellite hub, they’ll still be attracting business.

If you are present on forums you can recommend other sites and services, and increase the chances of reciprocation.

Building links equates to building business and brand awareness, so make sure you’re engaging as many people as possible.


Be present in multiple web channels and you’ll dramatically increase your ability to build both your brand and a loyal following.

If you appear on your customer’s social networks, in their email, and in their searches via applied SEO and PPC campaigns, then you’ll create an extended network of touchpoints that can massively improve both sales and reputation.

The internet is about instant communication for all, so make sure you get the word out.

Matt Owen

Published 29 July, 2010 by Matt Owen

Matt Owen was formerly Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or hook up on LinkedIn.

203 more posts from this author

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