It’s no secret – marketers are time-strapped individuals. With the ongoing pandemic, we’ve also had to take on the role of part-time fortune teller.
HubSpot has been publishing data and trends for core business metrics since early April, with the data showing varying levels of consumer activity in Asia-Pacific. In Singapore, web traffic rushed up to 31% higher than normal at the end of March but has since dipped to just 10% above benchmark in mid-May. Marketers adjusted their outreach accordingly, with the number of marketing email sends going from 66 percent above benchmark at the end of April, to seven percent below average in the next week.
Aside from reading the weather, we juggle the latest algorithm changes on an ever-growing number of platforms and distribution channels. We must learn and adopt new technologies to stay ahead of the competition and match rapidly evolving customer expectations. We face swiftly increasing customer acquisition costs. All the while, we write remarkable content to publish on our blogs, enable our sales teams, nurture leads into opportunities... all at breakneck speed!
And that’s all before marketers even get to their websites. We need to support more integrations, more personalization, and at the most basic level, we need the ability to spin up new site pages, add new content, change layouts, and make copy edits to our websites on the fly. Websites are the cornerstone of your company’s digital experience, and right now, your website is also your storefront. They should evolve as quickly as your business does.
The necessity of nimbleness
It’s not what you sell, it’s how you sell. Ten years ago, businesses outran their competition by selling a product that was 10 times better. Today, companies win and lose because of their customer experience. Increasingly vocal buyers, online reviews for everything, easily replicable products, and eroding trust in businesses mean that a delighted customer base is far more influential in driving growth than any marketer or salesperson.
Today’s consumers are vocal -- half of buyers have shared an experience they’ve had with a company on social media. Buyers are equally likely to share a good experience or a bad one, and with 81% of consumers reporting that they trust their family and friends’ word over a business’ marketing, can you really afford a breakdown in customer experience?
But as marketers, we can’t build an amazing customer experience unless our tools and systems allow us to be nimble. According to research from HubSpot, 82% of consumers expect an “immediate” response when looking for marketing or sales help -- that number rises to 90% when the question is related to customer service. What does “immediate” mean? 10 minutes. Add to that, one-third of buyers expect to be able to self-serve in the purchase process. As your business grows, your team won’t be able to get back to all prospects within 10 minutes. It’s just not possible for any company with aspirations to grow.
Simply put, your website needs to be there when you can’t be. But marketers are handicapped by the tools they use to improve their website. Most marketers choose CMSes that are easy to set up, but once it’s time to make changes, they have to roll up their sleeves and learn how to code and become amateur developers as they try to get plugins to work. To keep pace in a post-COVID age, marketers need a CMS that’s usable and flexible enough to make changes to our websites in real-time, and powerful enough to support the wide array of functions our websites need to create an excellent customer experience.
Improving your website should be a journey, not a destination
Marketers should be able to quickly stand up a version of a new site that looks and performs better than what they have today. And they should be able to do this without begging for resources from other teams. Major website redesigns that take businesses from one version of a stagnant site to another aren’t just expensive, they carry an invisible opportunity cost as well -- the risk of pouring thousands of hours into a new property that could become outdated in just a few months.
Ideally, websites should be continuously improved. Your customers are constantly evolving, so your website should too. Businesses should be able to continually use the insights they gain from how buyers react to these changes to iterate, experiment, and improve. By combining web data with information from other sources, such as your customer relationship management (CRM) tools, businesses can gain a more complete picture of their customers and improve communication efforts.
Save time with tools that make the job easier.
Many CMSes today present us with an impossible either-or choice. Systems that are usable by marketers often lack the technological advancement required by growth businesses. The ones that do possess this functionality usually require custom development work the typical marketer isn’t equipped to deliver. And not everyone has an in-house IT or development team. In both cases, marketers’ jobs are made harder because it takes them away from what they were hired to do -- marketing.
We already have to make difficult decisions every day about the best ways to engage with customers and prospects, often in real time. We’re able to adapt to customers on almost every channel. A social post is underperforming? Do it differently tomorrow. An email send has lower-than-average open rates? Change your strategy next week. But for many of us, this flexibility doesn’t exist when it comes to our websites, our single biggest interface with our customers.
Imagine if restaurants took two weeks to upload delivery details to their websites after lockdown announcements. Imagine the losses incurred because of slow reaction. Now, imagine if losses of such scale occurred every time you needed to communicate with customers quickly.
Friction is the enemy of growth. But in an economic downturn, its effects are even more pronounced. Without the right tools to manage a website quickly and effectively, we’re only making it tougher. Marketers need to be able to take control of the customer experience without feeling like they’re doing battle every day, and adapt their assets to customers’ expectations, not the other way around.
By David Fallarme, Head of Marketing, Asia – HubSpot