Creating a Digital Customer Experience for Your Small Business

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Digital customer experience (DCX) is a buzzword among tech businesses and online marketers. Oftentimes, we associate the phrase with online shopping and e-commerce websites like Amazon. Nowadays, it’s becoming more popular among traditional businesses to have a web presence and connect with potential customers.

Let’s look at how customer experience has evolved over the years, and later we’ll get into how business owners can modernize customer experience to meet the demands of digitally enabled customers.

Customer Experience Then and Now

Customer experience typically starts with a customer walking by and getting a sense of what’s inside our business. Does it look nice and tidy? Do store people greet customers by the entrance? What about the customer service? Does it make them feel comfortable, important, and cared for? It’s the overall perception about the business during the customer’s journey. A great customer experience can be the turning point from being just a casual buyer to a lifetime source of revenue for the company.

The influx of mobile technology and subsequent growth in mobile users takes customer experience to a whole new level. Innovation gave rise to digital customer experience as businesses take their brand into the virtual space and create a seamless experience for both digital and physical customer engagement.

Bookings for hotel and accommodation are a classic example. A good digital customer experience meant customers could easily find their hotels by price range, ratings, and location, and be able to book their stay and make frictionless transactions all within the app or website. Moreover, they should be able to redeem their points and make cashless transactions through the app on-site and in-store.

Small Business Dream is built around the concept of providing users with the best digital customer experience through its digital marketplace (business directory) which also doubles as a mobile wallet.

Digitizing the Customer Experience

Here’s some way you can create a digital customer experience for your small business.

1. Engage with customers on multiple channels

Multi-channel marketing has a lot of advantages compared to just one type of customer communication. Traditional advertising is pretty much a thing of the past. Today, we need to grab people’s attention through social media, providing useful content (blogs, tutorials,etc.), and using top-of-mind strategies.

Your customers’ journey begins when they pause at your catchy post on Facebook, watch your videos on YouTube, subscribe to your mailing list, or click your page on Google’s search engine results. Webhosting sites, content management systems (CMS), and sales and marketing automation enables small businesses to build an online presence much quicker and easier at a very reasonable cost. Small Business Dream sales and marketing automation provide business owners with a little bit of everything from micro-sites, landing pages, autoresponders, follow up series, Facebook and Twitter integration, and so on.

2. Focus more on inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is more likely to succeed in this day and age compared to outbound marketing particularly among millennials. According to survey it may take around 3 to 18 months from initial engagement before they come up with a decision. It’s a continuous process of educating, following up, and sustaining their interest all throughout the journey.

Outbound marketing still has its place, although they’re still pretty much “hit-and-miss” even on the web. How many times did you have to skip a YouTube ad or got distracted by a Google ad because it failed to reach its intended audience? We call this “interruption” marketing. On the other hand, inbound marketing pulls people in (not push) by giving them exactly what they want, when they want it, and how.

One of the most commonly used methods include content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), as well as using customer relationship management (CRM), and sales and marketing automation tools. Say, you want your potential customers to receive updates specific to their own interests. Small Business Dream’s survey builder will enable you to segment your contacts, as well as sales funnels to quickly assess their levels of interest.

3. Get your business listed on a mobile marketplace

Your small business needs to be searchable. You can work on improving your Google search ranking through SEO. But if you want a faster way without having to wait for months or years to rank, business directories is the way to go. Unlike Google, you’ll have better chances being listed on business directories like Small Business Dream Business Finder app as it allows users to find your business through local searches instead of getting buried underneath in Google search results.

Mobile marketplace appeals to mobile users and digitally enabled customers who want fast and easy way to find businesses around the city. They also help in making buying decisions based on ratings and comments from customers, creating a much better digital customer experience for app users. It can also take advantage of Google or Apple’s push notification service which would allow you to have direct access to your mobile users’ phone screens.

With Small Business Dream, you can have your business listed in the Business Finder app or be able to send push notifications to app users as a Small Business Dream sales and marketing automation software subscriber.


Creating a digital customer experience is more than ever within reach for many small businesses. With better technologies in sales and marketing automation and more people getting access to mobile services, we can bring our businesses closer to people and level the playing field for everyone. You can take your first step by visiting Small Business Dream and learn how you can create a digital customer experience for your small business.

Simple Ways to Integrate Permission Marketing Into Marketing Automation

 Marketing automation is at the core of almost every online business today, and should also be a key strategy in more traditional businesses as well.

As a cost-effective way to reach out potential customers, this strategy has proved time and again that anyone – with sufficient knowledge, tools, and skill sets – can have a fair chance to compete with other businesses worldwide.

However, even the most innovative online strategy has a downside. For years, marketing automation has become the subject of misuse among online marketers who pitched automation as a way of turning businesses into online ‘cash machines’ without ever spending time and effort with potential customers. It made marketing automation synonymous to spamming.

Faced with more stringent rules regarding customer engagement and increased customer awareness, online marketers are back to the drawing board on how they could use automation to deliver the same results back in its heyday, or even better.

Why a Change of Strategy is Necessary

When marketing automation was at its peak, many believed that as long as you were able to make tons of content and send a relentless barrage of emails to practically any person on earth that has an email address, sooner or later people would respond to your call and generate income for your business.

The idea comes from the analogy of shooting as many arrows as you can, hoping that one or two will eventually land on their target out of mere chance (known as the ‘spray and pray’ method). Although some businesses use this method effectively, it usually comes at a price.

For one thing, marketers who rely heavily on conventional marketing automation are putting their businesses at risk by sending unsolicited emails to people whose contact information were sourced from a third-party data supplier.

This method obviously won’t work, since most emails have already built defenses against spamming. CAN-SPAM Act will also make these marketers think twice about ever using this method again.

Aside from bordering unlawful marketing practices, it tends to yield diminishing returns over time as contacts starts falling off and fewer people become available to them. It usually guarantees a one-time success with little or no regard for ongoing customer relationship and repeat purchases.

Staying relevant with the customers is almost impossible to attain with conventional marketing automation. Usually, what happens is that companies will send every content that they have on a particular niche to people in their massive list of contacts, hoping to strike a chord with just one or two articles sent to them in rapid succession. It’s essentially a ‘hit-or-miss’ strategy.

As customer engagement comes close to non-existent, they would eventually lose their ship, and no amount of automation can save it from sinking to the bottom.

The question now is whether marketing automation can still be a viable option to speed up the process and boost sales despite its shortcomings in customer engagement.

A Step towards Permission Marketing

Permission marketing was coined by marketing expert Seth Godin to denote marketing strategies that rely on customer feedback, i.e., permission, to initiate ongoing customer relationship and interaction which allows them to receive updates and follow-ups on demand.

Unlike traditional outbound marketing, which he appropriately calls ‘interruption marketing’, permission marketing spares people the trouble of going through the ordeal of being constantly bombarded with marketing pitches. It gives them more freedom and control over the situation and encourages them to either share more about their interests and other key information about themselves, or turn into buying customers.

Others tend to view permission marketing as the antithesis of marketing automation because it’s more involved and requires frequent human interaction. The fact is, permission marketing needs a starting point, and that involves automation.

Sign-up forms via landing pages, which may also include opt-in to newsletters or social media posts, are just a few classic examples on how to initiate permission marketing.

Still others believe that permission marketing is a little too slow compared to marketing automation aside from the fact that it gives too much freedom to potential customers to take action whenever they want to. They aim for quick, albeit short-lived gains, instead of nurturing previous and current customers for long-term, sustainable income.

In the final analysis, those who relied on one-time customer engagements end up losing more money looking for new prospects while those who took their time watering and growing their customer base could increase revenue exponentially through updates, follow-ups, customer referrals, crossing-selling, up-selling, and repeat purchases.

The Smart Way to Automate

Marketing automation platforms can only do so well when it comes to tasks which could be reasonably accomplished through automation. Some aspects of marketing are best performed through human interaction which cannot be copied or supplanted by automated means.

Read: Digital and Physical Customer Engagement, and Why You Need Both

Keep these in mind when using marketing automation to attract and maintain customers for your business:

  • Open up multiple channels to collect customer information.

Inbound marketing has proven its effectiveness over outbound marketing by emphasizing customer awareness.

Opening up multiple channels of customer engagement maximizes your chances of getting in touch with them. This includes setting up a blog, website, landing page, and social media account, to name a few.

Your marketing automation platform can be seamlessly integrated to all these channels to collect, store, and analyze customer information for you after signing up to your mailing list or subscribe for a free newsletter. Marketing automation shines best at this stage of customer engagement.

  • Dissect your sales pipeline to see which approach works best in every stage. In case you haven’t noticed this part has been alluded to in the previous item.

The first stage, which involves data collection and storage, is best accomplished with marketing automation.

Following up, which is the next stage, involves a combination of both permission marketing and marketing automation.

When trying to learn more about your leads, you can revert back to automation to, once again, collect relevant information about them and analyze whether or not they could be qualified as potential customers. The marketing team would then assign the lead scores, start with the sales process, and close the deal.

  • Use email segmentation and the buyer persona to guide your marketing effort. These marketing strategies allow you to narrow down your target audience and zero them in with pinpoint accuracy. It takes time and effort creating relevant content based on different segments and customer behavior.

The easiest way to fail in any kind of marketing strategy is to use the same cut-and-dried content across all contacts and send them out at a robotic pace, one email after another.

You need to customize your content according to the different segments in your email list and provide an option for a follow-up or additional information about the topic.

When deciding for the most appropriate product or service for a certain group of customers, you can refer to your buyer persona as your guide.

  •  Choose a marketing automation platform that works for you. A good marketing automation platform often comes at a price.

However, most companies offer different versions of their product ranging from the most basic ones at no cost, to premium offerings with a complete suite of tools at about a hundred to two hundred dollars per month.

Marketing automation can still be as powerful as any marketing strategy if you can put other elements into the mix such as permission marketing to interact with your potential customers and collect your data about your target market.