Touchpoints in marketing are simply any interaction between a brand and the customer. The challenge for business is that people rarely buy on impulse, and therefore one touchpoint is not enough to convince them to make a purchase. Not only that, but we are exposed to thousands of messages every day. So, how many touchpoints does it take and how important are these interactions?
The Touchpoint Marketing Rule
Having undertaken considerable research, Jim Lecinski published a Think with Google article on touchpoints; ‘Winning the Zero Moment of Truth’. In this, he presented the 7-11-4 Rule. Lecinski identified that it takes 7 hours of interaction, over 11 touchpoints, seen in 4 different locations, all for a customer to make an informed purchase.
Initially, this sounds like a lot of work to secure a sale. However, it goes much deeper than that. As buyers, we want to make informed decisions, we want good value, and we want to feel valued. The touchpoints are important steps in building familiarity and trust. Get it right and we boost our conversion rates, customer loyalty and reach. This is what all brands want, and this is why each touchpoint is so important.
What Touchpoints can SMEs Utilise?
Achieving the 7-11-4 rule sounds hard. SMEs can’t often afford a full media marketing campaign so what can you do about it and how do you create 7 hours of interaction?
The first step is to map your customer journey. This is about viewing your business from an objective perspective and understanding what touchpoints are being utilised. So, let’s begin with how your customers first become aware that your business could offer what they need.
Awareness of your Brand Touchpoints
Awareness touchpoints might include:
- Your web page listing in a Google search
- A Point-of-sale display in a shop
- A video or article that refers to your product or service
- Adverts on social media or local radio
- Advertising in a magazine
It should go without saying, but remember relevance here – use those social media channels where your customers hang out, and advertise in the right type of magazine. If you’re not sure, do your research.
Considering the Options Touchpoints
Once aware, potential customers will then research the options. This process evaluates whether your brand can match their needs and extends beyond the product or service. They are considering if you offer value, whether your brand values align with theirs and what experience your other customers have had.
Considering touchpoints could include:
- Your website’s ease of navigation, case studies, information and tone
- Customer reviews on your website, independent sites and influencer videos
- Recommendations from their trusted network
- Requesting a brochure, free trial or quote
- Popping in or contacting you by phone, email or social channels to ask questions
Point of Purchase Touchpoints
The third stage comes when they have narrowed down the options and are ready to purchase. Even at this stage, the touchpoints can sway their decision. Ever changed your mind because the queue was too long, the shipping costs were unexpectedly high, or another product was on promotion? People want a seamless process and final reassurance that they are getting value and being valued.
Purchasing touchpoints may include:
- Your order process and checkout – efficient staff or systems
- Packaging, website product descriptions, point of sale displays
- Attitudes and actions of employees, perhaps over the telephone
- Finishing touches for example valuable advice, gift wrapping or a named person to call
At this stage, you’ve made the sale, but the customer journey hasn’t finished. Now is the opportunity to build on the trust you have gained.
Post-sale is the time to follow up on those customers and encourage further interaction. This is your chance to retain customers and encourage their loyalty. Post sale touchpoints are all about incentivising connections. How do you encourage customers to follow your social channels, sign up for your newsletter, write a review, return to your physical or online shop and renew a subscription? Whilst ensuring by the way, that they are personalised and based on the customers’ purchasing history!
How Effective are your Customer Interactions?
Having read the examples of touchpoints, we hope you feel reassured that you’re already on track to meet the 7-11-4 rule. However, it is important to ensure that these touchpoints are working in your favour; building familiarity and trust. So, the next question is how effective are these customer interactions?
Data will provide insight into areas that are working or need improvement. As a starting point, are you aware of your brand’s position in terms of some of these measurables?
- Webpage bounce rates
- Abandoned carts at checkout
- Advertising codes used to claim a discount or special offer
- Customer feedback, including reviews on independent sites
- Purchases made by those who requested a brochure/quote/free trial
Without insight into which touchpoints are working, or not, you risk spending your marketing budget on actions that fail to convert to sales. A marketing plan and strategy based on insight is the best way to improve your return on investment.
Marketing Planning & Strategy
When working with clients on marketing planning and strategy, the team at Alison Page Marketing is keen to understand the customer journey and touchpoints. This is because every interaction contributes to business success. Our process includes reviewing your key data to identify strengths and find opportunities to build and maintain connections.
If you would like to start a conversation about how we can assist with your marketing strategy, please get in touch.