We’ve heard a lot about digital transformation over the past 18 months, and for good reason. Brands mandated by COVID-19 are transforming digitally because consumers have.
In some cases, however, it may be digital overload or digital chaos rather than digital transformation. This is especially true when you consider the number of websites for certain brands. How much is too much and what can you do about it?
Paul Bradley, co-founder of eQAfy, which measures digital goods, shared a report measuring the number of websites of certain brands and universities. And here are the results:
- Nestlé: 1,603 websites
- Groupe Renault: 1,219 websites
- Volkswagen Group: 1,085
- Unilever: 1,063 websites
- VINCI: 958 sites
- Stanford University: 3,467 websites
- University of British Columbia: 2,673 websites
- UC Berkeley: 2,622 websites
- University of Michigan: 2,403 websites
- Cornell University: 1935
Taming your digital touchpoints
Do you remember those webmaster jobs? Person employed in certain brands today if this position still exists. Today, it’s more “digitalmaster”, isn’t it? Meeting customers wherever they are in the digital world is the call to action for marketers and customer experience professionals. How can brands tame digital chaos as consumers rush to new digital platforms and data accumulates?
“Be the brand that eliminates digital noise and instead delivers content that is truly meaningful to consumers,” said Nicole Penn, president of EGC Group, a full-service marketing agency. “Reduce posting repetitive, irrelevant content to fuel your feed. Focus on helping your customers with relevant content that will benefit them. Be available to customers and deliver a consistent experience across all your touchpoints, but don’t create unnecessary new touchpoints for the sake of having more digital “real estate”. It just leads to a cluttered experience.
Related article: Can Your Website Still Be The Backbone Of Your Digital Experience?
Signs of excessive digital transformation efforts
What are the signs that you are “doing too much” with digital? In other words, not transforming but in fact creating chaos and more problems than digital customer experiences?
The most telling sign that a brand is overdoing it is declining sales, according to Penn. Consumers’ attention spans, she said, have become mercilessly short. “If your brand doesn’t give them the information they want, when they need it, they just pass it on to your competitor,” she said. “Digital clutter is killing conversions. “
Another sign is an increase in customer service traffic. Overloaded customers are confused customers, and many look to your customer service to clarify and simplify the experience for them, Penn added.
Decentralization of content creation is a problem
Content creation in large companies is highly decentralized as it must address multiple audiences – customers, business partners, media, investors, potential employees and others – and often no central group has the knowledge to answer. to these disparate needs, according to Bradley. “Plus, marketing tends to be organized around regions or product lines – to cater to different market segments – which also leads to decentralization,” Bradley said.
“Over time, these forces, along with mergers, acquisitions, digital transformation projects and efforts to improve the customer experience lead to digital sprawl. So big companies end up with digital domains comprising of hundreds / thousands of social media accounts, websites and content hosted on third party platforms, ”he said.
Sprawl extends beyond websites, he added. The same decentralization issue affects the creation of social media accounts and the content posted there. “And,” he added, “there is more and more content hosted on other people’s platforms: blogs on Medium, video on Vimeo, digital publications on Issuu or Calaméo, etc. It is very easy for all of this content to be forgotten, overlooked, and become obsolete or no longer ‘on purpose’. ”
Decentralization also extends to content management systems. Many organizations have a preferred platform, chosen for many different reasons. But, said Bradley, when you browse the digital realm of a business, you’ll see WordPress and other open source CMSs being used alongside the main platform. “And, there is no guarantee that these sites are being maintained properly. For example, installing security patches, ”Bradley said.
Related article: Building Digital Resilience for the Post-COVID World
Centralize the brand portfolio
Hosting too many websites means you might be doing too much. Google is actually punishing brands that reuse content and basically duplicate information on sub-sites and co-sites. “This practice can also be confusing for consumers who increasingly want a seamless experience, so instead work to centralize your brand portfolio on one site and then branch off from there,” Penn said. “We suggest brands with multiple domains create a redirect to bring users to your main website. Google and search engines “reserve the right to penalize your website, only if you overly copy blog content in a manipulative manner,” according to a blog post by SEO expert Neil Patel.
Beyond Google’s problems, duplicate content is confusing consumers, according to Penn. Consumers want a seamless experience and may want to see a portfolio of brands on a single site.
Take advantage of traditional tools like keywords, negative spaces, and headlines, she said. With so many outlets competing for a consumer’s attention, a prospect’s attention is a premium product. “Consumers are learning to skim content themselves, extracting what they need with the help of our old friends: keywords and headlines,” said Penn. “Make your content easy to navigate and simple to navigate and, most importantly, concise and to the point. Less means more when it comes to grabbing the attention of consumers.
Continue to use data to know your customers and identify their interests. Too often there is a compulsion to appeal to everyone using all things. It’s no longer an effective strategy, Penn said.
Rather, she said, use the data you collect about your customers to profile their current lifestyles and allow your content to reflect and enhance those values. It’s the way to make sure your content cuts through digital noise and becomes something worthy of their attention.