The connections you make with customers or clients matter. A brand touchpoint is an individual contact point between the customer and the brand. This isn’t usually a single moment. In fact, most companies have upwards of 100 different brand touchpoints. These are broadly defined interactions, ranging from in-person selling to email marketing messages.
With that in mind, it’s never been more important to understand brand touchpoints and why they matter. When creating your customer journey map, you need to understand the key areas your customers are focused on. By anticipating brand touchpoints in advance, you’re prepared to overcome challenges, concerns, and anything else that gets in the way of a sale.
In marketing, there’s something known as the rule of 7. This refers to the average of 7 interactions it takes with a consumer and a brand before they’re ready to make a purchase. When you focus on creating a superb customer experience with each of those brand touchpoints, you make a real impact. Not only does this have the potential to boost your revenue, but it also leads to customer loyalty.
When it comes to customer loyalty, 73% of consumers say a great experience is key. With that in mind, it’s time to get serious about brand touchpoints. Keep reading to learn what these are and why they’re essential in today’s marketing battleground. How you connect with your customers makes all the difference in how they feel about your brand.
- What Is A Brand Touchpoint?
- Common Brand Touchpoints
- Planning Your Brand Touchpoints
- Use Brand Touchpoints to Create a Customer Journey
What Is A Brand Touchpoint?
First and foremost, what is a brand touchpoint? Simply put, this is defined as the interactions and exposures consumers have with brands. This doesn’t have a single definition beyond this. It can be both deliberate communications and interactions consumers have on their own in their daily lives.
In customer journey mapping, brands take the time to determine their key brand touchpoints. These are moments when they reach out to the consumer to provide value, share a new product, or outsell the competition. They can be strictly sales-focused, or more general, designed to create a positive impression of the brand.
Brand touchpoints are things you’re likely already familiar with in your daily life. Things like TV ads, Google search ads, and social media posts are all forms of brand touchpoints. They can be physical, like a direct mail postcard or business card. They can also be in-person, like a live event or providing great customer service in storefronts.
Most importantly, why do brand touchpoints matter? First, when you focus on providing a targeted, engaging experience, your customers notice. A reported 81% of companies see customer experience as a way to stand out from competitors. When you consider the best ways to communicate and interact with your audience, you create engaged superfans who are loyal to your brand. This empowers you to charge more, land more referrals, and stand out.
Common Brand Touchpoints
With that in mind, what are some of the most common brand touchpoints? Many of these are things you’re likely already familiar with, but it’s still helpful to look into them closely. It’s normal to choose several of these to fit within your customer journey mapping.
Not every brand touchpoint is the right fit for every audience. When in doubt, consider how your audience spends their time both in-person and online. What are their preferred methods of communication? Most importantly, these will continue to evolve as your customers’ expectations change over time.
One of the most trusted ways to build brand awareness while interacting with customers is through social media. While social media isn’t necessarily a sales channel, it’s still a strong way to build relationships. Social media can have a huge impact on a customer’s journey with a brand.
With 74% of people following brands on social media, this is a great way to interact with your audience. Examples of social media touchpoints include social media advertisements, collaborating with influencers or other brands, sharing relevant posts, and responding to customers. When you’re an active member of the community, your audience sees your brand in a positive light.
Company Content (Blogs, Podcasts, Etc.)
Similarly, company content is a type of brand touchpoint. With 47% of customers viewing 3 to 5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep, it’s important to invest in strong content. This can include anything from:
- Blog posts
- Podcast episodes
- Online reviews
- Case studies
- Email marketing
- Online courses
- Product announcements
These are just a few examples of the types of company content that serve as brand touchpoints. These can be sales-focused, educational, or entertaining. The ultimate goal is to build trust and drive engagement to your brand long-term. Check out this list from Visme for more tips on how to create brand awareness through your content.
Conversations With Company Reps
Next, conversations with company reps also serve as touchpoints within the customer journey. Whether your customer service team reaches out proactively or responds to a problem, your service needs to speak for itself. Customer service as a whole has never been more important. In fact, 59% of consumers have higher expectations for service than they did just a year ago.
Every time a customer interacts with sales staff, service staff, or the support team, they need to have a great experience. This means the brand takes responsibility for problems and acts proactively to solve them. It’s easy to play the blame game, but this is a situation where nobody wins. When these conversations are personal, efficient, and productive, the customer takes notice.
The Point Of Sale
Additionally, the point of sale is an opportunity to make a positive impact on the customer. If they’re shopping in-store, a fast queue and simple transaction reduce friction for the buyers. Online, similar rules apply. The faster and easier it is for customers to make a purchase, the less likely they’ll abandon their cart or choose a competitor.
Checkout optimization (both in-person and online) can increase conversions by 35%. When customers are informed about their purchases, fees, and add-ons, they feel confident going through the point of sale process. Conversely, if they face unexpected charges, confusing systems, and poor service, they’re going to spend money elsewhere. This is one of the most important brand touchpoints.
Post-Purchase Feedback Requests
It’s important to recognize that brand touchpoints don’t end after the user makes a purchase. In fact, post-purchase feedback requests can sometimes be the most important part of the process. Customer feedback is the foundation of any decision-making process within your brand. It’s easy to assume you know how your customers feel, but assumptions can get you in trouble.
How can you get feedback from your customers? The best way is also the simplest: ask them. After your customers make a purchase, send an email or follow-up asking clear survey questions. According to Chattermill, The best survey questions help brands understand their target market, as well as what clients think of their business. When you take this feedback into account, your customers take notice.
Unfortunately, 61% of customers have switched brands due to poor customer service. Your support channels also count as your brand touchpoints. Whether a customer submits a ticket through your website or contacts your brand via a chatbot, you need to make sure your support channels are optimized for success.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to support channels. Some audiences prefer digital tools (like self-service, online chat, and email) while others prefer phone or in-person support. The only things that are one-size-fits-all are efficiency and being proactive. When your team is familiar with the best ways to provide support for your specific audience, customers leave these support interactions feeling empowered and heard.
Last but not least, loyalty programs are their own form of brand touchpoint. For example, customers who participate in high-performing loyalty programs are 80% more likely to choose the brand over competitors. Better yet, they’re twice as likely to recommend the brand to their own friends and family.
While most marketers think loyalty programs are all about customer rewards, they’re really about customer relationships. When your customers have an incentive to continue interacting with your brand, they’re more likely to actually do so. Even more importantly, they’re likely to stay loyal long-term and share their experience with others.
Planning Your Brand Touchpoints
Finally, how can you plan your own brand touchpoints? While each brand will have to customize its strategy to its unique audience, there are some simple steps you can follow. When you focus on these touchpoints above, you boost your overall customer experience. When planning your brand touchpoints, consider these steps.
1. Separate your leads into groups.
To begin, separate your leads and contacts into groups. For example, you might have cold leads, warm leads, hot leads, new customers, and existing customers. Each touchpoint map should look a bit different depending on the type of lead. A cold lead likely needs more engagement than an existing customer, for instance.
2. Identify your existing touchpoints.
Within these groups you just identified, note all of your existing touchpoints. You might already have an email sales funnel, or maybe you have an active social media presence. If you have a physical storefront, your existing touchpoints might include a clean store presence or participating in local events.
Take inventory of the ways you currently interact with different groups of customers. One of the best ways to learn more about your current touchpoints is to talk to your customers directly. Don’t assume you know best. Instead, ask them to describe the current experience in their own words. It’s very possible they already have ideas for how you can improve.
3. Find areas of neglect.
Next, now that you know your existing touchpoints, it’s time to look for places you can do better. Consider where you’re already supporting your leads or customers along your touchpoint map. You might discover that you have a lot of attention given to the pre-sale process, for example.
Then, ask yourself where you might be neglecting customers or leads. This could be in support interactions, post-sale feedback, ongoing loyalty, or so on. Consider your past, current, and future customers. Which parts of the journey have the biggest potential for impact on your customers long-term?
4. Build a new touchpoint plan.
Now that you know where you need to do better, start making a plan. This is the best time to implement data tracking to consider how your current systems work and how you can improve. If you aren’t already using a CRM tool, you might consider trying one. Your new touchpoint plan should include your new areas, as well as the old ones that succeeded in the past.
5. Adjust over time.
Lastly, your brand touchpoints are far from one-and-done. This is a process you’ll continue to adapt over time. In the world of customer experience, you can never be too comfortable. Continue to grow, learn from your mistakes, and adapt to suit new customer expectations. Things that worked in the past might not work in the future.
Your customer touchpoint map is a flexible thing. You need a touchpoint action plan that puts your goals at the front and center. Create a plan and name team members to be accountable for the process. Prioritize the most important steps in your process, and never stop learning.
Use Brand Touchpoints to Create a Customer Journey
Ultimately, brand touchpoints are a way to improve your customer journey map. When you’re proactive about customer interactions and consider ways to overcome obstacles, your customers have a better experience. Today, people want to feel engaged with the brands they support. Shopping and supporting companies is no longer a passive activity.
Now is the time to be proactive with your brand touchpoints, using them to leverage your superfans. If you want to grow your audience, you need to target your audience in different ways throughout their journey. Most importantly, you need to adapt your strategy over time to meet your customers where they already are.