Editor's Note: This article was authored by Josh Allen, Revenly’s Founder & CEO, and reflects the opinions of the author. It previously appeared on the Revenly blog and is republished here with permission.
How are you putting together your digital strategy? Are you exploring new communication channels such as texting, email, and chat? With a little research, you can put together a strategy that delivers real results, proven by those before you.
Identify What You’re Looking For
You may be looking at implementing email, SMS, chat or just redoing your website for consumers. Whatever it is, start by making sure you aren't skipping ahead of the essentials.
If you don't already have a dedicated payment page for consumers, you need to get one. Accounts receivable is about collecting payments and, without an online payment platform, all the other services you try to implement will have trouble standing alone. It’s essential to ensure the online payment platform is secure, especially considering the recent data breach that attacked a healthcare collection agency’s online payment page.
You should also have a dedicated, mobile-friendly online presence where consumers are directed to go. Do not direct them to the corporate site you use to attract new clients and hide the "Pay Now" button where it is hard to find. This one step alone—creating a dedicated consumer landing page—will give you a noticeable lift in the consumer online experience. Once you have that in place, you can start thinking about other channels you want to activate. Some solutions provide a single platform with channels seamlessly integrated so you can activate when ready. Or you can source your own.
Follow the Results. Ask for Proof.
Familiarize yourself with terms used in e-commerce such as conversion rate, bounce rate, exit page, average time on site, return rate, and other similar terms. There are literally hundreds of them. It would be beneficial if you knew how to track traffic on your website using Google Analytics (which is free) and if you used services that deliver performance data.
Whether you are building or buying—but especially if you're buying—you need to know how new technology provides you with a better ROI. Analytics both prove and improve this. A company selling SMS by telling you that 98% of text messages are opened means absolutely nothing if there is no action following up that open.
Did you know that people who opt themselves into SMS alerts have a higher propensity to sign up for AutoPay? That fact can be backed up with real data. Make sure you seek out the correlating proof that a new channel will provide you with an ROI worth your time (and money).
Talk to a Specialist. We Really Mean It.
It's an exciting time to embrace new businesses processes. Flashy marketing and conference panels with buzzwords in the title are everywhere, but does anyone have any real experience? Make sure that the people you're taking payment portal advice from use one themselves and got it to work for them. Not at 5% of payments, not at 10% of payments, but at the very least over 20% (with a goal of over 50%). That says they put the resources into it.
Find a specialist outside of the industry too. Chat is a great example. Companies like Drift and Intercom are amazing services that have AI built right in. Get perspective from companies who help e-commerce stores. People are people, a lot of these techniques transfer.
Crawl. Walk. Run.
This one is simple. You might be ready to run, but is the rest of your team ready? Make sure everyone is on board, test, test again, and then scale. What good is all this new technology if you aren't ready to use it?