What is Digital Body Language?

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In his book Digital Body Language, Steven Woods describes the transition in how people find and consume information, and how it is dramatically changing how sales and marketing teams do business.  With the shift to online from face to face, the ability to see body language and “read the room” has disappeared. Marketing must step in to read prospects’ Digital Body Language and use that knowledge to guide the prospects’ buying process. How our audiences discover information has changed substantially, and if it’s not relevant, it’s invisible.  Marketers have to work hard nowadays to understand each prospect’s buying process and deliver relevant content that is timed and targeted based on each individual buyer in order to be noticed.

A Q&A With Steven Woods
In your blog, Digital Body Language, you propose that customers and prospects provide marketers with persona data simply by their online actions. How much data do we need for this persona to be reliable and representative?

Every step matters.  The first, and simplest, thing to look at is just whether a person is “active” or “inactive” as that requires very little data and can help you manage how frequently you communicate with each person and whether they are beginning to emotionally unsubscribe.  From there, understanding areas of interest based on web activity (what areas of your site they visit) can give you a better ability to personalize and much stronger results.  We’ve often seen marketers leverage exact search phrases to understand where a person is in their own buying process, or tie in usage data from product trials to give even deeper insights into behavior.
Each additional data point gives you additional insights, but every step you take lets you increase your relevance and your response rates, so there’s no reason not to get started.

How can a marketer test the waters with a Digital Body Language approach? Is there easily found and managed data that we can all use to get us started?

Web and email activity is the easiest.   Do they open and click your emails?  What areas of the website (products, services, case studies) do they find interesting?  What are they searching for when they find your site?  This information is readily available and can give you some very good insights very quickly.

In our world of a socially connected Internet, how does the Digital Body Language of a segment or group of subscribers evolve?

Social media provides a lot of great insights into how buyers discover you and your company.  The context of how and why they ended up on your website provides vital information into who they are (or are not) as a buyer.  Was it a blog post that caused them to visit you?  A discussion on LinkedIn?  A video shared on Facebook?  All of that context, which you can see as someone visits your site, through what we call the social media periphery, gives you insights into who they are as prospects and why they are there, which is much more actionable segmentation insights than just demographics or firmographics.

Excerpt reprinted with permission of the Email Council.

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