Customer journey and relevant channels

It takes time

Your customers will rarely jump from awareness to becoming a committed repeat buyer, and you’ll often need to guide them along the right path

Customer Journey

This is the customer journey and can be a simple as how they enter your shop and view your stock to a complex multistage online journey

Stages of the Customer Journey

Where are my audience?

To get customers to where you want them, you need to be where they are, speaking a language they understand. Your initial message needs to be on a channel and in a form that is right for your customer, not you. Remember that you need to speak to them, not shout at them.

Where am I taking them

Understanding where you want to take them, and at what pace is important. Not everyone wants to jump straight to a shopping cart from a Facebook post, so tailoring your content to search intent, and giving the customer the opportunity to go where they need to will lead to better engagement and conversions.

What do they need to know?

Make sure you give the customer information that is right for them at their stage of the customer journey. If they are just starting out, telling them about your great loyalty programme is unlikely to convince them!

 

What do I need to consider in the customer Journey?

The Journey

A potential customer will move from being an entity that has a rough outline of a need or problem but no idea how to solve it, through a series of steps until they have found and successfully implemented a solution and is satisfied. This is the customer journey and will be different in each case. For example, for food shopping it may be as simple as visiting a supermarket and choosing staple products. However, for a more complex product it may be a search for information followed by structured decision making around potential solutions and suppliers, followed by a visit to a website to make an online purchase.

Get customers to engage with your

Communications channels will be broad, such as social media, display/adword advertising and search marketing but should all aim at providing interested and motivated prospects access to a resource that you control and where they have opted into receiving more detailed, specific and sales focussed information. This may be following on social media, connecting on LinkedIn, subscribing to Youtube channel or website, where you have the ability to target them with individualised messages. Different customer journeys will impact on how you market, do you want them to call? Leave their details? Visit your retail partners? It all depends on your business model.

Channels

This needs to consider what channels are going to be important in the sales process ( online, shops, referrals, social media etc), what the search intent is, and what your influence should be. Leads can come from Search, Email, or Social sources with decreasing levels of involvement and engagement. Leads generated by the search will always convert better than other sources as the client is actively seeking a solution rather than responding to a marketing message. Referrals are obviously the strongest, but should be considered as search as they are actively looking for information on a specific subject from a reliable source of information. Ideally, all of your communications should be routed to and through your website, as this will boost your Search engine rankings and increasing the number of search-based leads.

Buyer intent

Depending on the complexity and competitiveness of the service offering, the intention of the buyer will dictate how you approach your communications at different stages of the journey. This is where buyer intention comes in. Buyers can be looking for information, to compare products and suppliers or to make a purchase, and how you approach communications is going to change based on this. At each stage of this process they will require different information and make different decisions, and it is important to understand what those needs are, and how you are going to address those needs and how you wish to influence the customer to move to the next step in a way which is beneficial to both parties.

Example.

In my case I know that the majority of motivated clients are in search mode, and I can use this fact to provide information that will help them identify and solve their problems. I know that most of the searches will be done online, so it's important to rank well for specific search terms and subjects, so domain authority and backlinks are important. I foster this by creating content that meets their search goals and guides them to more detailed, relevant information within my website. Where and how this happens is dependent on the audience and where the search is likely to happen.

Example content

I also know that, as clients may be looking for practical advice on a subject, that video and how to articles are going to be an important tool. I might produce an article on how to increase revenue, for example as this is the basic requirement my customer has. This will cover a range of solutions, such as avoiding discounting, increasing conversions, increasing leads, Up-sales and cross-sales, widening the product range etc. I will host this on my site where it will help drive Search engine ranking, but I will promote the article through relevant social channels, often with a cut-down version of the article, and a link to more detailed information on my site. This may be shared on relevant sites like Quora, Linkedin, Warrior forum, small business marketing forums etc. However, this is not a teaser, there is enough information in the cut-down post to answer the question for a casual reader, leaving the more interested to follow the link to a more detailed answer.

Online route

On my site, I can follow several routes. Firstly, I can link to more detailed information, for example, How to avoid discounting, which will keep people on my site longer, and increase the possibility that search engines will crawl my site. I may also have more detailed information behind an email subscription wall. This is only likely to attract the most interested buyer, and gives me the opportunity to build a relationship that will progress into a lead over time.