The Customer Journey.
Have you ever taken the time to break down the steps your customer takes from the point of learning about you to the point of making the purchase? This week I launched a few campaigns that relied heavily on understanding the experience journey we wanted the customers and prospects to take. So this week’s reflection is to help you think a bit differently and take some time to map out your own customer’s experience before, during, and after they work with you.
Sometimes refer to this customer journey as a Sales Funnel. How a customer enters the funnel to the sales team and then the steps the sales team takes the prospect through to convert them into a customer. But honestly sounds too stiff, marketing and sales should be fun, and honestly, the businesses I work with don’t have a dedicated sales team. So to simplify this very important aspect of sales and marketing to help grow your database and nurture your clients, I call it the “Customer Experience Journey”. It works like this.
- Unaware. Yes, you are awesome, but just because you have something awesome, doesn’t mean they are going to flock to your company. It takes work. It takes top-of-mind-awareness (TOMA) marketing and for small businesses that can be very expensive. Customers that are unaware of your business are often not in tune with the challenges they are having. This means you have to help them connect the dots between their challenges to your services and how they can help them. Again, that more work on you and your marketing efforts.
- Ready. This is where prospects start asking their friends and colleagues about their experiences with the same challenges and who they used to help find answers, make improvements, and get solutions. This experience is what you know better as, Referrals. In real estate, which is one of THE MOST competitive landscapes, referrals are their best friend and the lifeline of their lead generation. The marketing connection here is that once aware of your business, the chatter begins. How can you be in front of and participate in the chatter? Testimonials and reviews where ever you can place them. Your website, your favorite review sites, social media, etc. Share those great success stories so prospects can relate to the experiences other customers have with your business. It’s proof and validation to get them to the next step.
- Research. At this step, prospects have a list of options to check out and research. Most often, especially since 2020, they are going to hit Google and find out a much as they can about your business (and your competition) and start digging into the features and benefits of the services and solutions that your business offers. The marketing connection here is to make sure your website clearly describes what you offer, why you offer it, and how it helps solve their challenge. This could also be a company brochure, sell sheets, presentations, webinars, etc. Connect your services to their challenges. This makes you very valuable.
- Purchase. Now that the prospect has asked their friends, got referrals, checked you out, now they are at the point of making the purchase. They want to make sure they are picking the best business for the best ROI on not just their money, but their time too. Especially if the solutions require a heavy amount. The marketing connection comes down to your price and how you communicate your value. This doesn’t necessarily mean to showcase your pricing on your website, but it’s how your sales team delivers the estimate, proposal, menu of services, etc. Will it live up to the experience you just promised them they will have? By this point, they are ready to commit so make sure the purchase step is exciting and engaging, you’re starting the next step of your relationship with your new client.
But wait there’s more!
What about after the purchase?
Don’t you want the customer to come back (brand loyalty), send you referrals, and invest in your business again? Then you better make sure your customer service and service execution were on point each and every time. But you also need to make sure that you stay in front of that customer after the purchase. Here are a few ways to stay in front of them post-purchase.
Have your POS connected to your email tool. That way your email can be set to automatically send an email after the transaction. This can get annoying for the customer that makes purchases weekly, but you can set your email tool to send with very specific triggers. For those less frequent purchases, having email triggers is a great way to ensure you’re staying top-of-mind and nudging them along your own post-purchase journey. Here’s an example.
Date 1. Purchase – immediately send a “Thank you” email and encourage them to stay connected with you on social media. Social media is a great way to stay engaged and top-of-mind until their next purchase as well as nurture the referrals.
Date 2. Conduct a simple survey about their experience. How did their purchase and experience help their challenge and bring change to their situation? Just because you think your team performed awesome, this helps validate your performance and highlight areas you weren’t aware of that need improvement. Some owners don’t like to do surveys because they don’t like to get their own report card. But getting this report card is the sure, data-driven way, to understand your customers and your performance so that you can keep making improvements to deliver the very best.
Date 3. Chances are when they came to you for one particular service, they missed that you also offer a plethora of other services they could benefit from. But at the time, they were only focused on Service 1. Now is a great time to share the other ways you can help them. Encourage and reinforce that you are here for them should they need anything else. That you are the expert and that you value them. Customers love doing business with those they KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST.
Date 4. Ask for the referral. As much as we like to think that we’re awesome and that our customers are chatting about us to every one of their own free will, they often need nudging. Why? Because studies show that consumers are more apt to talk about a bad experience than they are about a good experience. After all, good experiences are to be expected when you pay for something. You’re not going in to pay for a bad experience right? So we have to prompt, nudge, and ask for referrals. AND reward them for the referrals! They are free advertising and free lead generation, so thank them generously!
When you get your email, ecomm, point of sale terminals, and other payment processing tools to talk together, operating your marketing based on triggers to nudge customers through a defined journey can save five to six times your marketing budget by just nurturing your existing database. The payoff is not only increased brand loyalty but increased revenue as well.
PS – I’m a Mailchimp Partner and have my Mailchimp Essentials Certification which means I’m pretty Mailchimp savvy and can help you outline your customer journey and align the best triggers and emails to help you stay in front of your customers.
As always, if you need help digging in, just snag an Engage60 consultation with me.
Engage60 is a heavily packed 60-minute working engagement where we can dig right into a project you’re working on. My consulting time is a rapid-fire eruption of ideas that are inspired by what you think you need against what is actually needed to deliver you results. We dig into what your business is, who you are serving, and how you want to grow. My brain is on fire at this point, adding up a variety of marketing ideas that could help you reach your goals.
I promise that you will leave this session with a list of ideas, resources, action steps, and more! It’s a great way to experience how I work and to see if I’m a good fit for your business.