You’ve seen and studied the diagrams. Maybe you paid to hear subject matter experts talk about it. You’ve certainly experienced it for yourself. Every once in awhile it’s a trendy phrase, but it’s never really gone away or come back. It’s always there but marketers don’t always focus on it. I’m talking about the customer journey.
Whether your business is B2B or B2C, you have likely mapped your customer’s journey and executed some sort of strategy to provide meaningful content at each of the “stages” to help move or advance the customer along to purchasing your goods or services. Many companies train their sales associates on this process so they can better understand the customer and anticipate their questions, concerns, etc…
No matter what your customer journey map looks like, there’s value in marketing throughout the customer journey — if it’s done right.
Getting and keeping attention
Perhaps the hardest objective I face as a marketer is getting the attention of potential new customers. Second to that is keeping their attention throughout their journey. A critical piece of both objectives is content. Content has to be interesting, engaging and informative. Writing simply for shock value may get you more click-throughs, retweets and LinkedIn shares at first but your audience will need more information and perhaps a different delivery method to remain engaged with your brand.
Here are some ideas on how marketing content should evolve throughout the customer journey.
- What do you do? Explain, in very simple terms, what it is that you’re good at to drive awareness of your brand and the goods and/or services you provide. Leave the technical-mumbo-jumbo out and focus on the very basics.
- Prove it. Once your audience knows who you are and what you do, you need to show them you’re good at it. For some organizations, this could be done through customer testimonials, case studies or even retweets from satisfied customers. Consider yourself on the radar of potential customers. If they know who you are, they will likely research you before moving forward in their journey.
- Know how you stack up. Unless you’re the Standard Oil Company, you have competition. It’s important to understand how you stack up against your competitors (strengths and weaknesses) so you can respond to questions from customers who have done their research. Tout what makes you different.
- Make it easy. The decision to buy from you shouldn’t be difficult. Provide third-party validation that reinforces that a purchase from your organization is a good decision.
- Celebrate the purchase. Whether it’s a thank you note, email, photo shared on Facebook or a handshake from the owner, make the customer feel special and express your gratitude for their business. Kick off your new relationship on the right foot!
- Make a customer experience. No one wants to purchase something and then never hear from the business again. Consumers thrive on loyalty programs, rewards, discounts and other reasons to stay in touch with a brand. Consider your keyring and all the various tabs you have for grocery stores, drug stores and retail shops. This is a great way to not only engage with customers but to give them a reason to continue sharing their information with you. From these types of programs you can collect data to help you better market to your customers and build lasting relationships.
- Give them something to talk about. My college marketing professor once told us that word-of-mouth marketing was the most valuable form of marketing as consumers believe other consumers over a brand; however, it’s the most difficult to generate. With the growing popularity of online reviews and social media, it’s now easier than ever to share “good buys” and “bad ideas” with not only your neighbor or friend but with the whole world. Do what you said you’d do (i.e., build a reliable car, clean someone’s house thoroughly, provide solid cellular service, etc…) and do it well. People will talk.