How to do it, why it matters.
Unless you live inside a Hollywood movie, your personal and professional relationships are unlikely to go from first contact to fully fleshed fandom in an instant. And if they did, they’d probably have the life span of a box of popcorn.
Like all your other special humans, your customers need time to discover and trust you.
In marketing speak, the five-stage process your customers pass through en route to falling in love with your business is called ‘The customer journey.’
As management and marketing immortal Peter Drucker put it,
‘Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the customer gets out of it.’
Understanding how customers think, feel and act at each stage of the journey lets you plan for and deliver precisely what they need to ‘get out of it.’ In marketing speak, this is called providing ‘an optimal customer experience.’ In ‘Laura-speak,’ you’ll meet customers’ changing needs, gain their trust, and win (and keep) their business.
The 5 stages of your customer's journey
1. Aware and curious
A stranger discovers your brand and your business. Maybe they spotted you on social media or met you at a networking event. Perhaps someone mentioned you to them.
Top tips for snagging strangers’ interest
Pick your ideal customer - who wants what you’re offering?
Research the hell out of who they are and what they need.
Pitch them some perfect solutions for problems that keep them awake OR ways to realise their dreams and desires.
2. Curious and considering
The stranger becomes an interested bystander and a cyber sleuth. They visit your website, trawl your social media, and read your reviews.
Top tips for converting curious bystanders
Make your reviews easy to find and quick to read.
Create some killer FAQ. Keep them fresh and front and centre on your website and socials.
Invite interested humans to ask questions, chat for free, or sign up for your newsletter or emails.
Be upfront about easy opting out and how often you communicate. Reassure would-be subscribers that you won’t be blitzing their inboxes.
3. Engaged and exploring
The curious bystander is ready to connect and give you a go. Maybe they sign-up for your emails, click through from a Facebook advertisement or download a freebie.
Top tips for convincing engaged explorers
Show them - with absolute honesty and integrity, the knock-your-sox-off difference your product or service makes – think reviews, industry endorsements, awards, media appearances, facts, and stats if you have them.
Make your purchasing process crystal clear.
Offer time-limited first-time purchaser offers.
4. Buying and believing
Hurrah, you’ve got a new customer. Let’s make sure they’re happy on every front. Happy with their purchase, happy to tell their friends, and happy to give you a glowing review. Happy to come back for more.
Top tips for having happy customers
Welcome them – do more than tell them how delighted you are (frankly, you being pleased as punch is not front and centre FOR them.) Send them free samples, offer first dibs or a discount on a new product. Let them know they’ve landed in a lovely supportive business that will go the extra mile and then some to exceed their expectations.
Put them in charge - give first-time buyers a copy of your terms and conditions or a service agreement, so they know exactly what they’re getting and what to do if they’re unsatisfied with any aspect of the transaction.
5. Loyal and loving you
Your customer is a fan and a champion of your business.You’ve made a difference for them, and they’re happy to spread the word. They’re not going anywhere…unless … you take them for granted or stop meeting their needs.
Top tips for taking care of lovely, long-term customers
Spoil and surprise them – keeping established customers is much easier than attracting new ones. So, stay on your toes when it comes to:
keeping them updated about new offers
offering them tailored ‘thank you’ treats you know they’ll appreciate
asking them what else you can do to make their lives easier, more interesting, or more fun
Make the customer the hero of your story.
Every touchpoint moment a customer experiences with your business is a chance for you and your brand to shine. In digital marketing pioneer Ann Handley’s words, these milestone moments are opportunities to ‘make the customer the hero of your story.’
If your 2023 business journey planning includes finding and impressing your ideal customers, have a squizz at my Demystify Your Marketing (DYM) program, it’s designed to do just that.
Finally, because I’ve banged on a bit here about the importance of gosh-wow reviews, I’ll leave you with one of mine.
"Laura is wonderfully warm and encouraging and a great listener. She’s brilliant at finding solutions and provided me with so much inspiration and support to help me build my business. I wholeheartedly recommend The Inspired Hive to anyone wanted to take their business to the next level."
Jodie Whitehurst | The Language Scene
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