Customer journey is a well-known term in the marketing arena. But many marketers wonder what a customer journey is and if creating one will help them win the marketing wars. If you are wondering, too, ask yourself these questions:
- What are your customers’ motivations?
- What are your customers’ pain points?
- How do your customers become aware of your product or service?
- Who is your ideal customer?
Very often, you may feel like you can answer all those questions. But to be most effective, you also need to understand how they relate to your customers deciding to buy your product and how you can influence their decision. That’s where a customer journey definition can be irreplaceable.
What is a Customer Journey?
A customer journey describes the process the majority of your customers use to make a decision to buy your product or service. In general, marketers have identified three major phases in any customer journey:
Some marketers add a Retention phase and an Advocacy phase as the last two stages. That makes sense because after a buyer becomes your customer, you want to do everything you can to retain that buyer as a customer and encourage them to promote your company to others. But your first challenge is to convert a lead into a customer, and there are things you need to know about those stages.
The Awareness Stage
In this first stage of the journey, your prospect has identified a need or a problem, and they’re actively seeking ways to fill the need or fix the problem. This is an important stage in the journey, and you need to make sure you are visible to the prospect and that you are prepared to nurture your relationship right from the start.
Visibility on the internet is critical since so many buyers use the internet to research options during the awareness stage. Once prospects have found you, your job is to convince them that you understand their problems and give them the information they need to manage their problem. Make sure that your website is easy to navigate to allow the prospect to easily find the information they’re looking for.
During the Awareness stage, provide information in a variety of formats since each prospect will have a different preference for how they want to acquire information. You can offer reports, eBooks, checklists, how-to videos, and other types of information that will help them understand their problem in more detail and offer solutions. At this stage, you want the prospect to start viewing you as an expert in solving their problems.
The Consideration Stage
At this stage, prospects have done enough initial research to become aware of the range of solutions that are available. They will now want to evaluate your offering and compare it to your competitors. During this stage, you’ll need to give them the information they need to compare prices, read reviews from your customers, and learn about your offering in more detail.
Make sure that you provide prospects with clearly stated benefits of your product or service. Those benefits should make it obvious why your offering is better than your competitors. Prospects may contact you at this stage and you need to respond quickly and show the prospect that you care about their issues. The person who communicates with the prospect needs to have the skills to explain why you can solve their problem, and why the prospect should continue with you to the next stage of their journey.
If you’re not in touch with a prospect at this stage, you’ll want to provide information such as case studies, demonstration videos, and webinars.
The Decision Stage
The prospect now has all the information they need to make a decision, but you need to encourage them to decide in your favor. At this point, you can offer things such as a free trial or consultation, a live demonstration, and special offers. Also, don’t underestimate the power of customer reviews. If you don’t have easily accessible reviews, now is the time to make a concerted effort to request them from your satisfied customers. You can publish them on your website and turn them into case studies.
Managing Your Prospects’ Journey
Once you understand how your prospects move through the decision process, the next step is to identify tools that can help you manage their journey. Technology such as marketing automation systems are often the answer. A marketing automation system will help you in a number of ways.
For example, you know you need to keep track of prospects to determine if they’re interacting with your content and finding the information they need. You can automate the process of tracking a prospect’s activity and respond to them automatically as they show interest.
Since marketing automation systems gather information that would be difficult to gather manually, you can stay engaged with prospects and do a better job of turning them into customers. You can also use the data gathering and analysis capabilities offered by these systems to continually improve your effectiveness.
Datavail Can Help
To assist you in learning more about marketing automation systems, we’ve created a whitepaper, “Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing: Improve Productivity, Customer Relationships, and Revenue.” You can download the whitepaper to learn about a premier marketing automation system that is one of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 business modules.
And, if you need assistance in planning for, implementing, and managing the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing module, Datavail’s experts can help you ensure that you’re getting the most from your investment and taking advantage of the integration opportunities that can extend the module’s capabilities by interacting with other Microsoft programs you’re running. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Datavail has the knowledge and expertise to make upgrading your marketing tools a success. Feel free to contact us for more information.
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