The Daphne Thomson Way
Your business is only as good as it’s customers… I’m sure you’ve heard this before!
You are not alone in your struggle to create a customer value journey that works! Optimizing the customer’s experience with each step of their journey is no easy task. It requires extensive research, planning and testing.
It has been said that optimizing for conversion rate can improve revenue by 30%. And while it may be hard to believe, this figure comes from real-world data. But how do you get there? What are the steps? Let’s break them down, and apply them – practically!
Luckily for us all, there’s a blueprint that exists for this process. It’s a map. It’s a plan. It’s the ultimate guide to creating a predictable flow of reliable, and profitable customers!
The Customer Value Journey defines the step-by-step process of turning a complete stranger into a high-value customer, as well as a raving brand promoter! It’s pretty simple really, and it’s modeled after human behavior, and the normal flow of the human relationship. It also includes valuable steps that aren’t necessarily found in your traditional marketing funnel! Not only does this process lead to a more natural, and thus reliable sequence of interaction, it helps align organizational and customer interests around shared success! All of this leads to the inevitable,
- Satisfied Customer
- Customers that Advocate for your brand
- Clients that Promote you online and in person
In my opinion, this is arguably the most important step in formulating a sound, fool proof marketing strategy for your business.
So how does it work, practically?
We know by now that in a normal human relationship, if you go from “Hi, I’m Jane – it’s great to meet you”, directly to “Let’s spend our lives together and have 5 kids”, you’re setting yourself up for failure, embarrassment, and a life filled with itching regret. If you are lucky enough to earn a date but spend all your time talking about how great you are and how much the other person needs you, what are the odds you’ll get a second date? Why would it be any different in a business relationship? It isn’t. Understanding the steps along the way in a human relationship or a business relationship will help you to be purposeful in meeting your potential prospects where they are, with what they need.
It’s all about meeting them where they’re at!
Here are the steps, and how you can apply them, so that you can turn that perfect stranger into a raving fan.
Stage 1: Creating Awareness
The Awareness stage describes how qualified prospects first hear about your brand, products, or services. You want to make an impression and earn a click or visit. This may be through paid advertising (e.g, paid search, display, social boost, billboards, bus wraps), organic search, a referral, and so on. Think Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn – any platform that serves to get your name out there.
Stage 2: Engagement
No, this is not the part where you propose marriage. With awareness efforts driving views and clicks, Engagement focuses on earning a prospect’s attention and trust. Often this is accomplished through content marketing such as blog content, an FAQ, a relevant case study on your website, a lead magnet in the form of a free ebook, or posts on social channels such as YouTube, LinkedIn or Facebook.
Stage 3: Subscribe
By the time you reach the Subscribe stage the prospect has determined your content is relevant and is willing to hear more from you. You’ve earned some measure of trust. It’s time to ask the prospect for contact information (and permission to reach out via further marketing) in exchange for something of more value. This could be in the form of a blog subscription, a content download, a newsletter, or perhaps an on-demand webinar.
Stage 4: Convert
Here the prospect is making a commitment of time or money in exchange for a product or service. In a business-to-business scenario, this may be a commitment to attend an informational meeting, a consultation, or a product trial. Known as an entry point offer, the product or service can range greatly in value. The goal of the Convert stage is to set up an opportunity to Excite your prospect.
Stage 5: Excite
Excite is your opportunity to demonstrate to your prospect how your product or service changes from a nice-to-have to something essential. It’s the slide in the deck that prospects want to see again and again, the product demo function that they can’t bear to lose after 30 days, the formula you’ve created that will improve their lifestyle. These booming “Ah-Ha” moments are where the breakthroughs happen on both sides of the relationship, so becoming purposeful about this stage of the journey is crucial to marketing and sales success.
Stage 6: Ascend
Now that the value of your product or service has been affirmed, your customer will be eager to ensure your essential product or service is available to them. Often depicted as a ladder, the Ascend stage outlines your core or flagship offering along with additional relevant offers you deliver value after the initial sale. The goal of the Ascend stage is to grow customer value and satisfaction. You’re taking them to the next level!
Stage 7: Advocate
Throughout the journey so far you’ve been building trust, delivering value, and nurturing long term customer satisfaction. If you’ve succeeded you should have a happy customer. And these happy customers likely know more potential happy customers and would be willing to vouch for you. The Advocate stage formalizes the process of building customer advocates willing to share their positive experience with others, increasing awareness, trust, and credibility with a larger audience.
Stage 8: Promote
The Promote stage focuses on building brand promoters who are actively marketing to their audience on your behalf. This may involve rewards, affiliate, or referral programs, or just making it easy for happy customers to toot your horn. Whether compensated or not, brand promoters generate referrals from a trusted source, often lowering your customer acquisition costs. This can be simple too – a tag in a review on a social platform, or a video sent through to you for you to post on your website! There’s no harm in asking for a referral , or testimonial either – it is after all how you will sell your business.
The Customer Value Journey places emphasis on customer success, not just sales outcomes. Once you’ve wrapped your head around the process, and accepted the fact that sales won’t always happen overnight, that they require a certain amount of nourishment, care, and a whole load of attention – you’re guaranteed to succeed!
Part of what I offer is that I walk this journey with you. It’s not something that’s achieved in isolation, it takes a village! It can be easy to give up after the first few stages, especially if you’re strapped for cash and looking to make a quick buck. The reward at the end of the journey however, is more valuable than you could possibly imagine.