Online Marketing: It’s All About The Customer Journey

by | Marketing

Online Marketing: It’s All About The Customer Journey

As a business owner, you instinctively know everything there is to understand about your business. You know what makes you different than your competition. You understand the process it takes to move from the first contact to end of sale.

If the journey exceeds their expectations, you’ll create an experience that can last indefinitely.

However, if the journey falters in any way, you’ll miss out on the wealth of repeat business and potential referrals that could have been brought your way.

The better the experience you create for your customers, the more opportunity your business will have.

Which is why one of the most talked about elements of building a successful business stems from the concept of Customer Experience.

The customer experience is defined as both your customer’s feelings and perceptions that are formed via the interactions he or she has with your business. It can include the sales transaction, support, service, training, marketing, and follow-up interactions. It can also cause more subliminal messages, such as ads, social media conversations, packaging, your website, your brochures, and even lack thereof.

If your customer is looking for something, whether they find it or not speaks to how well you are at meeting their needs.

Which means it’s not enough for you to think of your customer experience from the macro level; it’s equally as important for you to dive down and create every step of the way for your customer to enjoy the journey. If you think, plan and implement every interaction to achieve a positive feeling about what you do, you’re more likely to create a customer for life.

Start At The Beginning

When most people start a business, they think sales. What is it going to take to bring in that first sale? And they design their marketing around that thought process.

It’s a perfect way to start. That’s what starts building your brand. With that thought process, you can come up with things like:

  • A logo that gives an instant picture of what your company does
  • Colors that set the tone of what your business stands for
  • Packaging to make your product stand out
  • Brochures to define who you are and what services you have to offer
  • A simple website to dive in further to your goals and mission

Over time, your marketing becomes a little more complex as you define the process further. You develop:

  • Checklists to aid you in the step by step process
  • Support or service guidelines
  • Training for employees
  • Instructions for how a customer can best work with you
  • Landing pages to distinguish different lines of sales
  • Marketing funnels for directing potential clients to the right services

As the customer travels through different phases with you, they experience different journeys. The longer they are with you, those journeys add up into a Customer Experience. The better you make each journey, the more favorable they will view the Customer Experience.

Which means the more time you spend on each customer journey, the more highly refined your Customer Experience will be.

How do you do that?

By defining and designing interactions for your customers one at a time.

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Dig Deeper Into What Your Customers Want

Think about a recent customer with a favorable interaction. Why did they enjoy working with you? Was it how quickly you answered their questions? Was it the friendliness of the staff? Was it the service they received? Was it the way you reached out to help them along the way?

How can you work to define that in your marketing materials? How can you make a potential customer appreciate all you have to give by the journey they move into right from the start?

Because the customer journey begins long before they even know about your business. It starts the moment they decide they have a problem. It starts the moment they go searching for a solution.

Let’s use a landscaping company as an example.

A prospect rarely goes searching for the perfect landscaping company right from the start. They start at the beginning, which is usually a very simple problem.

  • What tree should I plant in my yard?
  • How do I increase the curb appeal of my new home?
  • What plants are best for my front yard?
  • How can I tell if my tree is sick?

And as they search for answers, that’s where you want to be.

Most people these days start searching via the Internet. They Google just about everything they can think of. Even when they have no end result in mind, a simple search gets their brains thinking. And the more answers they receive, the more sophisticated their searches become.

The more you are a part of that process, the better your chance of creating micro journeys your prospects can learn from. And if they find value in those journeys, they are more likely to convert to working with you.

By breaking down the process into journeys, you can begin to see how your interactions come into play. This is where you can deliver value and build positive feelings with your prospects and customers.

There are potentially dozens of major points of interaction with your customers. Examples include:

  • The initial contact
  • The initial purchase
  • The process
  • Returning customers
  • Support
  • Service

If you travel down the same road more than once, it’s ripe for automation. That doesn’t mean you can be warm and sincere in your interactions. It means you pour your heart and soul out in one format that can be used over and over again.

  • Landing pages that reach out to answer a question
  • A website that easily directs people from one place to another
  • Free content that helps educate prospects and customers
  • Automation systems that handle every process in an automated way

When was the last time you thought about your customer experience? When was the last time you looked carefully at each journey your customer takes, and the impact it has in turning them into satisfied customers for life?

If the process has been put together without understanding the interactions at each step, it may be time for an overhaul. It may be time to look carefully at every journey and piecing them together to shed new light on what you have to offer your prospects and customers.

How can we help you create that process?

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