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Want more customers, more sales, more brand recognition? Of course you do. That’s where strategy comes into play, whether it’s called marketing or branding.
Before you build that promotional game plan, you need to understand your customers and the Customer Value Journey (CVJ) – credit Digital Marketer.
The CVJ is like a map your customers follow from casual interest to purchaser.
And you can get more referrals, more sales leads, and yes, more closed sales by simply planning for each stage of the CVJ.
You can even nudge your customers into becoming committed brand fans and repeat buyers.
However, to do that, you first need to understand the different stages and how a business uses each step to ensure a steady flow of new and returning customers.
Mapping Out Your Customer Journey
The CVJ has eight stages. Eight opportunities to prime your customers for a sale by creating a likeable brand experience.
These stages may not go in order, so plan for multiple scenarios, just in case your customers skip a step.
STAGE 1) Awareness
Awareness means you want to get on your target market’s radar. How can you get the right customers if they don’t know you exist?
The Awareness Stage could involve releasing a TV commercial, digital ads, or creating a website with great search engine optimisation (SEO) so people find you organically.
STAGE 2) Engagement
Now they know about you, how do you engage your target audience?
Someone needs to make the first move. It’s time to build that customer relationship.
You could make some helpful videos on how to use your products and services and release them on YouTube, engage people on social media, attend or speak at a tradeshow, or invite people to a special event like a pop-up store.
Stage 3) Subscription
Once you’ve engaged your target audience, it’s time to get them to subscribe.
This is the stage where you want their email … But this can be tricky. People tend to guard their addresses. However, a well-timed incentive could encourage them to sign up to your email lists.
Ask them to fill out a form or sign up their email to receive a free eBook, attend a breakfast seminar hosted by an industry professional, or try out a free product/service demo.
Stage 4) Conversion
At this stage, you want them to deepen their commitment to you, to convert your potential customers into actual paying ones.
Don’t push for a big sale. You’ll reap those rewards later.
You only want them to make a small starter purchase. You may have to give them a discounted offer or package, a free trial, in-store coupon or free consultation with your sales team. This is the “cost of doing business” to set the stage for larger or repeat purchases later on.
STAGE 5) Excitement
Want people to get excited about your brand? Of course.
This excitement involves prepping your target customers for a larger core purchase.
To do that, you want them to not only love your products, but to love the experience of doing business with you.
That may mean offering excellent after-sales support, such as instructional videos on product maintenance, or helpful website user guides.
You could also offer informative blog posts related to your products or industry, or free samples of your new products/services (who doesn’t love free samples?)
STAGE 6) Ascension
Your customers are starting to see the value in doing business with your brand. You want them to ascend to a larger purchase or investment.
This is the ideal time to position your core offer – the main offer you really want to sell… like a monthly package, an upgrade to a yearly service contract or maybe an ongoing support service.
At this stage, many businesses fail if they haven’t primed their customers for a larger sale by building a relationship (and brand image) that resonates with their target’s values and interests.
If you’ve already positioned your brand as trustworthy, genuine, helpful and knowledgeable, a larger purchase is not such a big leap and is likely to be accepted.
Now, you could stop here… But you really want to read further.
Because the next stages are where you can build a brand that constantly brings in new customers and referrals, with…
STAGE 7) Advocacy
The most effective way to sell a product/service is by personal referrals, endorsements, recommendations or positive word of mouth.
You want your customers to reach this stage, where they leave positive online reviews, agree to participate in one of your published case studies or write a great testimonial for your website.
Trust us, you want advocates and should do your best to create a customer experience that people want to endorse.
STAGE 8) Promotion
Why pay for a promotion when your happy, loyal customers can do it for you – for free?
This is where customers not only recommend your brand but are actively promoting it.
They love your brand so much, that they want to run out and tell the world – or at least the 9-15 people that each person can directly influence.
Promotion is when people become a spokesperson, create a YouTube video that encourages people to buy from you or take advantage of your referral rewards program.
The Customer Value Journey offers many opportunities to connect and engage with your target audiences and to position your brand as the best option in your industry.
In the long run, it’s actually a smarter way to gain and retain your customers, by actively shaping the customer journey and the sales process.
Now all you need is a killer brand strategy, so you can plan for each stage.
Want help “mapping it out” with an effective strategy, unique to your business? Ask us about our brand consultation services.
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