The Customer Value Journey
The customer value journey is something everyone goes through, whether you’re aware of it or not. It’s a lot like dating, it’s building a relationship, trust, and ultimately making a commitment (marriage / purchase).
Can you imagine if someone proposed marriage at the exact time they met you, “Hi, I’m Joe. Do you want to get married?” -- Uhhhh. No, Joe. No I do not. Hard pass.
That’s exactly what it’s like when you’re throwing your product, brand, service out there and say, “Here's the thing I’m selling. Buy it now for $$”.
Just like in dating, marketing to customers is a journey and each step builds off the previous one. You have to have awareness before you have trust, and you have to have trust before you have a sale, and you have to have a sale before you can get loyalty and repeat business.
Where many fall short is honing in on each part of the journey and funneling the customer through, and redirecting them back through the customer value Journey until they buy.
The second way many fall short is to assume once the product is purchased, that’s the end of your marketing plan / strategy. They think, “that’s it! I accomplished the goal, on to the next one.”
That couldn't be further from the truth. The customer journey should be viewed as cyclical not linear. Cyclical keeps the customer turning and you earning.Here’s what the Customer Value Journey should look like
Do people know about you?
This one is self explanatory, people have to know you before they buy from you. At one point in time we all had never heard of Amazon or Uber. We had to become aware of the business. Just like in dating people have to know who you are to start the dating process.
Digital Marketing that can drive awareness:
Digital Advertising (Facebook, Instagram, listings
Search Marketing (SEM)
An expectant mother searches google for safest car seats.
An office manager sees and advertisement for a coffee supplier.
A college student watches a facebook live video of her friend raving about her new smart watch
Your customers are aware of you but don’t yet know you, like you, or even maybe trust you. This part of the customer journey is the first date in a relationship. When you evaluate each other to see if you want to spend more time (or spend your money) with the other person.
While most of the customer journey builds off on another, the engagement phase is a constant.
Engagement is conversing with, providing content that provides entertainment, education, or both. Even better if it’s entertaining AND useful
Are you providing them valuable content they engage with?
Examples of content / engagement marketing:
Now is the time to grab their contact information. In this part of the journey where they know you, they have an interest, and if you don’t ask now, chances are you’ll never hear from them again. You’ll have no way to bring them back to you.
In the dating aspect, this is where you say. “hey, girl, heeeey want to grab some coffee sometime, what’s your number?”
You could say, “here’s a form, give me your info please”. But that’s boring, and the conversion (number of people who submit the form) on that will be low. People are smart and protect their contact info. You have to add some value. Think of it as a sale, but instead of offering a product for money, you exchange contact info.
If used right, this information can far exceed much more in the long run than the value of what you offered.
This can be done through adding value: free download of part of your product that requires contact information. Sign up for a webinar, or a simple form asking for more information.
** WHile doing this ask them to subscribe, or download, anything that requires you getting their contact info. When they do this, they give you permission to contact you in the future.
Example of Content Marketing to support the subscribe stage
Conversion Rate Optimization
In the dating process you’ve gone to get coffee, and you both have decided you’re into each other.
Constant engagement is still in play here. You’re still delivering informative and relevant content to them.
In dating is the flirty banter via text / social media throughout the day.
In marketing it translates to now we offer entry point offers. This is usually a $1-$20 commitment.
Can they easily give you their money? - Website and in store
Proof: When they do business with you once, there’s a good chance it will happen again and this time a higher ticket item. Insert source and stats)
For this to be successful, you have to offer something of value. The prospect is giving you their time and attention and possibly their money. Marketing can only go so far. And great marketing will only excel the rate of success with a great product and failure with a sub-par product.
**Note** Some business owners aren’t into giving away their product or part of their product for free, which is understandable. But for this to be effective you’ve got to give a little to get a lot. Keep in mind we’re only in the middle of the customer journey.
Examples of content marketing that convert
This is another part of the journey, like engagement, we’ll come back to time and time again. So we want to make sure this is on point.
In the excite phase the key here is to make the transaction as easy as possible and make sure it’s a good one. Why? This will build good will and trust.
The reason we want to build good will and trust here is if we don’t give them value in the excite stage, then there’s no way they will move on to the next stage, which is purchasing more expensive things from you.
This is similar to dating in that once you’re into each other you’ve got to keep the spark alive. You can’t keep going off the very first spark. Sparks must be created... And sparks turn into fireworks. And in the words of Bruce Springstein you can’t start a fire with out a spark.
So how do we make sure the transaction experience is amazing and creates excitement?
We have to assume your product / or the time that the client gave up to listen to your pitch is OFF THE CHARTS AMAZING. Which, of course it is, but if it’s not the best marketing in the world will not help your business. Because great marketing will only increase the speed at which your business fails if you don’t have great products and services.
The prospect must get VALUE from their transaction with you. We will come back to the excite stage time and time again as your customer buys more from you and is redirected through the customer value journey. And every time it must create excitement.
**Whenever a customer does what you ask of them (download your product, listen to your webinar, buy the product, hire you for a service) you should engineer your marketing to maximize the chances they’ll get tangible value from your experience.
So now they’ve made a small purchase and your product is off the charts amazing.
Now this is the time to surprise & delight them. Show them the value in doing business with you. Here, our goal is to develop good will and trust.
Make them want to give you more of their cold, hard earned cash and make it EASY for them to give you their money. When they’re excited and willing to spend more money with you, they are moving through our customer value journey. And you’re turning and earning… Cha Ching $$$
Examples of Marketing that gives the customer value AND creates excitement:
A college student downloads the Spotify streaming app and there’s an instructional walk through on how to use the app. Highlighting each button, what it does, and how it will help make streaming music easier and more enjoyable.
A busy entrepreneur (who lives off coffee) buys a Keurig and finds an easy start up guide and a sampler box of different brands of coffee to try. All with in the first 5 mins of opening the box.
A client opens an email with resources and articles to peruse before the first session with a newly hired business coach.
Or it could be as simple as an onboarding email campaign.
Digital Marketing that creates excitement:
Here, at this stage of the CVJ, you’ve sunk time, money, and resources into acquiring leads and nurturing your clients through the CVJ to make sure they have great value from you.
It’s more likely than not that you have yet to turn any sort of profit from the time, money, and resources you’ve poured into this customer. In fact, you’ve probably LOST money up until now if you’re in a competitive market.
That’s OK, and here’s why:
You’re investing in future profit.
It always costs the most to acquire new customers than to sell to existing ones. The first sale isn’t about making money, it’s about converting a prospect into a customer, so you can begin a long, ahm, and profitable relationship.
Buying clients on the front end is only smart business if you can monetize them on the back end.
Now your customer is primed for purchasing, they’ll be ready to buy more and buy often. This is where you will pitch your CORE OFFER. Your core offer is the big ask, the money maker, and the one that will help you recoup the money lost on the front end and where you monetize them on the back end.
To learn more about CORE OFFERS click here.
Once your client purchases the core offer it doesn’t stop. You offer them other relevant offers.
That’s why you’ll see ascent step is a ladder, it’s no accident. We hope the customer will “climb” that ladder time and time again with different offers.
You’ll also see that the customer Value Journey is Cyclical. Because if you don’t move them along to the next step we bring them back in with the stages before.