Customer Journey mapping: it’s almost become a buzzword. This is like the hammer in your toolkit – You can know how to use it but can go quite some time without needed to wield it… unless you are doing a large-scale renovation project. Customer journeys are sequences that you have been exposed to your whole career but unless you’re in a consumer insights specific role, it’s unlikely you’ve really dusted it off completely and used it with intentionality. My objective today is to give you a fresh, new look on the customer journey and ways you can walk away from this with some actionable items you can implement no more than five minutes on finishing this relatively short post. Stick around for the full content – the customer journey is supremely important and we believe in investing in it heavily. As such, we’ve created a video for you packed to the brim with actionable insights. On top of that, we’ll put an infographic towards the the bottom you can go ahead and download. If you walk away with one thing, and one thing alone today – let it be this: The point of marketing is not to make a sale. It’s to create an advocate. You may be thinking “Nick, can one exist without the other?” The answer is yes, absolutely. And it goes both ways, as well. Let me explain. Don’t want to read? Check out this video format of the content as well for convenience. You can view it in the player below or the dedicated post page – click here for that.

Some of the strongest brands in the world yield a positive, strong response from consumers despite, in some cases, many never even purchasing the product, using the service, or have any first hand experience whatsoever. For instance, plenty of people understand the value associated with Ferrari despite never actually owning a model of the supercar. The same goes for Harvard Business School. It’s hard to imagine someone not being able to internalize the brand equity associated with a Harvard MBA. You can also have strong sales but not be making advocates out of your consumers. An appropriate example of this is when brands engage in a price war. When your messaging focuses on aspects of your brand that devalue your brand equity, you commoditize your good or service. Lightening quiz round – What are there more of: Harvard MBA graduates or Ferrari owners? Think about that one and answer in the comments below if you happen to know. The point is, a good marketer instills messaging and positions his or her brand to elicit positive emotions with connections to value for the consumer. When you do this, in fact, when you pursue this model, you actually create fans of your brands rather than transactional buyers. I’ve learned a lot from following Russel Brunson and his strategy for his business, which we’ve endorsed before. He gives most of his information away for free focusing on delivering value for the person listening. He understands if he doesn’t nickel and dime you or hold back secrets behind a pay wall, you have a higher propensity with fewer objections when considering purchasing for his $99/month software. This was precisely my path to purchase with Click Funnels. We are still in the process of split testing Leadpages with ClickFunnels head2head but when it came time to consider a new sales funnel software, the decision took me less than 2 minutes to deploy company wide. So how do you create advocates like this for your business? It’s a good question – and it comes courtesy of Robert out of Nevada who started his own craft brewery and manages brand strategy. He asks:

If you are here wondering how you can submit your marketing or business strategy questions and have them answered live by our team with our full resources for free, all you have to do is become a member get one submission each week. I’ll shoot you over some information if you just simply fill out the info below. Thanks for the questions, Robert! It’s a good one. To adequately answer this, we’re going to need to map out the customer journey step by step as it relates to the general persuasion cycle. The caveat here is there are going to be some smoking guns being that each segment, category, and product/service can have a much different path to purchase, but most consumer behavior follows this general path. 1. Awareness 2. Interact (Interest) 3. Commit 4. Convert 5. Inspire 6. Closing the sale 7. Nurture 8. Advocate Feel free to scroll down below the following points to download the infographic for your convenience as a take away you can conveniently review later at your leisure. The Journey, Mapped Stage 1: Awareness This is going to be the most intuitive of the lot – but you need to first make sure that your customer knows you exist. If you are to have any shot at persuading your ideal client/customer, you need a physical or a digital presence to achieve scale. Conversion can happen without a physical or digital presence, but you are capped by the amount of people who have you in their rolodex and will rely solely on word of mouth referral – which is painful. So – set up a site, create an email list, start blogging, tell your facebook, Linkedin, Instagram community. Do what you have to do to maximize organically how far your brand can reach cross-platforms. Stage 2: Interact (Interest) Interact with your prospect now that you are on their radar. Without interaction, you can’t expect their interest. Just because you have a website, does not guarantee they are going to love it and spill their souls to you. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s safe to assume that they don’t give two cares about you or your service. Approach them from the standpoint of you need to “sell” them. Remove any negative stigma around this word sell. To sell is to persuade. The consumer doesn’t owe you anything. If you want their time, attention, and hard-earned money, you need to come to the table a rock solid game plan that breaks down their barriers and erodes their objections. This has to begin, and end for that matter, with interacting with them. We talk about this is another Mailbag Monday episode which you can find here. Stage 3: Commit Engage the consumer and get them on the hook. The lower the perceived risk, the more likely to reap your benefits from Stage 2: Interaction. You need your customers to make some sort of commitment in their head. I use a little anecdote about my why I don’t do free lunches, calls, or meetings anymore to help explain this. My nephew asked me to help him get more youtube views on his videos he’s been uploading. He couldn’t understand why no one was watching them. Before I gave him advice, I told him to go get his wallet and piggy bank. I took every single dollar he had. A whooping $15. He legitimately almost cried. But I explained to him if I didn’t take his money, he wouldn’t feel the pressure to keep at it when it got hard. Because it was going to get hard. Despite his immediate objections he ultimately agreed and understood. Getting a prospect to get skin in the game is crucial at this stage. Here’s the advice I gave him: Titles to videos that make people curious and want to click. Stop telling them everything in the video and they’ll stop deciding before they even watch whether it’s for them. Add as many friends as you can and for anyone who signs up for your channel through a referral, you’ll give them a free lesson on how to play NBA2K better (he makes videos about how to beat more people in a popular basketball XboxOne game). Interview friends and other good players who get the views desired and tag each other. The point was, he got a lot of actionable advice. But even the best marketing advice without the consumer having some skin in the game means very little. It actually disincentives them and becomes easy to walk away from your brand, product, service, etc. My nephew, by the way, is now a verified youtube account. Stage 4: Convert This stage is about turning commitment into conversion. Here you are cementing your interested buyer into your business and establishing them as a lead with real sales conversion potential. A very important note here is that stage four isn’t necessarily monetary based. In fact, it’s better if it’s not. You seem more genuine and are perceived as selling softer if you get them to say yes to your actual products or services without having a monetary transaction. It builds up the relationship to make Stage 6: closing much more smooth. Stage 5: Inspire Inspiring your customers is all about urging targeted action based on the next appropriate steps in your sales/marketing funnel. They are on the hook, interested, opted in to some aspect of your business, now it’s your job to get them excited about your brand. Stage 6: Closing Closing the sale is the money metric. It’s imperative you set yourself up for this step by being diligent in steps 1-5. That said, step 6 will be an organic reflection of steps 1-5. The more you are able to optimize the first first steps of the path to purchase, the easier your selling process becomes. You organically will notice a shortening of your sales cycle. This is precisely what we specializing in at DeepBridge so if this sounds attractive but you’re not sure how to pull it off, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help. Stage 7: Nurture Although the sale is complete, the real work begins. The point of sales is not quick profit – it’s to build a sustainable business model. This should be fueled by loyal customers with relationships you’ve invested in. The nurture part of the purchasing sequence is the driver to more predictable revenue. Live this mantra: Build your tribe, heavily invest in your supporters, co-create with your audience. Stage 8: Advocate More of a technical execution, the last stage one step further than simply nurturing your relationships with your customers is to develop them into advocates. This is the lifeblood of valuable brand equity and lifetime value. If you are successful at stages 1-7, then stage 8 will come naturally and become the most enjoyable part of the entire process. There’s no better feeling than over-delivering on something you know that your audience desires from you. We want that for anyone who reads this our content and hope you now feel equipped to begin that dialogue with your audience.

 

Customer Journey Infographic

Want the infographic to refer back to at your leisure? Tell us where to send it and it’s yours! Rinse, optimize, and repeat this process to go deeper, create better experiences, and build stronger relationships with your customers. This will enable an effective profit loop ensuring your business will last. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, etc please feel free to comment below or reach out direct to nickwilliams@deepbridgeconsulting.com. Share this content if you feel someone in your network might benefit from the read. Otherwise, embrace the customer journey! If you want more series driven content, check out our content series page for all episodes from our other days we’re producing high quality content – you can get it here. In the very least don’t forget to submit your Mailbag Monday questions for a chance to win 100% FREE, custom work from us and we’ll see you back here next Monday.