Customer journey: A straightforward tool for time-pressed marketers

By Sean
Thursday, January 7th, 2021

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes, 29 seconds.

Customers and clients don’t just fall out of trees, desperate to give you their money.

Every person you work with, sell to or serve has been through a series of steps, which eventually led them to a choice that you were the one they wanted.

This is their customer journey.

Someone who has never heard of you needs a very different message to someone who trusts you. Someone who knows you well will have a very different relationship to your organisation compared with someone who only likes you.

Once you understand each step you can understand how to craft the relevant message.

This is probably the simplest of all our Brand Clear tools, but that should only help in giving a clear picture of what this journey looks like.

Download tool here. 

Download tool here. 

The best way to approach this tool is to imagine a room full of people, all in conversation.

If your brand comes up, what do people say?

The people you’ve connected with most are the clients you’ve worked successfully with in the past, and you can expect them to step forward and say: “Oh, yes, I know them well”.

They’re the source of your referrals. They’re the people who have positive evidence that you deliver on your promises. 

In the B2C world, they deliver the hugely valuable ‘word of mouth’. 

Strictly speaking these people are at the end of their path – but it’s still valuable to keep in contact with them, because they could be the beginning of someone else’s customer journey.

On the other end of the scale you have the people who would vaguely reply: “I’ve heard of them”.

You might have the attention of this group, but there’s a lot more work to do if they’re to move along the journey. They’re the people who sit at the top of your funnel. 

Read more here. 

The content funnel and the customer journey are two sides of the same coin, but it’s useful to think about them separately.

Your funnel can tell you if you’ve got enough of the right content. But the customer journey can help you understand whether your content is moving people in the right direction.

The customer journey is also useful for thinking more about how you structure your content, and how you can make it easier for someone to pass through each stage.

Look at the people who are already aware of your brand. What would it take to move them along from “I know of them” to “I like them”?

What does someone need from you before they can say “I trust them”?

Let’s work through an example

Setting: You’re a life coach who specialises in helping wellbeing professionals to market themselves.

You run a couple of social pages and post video to them on a regular basis. When a video gets a good response, you use it as a simple social ad targeted to your ideal audience.

You network a lot, occasionally speak at virtual events and even manage to get yourself some positive local press coverage from time to time.

This has all contributed to getting your brand much needed exposure.


People who say – “I know of them”

Perhaps they’ve seen your advert online, read about you in the press or been at the same event. They’ve heard of you, but you’re still just a name.

To get this group to the next step in the journey, you need:

  • Familiarity: Keep up your content and maintain your exposure so that people have time to get used to seeing you around
  • Specificity: By genuinely understanding the needs of your audience you can create consistent messages that resonate with the right people
  • Practicality: Help people first with useful advice or relevant guidance and they’ll warm to you, whereas a salesy CTA might leave them cold

So you keep up your hard work, making sure that every bit of content or activity gives the right people a reason to like you (because you understand them) and to appreciate what you’re doing (because you’re already helping them).


People who say – “I like them”

Getting people to like you is largely a matter of patience, consistency and exposure. 

Perhaps your messaging is good enough that some people might literally ‘Like’ you immediately, becoming followers of your LinkedIn page or interacting with your posts.

Others might need to put your advice into practice and discover its value before you become more to them than just another brand.

To get this group to the next step in the journey, you need:

  • Proof: Once people like the sound of what you’re promising they’ll be interested in whether you can actually deliver
  • Reputation: When other people talk positively about you, they make anyone who already likes you feel like they’re on to something
  • Approval: Awards and recognition is good, but most powerful is when someone sees you being chosen or endorsed by people they already trust

First, you make a point of taking baseline surveys with your clients and doing post-project and follow up surveys so you can clearly demonstrate the impact you have.

You also use the follow up surveys to request video testimonials from previous clients. These can go out on social, web and email channels.

Finally, you make sure that everyone knows who’s chosen you previously through a logo banner on your website or a properly updated profile, before researching some key figures in the industry and pitching work directly to them.


People who say – “I trust them”

Familiarity breeds confidence, and the best customers are the ones who make a confident decision.

Case studies and testimonials demonstrate that you’re capable of what you claim. Results enable people to understand what they could get from their investment.

In all, the challenge is to provide everything that people need in order to be sure they’re not going to make a mistake by buying or working with you.

But to get this group to the final step in the journey, you need:

  • Motivation: Any decision that can be delayed will be delayed, but short term offers or limited availability can force people to act
  • Convenience: The harder it is for people to buy, the easier it is for them to walk away, so simple fees and payments always win
  • Outcome: You need a clear and easily understood benefit that really matters to people in order to get them over the line

So instead of offering ‘always open’ consultation, you decide to run limited ‘cohorts’ or ‘classes’ of clients at a time, prompting people to act or risk missing out.

Rather than ask for people to commit to a retainer you create packages – one price for a ‘quickfix’ product and a premium price for your comprehensive service, with the option of extensions to be discussed later.

Finally, with the knowledge you have of your audience, you focus on the core pain they experience and how you deliver a solution, putting this benefit at the heart of every contact you have with them.

What next?

No prescribed journey is ever perfect and you’ll need a process of testing and learning before you can get the most from a tool like this.

But crucially you’ll have a format to follow when testing and a way to understand and apply what you’ve learned from the results you get.

Account Based Marketing especially will benefit from applying this Brand Clear tool – you can grade every prospect you have by their position along the journey, giving you clear insight into how you should interact with them and what the goal should be.

Of course, if you haven’t already, the next step would be to match your ideal customer journey to your Brand funnel and make sure there are no gaps where people can be lost. 

Read more here. 

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