We have all done it. You have too. …
…. I mean, let’s face it…. nothing is more scintilating than getting that new prospect or lead.
And often times we are so excited by it, we try to rush them straight to a sale without taking them first through the stages of the customer value journey.
It’s the equivalent of proposing marriage the first time you see them.
In the eyes of your prospect, you instantly become that creepy “I’ve got some candy for you little girl” stalker.
Don’t be THAT guy!
We all want the sale. It’s the one of the reasons we are in business, right? But to get to that sale, there are barriers and stages we have to pass through.
Like dating your potential customers.
When you first come into contact with each other, there are moments where you have to decide if you like them, trust them, and if you want to proceed further.
The business world runs on the exact same principles.
Whether we are writing content for our website or social media…… we have to keep the customer value journey in mind at all stages of the game and set proper goals for those stages in order to take the prospect from ‘Here I am’ to ‘Let’s get married’.
How do we do this?
Let’s dive a little deeper into the customer value journey or customer value optimization as I explain it to you.
Customer Value Journey
The customer value journey is a central piece of all your business and marketing efforts.
When you incorporate it into everything that you do….. it literally transforms the way you do business. It also makes your business hard to compete with.
With every piece of content we create, every potential social media post, every product or experience we create…. we are always thinking about the BEFORE and AFTER and how we can take a cold prospect and convert them from complete stranger to raving fan.
The sequence is one of the most underrated elements. You can create the most beautiful piece of marketing or content, but if you deliver it too soon, or too late…… if it’s at the wrong point in the sequence- it’s not going to work.
Even if you have fairly good content or copy, delivered at just the right moment, with the right purpose, in the relationship….. it can have great results.
But a lot of marketers are THAT guy who approaches and says, ‘Hey, nice to meet you… let’s get married’.
And we also have the other end of the spectrum and the marketers who are overcompensating by delivering great content but they never get out of the ‘Friend Zone’ because they are afraid to put in a Call to Action or ask for a sale.
The Stages of Intimacy Within The Customer Value Journey
There is a whole world of people out there who don’t even know that your brand, your company, or your products exist. They have no idea that you have a solution to their problems.
That you and your company could take them from the less desirable before stage- to the more desirable after stage.
Yet, there is this moment when they become aware of you, and they start to get involved with you. They start giving you some of their time and money. And before long, they become raving fans telling everyone about you.
While you can skip one stage in the customer value journey and possibly get away with it… if you skip two or more…. it’s assault. It’s the equivalent of walking up to someone you don’t know and planting a big ole kiss on their lips!
To move through the proper dating steps without proposing marriage on the first interaction, it’s all about the sequencing.
And it’s about never forgetting that you are a human selling to another human.
The role of marketing is to move prospects and customers seamlessly and subtly through each phase of the Customer Value Journey.
When you are creating content or writing copy for your ads- you are not trying to make a sale.
You are trying to move them from one stage in the value journey to the next.
The awareness phase is when cold prospects finally see an ad or hear about you through others. Your goal at this phase should not be to make a sale.
Your goal should be to generate awareness of your company, brand, and products and to get the click.
You are talking to a very cold prospect. At this stage they might not even be aware that they have a problem. They might not be aware of your brand. And they certainly are not aware of the solution that you have available to them.
At the awareness stage we have four main goals:
- Increase offer awareness
- Increase engagement
- Grow website traffic
- Grow retargeting lists
We can do this very easily by producing what we call ‘Top of Funnel’ content……
- High quality blog posts
- Social media updates leading back to that blog content
- Audio/ podcasts
- video/ video podcasts
- microsites around very specific content
And no matter where we put out these great pieces of content, the goal is always to move the p
rospect away from the social channels they have seen them on, back to our website where we can further engage with them and build the relationship.
This phase is when that ‘glance’ becomes a stare. You have been noticed.
At this stage a prospect has become aware of you, your brand, and more likely some of your products.
Maybe they have read a blog post, engaged on social media, or watched a video.
Your goal now is to get them to linger on your site a little longer.
At this stage we create even more content for them to consume. We direct them to other blog posts or other valuable content.
The whole idea is to get them to stay around with you a little longer and say, ‘Hey, you are pretty great. I want to know more.’ To get them to show you that they like you. Get them sharing your content. Liking your content. Commenting on your content. Clicking through the pages of your site.
All while getting them to ascend to the middle of your funnel……
In the subscribe phase the prospect opts in to receive gated content.
This is where you are sending them to your landing pages and asking them to trust you enough to have that first date by giving you their contact information.
Middle of Funnel Goals:
- Email list/ lead growth
- Initial customer acquisition
- Grow retargeting lists
What type of content should you be offering at this stage of the game?
- Educational resources
- Useful resources
- Software downloads
- Lead magnets
- Discounts/ Coupons
- Quizzes/ Surveys
- Webinars/ Events
In the subscribe phase your prospect is saying to you, ‘Hey, I like you enough to give you my contact information. Let’s go out on a date and see if we are compatible with each other.’
Immediately after getting their contact information from a lead magnet, you should be presenting them with a low dollar offer to increase their commitment to you and your brand. We call this a tripwire offer.
This is where the entire relationship changes.
Your prospect becomes a customer and you are now ‘going steady’.
Your prospect has just made a more formal commitment to you and your brand of time and money.
Most marketers fall extremely short during this phase.
They assume that once that initial transaction has been made, they can become complacent.
They forget that the relationship needs continuing romancing. They forget that in order for the customer to be successful and ascend….. they need to actually consume the content, use it and be successful with it.
Just because a prospect signs up for a free webinar doesn’t mean that they will show up for it.
Your job is be producing content like email follow up series to romance them and get them to show up.
To show them how to use your lead magnet more effectively and get the results they were seeking….
If you can’t do this….. they will never get to the next level with you.
If your customer isn’t excited about the purchase- if they don’t get value from the initial transaction- they will not ascend.
If they aren’t excited, the sale won’t stick (refunds) and they will not ascend.
This is where your goals change…..
- Lead/ Customer nurture
- Maximizing immediate customer value
- Increasing retention
- Increasing buyer frequency and recency
Everything begins to change between the excite and ascension phase. You should be continually thinking, ‘How can I give this new customer the best experience possible?’ ‘How can I help them get success with their initial purchase?’
Because let’s face it….. we aren’t in the business of making sales. We are in the business of producing successful customers.
Customer success should be the central focus of your entire business model.
Producing successful customers is what turns them into raving fans…..
The ascension phase takes us into the back end of our funnels.
We should be focused on taking that initial low-dollar sale and ascending them into higher ticket items that are directly related to their initial purchase.
We do this with our upsells and cross sells.
So the question in our minds is ‘An initial sale has been made. How do we make sure they buy more?’
Every part of the relationship with your prospects and customers happens in steps and if you follow them, by the time you get to the ascension, everything is easier.
All of your marketing and nurturing efforts at this phase should be concentrated on getting this new customer to ascend to a new level by buying more from you- more often.
How do we help this new customer become even more successful?
If that isn’t your primary goal…. you are falling short and you are not a customer-centric company. Your company can’t hope to thrive.
It’s when your customer helps you in your marketing efforts by telling others, ‘Hey, I had success with this. Here are my results. You need to have success too.’
As a marketer, it is your job to craft emails to get those successful customers to tell you the results they have gotten using your products.
When you have those customer stories, you can leverage them at different stages in the customer value journey.
You want to be posting those customer stories in your social media posts, your email series, in your content at every phase….. everywhere your prospects and other customers are hanging out.
Within the promoter phase, we are shifting from passive advocacy to active promotion.
This is when your customers become your marketing partners.
They become your affiliates and help grow your business to new levels.
At this stage you need to be producing the content that helps them to become successful promoters for your company.
Help them to help you and you both become successful.
If you are not currently using the customer value journey within your company and marketing efforts, you are leaving a lot of money on the table.
As a business owner, our primary concern on the back end is always costs and revenues.
You can eliminate costs by following the customer value journey because you won’t be wasting your advertising budget. Your marketing efforts will be laser-focused and more predictable. The outcome and ROI will become more measurable and predictable.
You will increase revenue by following the customer value journey simply because you are increasing the success of your prospects and customers at every stage of the game. The more successful they become, the more they help to grow your business, and the more your revenues skyrocket.
Using the customer value journey properly will literally transform the way you do business. When done right, you make your business impossible to compete with. That is a level we all aspire to be at, right?
It’s time to start dating your prospects the right way instead of just rushing to the marriage proposal…..
I wish you much success in your business efforts.