Guiding the Customer Journey
One of the most important things you can do for your consulting practice, and the businesses you work with, is to understand the journey that the customer goes through when they are buying a product or service like yours.
Many people really underestimate this journey, but here’s the thing, the days of the linear marketing funnel are over. The customer journey doesn’t look anything like this now:
In fact, it looks a lot more like this:
Many of the ways in which somebody makes a decision about a product or service is really out of the businesses control to a certain degree. A business’ best option these days is to try to organize behavior and guide people on the journey they want the customer to take. This requires the business to figure out how to get on the path that the customer is taking to research and find how to solve their problems well before they have already concluded what it is they’re looking for because a lot of times, by the time somebody contacts a company or companies, they’ve already concluded what they want to get done and they’re really just looking for the best price.
The Marketing Hourglass
I developed the Marketing Hourglass to help with the idea of the customer journey. This idea doesn’t just get you to the point of when somebody buys, but the experience after they buy, and how we turn them into loyal repeat customers and referral customers.
The Marketing Hourglass has seven stages:
This is the awareness phase, so articles that do well in search, advertising, and even referrals need to start here.
This is the stage where once you have attracted prospects to your site, you have to give them reasons to come back, reasons to relate and reasons to like your team.
In this stage, reviews, success stories, and client testimonials are your currency.
Now that your prospects are wondering how your solution might work for them, it’s time to shower them with ebooks, webinars, and other educational-based content. At this point, you may even want to offer an evaluation, trial version or low-cost option.
Keep the experience high in this stage. Think about how you orient new customers, exceed their expectations and surprise them.
The best way to get repeat business is to make sure your clients receive and understand the value of doing business with you. Consider adding a results review process, as well as additional upsell and cross-sell touchpoints.
The Marketing Hourglass is about turning happy clients into referral clients. Do this by creating a great experience, by being referral worthy, and by building processes and campaigns that make it easy for your champion clients to introduce and refer your business.
In your consulting practice, you need to figure out exactly what that journey looks like for people that are looking for a business like yours.
You need to get involved in the early stages of the journey, ideally even before a person even realizes they have a problem that needs to be solved.
What can you do to make sure you create such an amazing experience that your customers not only want to continue to buy from you and share what you do but want to voluntarily talk about what it is that you do with others.
- What are we going to do to get people to know us?
- How are we going to move them to the point that they want to know more?
- How are we going to get them to trust us?
- What will it be like to try us?
- What does the buying process look like?
- What are we doing to get repeat business?
- What are we intentionally doing to make sure we get referrals?
You need to figure out what the journey is like for your ideal customer and help your clients figure out the same.
Understanding and then guiding the customer journey is the key to attracting and converting ideal clients. Have you taken the first steps to understanding your customer’s journey?