Two things are certain when it comes to successful marketing: 1) You must understand your customer, and 2) you can’t just wing it.
You know this already, but do you have a Customer Value Journey® map?
Put simply, the Customer Value Journey is the step-by-step process that attracts and converts prospects into customers and keeps them coming back. It’s an invaluable digital marketing tool that helps marketers improve their conversions and, therefore, their sales and ROI.
(It’s also a term coined and trademarked by the smart folks over at DigitalMarketer.)
Don’t psshh this because it’s powerful stuff. When you map out your Customer Value Journey, you’ll be able to turn cold leads into not only happy customers but raving fans.
What Are the Steps in the Customer Value Journey?
The Customer Value Journey is an 8-step process that isn’t always linear. By mapping out this path for your customers, however, you’ll gain a multitude of benefits (which we’ve outlined below these steps).
Step 1: Aware
With so many different advertisements vying for our attention, it is absolutely imperative that you find a way to stand out and gain the interest of your ideal customers.
Do this through the words you use and the visual images that accompany them. Catch attention and make it irresistible for them to pass you by.
Step 2: Engage
Grabbing their attention is what makes your audience stop and notice you, but that’s all for nothing if you can’t get them to engage with you. Conversions can’t take place if your audience is not interacting with your ads and content.
At this stage of the Customer Value Journey, you need to get your target audience to read your article, watch your video, pop you a question on your chatbot, or interact with one of your social media posts.
Engagement might start here, but it certainly doesn’t end here. At each step of the Customer Value Journey, you should be seeking engagement with your audience. Make no mistake about it, unless they are engaging, they have no emotional interest in your company.
Step 3: Subscribe
Once you’ve gotten your audience to engage with you, now you need to get their contact information so that you can follow up with them. This is most easily obtained by offering a lead magnet so that you can connect with them through email marketing.
They’ll fill out a form and give you their email, and in exchange, you’ll give them something for free. That sounds simple, but these days, this step isn’t as easy as it used to be.
Let’s face it—people are inundated with free content, so it has to be something that stands out and provides a lot of value. While that could be an e-book, guide, or tip sheet, you’ll probably do better with something more enticing. Try a free webinar, demo, sneak peek, free trial, free product or service, etc.
If you’ve done step one and two well, your prospects will already be starting to trust you, so they will want more from you. As long as you offer them something they truly want, you’ll get plenty of subscribers.
Step 4: Convert
If the freebie you provided to get them on your list was well done and you’ve targeted them correctly, your leads will want to become your customers. You just need to make it easy for them to do so.
Often, the best way to bring about the convert stage is with an offer that provides high value but with low risk. In many cases, this offer has nothing to do with making a profit. It’s just meant to turn your potential customers into customers. If you can cover your costs here, you’re golden.
Step 5: Excite
People love to shop, and why? Because it makes them feel good. Those good feelings come from dopamine that is released when they make a new purchase. And you can capitalize on that excitement.
The more you can get your new customers excited about their purchases, the more you will win them over. At this stage of the Customer Value Journey, you’ll want to slap some icing on the cake. Surprise them with things such as extra bonuses, freebies they weren’t expecting, or quick wins.
Step 6: Ascend
When someone buys from you once, they are much more likely to buy from you again, especially when they are in the middle of the excitement of buying. As they are making their purchase, offer them something that will give them even better results. You can do this by offering a more in-depth product, a consultation to make it work even better, or a done-for-you product.
This might also happen as you nurture them further along in your marketing strategy. They might purchase a more comprehensive offering, join a membership, or purchase similar products as you engage with them over time.
This is the stage where you start really making a profit. When your customers buy from you more than once, BAM! You’ve just increased the customer lifetime value of each and made acquiring new customers more affordable.
Step 7: Advocate
Right after your new customer has made a purchase from you, that is when they will be most excited about it. And that is when they are most likely to share their experience with others.
At this stage in the Customer Value Journey, most people are happy to spread the word, but they usually need to be asked. Include a share button on their order confirmation page. Send out an automated email asking for a review after they’ve received your product or service.
If you can get this type of endorsement, you’ll increase your social proof, which can have dramatic sales advantages. After all, according to research from BrightLocal, 89% of consumers trust user reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.
Step 8: Promote
While the Advocate stage is more passive, the Promote stage is active. This is where loyal customers actively go out and tell people about your products and services. They do so because they believe in them (and, in most cases, because they are being incentivized to do so).
Give your new customers access to a rewards program that gives them incentives for referring others to you. For example, many companies such as Hello Fresh, Dropbox, and Evernote allow their customers to earn money off their next purchase when a friend signs up.
Other companies such as Shopify, Bluehost, and BigCommerce have full-blown affiliate programs. Their affiliates earn a commission for each referral they send.
Why You Need to Map Out Your Customer Value Journey
A visual map of your Customer Value Journey makes it much easier to do the following:
- Plan out your marketing campaigns
- See the path the customer will take
- Identify where you need to make improvements so leads aren’t lost
The companies with the clearest view of their customer journey are the ones that are succeeding. In fact, according to a 2018 report on customer journey mapping, 90% of the companies using Customer Value Journey maps said it has brought positive results.
But that’s not all! A Customer Value Journey map provides the following additional benefits:
- It helps to illuminate gaps in the sales process.
- It allows marketers to measure their results, optimize for improvement, and shorten the sales process.
- With it, companies can see where leads and customers are falling off vs. where they are getting the most interest and engagement.
- It forces companies to understand the customer better and hone in on who their ideal customer really is and what they want.
- It improves the customer experience.
- It allows marketers to recognize sales opportunities they might have otherwise overlooked.
In summary, a Customer Value Journey map allows a company to see through the customer’s eyes. It provides a clear view of what it’s like to interact with and purchase from their brand. Without it, it’s a guessing game, and we all know that’s not what brings results…
The Customer Value Journey is a key part of your marketing strategy. It’s what allows you to turn potential customers into raving fans!
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably seeing the value in mapping out your Customer Value Journey. And the good news is you can easily try it for yourself!