Business growth revolves around cycles, the most obvious of which is whether a new customer becomes a repeat customer. Your job as a business owner is to continue the cycle and influence the path of consumers with your business. Influencing the customer journey can lead to people visiting your store, making a purchase and hopefully returning. Before you influence the customer journey you first need to understand how your customers got there—and what aspects of online marketing can be used along the way to attract them and convince them to convert.
Customer Path to Purchase
Most prospects touch your business multiple times before covering into a client. Whether it’s finding your business on a friend’s Facebook post or seeing your ad on their favorite weather app, these touchpoints connect you with that prospect—and either increase or decrease the likelihood that they’ll choose your business over a competitor.
To bring that customer to your website, store, or local business, you want to make sure you’re delivering the right message to them every step of the way. However, measuring the success of each opportunity can be a challenge. Even though customers don’t tell you every time they interact with your business online, there are several ways to measure the effectiveness of your efforts by examining each key aspect of the buying path.
We look at the customer’s path to purchase in four parts:
Initiation: A consumer finds your business and becomes interested in what you have to offer, making them a qualified buyer. Research: They scour the web for your content, social media profiles, searches and/or directories. Conversion: They decide on your local business and make a purchase. Retention: You continue to build a relationship with this customer and create a long-term brand advocate for your local business.
Stages in the Customer Journey
1. Becoming a qualified buyer
The first stage of the customer journey is where someone becomes a qualified buyer. An event or experience triggers a need, whether it’s an injury at work or getting engaged. This first step can also involve hearing from someone about the product/service. After the experience, the potential customer starts looking for product/service providers.
When a potential customer starts looking for products/services, they are likely to use a combination of different means to base his decision. Online reviews, search engines, articles, social media and videos are places qualified buyers may start their research. You want to make sure your business is represented in these key areas so a potential customer can see and add your business. This is one of the most important moments from a marketing point of view. You have a direct opportunity to influence customer decisions based on messages delivered across channels.
After exploring all the different options, the prospect takes action and makes the conversion. Conversion can take many forms: Requesting information, setting an appointment or making a purchase. The customer journey is not over when the customer converts.
How to use knowledge of the Customer Journey for your marketing?
You want them to come back after a prospect has become a profitable prospect. Once you’ve built a loyal customer base, this group will help you bring in new customers in steps 1 and 2 of their journey by acting as an advocate for your business. Word of mouth and personal referrals are the pinnacle of marketing – and having a solid group of advocates for your business can benefit from these two highly effective methods of earned media.
Understanding your customer path can provide valuable insights for your business and can be a key in how you market or in the services or product your business provides. Want to discuss how the understanding of your customer’s journey can be used to improve your marketing strategy? Contact us for your free business audit.