When we talk about marketing strategy, we need to think about the different stages a customer or potential customer could be going through. This is often called the customer journey. And what is a customer journey? It can be defined in different ways, but the way I like to think of it is a map of all the different interactions a potential customer has with your business or your brand from beginning (when they are unaware of your existence) to end (when they become your customer or your brand's ambassador).
Customers are the lifeblood of any business, so it's important to understand their journey. The customer journey details every step in the process and helps create an experience that is tailored specifically for each user. In this article, we'll explore the 3 stages of the customer journey, why it matters for your business, and how you can use it to maximise customer satisfaction and loyalty.
We often talk about the marketing funnel when talking about the customer journey. We want to know which stage a potential customer is at, so we can better serve them at the stage they are in today. We also need to remember that most of your potential customers are not ready to buy "right now". Read more about the 95-5 rule and the full marketing funnel strategy here.
The 3 stages of the customer journey
The customer journey consists of every touch point that takes place between your business and your customers. Understanding the different stages of a customer journey can help you better serve your customers by providing them with a positive and memorable experience.
At its most basic, the customer journey consists of three distinct stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion.
In the first stage of the journey, customers are made aware of your brand or product. The consideration stage is when potential customers think about your product or services and compare it to others available on the market before making a decision to buy. This is the stage where they follow through various interactions with your company such as website visits, direct contact with sales staff or online reviews. And the last stage is the conversion stage. This is when customers make the final decision to buy your product or service, or if they are not the right candidate but they trust you and like what you offer, they can be your ambassadors and recommend you.
Depending on the specific needs of your customers, some stages of their journey may be longer than others, but each one should be designed to provide a seamless experience.
In this article, I talk about the full marketing strategy and the example below from the strategy point of view. Here, I would like to talk about the same example, but from the touch points and customer journey view.
Let’s talk about a specific real example.
Last year I saw a post about a retreat led by a female coach. I didn't know her, nor her business. I was completely unaware of her existence until I saw that post on one of the local Facebook groups I belong to.
Here are my touch points from beginning to end:
- I read the post about the retreat on Facebook. I was interested because I like retreats and I like meeting other women entrepreneurs. As I was curious, I decided to investigate more.
- I went to the coach's Facebook page to read more about her business and what she did.
- That led me to her website where I read more about the retreat and her social media presence.
- I clicked on her instagram link and checked out more posts where she was sharing more information about herself and her services.
- I sent her a message on Instagram, to which she replied and we started a conversation.
- We then had a zoom call and I learned more about her and the retreat.
- I got into her email list and she emailed me more information and the page to enrol.
- I enrolled, went to the retreat and loved it.
- I couldn't stop talking about it, so I recommended it to other people.
- I am still in touch with her, and if someone asks me about a retreat, I will for sure think of her and recommend her. I am not only a customer, but also an ambassador.
Just like this example, there are many more. You can think of the last thing you bought, and I'm not talking eggs or milk, but something that requires more thinking, more nurturing, more interactions until you became a client. Customer journeys can be very short, very long and anything in between.
Why the customer journey matters for your business
Understanding the customer journey can be key for businesses to deliver an exceptional customer experience and develop successful marketing strategies. Every step of the customer's journey provides valuable feedback, enabling your business to make thoughtful decisions on how to best serve your customers.
By understanding each stage of the customer journey, your business can identify areas where they are underperforming and make improvements accordingly. This could include improving their communication methods with customers, improving customer support services, or making changes within their product or service offering. Additionally, understanding the customer journey can help provide insights into what marketing strategies may be effective for reaching target audiences and engaging customers over a longer period of time.
How to use the customer journey to maximise customer satisfaction and loyalty
By using analytic insights and data-driven methods, your business can identify opportunities to grow by maximising customer satisfaction and loyalty. Some of the questions you can ask yourself when analysing are: How long do they stay on your website or a specific article? How engaged are they with your posts? Do they open your emails and click on the links you share? What questions do they ask before becoming a client? Through identifying your customers needs, analysing their behaviour on your digital ecosystem, tracking performance metrics, and providing feedback loops, you can continually improve their experience and the one of future customers.
Businesses are now recognising the value of understanding customers on a deeper level, beyond just shopping preferences, demographics, or product choices. By taking the time to analyse all touch points between customers and your brand, you can use this knowledge to develop more effective campaigns that cater directly to individual needs and preferences. This will help your business build stronger connections with its customers, as well as increase sales figures and overall satisfaction levels across all areas of the business.
The customer journey is an important part of any successful business. Before planning your next campaign or content strategy, make sure you understand your customer journey, all the possible touch points and ask for feedback so you can serve them better.
Do you need help with mapping out your customer journey and identifying the possible cracks in our digital ecosystem? Feel free to book a complimentary call with me below.