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Marketing and Your Customer’s Journey

Being a customer of a business is a journey; every interaction with the business is a milestone on that journey. As business owners, we tend to lose sight of this. It isn’t something we experience directly, but this concept has a direct effect on our businesses’ success.

Our customers, both current and potential, use their experiences of our business and its offering to continually update where they stand with us. Over time these interactions add up and move our audience along to their final destination with our brand. 

Will they stay loyal, or will they take a detour to try out a competitor’s products or services?

With this in mind, we need to understand what the customer journey entails and how it inevitably affects our businesses. By putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes, we can create a customer experience that is as easy and as pleasant as possible. This experience will boost trust, loyalty and customer advocacy, preventing our customers from venturing off the beaten track to try out our competitors.

The Customer Journey

Knowing what your customers want, where and when they want it, and how they will most likely go about finding it, is crucial to planning your ideal customer journey. The last thing that you want is to lose a customer, because they didn’t understand your directions and got frustrated.

The 5 Steps of the Modern Customer Journey.

Social media and effective marketing do still play a big role in the customer journey. According to Digital Marketing Magazine,74% of consumers rely on social media to guide purchasing decisions”.

In today’s market, we need to consider all these factors to ensure a comfortable and engaging experience:

  • Advertising
  • Organic searches
  • Post sales reviews
  • Website experience
  • Word of mouth
  • Customer service
  • Direct interaction

The main steps to remember are:

  1. Awareness: In your first interaction with your customers, you need to generate awareness of your business and its offering. Your messaging must be clear, concise, memorable and impactful. This holds for both organic interactions and paid advertising on social media.
  2. Findability: Your ideal customers are looking for you. The real question is, can they find you? If your target audience is mostly on Facebook, but your advertising efforts are focused on Twitter, it may be a good idea to re-evaluate the social media platforms you make use of. Do some market research on your ideal customer. This includes finding out their ages, interests, hobbies and more. Use this information to put your business on the platforms where they are most engaged.
  3. Reputation: Because social media has made it so easy for individuals to make themselves heard, customer reviews are not too hard to come by. Potential customers will most likely look for feedback on your products and services from previous buyers or customers before making their decision.

    PRO TIP: If a previous buyer has had a bad interaction with you or your company, be sure to resolve it as soon as possible. Ignoring it will just make it worse. Your customers could view inaction as a lack of interest or empathy, and this could negatively impact their decision to start or continue their journey with your business.
  4. Conversion: There’s nothing like a bad shopping experience to turn a happy customer into a frustrated one. If the purchasing process is too complicated or unclear, it could lead to customers leaving without buying. More likely than not, they will then share this negative experience of your business with their network.
  5. Advocacy: Whether a customer decides to leave a good or bad review of your business is ultimately up to you. Do your best to create experiences that inspire positive customer advocacy. This will influence what future buyers think of you and whether they decide to embark on a customer journey with you.

Bonus step:
Contact Touchpoints:
Make sure that it is clear when, where and how:

  1. your customers can contact you
  2. your customers will be contacted by your team

Setting realistic expectations, and following through on them, has a huge impact on how customers feel when interacting with you. Having clear contact touchpoints makes it so much easier for customers to stay on track rather than dropping off on their journey with your business.

Benefits of a Good Customer Experience

Understandably, a bad customer experience usually means no conversion. Worse than that, it also causes reputational damage which may negatively impact future sales. Customer experience also determines customer retention; it drives customers’ decisions to either come back to you or to go with a competitor.

A good customer experience guarantees your business:

  • Increased customer loyalty
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Improved word-of-mouth marketing, reviews and feedback
  • Higher chance of customer retention

Why You Should Take the Time to Improve the Customer Journey

Improving customer experience may seem like a mammoth task. It is…but it is vital to growing your customer base. The internet has made it easy for buyers to become more selective when choosing who they do business with. As business owners, we need to consistently give our customers a reason to trust us. Not only must your customers trust you enough to come back to you, but they must also trust you enough to share their experience with friends, family and others who may be looking for a business like yours.