While people in business are familiar with the idea of the customer journey, when it comes down to content creation, the sale-focused call-to-action is the most commonly taken. While selling products is a crucial goal for every business, it is important to pay attention to the steps leading to the purchase, as well as to the steps following it.
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Customers journey starts with the Awareness stage. At this stage, the customer becomes familiar with the brand or product. Note that this product might not be your product but a similar product by a competitor. The stage is followed by the Consideration stage where the customer realizes a need that must be met by the product and actively starts thinking whether to buy the product or not. This stage is finally followed by the Purchase stage where the consumer makes the purchase, after which follow the Retention stage where the customer uses the product and builds a relationship around it, and Advocacy stage where the customer spreads the word – whether good or bad – to people in other stages of their journey.
While advertising online with a clear call-to-action for a purchase might sound like the most beneficial way of doing marketing, keeping the customer journey in mind, it is often not the best way to approach the sales process.
Different content for different stages of the sales process
In the Awareness stage, spread the message of the existence of your product. Try to reach a large audience to map out the people continuing their journey. Use traditional media such as television, print, or radio, opt for influencer collaboration, or use less expensive and more data-providing digital adverts. On social media, don’t focus on selling or getting clicks to your online store – those will follow later – but look for engagement and reach. Make sure the word of mouth spreads.
For people who continue to the Consideration stage, content such as downloadable e-books, webinars, and blogs work well. Offer more information and make sure they get all the information on why to choose your product over other products. Remember that they may not have arrived because of your Awareness stage campaigning but because someone else’s products have caught their attention. Search engine optimize all texts and pages to make sure your brand and the benefits provided by you are what they will find when doing their research.
For customers on their purchase stage, it is finally time to sell. At this stage, the customer may physically arrive at your store and walk up to the sales person; enter your online store and scroll through a specific category, even adding things in the card; download a digital catalogue; ask for a quote; or download a demo version of an app or software. Make sure your sales team is awake and ready to sell; that the purchase process is made easy and the customer can do it by their preferred method; and that you don’t lose the people who are almost making the purchase but need a tad more convincing to choose you and not the other provider.
The journey continues after a purchase
Even if most companies want customers to stay loyal to their brand and keep using their products, the provided content often ends at the purchase stage. To make sure the newly achieved customer is not lost, it is important to make sure the last two steps of the customer journey are also taken care of.
At the Retention stage customers have a chance of becoming a part of the community. They are looking at manuals and FAQs; joining loyalty programs; subscribing to newsletters; and following the brand on social media if they haven’t already done so; and leaving reviews or even sending their own content to be used on brand’s social media. This is the perfect time to make sure the customer wants to become a part of the tribe of your brand; a part of your brand family who will keep purchasing your products. It is the perfect stage to use for increasing brand loyalty. Make people want to belong.
At the Advocacy stage, the customer will spread the word of mouth. They will use the traditional, spoken word of mouth, but also digital channels, such as the company page reviews, blogs, vlogs, and social media, as well as more traditional channels such as articles written for media. Make sure you have reached out for the people in Retention stage to right to possible wrongs done and ensure the feedback stays mainly positive to make sure you get the benefit out of the word spread. Consider using influencers; share the reviews with photos on the website and social media of your company; and make sure to react to all the feedback that goes around.