In all your digital marketing efforts, what are you trying to achieve? You want engagement, clicks, sales. By understanding the Customer Value Journey (CVJ), you will be able achieve all of these things and ensure your customers are not only interested in your business, but become die-hard brand advocates.
Let’s face it, making a sale is only the beginning. If you don’t look past that point, you’re not only going to miss out on the opportunity to increase your revenue, you are also neglecting the opportunity to increase loyalty in your brand.
In this blog, discover how to use the Customer Value Journey to devise a strategy for your business. A strategy that converts your audience into loyal customers, who will keep returning and help to build the reputation of your brand.
So, what is the Customer Value Journey?
The Customer Value Journey
Making a sale is a win, for sure, but you can’t stop there. You want to extract as much value as possible from your customer – you want to turn them into a repeat buyer.
To get the most value possible out of as customer, you want them to continue purchasing your products, continue to explore your other services and spread the word about how great you are.
The Customer Value Journey represents a step-by-step process to achieving exactly that.
Made up of 8 different stages to bring your target audience from merely being aware of your brand to becoming strong advocates; the steps of the Customer Value Journey will set your brand up for success.
The idea behind the Customer Value Journey is to take your customer beyond that one-time purchase.
In this eight-step process, you’ll guide your ideal customer through a journey based around your brand and build a solid relationship with them to increase your brand’s loyalty.
To get a visual representation of this concept, take a look at this map:
So, let’s go through the elements of the Customer Value Journey in more depth:
Step 1: Awareness – Introduce Yourself
The Customer Value Journey starts with awareness, because that’s how you make the first point of contact. You need to make your target audience aware of your product or service.
There are different forms or levels of awareness. By understanding these different levels, and depending on the level your audience is at, you can guide them accordingly.
The four levels are:
- Not aware that they need your products or services,
- Aware of the problem but unable to find a solution,
- Aware they need a solution to their problem,
- Searching for the product that will fix their problem.
However, no matter what level your audience is at in terms of awareness, you will need to market to them in some way. That could be through social media, blog posts, word-of-mouth or events, to name a just a few.
Through these channels, you need to get your brand in front of your customer to make them aware of your product or service or, better still, show them that they need your product or service. You do this by making them aware of a problem in their lives they may not have realised they had.
In order to be effective at this stage, you need to understand what channels your customers are the most active on. If you’re targeting a largely younger demographic, social media may be a good platform. Something like Instagram is effective for an industry like design or travel.
Once you know where your audience engages, you can start providing content that targets each level of awareness. For example, for those who are aware they have a problem, but are unable to find a solution, you need to show them that your product is the perfect solution to this very problem.
Step 2: Engage – Get Them Interested
Once you’ve made your target audience aware of your product or service, you want them to engage with your brand. This stage of the Customer Value Journey is about turning a click into a browse.
To do this, your content at this stage needs to be educational or entertaining. But, the angle of the content will depend on the level of awareness where you first made an impression upon your customer.
Where they are not aware at all about your products or services, you want something that will make them stop in their tracks. For example, if you’re an Italian restaurant, you might want to engage your target audience with a quirky fact like the insane amount of pasta variations you have available.
Either that, or you want to make your prospective customer aware of a problem they might not be aware of.
On the other hand, where your audience is already searching for a product to fix their problem, you want to think more about how you are going to stand out from your competitors. This kind of customer is going to want to know who is the best of the best. Satisfaction ratings and reviews are very good examples of providing this information.
An audience that is aware of their problem, or are aware that they need a solution to their problem require careful attention. Where they are aware of their problem, you need to focus your ads around the solution that your product or service can provide. Similarly, where they are aware of the solution, you need to take that further and show exactly how your product or service is going to provide that solution.
By understanding the different levels of engagement required at each awareness stage, you will be able to closely target your audience so that they will immediately receptive to your product or service.
Remember, the key is to get them interested in learning more about your brand.
Step 3: Subscribe – Keep Them Wanting More
Once your prospective customer wants to learn more about your brand, that’s when you can think about getting them to subscribe.
Unfortunately, with engagement, that doesn’t mean that your potential customer is going to hand over their money. They like what they see. But, it’s up to you to take this to the next level by getting them to subscribe to whatever it might be that you provide. Only then will you be able to tell them exactly what you are about and push them to conversion.
This part of the customer value journey is all about getting the contact details of your potential customer.
Unfortunately, people are not always very willing to hand over their contact details. So, the best way to get this valuable information is to offer your customer a freebie in return for their contact details. Something like an eBook, or if you sell skincare products, a sample skincare kit. Essentially, something that your target customer is going to want.
These freebies are called lead magnets. They’re named that way because they provide you with a lead, that you can then eventually convert.
All you need is your customer to fill out a form in exchange for the freebie.
Step 4: Convert – There is Commitment in the Air
Once your target customer subscribes, you now have a lead! With this lead, you can focus on converting them. At this stage, we are referring to conversion in the widest sense. It’s not limited to a sale, in fact, it doesn’t even have to have anything to do with money.
The conversion here refers to a small commitment from the customer to your brand, it could be simply their time. For instance, they could attend a webinar or take you up on a free consultation. These are both examples of conversions, you determine what constitutes one.
Of course, the most desirable conversion is a sale. When that happens, you’ve got the deepest form of commitment.
Step 5: Excitement – Reward Them for their Commitment
The important thing to remember about the Customer Value Journey is that you can’t stop building the relationship with your target audience. It’s always exciting to make a purchase, but even more exciting is when you get rewarded for buying. So, you want to build on that excitement by giving your customer a memorable experience.
You could do this by offering your customer a quick start guide or a bonus offer for the next time they purchase.
Never let your customer think that they have finished engaging with your business.
You want them to keep advancing on their journey with your brand. Make them feel good about their purchase by providing a sneaky goodie or, if they’ve given up their time to interact with your brand, ask them about their experience afterwards.
Keep them on the journey.
Step 6: Ascend – Up, Up and Away
At this stage, you want to retain your customer, you want them to come back for more. Although they have been pushed to conversion, that doesn’t mean they will stay. You need to make an effort to make their stay worthwhile.
The thing about offers during this stage is, they need to be geared towards profits. You want your customers to come back again and again.
Mind you, they don’t need to be overly complicated. It could simply be showing the customer other products that you have on offer. For instance, as a make-up provider, you could look at the products your customer has chosen and then recommend other ‘top picks’ for them.
You don’t necessarily have to only sell your products at this stage, you can also promote any affiliate deals you may have or package deal to offer. If you’re a mortgage broker, you could refer your customers to a financial planner, with whom you have an affiliate relationship.
Step 7: Advocate – They Won’t Want to Leave
So, you’ve got yourself a customer that has converted but not only that, they’ve returned and bought more. They are now ready to be an advocate for your brand, because if you’ve followed every lesson correctly, they’ve had a good customer experience. That’s right, they like your brand and they’re here to stay. But. You have to continue guiding them through the customer value journey.
A great show of advocacy is in a review or testimonial.
If your die-hard fan can share a success story about how your product helped him or her, that is going to give your brand a great boost. And will be highly influential in spreading the word to other potential customers.
Step 8: Promote – They’re Going to Refer You
This is the final stage and the most influential of the Customer Value Journey. Unlike an advocate, as a promoter, your customer becomes a certified partner or official spokesperson for your brand.
An example is a referral program, where your customer actively promotes your brand, providing recommendations to others because they truly believe in your business.
If you can get your customer to this stage, you have truly mastered the Customer Value Journey and have an incredible brand ambassador working for you.
This is the most powerful point along the Customer Value Journey. The more customers you can guide through to this stage, the more noise you will be see generated about your brand. Because at the end of the day, people trust people, and having a customer of yours become a promoter is a great boost in trust for your brand.
So, those are the 8 steps of the Customer Value Journey.
They can be used for any business, in any industry – and it all starts with creating awareness.
The key to this journey lies in carefully nurturing your audience member until they go from a prospective customer to a certified brand ambassador.
Throughout the steps of the Customer Value Journey, you’ve provided your ideal customer the reason to believe in your brand, you have given them the opportunity to try interacting with your brand, and now they have become your fans.
It’s not a complicated concept, but is one that requires careful planning and strategy. It’s a steady journey, meaning you need real focus across all eight steps to maximize your customer engagement.
After all, every Customer Value Journey starts with creating awareness and what better way than through popular advertising platforms like Facebook and Google!
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