Customer Life Journey Introduction
Having a Customer Life Journey in place with all of the right elements will build your business. It will strengthen the relationships between you and those that connect with you. In this podcast article I will help you understand the 8 stages to a solid Customer Life Journey.
Over the last few weeks I've been sharing about branding and how important that is to your business. Making sure that the visual brand becomes, in a sense, iconic and a strong way to recognize your business is crucial. Then we went into messaging and consistency. Importance of your messaging is across the board, where your messages go, how often they go, and the “attitude” written or recorded. Consistency in your messaging will help build your audience.
Communicating with potential customers and clients, as well as your existing base while being consistent keeps them looking to you for support, info, tips, because they feel you have a relationship with them. Visuals added to your messaging are a big part of building that brand. Are they cartoony all the time? Are they direct pictures looking more realistic? Once you have chosen that image style/look, staying with it keeps the expected look together and is part of your consistency.
Let’s talk about your client/customer life journey. Business leaders refer to the time clients and customers are involved with a company in several different ways. Customer life journey is one of them. Customer life cycle, customer journey, and the funnel flow are others. A variety of visual representations also represent paths of direct marketing options your clients/customers travel as part of your marketing plan.
Some paths are linear. Some are visually attractive. In some cases, boxes with arrows lead prospects in specific directions and some of these are circular. I’ll share my personal preferences I prefer to call this relationship a customer journey because journey is something we can all relate to. I will refer to a customer journey for these trainings.
The journey of life is ongoing. Our experiences are part of this journey. Sometimes we are rewarded, and other times life gives us stuff we're not so happy about, but it's all a part of a journey along a path. I like to think of that game, Chutes and Ladders for a visual.
If you remember the board game (or you can look it up), the chutes took you downward to lower levels along the board, and ladders would take you up to the next level. The goal is to make it up to the top. So, for me, it's a customer journey that resembles a Chutes and Ladders board game concept.
There are eight basic stages that fulfill a progression through your business for your ideal clients and customers. Below I have defined each of the stages.
Stage One: Awareness
Begin by bringing awareness to your company and your brand. This stage is referred to as collecting leads or building your list.
Stage Two: Engagement
This is where you want to talk to your people. You want to engage them in conversation through the written word. This might be on a social media platform, an email, a text message, or a video spot where you're asking questions or giving your prospect information about you and your business meant to engage their thoughts.
Stage Three: Subscribing
Your goal at this point is to encourage them to subscribe; to want to be connected with you and want to know more from you. Subscribing is simply the act of your prospect saying yes, I want information from you on a regular basis. They're usually opting in for a free gift, or a free event or download. Sometimes it’s a general opt-in. They share an email address and any other contact information you request in your form. Delivering on Your Offer: Once a prospective client or customer subscribes, you deliver on the offer or promise in exchange for them giving you, their details.
Stage Four: Become a Customer
Now that a prospect is subscribed, you should set up follow-up messages, and then give them a paid offer or an entry point to becoming a paying client. Usually this is a low point offer to see if they will exchange money for information or products from you. When this happens, you have successfully converted a lead into a customer! Congrats! Don’t be discouraged if this does not happen within your first offer email or “suggestion” email. Remember, emails get buried – wording might not click right off and so on, but find a way to stay connected with your new lead by sending content emails and then rotating them with offer emails, so you don’t look like all you care about is getting their money.
Stage Five: Maintaining relationships and keeping them excited about you
Once someone makes a purchase, a lot of people end their customer’s journey right there and forget about these paying customers. Please do not make this mistake!
Keep your paying clients and your customers excited: excited about you, excited about what you're doing, excited about them and their progress within your community.
Be excited about whatever people purchase from you. Continue the conversation and engagement. Share how to use your product or service and maybe offer some secret tips for it. You know, things like that. You want to excite them and support them – this will lead to their having faith in you and your products AND will lead to the next purchase because you've already converted them into a loyal customer. You want to lead them through the customer journey.
Stage Six: Ascension – Repeat Customers
Take them to the next level of engagement with you.
At times this might mean upgrading their membership or up-selling or introducing the next higher priced product. This process is no different than grocery stores, retail outlets or even Starbucks does. Does this sound a bit familiar… you'd like your cup of coffee? Great! Would you like a Danish to go with that?
They're up-selling you; they're taking you into something else the next level.
Many product/program selling companies do this. It's called Ascension. You're helping them ascend to the next level as a customer and then you continue working with them. You're repeating the journey process with new offers and excitement cycles. This process allows you to build rapport and encourages your clients/customers to continue to invest into your programs/products and services and then they become advocates.
Stage Seven: Testimonials/Rave Reviews
There might be 20 people who teach the exact same programs or offer similar products, but you are you! Everyone offers their own take and others won’t talk like you, teach like you, nurture like you. You want them to believe you are the top dog in your arena of expertise. You want your customers to love you.
If you're being true to who you are, it is creating that world where you can be real and authentic all of the time. That becomes what people will connect with. They'll become raving advocates of and for you. At this point you should be asking for comments, testimonials, reviews and letting them know how much you appreciate them.
Stage Eight: Create an Affiliate Program
At the eighth stage, promote your business. Maybe you have an affiliate program, maybe you don't, but encourage clients to spread the word. You know, like, Hey, I ate at such and such restaurant last night it was awesome. We love to share good experiences and good products with others – get your customers to be your spotlight by treating them right!
So as you can see, there are multiple steps within the customer life journey. Be very, very clear about each step and what happens as your leads become customers.
Everybody wants to matter. In my future podcasts I'm going to go through and break down each of the eight steps I discussed and offer tips to make sure you're including them. I hope you enjoyed this podcast!
If you have any questions or need any feedback on what you've been doing, I'm happy to speak with you. Give me a call or contact me. All the information is on this page.
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