Creating customer journeys: Why they are important for your business
Customer journey for business success

What exactly is a customer journey?

The customer journey is all about how people go from finding out about your business to buying your products or paying for your services. Most importantly though, is them coming back to buy more, and even moreso, advertising and advocating on your behalf.

Yes, making use of digital marketing is a huge advantage and can quicken your audience reach, but don’t forget the power of word-of-mouth as a pinnacle marketing tool!

By using a customer journey map (like the one shown below), businesses are able to better plan how to reach their customers at each step. By figuring out and improving your business’ customer journey, and then taking time to fine-tune it all, you can improve the success rate of your business exponentially. 

Here’s an example:

Imagine someone (Let’s call them Melissa) discovers your new skincare brand on social media. That’s the awareness stage of her customer journey. Intrigued by positive reviews, she visits your brand’s website to explore your products (interest stage). After comparing options and reading more reviews, Melissa’s desire increases, and she decides to purchase a facial cleanser through your online store (action stage).

After her purchase, your business chooses to send her a personalised thank-you email and offers a discount on her next purchase. She is so delighted with buying this first product from your business, that she becomes a repeat customer. Melissa starts to follow your brand on social media, shares your posts digitally and because they are so impressed with your skincare product, tells her friend’s about how great your product is (advocacy).

In this above example, the customer journey begins with awareness, moves through interest, consideration and decision-making. This then extends to post-purchase engagement, and ideally results in brand loyalty. Understanding this journey helps businesses tailor marketing efforts, enhance customer experience, and foster long-term relationships.

A breakdown of the above:

Awareness

The awareness stage in a customer journey is where an individual first discovers your brand or product. It’s the moment when potential customers become aware that your brand, products and offerings of your business exist. This stage is crucial for making a positive first impression, creating brand recognition, and capturing the attention of your target audience. 

Businesses use various marketing channels, such as social media, advertising, and content, to generate awareness and spark interest in potential customers. The goal is to lay the foundation for a relationship by introducing the brand and its values to a wider audience.

Interest

The interest stage is literally when things get interesting.

After discovering your brand, individuals may want to know more. This includes finding out more about your product or services, exploring features, and deciding if your offerings are something they would be interested in. By sharing this advertising and sharing this information correctly, interest in your offering can be generated.

Interest is the step just before individuals make up their minds, so it’s important that you keep their interest levels high and make your brand stand out above others.

Desire

After sparking interest, the stage that follows is Desire. This is the stage where your potential customers decide that they want, or really need your product or service. A decent amount of thought needs to be put into answering why you believe that your business is better, more irresistible, and ultimately, more desirable than your competitors’. 

Action

The action stage is the “Let’s do this!” moment. After desire, it’s time for your customer to make a decision and take action.This can be in the form of hitting the buy button, signing up, or becoming a fan of what it is you do, sell or represent. All of the work up until here makes it worth this end-state – a real deal.

Advocacy

Advocacy is the stage where your customers start doing your marketing job for you. Because of the great experience they have had with your company, they spread word to their  friends, family and whoever will listen on the internet.

This is a fantastic way that your business is able to take advantage of these reviews, social media posts and shared brand loyalty. By adding this to your digital marketing strategy, you are able to reach a larger audience and with that, begin the customer journey cycle with new individuals.

Knowing how customers go through the buying process is really important for all small businesses. Having a clear map of the customer journey helps to improve how things are done. If done correctly, you can spot where things might be a bit tricky for customers and make those parts better. This improves the whole customer experience and increases the chances that customers are likely to come back and continue to advocate on your behalf.

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