It is vital to bring your customer journey to life if you are going to inspire, educate and inform and drive sales conversions from your marketing efforts.

Your customer journey is the step by step process you map out for your customers’ experience to ensure they go in a suitable and pre-planned direction through all of your communications. The aim is to encourage them to the point of conversion, where they turn from prospective customer into a real one who commits their time, money and energy to you.

From this point onward, we are into the retention phase, keeping them happy, engaged and inspired for the rest of their lifetime with you. Drip feeding relevant and appropriate content, in all its forms, throughout the length of the customer journey, is essential to make this all a reality.

The other element which is very important to think about and plan is your choice of marketing channels. These might include email, social networks, third party forums and platforms, and of course offline channels such as direct marketing, events, promotions and more. The trick is to figure out how you will weave each channel into a cohesive and integrated journey for your customer. Having standalone channels is neither sensible for your commitment of your resources or for the confusion it will cause in your customers’ minds as they struggle to know what do and where to go next.

So first things first… let’s begin with the micro-moments… the most essential points in the customers’ journey where they are most engaged logically and emotionally. We might call these ‘passion points’ because they are essential if the customer is going to pass further along the journey. There is a passionate interest, intrigue and set of requirements from the customers’ perspective at these passion points to you had better figure out how best to serve them. What content is required at each point and which channel would be best to deliver the expected experience?

We can also introduce the idea of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at these passion points because by definition they are THE key points in the journey where you must perform or lose the customer to a competitor journey.

As you think about your choice of channels, both in these passion points and in the supporting tools you need to move the customer to the next, it can be helpful to humanise the channels. Let’s take Twitter as an example. Give Twitter a job description. Think of it as a member of your team. What are you going to ask it to do this month and next? Give it targets. Set reasonable expectations of it and set SMART goals. Ensure that Twitter comes along to your monthly review meeting and brings performance data with it. How did it perform and because you have humanised it, how was it communicated and supported other channels (Facebook, website, campaigns, etc… all of which you have humanised too)?

This humanising of your marketing channels, really treating them like an extended team, can bring your customer journey to life because they start to feed from and become reliant on the performance of each other: True integration and team work.

It might be appropriate for you to think about re-marketing at many steps in the journey and this can help customers become more aware of the value that you are offering to them and give them more incentive to rejoin the journey. Customer optimisation like this can really help drive improvements to your sales conversions.

As you humanise your digital marketing channels, you can also think about other individuals or companies with whom you could partner to add even more value to your customers’ journey. This becomes a real win-win scenario if you partner with companies who have a common interest in your target customer personas, because again you are evidencing your intention to integrate your marketing.

These are some of the most powerful ways you can increase the focus and energy in your customer journey planning. Let me know how it goes and if you have any other ideas and best practice you would like to share….

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