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The customer journey –Purchase

With regards to the Purchase step of the customer journey, you need to make it as easy as possible for consumers to guide themselves through the buying process. 

At this point, your customer is aware of your brand, has engaged with your campaign and you have their trust and you managed to convert them.

The purchase step has to be just a logical next step. If you have mastered the previous steps, the customer will not hesitate to take the next one. However, you still need to make sure you know your customer so you are actually able to make it this easy.

When the decision is made, and the purchase goes ahead, your customer was likely well targeted and is exactly a kind of a customer you will be having in the future again. If you are able to collect any additional information about the customer whether you use a customer survey or anything similar, you will be able to identify a target your customer better.

While 93% of B2B marketers have adopted content-driven marketing, only 23% are focusing on buyer personas. Your ideal customer persona is based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

Be sure to gather your audience’s demographic data and online browsing behavior. Eventually, the content you create should target at least one of your buyer personas, that you have based on your data.

Your experience also needs to be enjoyable, don’t overdo it with surveys and additional requests, so your customer does not feel pushed.

Kerry Munro, VP of E-commerce at Home Depot Canada, focuses on experience:

The process of observing your purchase phase and gathering data may actually show where the strengths and weaknesses of your sales funnel are. At this point, you see if your previous steps are good enough and if you have put enough effort in.

What to bear in mind

The key parts of the sales process that can make the process of buying your solution easy: Is your developers portal nice and organized? is your technical documentation easy to read and does it fully explains the technolgocial process? do you have a casestudies which describes the process of integration? How about your contracts do they have 12 pages or 2 pages and just 2 annexes? Does your invoice comes with QR code?

You need to really look for the details, because even small detail may get customers frustrated and prolong or even stop the purchase.

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The customer journey –Reputation and Conversion

If you manage you make your customer aware and engaged, the next step is to convert the customer. To convert the customer lead you need to provide them proof that your product or solution actually works. You may have a great advertisement or social media marketing strategy. However, with no further proof, the customer lead gets cold since you have made them aware, engaged but have not gained their trust.

The lead-to-customer conversion usually becomes a top priority of every organization. HubSpot’s State of Inbound report claims, that about 74% of marketing and sales teams focus most of their marketing efforts on converting leads into customers.

Your value proposition has to be in the front and center. Whether you have a landing page or blog, the first thing your lead sees should be exactly what matches their needs. The need includes the above-mentioned proof of the product or solution’s previous success.

Be sure to ask any of your previous customers for a review or a testimonial that supports their experience with your product and present it directly on your landing page. Nothing will demonstrate the value of your product/service that the people who are already using it.

With that being said, you need to make sure to make leaving a review or testimonial as easy and seamless as possible. Depending on the kind of your product, you may also present some data and metrics that give readers a sense of scarcity and/or popularity, like social media engagement. It could be in the format of a quote however, the most powerful version of a testimonial is a video recording of your clients talking about their experience working with you and the result.

To achieve the most, you may also test your landing pages, make several versions and see which works the best.

Generally, this concept of testimonials is called Social Proof. Social proof puts you in place of authority and builds trust.

Besides client testimonials, it’s good to show some awards, certifications, mentions in newspapers etc.

A crucial part in building relationships and trust, especially in long sales cycles, plays content production. Not only writing about how your product is great, but for example commenting on current industry situation, news, creating industry reports, sharing your company insights based on your internal data, and finally events like panel discussions with well-known brands is a game-changer. If a major well-trusted brand goes and have a panel discussion or interview with you that means something.

By organizing online events and seminars you are also making the lead to take actions. You may also call this concept of making your lead to take a miro-commitment.

Therefore after you have managed to gain your customer’s trust, you should consider converting them by some sort of micro-commitment like some service for a symbolic price as you are providing them with prooves of your product success by stating reviews and testimonials.

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The customer journey – Search and Engagement

There is a difference between a glance and a stare and there is a difference between awareness and engagement.

In the previous blog post, we covered how to make the customer aware of your brand and the principles of posting consistently. However, to reach the conversion, you need to get your customer engaged.

In this stage, your target audience is now aware that you exists. Now you want to educate them about what problem they may have and what are the results.

Engagement with your customer can be described as the process of interacting with customers. This process helps you to strengthen your relationship with them and to push your connection to the next level. You may even relate this to interpersonal relationships and see some similarities here.

Gallup research shows that a fully-engaged customer represents 23% more revenue. It is not simple to come up with an engagement strategy that would work for every company and in every industry. But sincere focus on empathy, clarity and simplicity helps every time.

If you consider your engagement level on social media, many companies make basic mistakes of delivering plain messages that don’t communicate their care about customers at all. If you want your customer to feel engaged you need to put in more effort.

This means that the post has to appear as if it was written for the customer specifically. In a sense, the customer needs to feel like if it was a personal message that they just received. And when you receive a personal message that touches you, you respond.

It also not uncommon to ask questions but asking questions in a post on LinkedIn for example may seem a bit too demanding and post that are craving attention are not a long-term solution.

You need to find a way to post consistently, with the care for your customer needs with regards to your industry and make it feel like this post was made just for them.

As you may have seen, in 2014 Coca-Cola launched a very original marketing campaign that delivered huge engagement. #ShareACoke removed the company’s logo on bottles and replaced it with 250 of the most common names in the U.S. The campaign was very successful because the customer felt as if the product was delivered right to them.

Why do you think Starbucks puts your name on your cup?

This is exactly the way you should now look at your content. Is it personal enough? Does it meet standards of empathy, clarity and simplicity? The more consistently you are posting on your social media platforms the more data you will have on customer engagement and the more you will know what works for you and what does not. If some posts don’t work for you, don’t worry. Take a deeper look at them and analyze what went wrong.

Some practical tips and tricks

In the previous article, the main goal was to find what are the interests, problems, and goals of your target audience. You did it by researching their profile activity or research what other big media platforms are posting about or simply ask on a sales meeting.

Now, use all you have found and write 3 titles that you can write about. For example, if your target audience’s interest is Payments, the problem they are solving is people using competitors’ apps because they have faster speed. The goal is to find out solution, you can write about:

  • Providers comparison
  • Target audience companies comparison and problem description
  • New innovation in the market relate to the problem
  • Post an industry report related to the issue describing the problem and solution more in depts
  • Write a summary of that report

Write these 3-4 posts. Only one post will not work as the chance of your target audience reading is very low and sending the article to the DM is a little bit too intrusive and can be counterproductive.

Also, you want to mention in the posts for example their competitors. This way you will give them the opportunity to realize that if their direct/indirect competitors are having this problem maybe they have this problem too. By this, you will make the potential clients interested in problems, curious and keen to learn more. Also you will push them into the next stage which is Reputation and Conversation, in which they will want to learn about your solution and compare your solution with other solutions on the market.

We will talk about what to do to convert the target audience into inbound meetings.

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The customer journey -Interest and Awareness

The process of the customer journey is one of the key aspects that businesses have focused on recently. Let’s dive even deeper into the first point of the journey and that is how to raise interest and awareness of the customer.

Less than 10% of the consumers stay in the funnel and go from ‘Awareness’ to ‘Action’. Whether you are advertising on LinkedIn or other social media it is important to find out what makes your customer “click”.

LinkedIn is a great source of making your customer aware of your company and product. Especially so, if you are in the B2B business model. However, only 2% of all LinkedIn users produce content.

As a brand, you need to actively engage in quality interactions with your potential or current customers. This means you need to consistently produce high-quality content on your profile, that also has an organic reach into your target audience.

Consistency in producing content a “posts” is crucial. Linkedin tends to promote profiles that are highly active and post 1+ posts every day.

“A consumer’s mental menu does not have a list with hundreds of options because it is mentally exhausting to make a decision with too many considerations. In fact, the list contains only about three to five brands that have been subconsciously curated through personal encounters, experiences and preferences. Brands who are able to be present in their consumers’ lives through social media, will likely be on their menu,” says Ryan Lim, business director of Blugrapes

The goal of raising awareness is therefore also to enter the subconscious level of your customer’s mind.

Many companies are mostly just announcing milestones or major changes on their profiles. Or worse, they don’t even do that. This is not how you reach the mentioned goal.

To make your customers aware of your company you need to put effort into it and this does not necessarily just mean, that you pay for the promotion of a post of some kind and that’s it. Actually, just paying for promotion without having high-quality content is a terrible idea.

Effort in content production means you learn from your mistakes, you are analyzing both your successes and failures and you don’t give up when things are not working out for you, just as in real life.

And then your brand is able to develop and establish content marketing strategies that are more effective as they constantly evolve to meet the changing needs of your consumers and also make your brand reach the subconscious level of your customer at the same time.

So what are the key factors to catch the attention of your target audience?

1 – post consistently

Ideally, you want to post once a day. I have seen guys posting 5 times a day. It was working they got viral super fast, but their goal wasn’t to sell. Their goal was to be viral. Too many posts that are not relevant or very low value or quality will get the reader annoyed and will most probably unfollow you. However, minimally you should post at least 3 times a week. If you post less than that, the chance of your target audience reading your posts is super low therefore, the effort will be wasted.

2 – share news that is relevant to your audience, not about you or your company. A lot of people are posting something that is very interesting to them and hoping the target audience will like it and then they are surprised if nobody is engaging with the posts, no likes, and very little views. Think about who are your connections, what are the positions, companies they are in, and what problems, goals, and interests these people in such companies have. If you are sharing everyday something about real estate and your connections are working in banks you will not have success. The best topics are industry news, reports, analyses, or reviews.

Are you interested in making your content more engageable? Subscribe to our newsletter and don’t miss the 3rd part of our series.

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The customer journey

Modern customer behavior is a key thing to understand. Let’s break it down into 5 step customer and get inside your customer’s mindset.

Customer journey is a series of touchpoints that the buyer has towards your product. If you want to improve your customer experience, it is obvious that first, you need to understand, what is the customer even experiencing.

  1. Interest and Awareness

In this stage, the potential customer becomes aware that you exist. If your product or service is advertised, this is most likely the way of how the customer has become aware of you.

You may be advertising on social media or google ads but the awareness also maybe just organic. However, it is important to define in what particular way you want your customer to become aware of you, because then you are able to work with it from a strategic perspective.

LinkedIn is currently the best way for B2B companies to organically grow and LinkedIn’s is gaining popularity and the algorithm favors people who produce content. Only 2% of all LinkedIn users produce content. I got 4000 views with promoted company post for $50. On the same post published on my profile, I got 6000 views.

2. Search and Engagement

You managed to make your customer aware, but do they go on with other actions? As there is a difference between a glance and a stare, there is a difference between just awareness and engagement. Here you need to produce content for your services or product that is engageable, whether it is a text, video, or an ad.

This is the key to making your marketing campaigns progressively effective since you manage to engage with the customer and not just aware of you when they were searching for a solution provider.

3. Reputation and Conversion

No matter what is your product, if you make your customer aware and engaged, they will most likely be going to look up some reviews or experiences with it. It is very important to let some of the previous users of your product express their experience with your product, whether in a review or testimonial.

After you gain your customer’s trust, be sure to convert them by some sort of micro-commitment like some service for a symbolic price or make them invest their time by attending a webinar or educational video of some sort.

4. Purchase

At that point, your customer is aware of your brand, has engaged with your campaign, you have their trust and you managed to convert them. It is important then, to make the purchase phase as seamless as possible. It has to be just another logical step for the customer, where they don’t feel even a glimpse of resistance.

With support from the solution provider, the customer understands success criteria and KPIs.

Customer journey

5. Advocacy

Advocacy is the phase where the customer is eager to give you a testimonial and story of their experience. The best way to achieve this is clearly to have such a great product, where customers will give you a testimonial without asking for it.

However, do not be afraid of asking for a testimonial. It is one of the most crucial components of growing your customer base as highlighted in step 3. Be sure to maintain your relationship with your customer after the purchase phase, this way the advocate may turn to a promoter, which creates referrals that bring more awareness to you and this completes the loop.

What type of content should you produce in each stage? Subscribe to our newsletter and don’t miss 2nd part of this series.