By | Craig
There are three main stages of a customer journey: before, during and after. Before you’ve sold them something, while you’re selling them something and after you’ve sold them something. All three are equally important and each requires building a relationship and gaining trust in order to move on to the next step in the process. That’s where marketing comes in. Before is where you determine your target market, messaging and delivery. During is when you acquire leads and subsequently make the sale to turn them into customers. And after is the ongoing relationship you maintain with that customer.
Understanding your target market is the first step to gaining trust with your intended clients. By taking the time to discover who will benefit from your product or service and gaining insight into who they are and why they need what you are offering, you are giving yourself the opportunity to communicate with them. Your customers will get to know your brand and develop an understanding of who you are. How can you expect your customers to trust you, if they have no idea who you are or what you stand for? Targeting a larger, less specific market may provide you more sales in the short run but getting to know your customer will result in much better returns over the long term.
Having the right market and message will only get you so far. You also need to determine which distribution channels are going to most effectively reach your target audience and have the greatest impact for your brand. Using the appropriate media can show your potential customers that you have something in common. If your intended demographic is young adults, your marketing budget is going to be better spent focusing on social media and digital campaigns rather than newspapers and print. Leads are great, quality leads are even better.
Positioning your organization as a thought leader through the creation of valuable content such as blogs, white papers or even something as seemingly simple as social media posts can make all the difference to your customer base. People want to know they are spending their hard-earned dollars on a product or service that is going to provide them with a solution to a problem. Utilizing content to address common problems and how your organization can fix them provide potential customers with the assurance that you are an expert and have the ability to make their lives easier.
Lead generation is only one piece of the puzzle. Once you’ve found the leads, they must be nurtured. Bombarding potential customers with email after email isn’t going to build the level of trust required to make a sale. People want to receive information that is relevant to them and the challenges they are facing. They want solutions to their problems not general sales jargon about your offerings. In a day and age where information is quite literally at your fingertips, customers want to feel understood and they want to believe that you have experienced their pain and successfully come up with a solution to eliminate that pain.
Despite what some people may think, the customer journey doesn’t end with the sale. Regardless of the product or service, subscription or one off, it is essential to ensure your customers are satisfied. You want to leave your customers with positive feelings about your brand. What you choose to do after you’ve finalized a transaction will determine the future relationship with that client and whether they become repeat customers or refer their friends, family or coworkers to you or your competitors. Finding new customers and building that relationship all over again is much more difficult, not to mention expensive, than selling to customers who already know and trust you.
Maintaining contact with current customers may not always lead to additional sales or customer referrals immediately, but there are other benefits to these relationships. They are an opportunity to obtain feedback and improve your offering. Keeping in touch with existing clients is generally a relatively small investment and can provide invaluable insight that can drive the future of your business.
Just like any relationship, that of the customer and product or service provider requires trust to be successful. Understanding who your customers are and what they need, utilizing your knowledge and expertise to prove that you can solve their problem and taking the time to show them gratitude or offer ongoing support are simple steps to ensuring a positive relationship with your customers and driving sales.