Customer Journey & Marketing Funnel
by Owner Steph Mazanowski
"Now is the time to invest in some longer-term branding campaigns. It is time to introduce those who are unaware of your brand to your products and services and start drawing them into the possibility of working with you in the future. It is time to invest in some opportunities to educate those who are at least familiar with your brand, but who are not quite ready to buy yet."
Many businesses are buried in their current workload, booked a year out on their services, and short staffed. There is no possible way to take on more jobs unless they hire more employees, and finding staff is nearly impossible. Solution? Stop marketing, hope the phones stop ringing and just try to get through this crazy busy time so you can get caught up, right? WRONG!
People don’t just wake up and decide to buy a new car for no reason. For this reason, you should never stop marketing your business no matter how busy you are. If you stop advertising right now, you are putting your future business in jeopardy. The best way to explain this is to ensure you understand the Customer Journey and The Marketing Funnel.
The customer journey is each step a lead takes to become a paying customer. It is a map of the route it takes a prospect from their first encounter of your brand to the time they make a purchase. It is also important to know, this is not always linear as prospects may return to previous touchpoints in their journey while making a buying decision. The average buyer needs 8-12 touchpoints before making a purchase. Think about how your average lead interacts with you. How many of them see your product or service once and immediately buy from you? This is why ‘one and done’ marketing tactics are a waste of money by the way.
How are they discovering your business?
How are they researching your brand?
What sets you apart from your competition that entices them to choose you?
The Marketing Funnel is the process of sales leads first finding out about your brand, to learning more about your products and services, to ultimately buying your product or service, and how businesses should market appropriately to leads at different stages of the buying cycle. You should not limit your marketing strategy to just one portion of the funnel. There are numerous people out there who want your product or service, but do not know your brand exists yet.
The top of the funnel is the awareness stage. Here, the potential customer knows your business exists, but they have not interacted with you much or sought out additional information. It is important to draw awareness of the right people by targeting specific markets. Think about your ideal client and where they hang out. Get your brand discovered through events, tradeshows, targeted publications, webinars, social media, blog posts, infographics. This is where you want to try to collect information and pull the prospects into a lead management system for nurturing. (Sign up for newsletters, drive traffic to website, etc)
The middle of the funnel is all about interest, research and consideration. Your prospects are learning more about the company and products. Relationships are being developed. They are interested but not yet ready to buy. Think about what questions the interested buyers might be asking. Answer those questions in the form of content. Be the expert. Target higher intent audiences and work towards turning awareness into consideration and action. Provide them with targeted content such as product information, free trials, case studies, expert articles, comparison reviews, email newsletters, classes, and ensure they have access to reading reviews and positive ratings.
The bottom of the funnel is the evaluation and purchase stage. Customers have done their research and they are ready to make a purchase. Types of marketing include product demonstrations and coupons or other calls to action. This is the stage that many businesses are consumed with right now, and if you notice, this is only a small piece of the overall bigger picture. If you stop all marketing efforts right now, you are risking an empty funnel as soon as you are done with your current clients.
Now is the time to invest in some longer-term branding campaigns. It is time to introduce those who are unaware of your brand to your products and services and start drawing them into the possibility of working with you in the future. It is time to invest in some opportunities to educate those who are at least familiar with your brand, but who are not quite ready to buy yet.
There is also a “beyond the bottom” of the funnel which includes customer retention, loyalty and advocacy. The funnel does not end with the purchase. It is important to nurture the customers so that they regularly buy from you and actively recommend you to other potential buyers. The obvious goal is to get them to buy again. Make customer service a priority, generate positive reviews, invest in client thank yous and rewards and obtain success stories from happy clients.
I am here to rescue you from having an empty funnel. I help businesses think long-term when you may not be able to see past your current workload. If you are lost in the trenches of just getting through your days and cannot fathom trying to spread the word about your business, we need to talk about a long-term branding campaign that starts with those who may not even know about you yet to ensure they become your customer a year or two or three from now when you are all caught up.