As marketers, we wish we had the intent of the customer sorted upfront. However, it’s challenging to have it figured given the distractions consumers face on their path to purchase.
Furthermore, the changing dynamics of the market, customer loyalty, and expectations have made it difficult for marketers to plot steps customers go through while engaging with the brand.
Understanding of customer journey timeline to develop customer-brand interaction
No two brands have identical customer journey maps. The steps customers take to engage with brands differs noticeably. As the number of touchpoints to engage with the customers increase, it gets complicated for marketers to design an effective and efficient process to keep them connected with the brand.
At the surface-level customer journey has 3 important phases:
- Awareness (Discovery)
- Consideration (Research)
- Decision (Purchase)
To explain with an example—Imagine yourself as a customer and let’s sift through the process of purchase. Let’s say you’re looking for an upgrade to your laptop with remote working becoming the new normal. You begin by
- Asking around friends and family for their suggestions on the brand, specifications, etc.
- Next, you turn to Google to research the new models, brands, and refer to user reviews.
- You wouldn’t stop at just that but go ahead and look for references and mentions on social media, check out YouTube videos, etc.
- By now you would have shortlisted the products into consideration to just 2-3.
- You might prefer to visit a physical store just to make sure if everything is as per your liking as the investment is comparatively huge.
- Now begins the research for offers, discounts, service, warranty, etc.
- Finally, all said and done you go ahead and make the purchase.
The steps above pretty much explain the complexity involved in terms of engaging with the customer as the touchpoint varies and it often becomes difficult to track the sequence of it. Although every brand begins with the conventional sales approach a clear differentiator is an out-of-the-box experience.
The customer-focused conventional sales approach
Likewise, every marketing agency has to go through 3 steps to stay on the same page as their prospects and convert them to customers. These three steps include Marketing, Attracting, and Delight. The success of your campaign depends on the accuracy and delivery of these stages. This procedure is also called a marketing funnel.
The first step is marketing your products and services; this helps in creating awareness. You have presented yourself to your desired customers. Now, they have to keep you in mind. To ensure that your prospect remembers you when the need arises, create content that blows them away. The more creative content, the easier it gets to identify.
For instance, Apple has marketed itself so well that seeing a bitten apple makes you think about them. You can recognize an apple product just by the logo, anywhere, anytime.
Now that you have informed them, it is time to attract them towards you; this is the consideration phase of the buyer journey, and they are in a constant state of dilemma as to which brand they should choose. Assure them that you would provide quality products that are worth the spend.
And the last step is a delight. It may seem to be the final step, but it is the first step of creating a relationship with your customers – A relation of loyalty. The amount of satisfaction that you successfully give them will bring them back at your doorsteps.
The quality, the life, the benefits of the product, and after services from your side will determine the amount of delight your customer will experience. If happy with your services, they will indulge in the word of mouth publicity and drive more prospects towards you. Not to mention buyers prefer the advice of the closed ones over any advertisement.
How to align visual content at every stage of the buyer journey
During the awareness stage, the need exists. So the prospects are looking out for products that fit well with their needs. So our job here would be to inform them about the “how part” of our offerings. Here are some content ideas for the initial stages.
Social media –
In recent years, the use of social media has multiplied significantly. The number of new social media users in the last 12 months as of 21st July has been 346 million!! Since a significant part of our target audience is moving towards online mediums for information, entertainment, and involvement, we must implement a strong yet static marketing strategy for this medium.
Social media is the best source to interact and inform your prospects about your services most innovatively and creatively. With the latest features of Instagram reels, Facebook stories, WhatsApp status updates, and many more, it has become convenient to reach the desired audience. Not to mention the remarkable tools that Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram offers.
Blogs and articles:
Target-based blogs have always been a hit. Over the years, blogs and articles have been a one-stop destination to acquire knowledge about the new products, trends, and also solving queries.
Detailed research on the expectations and doubts of your prospects before writing a blog will help you create an outstanding and valuable piece. And since it is the first stage for both buyers and marketers, your blogs will speak for you, what you write in them will be defining the forthcoming processes. Hence, take care to make it a masterpiece that attracts them towards you.
Multiple studies have stated that visualizations are responsible for 3x traction compared to other forms of advertising. Moreover, the educational videos that are the videos that explain the working in detail explaining the various pros and cons of the products or services have a higher chance of success. Instruct them the step by step methods on how to use it; this will help them understand it better and also attract at the same time.
Online seminars or webinars have gained paramount importance over recent years. And now, with the pandemic, it has become the intrinsic source of addressing the prospects. Webinars, both live and filmed, put forth immense possibilities and opportunities. It is the best way to gain the attention of the anticipated customers who need both audio and video-based content. Recently, webinars have been gaining popularity for storytelling.
Everyone out there is introducing themselves differently and innovatively. So why not us?
Now, let us move forward to the consideration stage:
The magic word is STAND OUT from both your direct and indirect competitors. You have to make them stay and consider you. The question here is what type of content you can use to target your prospects. You can use the comparison strategy here, demonstrating your benefits and pros compared to the competition.
Free samples are one of the most convenient ways to put yourself on the list of desirables. When you provide the testers, they get a first-hand experience at your product or service. Ensuring that your samples align well with your overall product will lead to a happy customer and a loyal one too.
There have been various cases of fraud where companies create a free sample that is different from the actual product. The customer might buy the product but is disappointed; this, however, results in tainted goodwill and depleting credibility. You need to ensure that you avoid such behaviors. Add value, and they will help you create profits!
Free samples can be your shade cards, a mini version of the actual product, a free tool, a free monthly subscription, etc.
Case studies could be portrayed as a detailed testimonial. Due to its benefits, it provides ease of usage at both the consideration and decision stage. It helps to convey to the prospects that the product and services have worked successfully for various clients, and they have attained complete satisfaction. Thus, it might work for them too. We all know that a genuine reference and review works better than 100 promotional posts. Case studies can help you create significant leads.
A detailed and quantitative case study will help to appeal to the consumer’s need for information and logical reasoning.
In the consideration stage, the buyers are confused. A respectful comparison with your competitor while you post the pros and cons of the products and services help both the buyers and sellers to evaluate the product. It further helps the buyer to arrive at a decision and for sellers to rectify the shortcomings and come out as a better version of themselves.
Various sites help to derive a proper evaluation of products and also compares them with the top competitors.
For example trust radius.com, g2.com, etc.
Now that you have advocated for yourself and enlightened them with all the necessary details. It is time for your prospects to arrive at a decision. They might have heard your story, but they also attended the buzz around your competition, so choosing one is still a considerable challenge. Your strategy here would determine whether your leads would start a customer relationship with you or choose someone else.
So, what content can you use here to make sure you top the list?
Try it on!
For Instance: Netflix provides a month free trial before subscription.
Offline retailers have been undertaking this technique for years. The concept is to allow the customers to have a free trial, understand the product in detail, consider how I make them feel before purchasing.
For instance: People have been so used to trying dresses on before buying them that during the initial stages of the e-commerce industry, the prominent issue was the absence of personal touch. It still is.
So free trial or demo of your products and service can significantly help to convert them. Let them feel, enjoy, and have their way through your offerings. If satisfied, they might buy it.
Discounts and coupons:
Buy one get one free – offer valid till 26th September!
You just got a FOMO here, Right? The fear of missing out on the spectacular offer is what drives the customers towards buying the product as soon as they feel it is offering a great deal. Discounts and coupons have been a significant hit when it comes to influencing the buying decisions of the anticipated consumers. The need for a quality product at reasonable prices is always active, and seeing the discounted rates or coupon offers makes them believe that this particular product could turn out to be a value for money!
Expert advice or consultant advice can significantly aid in clearing out the dilemmas of the prospects and giving them direction. Often, even after they have tested the services, the anticipated customers are a little skeptical about the product or might find it challenging to understand the working; this is what expert advice and guidance comes. A representative of your company will give first-hand advice and simplify the queries personally! Thus adding a personal touch and ensuring a closed deal.
On a concluding note –
The buyer is the king of the market, and it is pivotal that we pay heed to its wants and needs. They crave attention and belonging, and as a marketer, it is your prime job to make them feel comfortable and homely around you. They would perceive you in the way you will showcase yourself at each step of the marketing funnel. A careful and well-thought strategy at each stage will generate outstanding results.
Aligning the goals of your organization with that of the prospects will also influence their decisions in your favor. And remember to be creative and innovative.
We are not out here to merely sell. We are here to add value!