Hi there! This is the 2nd post in our 5 part series on the Customer Journey! Our goal is to help you understand how to optimize your customer’s experience from start to finish and help you develop loyal customer relationships. If you missed our introductory post, you can find that right here!
How to sell them on you and your product.
The first post in this series talked about Step One on the Customer Journey – Awareness.
(If you missed it, go get caught up!)
Awareness is the phase where a potential customer realizes that there’s a possible solution to a problem they have and that your company and your product might be able to help.
Congratulations! This customer knows that you exist!
This means that you’re definitely doing something right with your marketing plan. Maybe you’ve done a trade show and set up your social media pages. Maybe you’ve taken some baby steps into digital advertising and gotten your blog going.
You don’t want to lose the momentum you’re building here. This customer knows your name now, but how do you keep them from going to a competitor instead? Or maybe they’re intrigued, but they’re also busy, tired, and distracted.
Your goal is to nudge them to take the next step on their journey.
Customer Journey Step 2: Awareness → Interest
The interest or consideration phase is where a customer starts to think about the possible benefits of your product, and begins to research whether that product can solve a specific problem they’re struggling with.
Let’s imagine a common scenario:
Say your customer sees an ad for your product on Facebook. If you’ve done your homework, you’ve tailored this ad to a very specific audience and designed it to speak directly to your ideal customer – the person who is most likely to buy your product.
A click on this ad might lead the customer to your website or a landing page, which hopefully has been thoughtfully optimized to create a smooth transition into our next phase – Interest.
Potential Pitfall #1: The Hard Sell
Modern customers don’t respond positively to an obvious, pushy sales pitch. Remember, consumers have endless access to information about every product in the world – yours included, but also all of your competitors.
Most customers take their time researching their options before making a purchase.
The goal of the Interest Phase is not to close the sale. The goal is to provide easy, accessible information that makes your company appear to be the best solution to the customer’s problem.
Potential Pitfall #2: Neglecting Your Online Reputation
Research tells us that the vast majority of customers will thoroughly investigate a product online before they buy it. As the customer moves from the Awareness phase to the Interest phase, they will likely be reading your company reviews (on your website, Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc.).
If that idea makes you cringe a little, know that there are positive ways to address even the most negative review and maintain your company’s reputation on these platforms. We have a whole post about managing reviews, but here are some quick tips.
First things first – if you get negative feedback from a customer, don’t panic. It happens to every company and it’s not the end of the world! Take a minute to be honest with yourself and reflect on whether the irate customer has a point. Some customers are unreasonable and you can’t please everyone, but sometimes there really is a problem that you need to address.
Once you’ve taken the time to consider your role in the problem, make sure that you reply to the negative review where the customer left it (i.e. Google, Facebook – wherever). This strategy will let the customer know that you’re paying attention and that you care about their business.
The best-case scenario is that the customer will be impressed with your response and give your company another shot. But even if they don’t, you’ll also be speaking to all the other POTENTIAL customers who are reading these reviews.
When people see that a negative experience was promptly addressed and corrected, this builds confidence and trust in your company.
Potential Pitfall #3: Purchase Paralysis
We’ve all been there, right? You’re interested in a product, but you start researching. Research leads to 🤔
and WOW – way too many options and competing claims. Yikes!
This leads to frustration and eventually, you give up and return to the status quo that you’ve been living with, even though your problem remains unresolved. .
Don’t let your customers get stuck in research mode
The key to avoiding purchase paralysis is to anticipate the questions your customers have and continue to earn their trust. Once they’ve clicked through to your website, here are some ways to do this:
- Offer a free sample or trial of your product
- Invite them to watch a video or demo of your service or product
- Direct them to a site page or blog post that answers FAQs
- Explain the unique benefits of what you’re offering (what makes it better?)
- Make a free resource available (i.e. a guide, an infographic, an e-book)
All of these features can be built into your website design, making the customer experience seamless, friendly and low-pressure.
Values marketing is the key to customer trust
We’ve said it so many times before, but it’s still true: the foundation of successful marketing is a communication of shared values.
The Interest phase of the Customer Journey is an ideal time to talk about you and why your company is important to you.
- Why did you start your company?
- Why is solving the customer’s problem important to you?
- How do your values align with the customer’s?
- How does your personal story make your product/service unique?
Sharing information in a personal, authentic way is the key
Communicating shared values sets you apart from the competition. If the potential customer feels that they understand who you are and that you genuinely care about solving their problems, they are much more likely to move forward to Step 3 …. *drum roll* ….
In our next post in this series, we will talk about how to finally make the sale. Stay tuned!