“We do a lot of one-night stands in lead generation and not enough long-term relationships.” – Michael King

The last few years have been quite an exciting time for data-driven marketers, with the ability to continually refine our audience segmentation and targeting and take advantage of the advanced functionality available in marketing automation platforms. Simply bringing a prospect to your website and herding them towards a static end-point is no longer enough to create a deep relationship. Instead, marketers are moving towards a customer journey model for their marketing that creates a cohesive conversation throughout the sales process, onboarding, renewals and ultimately customer advocacy or referrals. Customer experience is an evolving concept, making it vital for marketers to be able to pivot quickly to enhance brand interactions. While you may recognize the great value that can be gained from creating a highly interactive customer journey, it’s vital that you take the step of building, tweaking and maintaining the content being delivered at each stage. Are you ready to rev up your marketing engine?

Setting Clear Objectives for Your Customer Journey

A traditional sales funnel begins with a broad pipe to bring people in, refine their interest levels and eventually activate them as a customer. What a sales funnel fails to take into account is the holistic journey for customers — their brand engagements don’t (shouldn’t!) end when they make a purchase. Instead, these individuals should be nurtured and loved so they come back as repeat customers and eventually advocates that are willing to refer your goods and services to others. The idea of a sales funnel is familiar to marketing and sales professionals alike: you take in a great number of semi-interested parties and slowly these filter back to the prospects who are willing to make a purchase. Losing people at nearly every stage of the funnel is inevitable, but a small shift in the percentages can make a massive difference for your annual business revenue. This is particularly true of your most dedicated consumers, those individuals that have completed multiple purchases and are raving fans of your brand.

1. Onboarding Should Include Education

There is a great deal of temptation for marketers to share every piece of information about their amazing product on the primary landing page: Resist that urge! Your landing page for advertising and initial onboarding emails should have just enough information to whet the curiosity of your prospect and encourage them to take steps towards deepening the connection. When you share more details, you risk losing their attention or saying something that they’re not quite ready to hear. This is definitely not the spot to call for a hard sell. Instead, work towards creating a mutually-beneficial relationship that will only grow stronger over time.

2. Create a Cohesive Conversation

There are no perfect rules that will help you time your next communications and onboarding and sales process, but you will learn the best cadence by closely analyzing your sales funnel and customer journey (customer experience, or CX) metrics. Your conversion rates and email open rates, as well as unsubscribes, are all clues that will help you understand when, where and how prospects want to learn more about your product and services. What’s vital is that you are creating a cohesive conversation that adds value to your prospect, not just hammering them with a bunch of disconnected messages that attempt to sell.

3. Bring ’em Back for More

Your very best customers deserve all the love, so keep them coming back for more with valuable offers, compelling user stories and helpful education. A recent study shows that customer churn is costing businesses over $125 billion per year, while much of this brand switching could be avoided through care and nurturing — and great customer service. Activating these buyers is easier than trying to convert a new prospect, too: current customers purchase at a rate between 60-70% while you’re only going to entice 5-20% of new customers to make a purchase. 

4. Help Them Share the Love

Staying in touch with your current customer base is valuable on many levels. Not only are you gaining potential repeat business, but you are offering opportunities for your customers to help reel in new prospects and buyers. Creating a repeatable referral process — with or without financial incentives — reminds your customers to share the love that they have for your brand. Referral marketing is widely considered to be the most valuable marketing, creating a wealth of warm leads and rarely costing your business a dime.

It may seem evident, but you should continue to define metrics and test the effectiveness of your messaging for each stage of your customer journey. Even when you feel you’re getting a great return, you never know when you could pick up a few additional percentage points in sales! If you’re struggling with your marketing automation platforms or simply need an extra set of hands for your marketing team, contact the professionals at Apeak Solutions at 603-658-0989 or via email to gregc@apeaksolutions.com. We provide migration and upgrade support for a variety of popular marketing platforms as well as fast access to certified professionals when you need them. Our Apeak Solutions marketing technology specialists excel at becoming a strategic resource for your company, bringing advanced project management skills and an exceptional degree of technical knowledge to each project. 

Illustration courtesy of HubSpot