From Prospect to Customer: Design a Winning Customer Journey

hand holding a compass

The Oxford Dictionary defines a journey as “an act of travelling from one place to another.”

However, a journey entails much more than simply moving from one place to another.

Often, at the end of the journey, we’ve changed–we’re different people from who we were when we first embarked.

For example, perhaps before leaving on your first solo trip abroad, you recall being a timid, shy teenager.

After an amazing experience involving multiple planes, trains, automobiles, and long-lasting memories, you returned home as a mature, confident young adult.

Just like your own personal journeys, your business prospects must go through the journey of becoming a customer.

Expecting to snap your fingers and have prospects jump from point A to point B and become a customer not only can turn people off, but it also sets you up for failure.

In this post, we’re walking you through the three stages of the customer journey and providing tips to help you analyze and adapt your strategy to be in line with the journey framework.

From there, you’ll be able to optimize your site, content, and overall strategy to achieve success.

Awareness Stage

computer render of a brain with neurons firing

(Source)

Let’s assume that previous to landing on your website, your prospect is unaware of your company and your products/services.

For many businesses, some prospects aren’t even aware that they have a need for associated products or services–and it’s up to you to illuminate these needs.

On the other hand, some prospects recognize that they have a problem and are looking for a solution.

According to Pardot, 72% of buyers will turn to Google to find answers to their questions.

And that’s where you come in.

In the awareness stage, it’s important to utilize lead generation and customer acquisition strategies.

Via the delivery of educational content such as white papers and eBooks, these strategies will help you make an initial connection and demonstrate an understanding of the problem your prospect is facing.

Take a look at your current sales funnel–is the content at the beginning of the funnel primarily educational and does it deliver value in the form of solutions-focused information?

The focus of this content shouldn’t be on your product or brand–instead, center your content on your customer’s pain points.

Educational lead magnets–such as white papers and industry reports–are perfect examples of content that works well in this stage.

Use the following questions to help you develop or revise content for this stage of the customer journey:

  • What are your customers’ goals?
  • What are your customers’ challenges?
  • How do they learn about how to reach these goals or overcome these challenges?
  • What are the downsides if they don’t take steps to make a change?
  • What are some misconceptions customers may have regarding the solution?

These questions and the associated answers will be key in inviting your customer in and developing a positive awareness for your brand.

Consideration Stage

young man thinking

(Source)

At this point, your prospects have surpassed the awareness stage.

They know they have a problem to be solved, and they are aware of various solutions that you and your competitors offer.

Also known as the evaluation stage, in the consideration stage, your prospect will conduct research to determine the pros and cons of each solution offered.

A good content strategy will provide reasons why your products and services are superior to others.

If not, it’s time to make that apparent so that your customer’s decision will be a no-brainer.

Be sure to highlight the potential ROI, savings, life improvements, and other beneficial factors of the solutions you offer.

The type of content that works well in this stage could be case studies, FAQs, a demo video, or a product webinar.

Additionally, think about how you would answer the following questions, and allow it to further inform your strategy…

  • What are the potential pros and cons your prospects will weigh in their minds?
  • How will your prospects likely decide which product/service/solution is right for them?

No matter what, make sure that in this stage, you’re working to build a relationship with your customer and establish trust.

Decision Stage

man at a fork in the road needing to make a decision

(Source)

Ahh, the decision stage.

Everything you’ve done up until this stage has should have primed your prospect to decide to make a purchase and convert into a customer.

Analyze your content–do you currently have content that answers the question “why us?”

As HubSpot puts it, “leads at the bottom of your funnel just need that final nudge and that compelling call-to-action to get them to make a purchase decision. The right offer and content at this stage can have a dramatic impact on lifting your conversions.”

Free trials, live demos, and coupons are examples of offers that will often provide that final nudge to convert the prospect into a buyer.

amazon prime

(Source)

Consumers are becoming more discerning in their purchase decisions–so in this stage, it’s all about lowering the barrier to entry for them to become customers.

Take the time to analyze your company’s current customer journey.

Does it include all three of these stages, and is there content in place to nurture the leads at each stage?

If not, you’ll need to make some changes–and from there, you’ll find that you’re more likely to reach your revenue and sales goals as a company.

You’ll want to use metrics to measure the effectiveness of your content within each stage of your customer journey. Here are four key metrics you’ll need to monitor.

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