Every business owner knows the marketing funnel. In theory, if you create a marketing program, it will lead people through the funnel, generate sales, and grow your business. In practice that’s not what always happens. You need a solid marketing strategy and have to be intentional with your activities to make that happen.
Most business owners never planned to become marketers. They fell into the role when they started their company, so it’s not surprising that many do not know how to lead prospects through the funnel. The key is to meet the prospect and address their questions at each of the 5 stages of customer development: Awareness, Education, Engagement, Conversion and Loyalty. Most business leaders will spend the majority of their marketing budgets on awareness campaigns, but these only lead potential customers to the top of the funnel and help them get to know you. And we all know customers don’t buy from companies they know; they buy from companies they know, like and trust.
Awareness campaigns answer questions about you and your products or services. To move a prospect into the education phase, you also need to let them know how their needs will be met by your product and why your solution is better than others they may have found. This will bring the prospect into the evaluation phase of the journey, where the prospect decides which companies to engage with.
The engagement phase is when the prospect is really listening, and it’s the ideal time to position the value of your services as opposed to the cost, since this is when the prospect is making their final purchase decision. Testimonials, reviews, and your social media presence can help a lot here, but be extra careful to avoid pitching on social media because that will cause more unfollows than closed sales.
When the first three stages of the journey are handled well, converting a prospect into a customer becomes a matter of making it easy for the customer to buy from, and do business with, your company. Delivery of the product or service – and providing stellar customer service – plays a huge role in creating loyalty. If you have provided a great experience for the customer throughout the journey, you will have laid the foundations for loyalty and brand advocacy. Asking for reviews and referrals soon after the delivery helps solidify the experience in the buyer’s mind. Remember, if you don’t ask for referrals and reviews, the answer is always “no.”
Brand Advocacy should be a primary goal for your marketing and customer development strategy. It may sound easy, but it isn’t always. In the end, however, it is worthwhile. Does your strategy address the entire customer journey?
Contact Us if you’re not sure. We will be happy to review your strategy with you!