Tuesday Tip #11: How To Use The Customer Value Journey To Grow Your Small Business

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Plotting out and understanding the Customer Value Journey can lead to big wins for your small business. For today’s Tuesday Tip, I’ll explain what the journey is all about and then provide you with some direction on putting it to work for your business.


First thing’s first. What exactly is the Customer Value Journey? Well, the idea behind it is actually common sense. I love the way our friends at IMPACT put it so I’ll share a quote from their blog:


“Just like it would be highly inappropriate to say hello to new acquaintances by touching their hair, you can’t assault your prospects with heavy sales pitches right off the bat. That’s why you need to make people feel comfortable around you (or your brand) before they’re ready to move to the next stage (in this case, making a purchase.)”


The goal of the value journey is to “build a universal framework for transforming strangers not just into customers, but into rabid buyers and raving super-fans.” (IMPACT)


Sounds great, right? So now let’s dive into the different stages of this journey and how you can be optimizing each one.


1. Aware

This is when a prospect realizes their need for something you can provide them with and discovers, or becomes aware of, your brand. They might have found you by means of a referral, on social media, or an online search. 

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I’m going to illustrate with a real-life example.


When I moved out to the country in 2017, I experienced a bit of a culture shock (that’s putting it very mildly). I had been previously accustomed to driving very short distances to get to the places I needed to go. The mall being one of these places. Fear immediately set in over how this move would impact my wardrobe.


One day, I was hanging out with my sister-in-law (who just so happens to also live in the country) and complimented her on the top she was wearing. I then immediately began to express my concerns over living so far from White House Black Market. It was at this moment that she made me aware of a lovely little company called Stitch Fix


Marketing Ideas For This Phase:

  • According to DigitalMarketer.com, you need freely available content at the top of the funnel (TOFU) that 1. Entertains 2. Educates or 3. Inspires. Curate a collection of little videos, photos or infographics to utilize during the Aware stage.

  • Help make prospects aware of your brand by optimizing your website and running paid campaigns to drive traffic.


2. Engagement

Moving along to Engagement. This is the part of the journey when a prospect starts interacting with your content. Maybe they read a blog post on Fall Fashion that you’ve published. Maybe they visit your Facebook page and watch a how-to video you’ve posted. Either way, you’ve piqued their interest and got them to engage! Nicely played!


Going back to my own story, I immediately checked out Stitch Fix’s website and Facebook page after I got home from my sister-in-law’s house that night. I read through a couple of their recent blog posts on fashion trends and I was intrigued, to say the least. 


Marketing Ideas For This Phase:

  • Take advantage of middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) content to help educate your prospects (quizzes/surveys, case studies, white papers).

  • Set up a Facebook retargeting campaign based on page views on your website.


3. Subscribe

Now you’re getting warmer! During the Subscribe phase, the prospect actually shows a vested interest in your content. They are willing to provide some basic information (i.e. their email address, first name, location) in order to access it.


If a prospect subscribes to your blog or completes a form to download your recently published case study on personal shopping, they’ve entered the Subscribe phase of the value journey. 

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Marketing Idea For This Phase:

  • Create a library of gated content in order to better define exactly which products or services might be of interest to your prospects. In order to access this content, a prospect would be required to supply some basic contact information via a form on a landing page.


4. Convert

In the Convert phase, the prospect is getting even closer to becoming a customer. They’ve made a small investment (in either time or money) to learn more about your product or service. For example, they might have purchased a trial membership or watched a 30-minute webinar that explains the process of subscription-based online shopping. 


In my journey with Stitch Fix, I claimed an offer that saved me the $20 styling fee for trying out the service. 


Marketing Idea For This Phase:

  • Offer a 30-minute webinar that’s related to the products or services you sell.


5. Excite

Put your game face on because things are getting serious! If you provided the prospect with a high-quality offer during the Convert phase, there’s an excellent chance they’re beginning to feel excitement about your brand. To ensure they’ve consumed the content offer and enjoyed their experience, set up a nurturing campaign to check-in with the prospect.


Staying in front of someone who is already excited about your brand is the key to turning them into a customer.


Marketing Ideas For This Phase:

  • Utilize bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) content and offers to help persuade your prospect why they should do business with you. This could be in the form of a free trial, for example.

  • Set up a nurturing email campaign to check in with the prospect to make sure they’ve enjoyed their first experience with your brand.


6. Ascend

I like to think of this stage as the perfect opportunity to cross-sell other relevant products or services you have to offer. You already have an enthusiastic buyer. Be sure to offer the right kind of add-ons so they can get the most value out of doing business with you.  


Marketing Idea For This Phase:

  • Develop a plan for cross-selling other products and services you offer.


7. Advocate

At this stage of the value journey, the happy customer has been talking up your brand. So why not take advantage of this opportunity while their positive experience is still fresh in their mind? Don’t be shy. This is the moment when you ask them for a testimonial! 


Btw ... Stitch Fix didn’t ask me for a testimonial but, being the marketer I am, I gave them a 5-star Facebook review along with an amazing write-up detailing my first Fix. 


Marketing Idea For This Phase:

  • Create an email marketing or social media campaign to acquire glowing testimonials.


8. Promote

Finally! You can kick your feet up and relax! When a customer reaches the Promote stage, they’ll actively promote your brand unsolicited. However, setting up a referral program is a fabulous idea if you don’t already have one. This will allow your happy promoters any easy way to entice their friends and family into checking you out. 


My Stitch Fix story is pure validation of the Promote phase. Since joining, I have recruited five more of my friends and family to the service!


Marketing Idea For This Phase:

Have a referral program in place.


Hope you enjoyed this week's tip! If you need help creating a marketing plan around your specific Customer Value Journey, you know who to call! ;-)


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