The Customer Value Journey is an excellent framework for thinking about how to promote your company online that has the potential to completely transform your digital marketing strategy.
Recently, I have been going through DigitalMarketer’s “Digital Marketing Mastery” certification that covers this in-depth. (DigitalMarketer is also the company that developed this framework – I’m just covering what it looks like in this podcast). It reminded me of what a useful framework this is for thinking about marketing, and I wanted to share what the process looks like in this episode.
What is the Customer Value Journey?
There are 8 distinct stages of the Customer Value Journey. The CVJ looks at the buying process from your ideal prospect’s perspective. It helps you build out marketing assets at each major phase they will go through before they make a final purchase.
This will ensure that your marketing is customer-centric and positioned towards answering their questions, demonstrating your value, and ultimately moving them through your sales funnel and into a paying customer or client.
By following the Customer Value Journey, you will have a systematic way to approach digital marketing and will be able to track where the funnel breaks down so they can always know where to be optimizing.
Here is what each phase of the customer value journey looks like.
The Awareness Stage
The first step to the Customer Value Journey is all about getting noticed by your ideal prospects online. This is the stage in which potential customers first become aware of your company and the products and services you provide.
From a digital marketing perspective, this is where you will first be seen online. The most common examples of discovery online are:
- Paid Traffic (Facebook or Google Ads)
- Organic Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.)
- Organic Search (SEO)
The Engagement Stage
Once you’ve caught a prospect’s attention, you want to turn that glance into a stare. To do this, you need to produce great content that is focused on your customer’s pain points and frequently asked questions. It’s also great if your content here can be funny or entertaining, although how much you can go in this direction depends on the industry you are in.
For the engagement phase of the Customer Value Journey, the below types of content work great:
- Blog Posts
- FAQ or Q&A
- Online Groups (ex. Facebook, Clubhouse)
What type of content you produce depends on a lot of different factors. Honestly, it’s best to have a mix of the above types so you can reach different prospects in the medium they prefer.
The Subscribe Stage
This is the most important step to the Customer Value Journey and the one most overlooked by business owners and marketers. If you’ve tried digital marketing before but found little success generating leads, it’s probably because you skipped this step.
The whole key to this framework is to get people to give us their contact information. This will give us the ability to follow up with them via email, later on, to nurture them down the sales funnel, and to continue to deliver great content.
Email is going to be your best bet for following up with contacts. The ability to send messages to contacts directly to their inbox and without worrying about the algorithms of the social media platforms will make it much easier and faster to contact potential customers. Plus, email is far more personal than social media. And, it will allow you to continue building relationships as we have done in the previous steps of the Customer Value Journey.
Now, how do you get potential customers to give up their email addresses so you can contact them?
The key is to offer a super valuable piece of content that is “gated”. Meaning, in order for someone to access it, they need to fill out a form giving you their name, email address, and maybe even their phone number to access it.
What types of content can you offer that will be valuable enough to get people to subscribe? The below list is a helpful starting point.
- Long-form blog posts or industry posts/research (ex. Ultimate Guide)
- Lead Magnets – A downloadable PDF resource around a specific topic prospective customers would be interested in
- Resource Lists
- Industry Research
- Case Studies / Portfolio Work
- Testimonials / Past Customer Interviews
What you choose depends on your industry and what your customers would find most helpful. Whatever format you choose, make sure your gated content offers specific solutions to specific customer problems/pain points and flows naturally with your sales cycle.
The Convert Stage
Once you’ve got someone to subscribe and download your entry-point offer, then you can focus on converting them into your main offer.
You will find that this is much easier to do now that you have provided free value upfront and taken an approach to marketing that is focused on solving your customers’ biggest needs – something most of your competitors likely aren’t.
For example, if you were to create a Lead Magnet as a local New Jersey landscaper titled “The Complete Guide to Keeping Your Lawn Green All Summer Long” it would make sense to include a Call-to-Action (CTA) throughout the guide offering a free lawn care estimate.
The Excite Stage
Once you have converted a prospect and they have begun interacting with your brand, they should feel like a light bulb has gone off in their head and that they have found a solution to their problems (that solution being you and your business, of course).
If a prospect does not feel excited, they likely aren’t going to continue engaging with your company.
How you build excitement depends a lot on your business. Ultimately, you want to make sure you provide a great customer experience, demonstrate competency and authority, and tailor your approach to helping your customers solve their problems.
The Ascend Stage
Once a customer is ready to move forward and wants to start negotiating for your services, you should look to add as much value as possible. This has the benefit of increasing the benefits of working with you, along with increasing your profit margins.
The more value each customer provides to your business, the more you can spend upfront with digital marketing to acquire new customers. This will give you a big advantage over competitors – as the company that can afford to spend the most money acquiring new customers usually wins.
Here, you need to look for opportunities to upsell additional products or services or potentially cross-sell when it makes sense.
For example, if a Construction Contractor in New Jersey were to do a free estimate on a homeowner’s roof, they may notice that the siding could also use replacement and the deck could use a new paint job. Since we know at this point the prospect is interested in a similar project, has money to spend, and is clearly interested in beginning work soon, it would make sense to offer additional services here.
The Advocate Stage
Once someone has had a successful experience with your brand, you don’t want them to keep it to themselves. That does your company no good!
Instead, make it as easy as possible for them to share their positive experience on social media and have them write a review on Google My Business or Yelp. This will help you dramatically, as online reviews carry a lot of weight.
I recommend putting in place a process of collecting all customer feedback to learn more from them so you can always be improving your offerings. Negative feedback can be used for improvement, while positive feedback can be used for reviews online.
The Promote Stage
Finally, the last step here is about putting in place a program where your past customers become promoters of your brand and will sell your product or services for you when they discover someone they know is in the market for them.
Reviews are great, but this really takes things to the next level.
For example, that could mean setting up a simple referral system if you are in the client services industry. You could also look to set up an affiliate or discount program. Again, this will depend a lot on your business. But the key here is to give past customers a viable incentive for promoting your brand. Also, make this as easy as possible for customers to do to increase the chances of them doing it.