What is a customer’s journey?
What is the customer’s journey?
To learn who you are and why your product is worth trying, a customer should first receive some critical information about you. It is not given – your look and design can tell a lot about the brand but unlikely will lead to a purchasing decision. This is where marketers came up with the term “a customer’s journey” – to create a way for clients to reach the right solution for their problem.
A customer’s journey: the definition
A customer’s journey is like the path you provide for your client. In many respects, it resembles the road that is full of new advantages and opportunities to take.
When a person or hero undertakes some journey, it has a purpose. Most likely to solve some problems. This is precisely how a customer’s journey work – people would look to solve the problem they face.
A customer enters a buying journey at a precise moment. As a brand, your job is to make the beginning worth continuing. Suffice it to say that when people research information to find a product or service they might need is the beginning of a potential buying journey.
From collecting information about a brand and its products to buying it, a customer could leave many pages behind before actually deciding that something is right.
So, the customer’s journey is the process during which a customer interacts with the brand. The brand’s goal is to take the customer to the buying decision.
For a very long time, a customer’s journey consisted of five stages: awareness, familiarity, examination, purchase, and, finally, loyalty. It is pretty much the same now, but the amount of information is in abundance. That is why it is much harder to build the same path and win a customer in the same sequence. Besides, a number of competitors for the same audience are always growing. So, a customer not necessarily would follow the exact pattern of the journey but can go through it in a rather chaotic way. It is, however, does not prevent you from designing a strict model for a customer’s journey.
One of the reasons why the customer’s journey changed is quite obvious. There are many social media that once in a little while change how brands and the audience interacts. Besides giants, there are some smaller, but also powerful new social media.
Loyalty, nowadays, isn’t the last step to take. When the customer reaches this stage and ready to tell about your product to someone else, it doesn’t mean loyalty for a long time. It turns out that loyalty has to be preserved somehow. That’s why, as a brand, you should praise and encourage customer’s loyalty. There are many ways to do that – to give an award for those who have been staying with you for long, to offer lower costs or exclusive deals.
Five stages of a customer’s journey
The first stage is building awareness. Probably, the hardest one, since you need to get a customer’s attention. Besides, your customer must somehow cross the information about the brand. There is no intention to buy something; information is the only thing needed at this point. Your job here is to provide data that will speak for you.
The best way to establish awareness is via social media. It includes posting videos, interviews, features of your product – anything that the audience might find useful in order to know you better. When a potential customer becomes aware of who you are, the next stage of the journey is coming.
Familiarity is trickier because here, you need to convince the audience that it is worthy of continuing interaction with the brand. To promote your product at this point might not be a good idea. Much better would be to show how many options a customer has, just to build trust. To provide the audience with a body of knowledge that could make your relationship deeper.
An examination is a next stage. At this point, the customer has trust in you; your product is something that is worthy of attention. Here it is vital to make a customer sure that your brand is better than your competitors. Let people talk about you – make testimonials, quote your existing clients. Show how other people find your product helpful.
Your customer is examining now how you can help to solve the problem. It involves a lot of how-to questions. So, to provide them with a “how-to” video is the right tone. Now you have to answer many “how” instead of “why”- you have to show.
This where one of the critical stages of the journey is happening – the client wants to make an informed decision.
Purchase. When a customer is ready to make a purchase, you need to provide support for this decision. Don’t let them turn away to some other brand – guide through these few last steps in order to allow the client to understand that your product is capable of solving customer’s problems.
Loyalty. Once a client made a purchase, you can get one of the things: either client will disappear – because the problem is solved, or will become your loyal customer for a while. Naturally, you need it to be the last thing. There are many ways of encouraging customer’s loyalty. The first thing is rewarding them for some actions. To delight clients that find your product as an important one, you need to start from the very beginning – building a relationship that is not based on the urge to sell.
How to increase customer loyalty?
Even without the context of a customer’s journey, loyalty is what every brand is hoping to receive from clients. At this point, you have to know how to keep the customers and make them feel comfortable with your brand.
Let’s try to approach the brand’s behavior from a customer’s perspective. Obviously, if you are only promoting a product, a few will be able to notice that you care about the customers. But. If you have customer service, you will be able to show how valuable these people to you – in the sense of community that supports the brand in its evolution. A high level of customer service is a necessity if you are looking for loyalty. Helpful and efficient staff – that is ready to answer questions quickly is your first thing to ensure. Make sure you can provide customers with a quick response to anything related to your product.
A reward system is one of the cornerstones for every client-oriented business. Set up reasonable rewards for even the smallest signs of loyalty, and it will make your interactions with customers better. Loyalty programs work pretty much as a manifestation of your value as a client – people feel that they are treated fairly. Also, this is a way to show your gratitude and express appreciation.
Some studies show that 70% of customers will support a brand that runs a loyalty program.
Don’t forget to improve the customer experience once in a while. The qualities you should be aiming to improve is the simplicity of the services and how fast clients can get what they need. The better these things will be, you will have more reasons to expect loyalty from your clients.
Five stages of a customer’s journey now are a cycle
As we said earlier in this article, five stages rarely become a strict path for the client. People move through different stages, missing one or another, sometimes reaching the purchasing part quicker than one would think. It doesn’t mean though that as a brand, you have to wait for such luck. It only indicates that the path isn’t really a path due to the enormous changes that happened to the marketing area during the last years.
Now it would not be a mistake to assume that a customer’s journey is not equipped with the “finish.” It is a repeating cycle that flows from one stage to another, without particular order, even though the order is essential as a structure. The customer’s journey is sequential but not dependent on a representation of time anymore. Thus, stages could be mixed.
Today your targeted audience could be anywhere and elsewhere at the same time. It means that a customer’s journey – or a cycle – will be in non-stop movement.
The customer needs help on each stage – a hand that will guide. A 2d animated video is a perfect tool for this aim. So, what type of content to use for the customer’s journey experience?
What type of video content is the best for the customer’s journey to implement?
To ensure the customer’s journey through your content, you should thoroughly look for the type of video that suits it perfectly.
First and foremost, we have to define what kind of brand strategy providing the best customer’s journey. For such a goal, you don’t have to promote your product. Promotional content isn’t good enough for this – it’s too narrow and straightforward.
Educational content seems to the most appropriate form of taking a customer’s hand and walk him through each stage of the buying journey. Once your client has a problem to solve – with a product or particular services – he would look for it video that can explain and educate. Educational video content is what your customer needs at this point. In the video, you can show and explain how to solve some problems with your product, why this problem appears, etc. Promotional content, in this case, would simply be useless.
Educational content is more likely to be shared on social media, which can bring you even more customers.
Another type of content you need for the customer’s journey is an explainer video. In many ways, it is similar to the educational video. In the buying journey, explainer video would occupy a middle zone of it. At this stage, people have to know how your product works and what it is about. If you can convince the audience about the usefulness of this product, you will make them sure that your brand is worthy of their attention.
Explainer video more than any other marketing content relies on a narrative structure to provide the audience with a story. Storytelling makes it works.
Educational content works impeccably with explainer videos. They are similar but in a way where one completes another without repeating the same things. Customers will be directed by the information received in the first one, by the creation of a narrative that resonates with their need in the explainer video. There is an internal logic in such a sequence.
So, educational and explainer videos worked – they make your customers interested and convinced in the usefulness of your product. Now, the final stage of the buying journey is coming. Here you have a wider choice – you can offer demo videos to show your advantages as a brand and to introduce the customer to the features of your brand. Demo video could be such a conceptual framework to the last stage of a buyer’s journey.
Content is essential not only to build and present your brand identity but also to make your customers understand the gist of your products.
If you wonder how long these videos should be, we recommend drawing a line which you won’t cross. The best length considering the average amount of time people ready to spend watching marketing videos is under two minutes.
Overview and key thoughts
Unlike it sounds, a customer’s journey top prior not a purchase; it is loyalty. At the very end of this path, the brand’s aim is to receive another loyal member of the community. In many ways, what you need to do in the course of the customer’s journey is to convince people that you care about them not only through how your product is designed to solve their problems but for their presence as your followers. Through the customer path, you represent your brand culture and identity – your values and how you treat customers.