It’s very common for business owners to set sales objectives right away. Understandable since the business should profit in order to be sustainable. But with a marketing hat, expecting customers to buy from you right away when you’re still starting out is unrealistic.
Each customer goes thru a phase, or more commonly known as the AIDA model (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action).
A more modern version now has five steps: Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Conversion and Retention. All customers go through each step, no exemption! Some go through it slowly, while some go through it in minutes. As an entrepreneur, you have to know how to journey with your customer in each phase.
1. Awareness stage
While sales is not to be expected yet, this is still a very important phase that businesses miss out on. The Awareness stage includes the first touch point of the customer to your product. Thus, all advertising efforts for this stage should be attractive, attention-grabbing, and relevant. It’s important to note that sale promotions are NOT needed here. Your objective is to just grab the customer’s attention, and make your brand stick to them until they decide they’re ready to buy.
Once you know customers are aware of you, you have to start deepening your relationship with them. This is where good quality content comes in—social media, blogs, reviews, interactive website, etc. All content the audience sees about your brand should give them a positive impression. Selling is not yet necessary here, but giving them good content is crucial.
I treat this as an answer to the customer’s question, “Anything else I should know about?” This is where social validation should be present—testimonials, visual proof that the product works, sales promotions or discounts, that extra email push to offer something. They’re one click away to being your customer!
Finally, customer is ready to buy. They’re at your store (online or physical), ready to add to their cart. Any last-minute detail you want to share to make sure they check out? A free shipping offers? A freebie? A money-back guarantee? Or up-sell a product they might be interested in too. Many brands go straight to the Conversion phase, without talking to the customer in the Awareness and Consideration phases. This is why some advertising campaigns fail.
The last step in the buyer’s journey, but like the awareness stage, this stage is also overlooked. It’s easier to retain a customer than to acquire new ones, because new ones would have to go through the last four stages again. But an already existing customer has a relationship with your brand and is more likely to buy again. This is why it’s important to invest in a retention campaign as well. It is as equally important as investing on the Awareness campaign. Retention campaigns are usually loyalty points, reward cards, exclusive access to events, promos, etc. This is to keep the customer loyal to you and not consider shifting to your competitor.
So where are you in your buyers’ journey? Are you talking to them properly, according to the phase they are in?