The Customer Value Journey – Everything You Need To Know
Here's the thing...
You should understand and implement the Customer Value Journey to grow your small business. The Customer Value Journey (CVJ) is a sales system that enables you to convert potential prospects into loyal customers easily. Even if you already know about the Customer Value Journey, you should still read it to learn how to implement an effective CVJ strategy.
In this in-depth article, we will look into the details of the CVJ and how you can implement it effectively. In the end, you should learn and be able to master all you need to know when it comes to using the CVJ execution plan to grow your business.
What Exactly is the Customer Value Journey?
When prospects come in contact with your business, they start a sales journey that may or may not end up in a purchase. This is because when left to travel the journey alone, your prospects may lose their way, forget your brand, and possibly get snagged by a competitor.
The Customer Value Journey is an eight-step process that guides your customers through the sales journey, encouraging them to remain and continue until the end. It is a step-by-step roadmap that ensures your prospects and customers go through all the sales process, from finding your brand to developing a relationship with your business, and eventually becoming long-term customers.
Below are the eight steps of the CVJ you need, as a small business owner, to convert prospects and keep the loyalty of existing customers.
Step #1: Create Awareness
The first and probably the most important step of the CVJ is getting in the public eye. Prospective customers have to know your business exists before they can think of patronizing you. In today’s digital world, there are a lot of mediums that can give your small the publicity it needs.
From social media posts and advertisements to blog posts and events, you can get the word out about your brand very easily. You just need to share content or setup ads that should grab potential customers’ attention, engage and entertain them, and stick to their minds.
Examples of Ways To Generate Awareness
Below is a list of some marketing strategies that can attract potential customers to your brand’s products or services:
- A sports product store sponsoring pop-up ads on a sports news website about the most reliable workout shoes to get the attention of fitness enthusiasts.
- A make-up brand publishing an Instagram ad on the latest and most fascinating makeup kits to attract makeup lovers.
Here’s an example of a Facebook ad that generates awareness for a home security company:
Step #2: Engage Your Customers
After gaining your prospects’ attention, the next step you should take is to engage them fully. By engaging your prospects, we mean getting them emotionally committed and involved with your business. This step starts immediately after you have their attention, and should continue all through their involvement with your brand.
Customer engagement involves constant communication between you and your prospects and customers through various platforms. You can use your social media platforms, blog, emails, customer support, or any other means of communication. The goal is to make sure you stay in touch, regularly.
Examples of Ways to Engage Customers
Content and community are the bedrocks of engagement. Here are a few examples you can take inspiration from:
- A broker sending out an email about the latest trends in the financial market to his email lists of forex traders.
- A fashion brand sending out invites to fashion designers to join a Facebook group where other designers are discussing the latest clothes, styles, and trends.
Let's look at an example of engagement from Modcloth, an etailer selling women’s clothing. This is an entertaining and educational piece of content for one of Modcloth’s most lucrative customer segments—people attending weddings:
Step #3: Get Them To Subscribe
After attraction and engagement, the next step should be to get them to commit. Trust must have been built from the engagement phase, so what you need now is permission to constantly be in touch with them via email. However, to pull this off, you need to offer something specific and very irresistible in exchange for their email address.
What you’re offering must be enticing enough for them to want to fill out a form to access it. It could be a bonus, a gift, an E-book, samples of your product, online coaching, or anything valuable. There may be a little resistance on some of your prospects parts to release their email addresses. But, if what you are offering is attractive enough and solves some of their problems, it's a no brainer.
Examples of Subscribers Generating Strategies
Like we've discussed, getting your customers to subscribe should involve getting them to give out their emails.
Below are some strategies you can take inspiration from.
- A social media ad campaign targeted at students, offering to give free eBooks on how to study effectively and remember details accurately.
- An offer to webinar participants to receive more tips via email, after a session on how to setup converting Facebook ads.
For example, this whitepaper offer from Salesforce generates leads at the Subscription stage of the Customer Journey:
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Step #4: Convert Them To Customers
When the subscription step works, the next step should be to convert your subscribers into long- term customers. After offering those free e-books, products, samples, and all those things that solve some of their problems, it is normal that your customers would want to get more involved with your brand. So, what you do is offer them an entry point. Your entry point offer should be a low-risk, high- value offer that allows them to get a taste of your products or services without having to pay too much. Making huge profits is not the aim of this phase. All you want is to convert them from subscribers and followers to customers smoothly.
Examples of Marketing That Converts Prospects
After purchasing a service from you, they are more likely to order more of your products and services. There are several ways to offer your customers entry points deals. Some examples are:
- A top hair extensions brand offering hairdressers promo discounts on their latest products.
- An online teacher offering additional free e-books to the first 20 email subscribers to purchase a particular course.
Here’s an example of an offer from GoDaddy that does a great job of acquiring new customers with extremely low-priced domain registration services:
Step #5: Build Excitement
Everyone gets very excited about buying a new product or paying for a new service. The adrenaline that comes from having something new sticks with a customer for a while and becomes an experience. In this CVJ step, you should build on that excitement to give value that is worth your customer’s time and money, and if possible, even exceed their expectations.
To do this, you can offer incentives and bonuses to make them happier about their purchase.
Examples of Marketing That Creates Excitement
Extending your customers excitement will convince them that they made the right choice patronizing your business. Below are some examples;
- An aspiring make-up artist enrolls in a 1-month make-up tutorial and gets a make-up kit at the end of the tutorials.
- A mother who purchases clothes for her 5-year-old son on E-bay gets free shipping.
It could be as simple as an email onboarding campaign, like this one from the productivity app, Evernote:
Step #6: Get Them to Buy Again
After building excitement, the next step for you should be to turn them into repeat buyers. At this point, you’ve offered prospects entry-point deals, as well as bonuses and incentives in a bid to build their excitement and make them happy. Thus, the next step should be to get them to purchase again and again, and then rake in the profits.
Doing this basically involves upselling your products or services; that is offering bigger and better (and more profitable) offers than your entry offer.
Examples of Strategies to Get Them Buying Again
A press release writer offers to distribute a brand’s press release to top news websites for an extra fee.
- A start-up firm pays for a yearly hosting subscription of $500 for their website, instead of a monthly cost of $60.
- A website developer offers to develop a mobile application for a startup business for an extra fee.
Here’s an example of how Southwest Airlines creates ascension by making an offer that will improve your experience and increase the value of your transaction:
Step #7: Ask For Referrals and Reviews
All satisfied customers should want to share their experience transacting with your business, if they are encouraged to do so. Thus, after getting your customer to patronize you, and they are satisfied with your service, the next stage involves asking them for positive feedbacks that you can display on your website or social media platforms.
Although the general notion is that this stage does not involve, or is not part of marketing. The truth is, there are strategies and methods you can adopt, to get your customers to voluntarily leave you a review and share your business with their friends.
Examples of Ways To Get Feedback
Besides convincing other prospects to patronize your business, customers who leave feedback are likely to become loyal customers. Below are some examples of how to get customer feedback.
- A clothing and accessory store including a feedback request card in their delivery package asking customers to leave a review of the product on their website.
- A business launches a new app and asks customers who use the app to rate the application on PlayStore or AppStore from 1-5.
Designer Shoe Warehouse knows the value of the Advocate stage in the Customer Journey. This email is designed to activate advocates by asking for a review
Step #8: Make Them Promoters
You already encouraged your customers to leave positive reviews, feedback, and share your business with their friends; still, those are passive promotions. In this final stage, you want them to actively market your goods, products or services in exchange for a commission, a bonus, or a tip.This step is very similar to affiliate marketing, where your customers recommend your products and services on their social media platforms, blogs, or websites after having tried and enjoyed using them. Ensure that you offer them something valuable in return for every new customer they bring in.
Examples of Marketing That Generates Promoters
This step is essential for every small business to grow, as it creates a team of salespeople or marketers for your business. Below are some ways you can get this done:
- A health and fitness blogger receives a commission every time one of her followers purchases a fitness product via her affiliate link
- A hosting company offers website designers a 10% commission on every new customer or business that uses their services through the designer.Start Your Customer Value Journey NowThe fastest and most reliable way to grow a business is to pay attention to your prospects and customers’ journey with your business.
One of the keys to the success of Dropbox was their referral program, which gave its users a strong incentive to promote the service to others:
The Customer Value Journey enables you to utilize effective plans, strategies, and methods to guide your prospective customers every step of the way during the sales process. If You implement the above Customer Value Journey steps now, you should never run out of loyal customers who will patronize your business on a constant basis.
Co-founder of Humble Fox Media. He has helped many local businesses with their digital marketing needs for more than 4 years. In his off time, you can find him tasting some local beers around Gig Harbor, WA. Or searching for music from the 90’s at a vinyl record shop near you.