Turn prospects into buyers with customer journey mapping

How do you get those prospects to turn into customers? That is the million-dollar question all small business owners want to know the answer to. Today I’m going to teach you a customer journey mapping framework that will help you do just that in your business.

Traditional marketing advice will tell you to create a sales funnel – an idea that suggests you start with a large number of leads at the top of the funnel and work them through your funnel, losing some along the way, until a few pop out the bottom as customers. That, I can tell you with confidence, is a model that just doesn’t work in our current age.

Nobody travels a straight line from Point A (not knowing who you are) to Point B (buying your product or service). It’s more of a squiggly line, that jumps off the page all the time and comes back on where you least expect it. Nowadays, we have to understand the problem our ideal client is trying to solve and put our business in the path of their journey (not our funnel).

The other problem with funnels is that they tend to stop when someone buys and turns into a customer. This completely ignores the fact that the absolute best source of leads are referrals from your happy customers.

Instead of a funnel, you need a Marketing Hourglass, which focuses on seven key stages your prospects and customers will enter at various points in their customer journey: Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat and Refer. By using the marketing hourglass framework, you create valuable information and experiences at each of these stages of the customer journey allowing prospects to get to know you and customers to love and refer you.

Getting a Baseline

The first step in creating your marketing hourglass is to understand how your business comes in contact with prospects and customers now.

Some you will know about and have some control over and some you won’t. The important thing is to document them all and what you are currently doing to engage with prospects and customers at these touchpoints.

Then you have to dig deep and REALLY understand your customer’s problems. The way they think about them. We all like to think that our products and services are what people are buying, but they’re not. People are buying a solution to a problem, sometimes a problem they didn’t know they had, sometimes a problem we didn’t know we could solve.

To get to this problem you can talk to them, look at the reviews they leave you, or hire someone like us to interview them. Whichever method you choose, you need to know the questions that prospects are asking themselves before they begin the search that could lead them to you.

Building Your Marketing Hourglass

Once you’ve got a good idea of how your customers interact with you now, what they’re looking for, and how they’re looking for it, you’re ready to build your marketing hourglass. This means taking each of seven stages and mapping out how your audience might engage with you and making sure you have content, or processes, or experiences for each (there’s a worksheet you can download to help with this).

Know – This is before they know you exist. Referrals are key here, also networking, PR, website articles that score well with Google.

Like – Once they know you, they need to get to like you. Here things like blog posts, social media updates, your community involvement, maybe some ebooks they can download.

Trust – To move them to trust they need to see reviews, referrals, testimonials, associations you may have with other credible organizations.

Try – Before they buy from you, they need to try you. This could be a free consultation, a phone call, a seminar, how-to ebooks.

Buy – Think about your onboarding or orientation process. How can you make it a great experience, how can you surprise and delight them?

Repeat – Make sure they understand the value they got from you. Make them feel important. Upsell them on additional products and services that will add more value.

Refer – Get this right and everything gets easier. You have to make sure you are referral worthy. Focus on your delivery and really add value. Then you need to put programs in place to create brand champions and make it easy for your happy customers to tell others about you and refer your business.

Once you have your marketing hourglass in place, you’ll be amazed, but you won’t be finished. You need to constantly monitor how different elements are performing and how your customers are evolving. Make sure you have the right triggers in place to convert them at each stage and in each channel that you are engaging with them in.

Download this free Marketing Hourglass worksheet if you’d like to give it try yourself.

To help you take stock of where you are now, try our free Marketing Check-up.

Thanks for reading and I really hope this helps you find a way to better engage with your prospects and customers along their journey. If you want to discuss how to most effectively use this tool in your business you can book a free consultation or even leave a comment here.

11 Key Elements of a Small Business Website

There are a LOT of small business websites out there that are built for entirely the wrong purpose. Is yours one of them?

92% of consumers will visit a business’ website for the first time for reasons other than making a purchase. I would say that 92% of small businesses website are built for people ready to make a purchase. See the disconnect? Your website needs to be built for all those people who aren’t ready to make a purchase because they will get there if you sets them on the right path.

Your website is the first step in the journey so make it one worth taking. The website is the hub for 99% of marketing today.

For that reason, websites have to start with strategy. They have to be built to attract and engage your ideal customer. Design has to be balanced with function and driven by strategy. To get there, you really should start with a strategy that defines your ideal client and your core difference that I’ve written about in another blog post.

Once you have that in place, there are 11 key elements every small business website should have in place. At the end of the post, you’ll find a link to download a checklist summarizing these key elements.

1. Promise

When a person first visits your website, all they know is that they have a problem they need to solve. They probably don’t know what it’s costing them, they’re certainly not sure your products or services are the solution. They want to know that you understand their problem.

The purpose of the promise headline, above the fold on your homepage, is to show the visitor that you understand the challenges they face. You need to make them a promise that will solve their problems. If you do a good job here, they’ll be encouraged to read your story.

2. Story

Your website should tell a story that speaks to the customer. It shouldn’t be a story about you, the prospect should be the star. But your business will play a key role. You have to immediately let your website visitors see that you know what they’re struggling with and that you’re the right person to solve it.

3. Core offerings

You want to highlight your core products or services. Create boxes with about 100 words of content summarizing these elements. You’ll probably have full pages or sections on your site for each of these, but you need to have them on your homepage to introduce your customers to them and you’ll also get some additional SEO value.

4. Personas

If you serve more than one ideal customer type, try having a representation of each that leads to a clear path that you want each target market to take.

5. Geo/local

If you’re a local business, adding local content and resources to your homepage is key. Include Google Maps, your name, address, and phone number, and links to any relevant local content on the website.

6. Testimonials and Trust signals

Part of any customer’s journey is coming to trust you. Different people require different things for this. Trust signals can be logos of your customers, testimonials, logos of associations that you belong to, or your partners. Make sure you have some or all of these elements on your homepage.

7. SEO content

Your home page is your best opportunity to rank for your most important keywords that your potential customers are using. For that reason, you want to make sure you have enough content on your homepage to make Google think it’s useful, and that will keep people on your site longer. It’s also a great idea to update it regularly. You can achieve this by posting summaries of your blog or social feed on the homepage that shows recent activity. You should try to have about 1,000 words of content in total on your homepage.

8. Video

More and more companies are featuring video on their homepage, and there are good reasons for that. Video entertains and engages website visitors, keeping them on your site longer. There is evidence that it will improve your SEO. Video tends to be shared more than text and it can vastly increase your lead conversion when used correctly.

9. CTAs/contact

A call to action (CTA) is an image or text that invites a website visitor to take a specific action, like requesting a consultation, downloading some content, or joining a mailing list. CTAs provide the opportunity for visitors who are ready to take the next step to make that move. Because there are many different steps in the customer journey, it’s important to have multiple CTAs on a scrolling home page and throughout your website.

10. Mobile

More and more website traffic is coming from mobile devices. It’s a given today that a website should be designed to be mobile-first instead of simply responsive to mobile. This means making sure content is readable, phone numbers are clickable, images should be mobile-friendly.

11. Secure/speed

If you’ve ever visited a website and saw the “not secure” notice in your web browser next to the URL, you’re seeing a site that is not https (this is a higher level of encryption). The fact that Google is doing this is a clear signal that they want websites to migrate to this level of security and all websites should be making this move.

Check the speed of your website using a tool like GTmetrix. If your page load speed is higher than 4 or 5 seconds, you are very likely losing a lot of potential visitors who won’t wait for slower websites to load. A few of the likely suspects to slow down a website include a sub-par hosting service, large images, older WordPress themes, certain plugins, and no caching.

Ready to make some changes on your website? Download the Must Have Elements of a Marketing Website Checklist.

You can also get a free website review just by filling out this brief form and we’ll deliver it right to your inbox.