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Introduction to The 6 Stages of the Customer’s Journey

Today, I am sharing with you the required 6 stages of a customer’s journey you need to pay attention to. Apparently, the customer’s journey is also referred to as the buyer’s journey. Before we discuss the stages of the customer’s journey, First, let’s talk about the 2 key reasons you should pay attention to the customer’s journey.

  1. Prospect & customer acquisition
  2. Customer retention & growth

At this point, grab your cup of tea, paper, and pen as you jot down and enjoy the read. At the end of this article, you should have a better understanding of the customer journey and why it is imperative you pay attention to it as a Digital Marketer or Business owner.

International Data Corporation (IDC) a marketing research firm identified six (6) stages of the customer’s journey.

  1. Explore
  2. Evaluate
  3. Purchase
  4. Expand
  5. Renew
  6. Advocacy

The 6 stages of the Customer's Journey

 

From the diagram, you can tell it’s an infinity loop, it is not designed to end nor break. As a digital marketer or business owner your goal is to nurture the buyer through every stage of his journey using appropriate messaging and content and delivering them at the right time. It’s important to understand buyers’ needs and expectations because then you can create appropriate resources to help, or nurture, them through the various stages.

Definition

What is a customer journey? The customer’s journey is the stages buyers go through before they finally make a purchase.

The Six Stages of a Customer’s Buying Journey

The first three stages focus on prospect & customer acquisition. As a matter of fact, this is where you nurture prospect’s through their journey. If you are seeking out for prospers or thinking of getting more customers, you should pay attention to this.

The 6 stages of the Customer's Journey

Stage 1: Explore

In this stage, buyers are searching for solutions to problems or business challenges as the case may be. The information they search out for online is done using keywords that are in-line with the problem(s) they do need a solution for. Sample problems or challenges could be to increase business productivity or reduce bounce rate.

At this stage SEO is critical. Make sure your website and content metadata have the right keywords so when buyers search the web for solutions, your page will be crawled as a possible solution page.

Marketing Tactics for the explore stage includes:

  • Website SEO and Content
  • Social Selling
  • Short engaging educational Videos
  • Web content syndication
  • Introductory eBook
  • Infographics

Stage 2: Evaluate

In this second stage of the buyer’s journey, the buyers compare vendors and validate their claims. A typical scenario is when you browse a shopping site for footwear, you find what you like yet reduce to make an immediate purchase, at this point you visit similar sites and find the same product.

When buyers begin to compare what seller A is offering to what seller B is offering for the same product is referred to as the vendor validation process.

The moment your site fails to provide information the buyers can use to validate you, it simply means you have not only failed a validation test, but you have also lost a potential customer.

Demos, product trials are essential in this stage. The buyers may decide to share their information with you, if they do you, need to take good advance of it and not mess things up. The reason is this is where you begin to know or understand the prospects hence ensure your content is valuable and relevant to them.

Marketing Tactics for the explore stage includes:

  1. Email Campaigns
  2. Product trials and demos
  3. Telemarketing
  4. Social-media posing
  5. Blogs
  6. Online Events

Stage 3: Purchase  

Buyers or prospects are ready to commit at this stage, this is where they become customers after they purchase from you. This stage is also a point for you to provide testimonials, quotes, case studies this information persuades the prospects to take a purchase action

Marketing Tactics for the explore stage includes:

  • Free consultation
  • Live demo
  • Free trial
  • Customer stories

The next three stages focus on Customer retention & Growth. This is where you Nurture Clients through their journey. It is not enough to turn prospects into customers, you should be able to retain those customers while you grow your business simultaneously.  

The 6 stages of the Customer's Journey

 

Stage 4: Expand

In this stage of the customer’s journey, the buyers are no longer leads nor prospects they are customers because they have purchased from you. This also means you have achieved a goal which is prospects & customer acquisition. Congratulations if you have gotten to this stage.

When a customer is using a solution or product from you, you need to provide support where applicable, provide solutions, training options, or best practice approach to customers because this stage provides an opportunity for you to cross and upsell to your customers.

Marketing Tactics for the explore stage includes:

  • Website content
  • Proof of concepts
  • ROI tools
  • Training
  • Up and cross-sell
  • Support

Stage 5: Renewal

In as much renewal applies to those offering subscription services it’s also applicable to those selling consumables or offline products. At renewal, the customer reviews their satisfaction with your product(s) or service(s) and potentially decide whether to continue the business relationship with you. At this point, as a business owner, digital marketer, or salesman, your chances of retaining these customers is up to the strategies you apply. You need to ask yourself this question before approaching your customers “What have I done for my customers lately?” My recommendation is you reach out to your customers 3 months before their renewal date and ensure you attend to all the outstanding issues, also use the opportunity to address cross-sell or up-sell.

Marketing Tactics for the explore stage includes:

  • Account management
  • Connect with customers 3 months before their renewal
  • Email marketing
  • Social media
  • Telemarketing
  • Resolve issues

Stage 6: Advocacy

Congratulations if you’ve got customers who are at this stage of the buyer’s journey. Apparently, this simply means you’ve nurtured your buyers along the stages of the customer’s journey. Now your customers are your fans, they want to advocate for you. This is where you solicit customer testimonials and social media feedback.

  • Marketing Tactics for the explore stage includes:
  • Customer testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Video testimonials

Summary

As can be seen below, here is what we’ve covered in this article:

The 2 key essentials to business success

  • Prospect & customer acquisition
  • Customer retention & growth

The 6 stages of the customer’s journey you must pay attention to

  1. Explore
  2. Evaluate
  3. Purchase
  4. Expand
  5. Renew
  6. Advocate

In conclusion, you need to create specific content for each customer avatar in each stage of the customer journey.  Great services alone do not define customer relationships and retention. Clients expect a great experience at each stage of the buyer’s journey, look at each stage of the customer’s journey, and determine how you can improve and see the experience from the customer’s viewpoint.

To demonstrate, let’s use this example – How can you make a prospect’s buying journey experience exceptional during the evaluation stage? One thing you can do is ensure your website is self-explanatory and easy to navigate, with enough helpful guide or information to download.

Best Practice

Audit your website and social media pages to verify you have content for each stage of the customer’s journey. In addition, when you audit your website, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can my customers learn about my business?
  • Do I have product sheets?
  • Do I have information for customers at different stages of the buyer’s journey?

With the customer avatar you might have created, imagine how the customer’s journey might look like, beginning as a prospect who is exploring, then evaluating, and eventually reaching the purchased stage. Walk through the entire journey, read what you have on your website, use every action function you have like chat, call, subscribe, and make a purchase if need be to see what a customer truly experiences.

Resource:

Marketing SureSteps

  • Euphemia Chinwuba

    Hi, I'm Euphemia!

    Your BizBoster lady with over 12 years of experience in website design and sales funnel automation. I'm a proud mom of two cute boys, and I'm ready to bring your dream website to life.

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