So you let your creativity run wild and have started a business. Good for you! It can be a scary endeavor but with resilience and a solid plan you can do it. When starting a business the first thing you should consider is your customers journey, not only who they are but how they go about making purchases.
After you decide who your ideal customer is consider what their ideal customer journey would look like. A customer journey is an entire process a consumer takes from finding your business to purchasing your product and beyond. You’ll work hard to create connections with your customers and you want them to come back to you again and again for future purchases.
Each stage of your customer’s journey needs to be the best experience possible. Your customer could “fall off” the journey during any stage of the buying process and you will miss out on a sale, future referrals, and comments that could benefit your business. They could also leave a bad review. Their experience directly reflects on your brand. The goal is to create a positive experience that facilitates a loyal customer base and increases referral rates.
There are 5 steps in the customer journey: Awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy. Each step has distinct touchpoints, or any point of interaction with a customer or potential customer during the customer journey process (Conductor) , and considerations.
1. Awareness of your creative business
The first step in the customer journey is the awareness of your creative business. This step used to be dominated by touchpoints in mass media like television and magazine or newspaper ads. Now marketing has evolved where it is actually easier for small businesses to share the marketing space with social media. Your brand needs a social media page, at least one if not multiple, that introduces who you are, what you do, and what you have to offer.
Touchpoints can be social media ads, sharing blog posts, day-in-the-life photos, and trendy reels along with online ads and google search results. The goal of these touchpoints is to get customers into contact with your brand, products, and services. Share important information and things that will interest your audience so that they move onto the next step in the journey.
2. Consideration of materials and products
Next, your potential customers will take a closer look at the materials and products you have to offer. Touchpoints will be the content of your blogs, media, email, reviews of past customers, and comments on social media. This is where the customer begins to really think about purchasing your product. They consider pros and cons, look at alternatives and gather more information.
3. Purchase your product
If everything goes well and they feel like your brand is the best choice for them they will purchase your product. How you set up your store and shipping is very important, but you may feel like you have the least control here. Small businesses often use web services like Shopify and Etsy to help facilitate a sell. Do your research and find the best option for you. Consider the type of customer service and guarantees each service offers, how you will design your packaging, and what shipping options you will offer. The main touchpoint for this step is your online store and the prompts and images they see. Every customer interaction will reflect on your brand, even if it’s not up to you. Try to make the process as smooth and transparent as possible.
4. Retention of customer
If everything went well with their purchase and the product met the customers expectations the journey is still not over. It is now time to retain that customer and gain their loyalty. Touchpoints for this step could be a thank you email with or without an offer, updated shipping information to let them know where their product is, a community they can join on social media, a newsletter that they can opt-in for, and a loyalty program that offers returning customers discounts.
After the initial purchase your customer will be questioning whether they made the right choice. You need to show them that you care about them and are thankful to have them as a part of your growing community.
5. Customer advocacy
When you have a loyal customer they can become an advocate for your brand. Word of mouth marketing is a great way to gain a new audience and start new customers on your brands customer journey. The touchpoints for this step are very similar to step 4. Make sure your brand is active in the brands community along with your customers, offer discounts, show loyalty to your customers and you will gain customers loyalty and advocacy.
Once you have thought through your customers journey the next step would be to create the content your customer will interact with during the journey. These ads, posts, blogs, newsletters, emails, etc are invaluable. This content should be carefully curated to move your customers along the customer journey.
If you haven’t started a blog for your creative business yet check out my post 5 Guaranteed Benefits of a Blog for you Business to see why every business needs a blog.