People regularly think that as soon as you make the sale, you have made success. Maybe in a two-dimensional world, but in reality, selling your goods and services is just one small part of a major sequence. If you stop at the first sale and do nothing else, you not only lose potential extra revenue but you also miss the opportunity of spreading the word of brand.

Why are you missing out? Isn’t the sale enough?

Success doesn’t stop when the customer hands you his or her money and you hand over the product. Success is when you not only make the sale, but have the customer or prospect bring other things of value to you like buying into your other relatable services/goods or telling their friends about your awesome offers.

Getting the most value out of your customers is the success, not a one-time transaction. In order to gain success you have to optimize your customers value throughout the journey of interactions they have with you. This practice is called “customer value optimization” and the journey of doing this practice is called the “customer value journey”.

Customer Value Journey and its Importance

Customer Value Journey - brought to you by Digital Marketer 

Like previously stated, success is a sequence of steps, not a one-time transaction. Like most sequences in life (like the ones you see in high school algebra and chemistry), if you skip one step, you end up in failure. Also, even if you do everything right but you carry out something in the wrong step, you’ll end up in failure (like high school algebra and chemistry).

The Role of Marketing – Guide your ideal customers seamlessly and subtly through each stage of the Value Journey.

Step 1 – Awareness

customer value journey - step 1 aware - credit to Digital MarketerAwareness. Making people aware of your goods, services, and other products through channels they might see you through.

It should be noted that there are 4 types of Awareness.

  • Unaware – Prospects don’t know they need your services/goods.
  • Problem Aware – Prospects have a problem but they are unable to fix it.
  • Solution Aware – Prospects know they have problem and are looking for a solution.
  • Product Aware – They know the product/service they need for the problem they are aware of.

Let’s put this all in an example.

Let’s say you have an online store that sells firearm and firearm accessories and you want people to become aware of your products. First you would need to identify the channels you want customers to come in through. Since you have identified that one of your big target markets are the growing number of younger gun enthusiasts (mid 20s – late 30s), you want to use channels that younger audiences would use, like Facebook and Instagram.

Through research you find out that on Facebook, your young target audience doesn’t know which gun cleaning products are the best (they are product aware). You would make some ads about your gun cleaning products that you have on stock. While in Instagram, you notice that your target audience is having difficulty fitting in with the older crowd of enthusiasts (feeling left out at the range, hence they are problem aware). You would then start an awareness campaign showing that the younger crowd is enjoying the hobby as much as the older crowd is.

Step 2 – Engage

Customer Value Journey – step 2 - engage - credit to Digital Marketer

Engaging is the act of turning a glance into a stare. Meaning you grab the attention of your potential customers/prospects. This can be done through educating and/or entertaining them by the way of content.

How you grab their attention depends on how you made them aware in the previous step.

  • Unware – Using entertaining content to grab their full undivided attention. In simpler terms, it interrupts their daily routine life and makes them stop to look at your content.

    EXAMPLE: A local pizza chain creates Facebook content telling readers about the different types of pizza toppings in other parts of the world (like Germany’s favorite topping is tuna fish).

  • Problem Aware – Using educational content to let everyone notice a rising problem and then engaging with customers to know that your brand is the solution.

    EXAMPLE: Making a post about the rise of smoking tobacco and then pivoting the content piece to assure readers that your brand can help solve the problem.

  • Solution Aware – Making notice of the problem at hand but immediately turning the content piece’s message into going against the commonly known solutions but offering your own.

    EXAMPLE: Your cleaning company makes a post about stubborn pet stains on carpets. While the common known solution is vinegar, your post then says vinegar isn’t the end all solution, but hiring a professional and local cleaning service (like yours) is a better long time solution.

  • Product Aware – Showing that the product/service you have is better than the competition.

    EXAMPLE: The cleaning company makes a post that shows their customer satisfaction rating compared to a nationwide brand of cleaning companies.

Step 3 – Subscribe

Customer Value Journey – Step 3 - subscribe - credit to Digital Marketer

Now that you have people’s attention, you want them to subscribe to you in order to let them hear more about your brand’s goods and/or services so that you can eventually convert them into regular customers in the next step. In simpler terms, you want to gather contact information from them so you can convert them later. This practice is called lead generation.

This can be done by offering a lead magnet – which is giving a small chunk of value for your audience in return for their information.

However, there should be some thought when trying to get people to become leads. Mainly you need to have something that makes a promise, give an example, or offer a solution/answer to their problems. In the end, you just want to be on your customer’s mind.

To put in an example, the local cleaning company has a Facebook ad and email marketing campaign promoting some free downloadable material that shows the types of molds and fungi that can grow in carpets if they were left uncleaned. In return for this material, customers would have to give their contact information.

Step 4 – Convert

Customer Value Journey – Step 4 - Convert - credit to Digital Marketer

Now that you have leads, you want to convert these leads into people. This process is called “conversion”. It’s not the end-all sale like we mentioned in the beginning, it’s a small commitment to get customers more into your brand. This commitment doesn’t even have to be money, it can also be their time.

An example of a converting with money is turning a lead into a paid customer. When the cleaning company gets a call from a local who read their online guide to carpet mold and wants their carpet to be steamed and cleaned for a small price, that’s a monetary conversion.

An example of time-associated conversion would be something like a webinar or a demo. If you were a consultant who gives dating advice, let’s say you host a free online webinar for those on your mailing list. Those who attend this webinar have already been converted as they have taken the time to hear about your dating advice tips.

Step 5 – Excite

Customer Value Journey - Step 5 - Excite - credit to Digital Marketer

In this part of the sequence to success, you need to step up and get your converted customers excited in order for them to commit to the next step, ascension. At this point some customers might think “this is it” or “oh well it’s the end of the line”. They should never think of that.

What you need to do is show them “little victories”. Little victories are basically pointing out customer’s advancement since they acquired your goods or services. That way they know that they can do it and even become a better person thanks to your brand or company.

A good example is the dating service consultant from the last step. Let’s say after the webinar, the consultant reached out to the attendees and see if they practiced any of the techniques he had given. If attendees showed any small but noticeable signs (like they actually built up the courage to talk to someone they like), the consultant would note those small victories, thus exciting the attendees and informing them that they can do it and get into a meaningful relationship. With a little more help.

Step 6 – Ascend

Customer Value Journey - Step 6 - Ascend - credit to Digital Marketer

We lead, we converted and now it’s time for the actual sale, which we call “ascension”. It should be easy if you followed the sequence to success properly or it can be hard if you did everything out of order or incorrectly presented the wrong things at the wrong time.

In this part, this is where you would upsell additional services to your converted customers. Since they are hooked onto your services and/or products they are likely to partake in other things that you have to offer.

For example, turning back to the dating consultant. Now that he found some little victories in other people, he can then offer them a personal one-on-one consultation, provided they pay the consultation fee. Very likely the converted customers will accept the upselling offer.

It should be noted that it doesn’t have to be your products/services either. You can still ascend people with offers from joint ventures or affiliate deals. Like if the consultant was in a joint venture with a dietician service, he could upsell those services to customers who feel like they need to improve their image.

Step 7 – Advocate

Customer Value Journey - Step 7 - Advocate - credit to Digital Marketer

The conversion went well and the upselling went well, but it’s not the end. The next step to increase your customer’s value is for them to be an advocate for your brand. What you should do is have your highest valued customers become a way to spread the word about your offerings and their experiences. This is usually done by them giving you material for promotional content.

For example, the dating consultant is amazed to hear of one customer’s journey from being a depressed lonely person to a happy and fulfilled person in a wonderful relationship that could lead to marriage. The consultant would kindly ask for the customer/advocate to give a testimonial and a short story of their success. After all the information was gathered, the consultant would use it in content to help generate leads, upsell or attract awareness.

Step 8 – Promote

Customer Value Journey - Step 8 - Promote - credit to Digital Marketer

Now that they are advocates of your brand and products/services, they can take another step by being a promoter. Being a promoter is a bit different from being an advocate, while advocate is spreading through word of mouth or via telling experiences, a promoter is someone who becomes more of a certified partner or an official spokesperson for the brand.

A good example of a customer promoting your brand would be through a referral program. A customer who continues to buy your goods or services and has given testimony of your brand’s offerings would be a good example of promotion. Very likely he or she would tell their friends or coworkers on how they can be successful as he or she is with your brand’s offerings.

A more professional version of this would be certified partnerships, like the ones offered by Digital Marketer. By partnering up with various companies and brands (who are already customers of their services), Digital Marketer is able to promote their brand with those who have seen success with their services.

completing the value optimization journey

Now that you understand the sequences of what it takes to get the most value of your customers, you should be able to get more from your customers without painstakingly worrying about losing customers or money. As long as you follow the sequence’s steps to success.