The journey to a sale is different for every potential customer, so why feed them all the same messages?
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Every customer is different, meaning marketing cannot be a one-size-fits-all operation. Despite this, several businesses are still mistakenly using the same messaging for different stages of their customer’s journey.
Although this might seem like a cost-effective, productive solution, failing to account for your customer’s different mindsets in your marketing material can be one of the most significant causes of decreased conversions and ultimately, sales.
Finding a balance between message consistency, whilst targeting the audience based on their level of interest and position in the journey is crucial for achieving streamlined, conversion-driving marketing campaigns.
Struggling to match these equally? Here’s how you can understand your customer’s awareness in greater detail to grab attention in their journey and increase sales.
What Are the Different Stages of Customer Awareness?
Before you can begin to understand your customers, it’s essential you understand the four stages of customer awareness. Here are the stages illustrated as a damp problem in your home:
1. Unaware: You are unaware there’s a problem - Your shower has started leaking through your bathroom tiles, but you haven’t noticed yet
2. Aware: You become aware of a problem, but you’re not too concerned about it yet - You’ve noticed your bathroom feels a bit damper than usual, but you pass it off as normal
3. Thinking: You’re not committed to action yet, but the problem is getting harder to ignore - Mould has started appearing, you start researching local plumbers
4. Hurting: Now you’re actively seeking a solution to the problem - A damp path has formed, you need a plumber now
The majority of customers will need to be in the “hurting” stage before they commit to making a purchase, and it will usually be a considerable amount of time before they reach this stage.
Conquering your prospective customer’s lack of knowledge and removing their procrastination once they reach the awareness stage, is the ultimate goal of your customer journey.
In order to reach the end goal, taking your audience chronologically through the first three stages of awareness is a must. This will ensure even if they aren’t in the “hurting” stage, they can envision what the “pain” would be like and take steps to evade feeling this before it becomes reality.
Unaware to Aware
When reaching out to a new audience, your first communication has to move them from the unaware to aware stage. Remember - it is too soon for pitching your brand, products or services at this stage.
Several businesses focus solely on showcasing what they can do for their customers, but when you’re marketing to a prospect who is completely unaware they have a problem, informing them about a resolution to a non-existent issue is simply a waste of your time and marketing spend.
Nurturing the prospect is crucial for moving into the aware stage. Begin by conversing on the priority concerns and pain points your potential customer is already aware of. Once you’ve established a common ground, you can start to formulate logical connections to make them aware of their problem.
Let’s say you’re an online clothing retailer with customers who are abandoning their purchases at the checkout process. What exactly could your business do to encourage these potential customers complete their purchase?
If your prospects feel they aren’t ready to purchase anything at the moment, then they are in the unaware stage, for they are unaware of the urgency to complete their purchases before stock runs out.
You could use this to your advantage by hitting them with a retargeting email about limited stock levels to encourage them to complete their purchase. What you’re attempting to do is make your customers realise that if they fail to complete their purchase as soon as possible, they will miss out due to high demand, thus achieving awareness.
Aware to Thinking
Now your prospect is aware of their problem, the next step into the customer journey is to make them deliberate on a solution; meaning you have to reassure them their problem can be solved. This is where you can begin to explain the details surrounding how your company can help them.
For example, sending out PDFs to prospective customers that are specifically targeted to solving their problem will prompt prospects to get in contact with your business.
Alternatively, if you have PDFs featured on your website, you can make it so customers have to enter a name and email address to access it. You can then target these prospects with further information that is relevant to their problem.
Determining which platforms are driving the most conversions to your business is crucial for allocating spend and mapping out your customer journey.
Call tracking software, from suppliers like Mediahawk, stores the contact data for individual sessions and each user; allowing you to establish if a lead has visited via organic search, a referral or a remarketing pay-per-click (PPC) ad and then finally called your business via their unique phone number that’s assigned by the call tracking software.
All data produced is logged specifically for that user, providing a complete view of their journey.
Thinking to Hurting (Purchasing)
Once your prospect is considering the solution your business is offering, it’s time to convince them to make a purchase.
This is the final stage, where a prospect will make a commitment to buy from your business; meaning you have to make them recognise the disadvantage they would be at for not purchasing your product or service to resolve their problem.
You are taking the identified pain point and offering a solution to achieve the best possible outcome.
In order to convince prospects at the final stage, you’ll need to offer them something they cannot refuse. If possible, tailor your messaging to encourage the prospect to make their purchase there and then instead of instantly believing they’ll purchase at a later date.
For example, a B2B software company could offer a discount if they commit to the product for a year, or provide a free consultation to discuss their business further. Once a purchase has been made, congratulations! You have successfully reached the final part of the customer journey.
It’s impossible to jump to the end of a sales journey without taking the first necessary steps. Consider which stage your prospect is at within their journey and be specific about how you can move them from one stage in the journey to the next, until they become a customer.
Remember, it’s called a journey for a reason. By understanding the stages of customer’s awareness, your business will be on the path to driving more conversions and achieving those necessary sales.