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The Customer Journey Starts Here

By Alessandra Ceresa

Customer Journey Begins

A customer journey starts when the contact first becomes aware of your brand. It continues through the life of the relationship, which if nurtured properly, will hopefully turn into a long-lasting, fruitful relationship.  

Because the customer journey begins with awareness, it can often be difficult to lay out all of the different ways a person can embark on this journey. To make things less complicated, let’s take a look at some of the different tactics for generating awareness. For the sake of length, we are going to focus on some of the most used lead generation tactics.

 

Social Media – This is a big one. If you aren’t using social media, please do. If used properly, it is one of the least expensive ways to generate awareness and drive leads into and through your funnel.

There are a number of different social networks out there including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube to name just a few. Depending on your type of business and the customer you market to, you may be on one or all of these platforms at once. No matter how many platforms or what platforms you are using, the rules remain the same: always be able to capture and accurately track your leads at this stage.

All, if not almost all, have self serve ad platforms that let businesses setup and run their own advertisements. Social ads, in conjunction with real time content and engagement, can be extremely powerful in driving awareness of your business.

If a person hits your website via a social channel, make sure you take that into account when they embark on your customer journey. Setup automatic actions if they engage with your brand and trigger specific actions that relate specifically to social engagement. This is an easy and effective way to make a great first impression. Show the lead you are paying attention to what they want and where they came from.

 

Online Chat – This one has been gaining more traction lately. Whether you are using a messenger service like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger or you employ a platform like Olark online live chat, this channel is becoming an increasingly popular way to generate and engage new leads.

A study by Forrester shows the following compelling statistic: 

“44% of online consumers say having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.”

44% is a substantial number and consumers calling online chat “one of the most important features” is HUGE. This stat alone should convince you to add this functionality to your website.

However, keep in mind, live chat collects a lot of valuable data. Make sure it is directly tied into your CRM. With a direct integration, contact records are automatically populated with important data and you are able to trigger workflows and customer journeys.

Other benefits of online live chat:

  • It cuts down on expenses. It is more cost-effective than telephone calls.
  • It increases efficiency. Representatives are able to handle customer interactions simultaneously, reducing the cost per engagement.
  • Provides content ideas for marketers. By mining the chats your reps have with your leads and customers, you gain valuable insights into their pain points encouraging more relevant content.

If you haven’t started using online live chat yet, we suggest Olark. Olark is an easy-to-use tool that lets you capture leads and provide optimal customer experiences.

 

PPC Campaigns – Your PPC (Pay-per-Click) advertisements are a great way to generate awareness and fill your funnel. Particularly, for B2B companies, PPC is accessible and typically has a lower-cost per acquisition than most other methods.

What do you do first when researching a product, service or company? Typically, you do a Google search. Am I right?

What do you do first when researching a company? Typically, you do a Google search. Am I right? PPC, SEM (search engine marketing), and SEO (search engine optimization) all play into that Google search. 

PPC ads let you showcase specific campaigns to help drive visitors to your website. Your ads will show up based upon the keywords you use to target. A person may not even know about your brand, but will see your ad nonetheless. 

Typically, a PPC headline, once clicked, takes you to a targeted landing page. This is where you collect your leads information. From there, you send them on your journey to help drive them down your funnel. 

Remember, retargeting is also an effective strategy. Once a person has visited your website, clicked on an ad, or engaged with you in some other way, a company is able to retarget ads to appear in different places as they continue to browse.  

 

Content – Content is key. Good content, i.e. content that people want to read, drives awareness, leads, and eventually conversion. The great thing about the Internet today is there is an entire virtual world of potential to share your content. According to Google, the average buyer consumes about 8 pieces of content before making a purchase. That’s a lot of content.

The more targeted content you put out there and the more effective you are at distributing it, should ultimately result in an influx of visitors to your website. Ensure that you keep track of the many different places you distribute this content with specific campaign identifiers. You will want your lead’s journey to align with what brought them there in the first place. 

Your sales and marketing platform should have the ability to trigger targeted journeys based on the campaigns they come from. This guarantees that you get the right lead nurturing content to the right people as they need or want it.

Examples of effective content pieces or tactics include:

  •  eBooks
  • Whitepapers
  • Blog posts
  • Contributed blog posts
  • Published articles
  • Webinars
  • Infographics
  • Free courses 
  • Email communication

Of course, there are a myriad more ways that a person becomes aware of a brand such as referrals, trade shows, events, print advertisement and more. But, for this article, I wanted to focus on the big three of digital marketing today. 

Always remember, the customer journey begins far before they ever talk to a person within your company, so take that into account and make every journey count.

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